All the new recipes have been devised by James Hurd, watercress grower and keen cook from near Dorchester, Dorset. He was a regional finalist in TV's Masterchef competition and says:
"The keynote of this recipe collection is simplicity. None takes long to prepare or needs sophisticated cookery skills. The secret is in the innovative use of fresh ingredients in flavourful dishes. I enjoyed creating these recipes, I hope you find the same pleasure when you try them."
Watercress is sold either ready to use in a bag or in traditional bunches which are still cut and trimmed by hand. Bags are sold by weight (85g) with stalks already trimmed: The stalks contain as much flavour as the leaves and are meant to be eaten so only trim them further if really necessary. You can use the trimmings in other dishes. Watercress bunches are measured by the skill of the harvester to achieve an approximate weight of 100g. Generally the stalks are left longer so you may choose to trim the bottom third but there is no need to do this before use in soups, for example. Watercress should be used as soon as possible after purchase. Store in the fridge, in a sealed container or bag for a day or two. If limp, revive by submerging in ice-cold water. Raw watercress will not freeze well.