Healey Newson from Hampshire is the latest Watercress Ambassador to join the ranks and for the last two weeks has been enjoying experimenting with his deliveries of fresh watercress. Married to Emma, and dad to 12 year old William, Healey works for the Association of Labour Providers, helping members to combat Slavery, Forced Labour & Exploitation in the food and wider sectors.
For light relief, Healey is a keen gardener, forager and cook, with a particular love of distilling the different fruits found on his allotment and from foraging expeditions, resulting in some interesting brews!
However, we all know what booze can do for the waist line, and perhaps these took their toll as Healey has recently been following the Slimming World diet. But huge congratulations are owed, as he has just reached his target weight, having lost over 7 stones in a little over 18 months. To keep the pounds at bay, Healey is continuing to use some Slimming World recipes and watercress, which contains virtually zero calories, lends itself brilliantly to these.
My first delivery from The Watercress Company arrived last Friday and in it was:
a fantastic, huge 500g bag of fresh watercress
a tea towel with useful watercress facts on it (did you know watercress contains compounds that may prevent certain types of cancer)
a rather stylish mug.
What to do with all that wonderful watercress? I set to it and found a recipe from the BBC Good Food website for Pea & Watercress Soup but adapted it slightly to fall in line with Slimming World’s syn system.
Pea & Watercress Soup
Serves 2 (Large Bowls)
1 Syn per bowl – Recipe adapted for Slimming World Plan
1 tbsp Fry Lite
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 medium potato, cut into small chunks
500ml vegetable stock
300g fresh peas (or frozen if out of season)
Mint Sauce x 4 tspns (2 Syns total) or use leaves from 2 mint sprigs but I didn’t have any
Fat Free Greek Yoghurt x 2 tblspns
Heat the Fry Lite in a large saucepan, then gently fry the onion and garlic for 5 mins or until soft. Add the potato, stock and 500ml water, then simmer for 7 mins until the potato is just cooked.
Scatter in the peas and watercress, stir, cover, then simmer for 3 mins. Add the mint sauce and blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Stir in the Fat Free Greek Yogurt and season to taste. Serve ladled into bowls, scattered with mint leaves, Watercress and some cracked black pepper.
I adjusted the recipe to fit my Slimming World Plan and a lack of mint leaves. It was served up in huge bowl, that I had painted on my birthday this year and I then took a few photos. The soup was so nice that I made another batch a few days later. It’s a real winter warmer with subtle flavours and the peas provide a lovely grainy texture. The mix of greens is amazing, and appetising to look at too!
My second delivery of wonderful watercress arrived - this stuff is great and has certainly aided my diet - it’s even helped me lose more weight than I anticipated on my Slimming World plan! I have been supplementing my diet with raw watercress, as I only seem to be cooking with a third of it, but love the peppery taste. I’m intrigued by the additional weight loss though and will be keeping a particular eye on it hereon in.
I tired making watercress & celeriac soup, again courtesy of BBC Good Food and which is syn free.
Watercress & Celeriac Soup
Makes 2 large bowls
4 leeks, washed and sliced
1 celeriac, peeled and diced
300ml vegetable stock
Gently cook the leeks in the Fry Lite until soft but not coloured. Add the celeriac and stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the celeriac is soft. Add the watercress and blend until smooth, then season and add another few sprigs of Watercress.
Another nice winter warmer, but although tasty, I am not as keen on this as I was the Pea and Watercress soup; the celeriac has a very unique taste but does retain a lovely grainy texture.