shop talk

About this time last year I was browsing the supermarket vegetable selection looking for inspiration (our farmers market is only once a month!) when I spotted a gentleman looking a bit lost so I asked him if he needed help. When he told me he was looking for watercress I was able to point him in the right direction. A couple of aisles further on when I met him again he thanked me for my help and told me that he was going home to make some soup with the watercress. He took great delight in talking me through the steps of his soup-making. So I thought, what a good idea, put my trolley in reverse and picked up my soup ingredients. I love home-made soup. In fact, the only soup I ever buy is Heinz tomato. Jump forward 12 months or so and yes, you guessed it, there was the watercress on the shelf and I immediately thought of last year’s encounter. This year I decided to use leek instead of onion but it’s equally good with either.

watercress and potato soup


1 leek – white part only, washed and sliced
1 large, baking size (old) potato, chopped
350ml vegetable or chicken stock
250ml milk
150g watercress
salt and pepper
1-2 tablespoons mild olive oil (or, if you must, butter)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the leek and potato gently without colouring for 5-10 minutes. Add the stock, along with some salt if you are using home-made stock, bring to the boil and then simmer until the potato is cooked. Stir in the milk, add the watercress and bring back to the boil. Simmer for just a couple of minutes more as the watercress needs very little cooking. Adjust the seasoning and if you think the soup is too thick, add some water. Allow to cool a little then purée in the pan with a stick blender – it saves on washing up!

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