WATERCRESS AND LEEK SOUP (feeds 3 for a main course or 4-5 for a starter)
2-3 leeks, washed and chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced finely
1 litre approx of a good vegetable stock
half a tsp of white pepper
half a tsp of freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
a pinch of sea salt
2 dessertspoonfuls of creme fraiche.
1. Separate out two big handfuls of watercress and retain in a bowl.
2. Heat the butter in the bottom of a deep saucepan with a lid. Once melted, add the remainder of the watercress, the chopped leek and diced potato. Stir everything until it is covered with the melted butter, then add a tablespoonful or two of water and cover with the lid.
3. Allow the vegetables to sweat over a low heat until softened, stirring occasionally to make sure that the potato doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, for around 15-20 mins.
4. Add the stock and white pepper and stir well. Bring up to simmering point and allow to simmer until the potato is tender and will fall off the point of a knife.
5. Remove from the heat and add the retained watercress. Allow the soup to cool slightly and the watercress to wilt, before blending to your preferred texture. Season to taste with a little extra sea salt and some of the black pepper.
6. Return to the pan and reheat gently - do not allow the soup to boil - while you add the creme fraiche. Stir through until it has dissolved into the soup.
7. Serve in warmed bowls, with a little black pepper and some watercress leaves (there are always some left clinging to the bowl) as garnish.