Put some va-va-voom back into the humble leaf with Susan Jane White’s exciting and nourishing recipe to jazz up your watercress.

"Instead of cream, you’ll find that avocado can deliciously thicken soup while cranking up your meal’s nutritional value. Avocados are especially high in vitamin E, nature’s antidote to damaged skin. Combined with this soup’s stellar vitamin C content, you’re looking at an anti-ageing elixir. Although I’m not suggesting you apply it as a facemask ..." – Susan Jane White

Yield: Makes 1 litre

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 litre homemade vegetable or chicken stock
  • 125g or 1 large packet watercress
  • 450g or 1 average bag of frozen petits pois 
  • 1 medium avocado, chilled
  • Flaked almonds, to serve
  • Wedge of lemon, to serve

Method

  1. Start by gently warming the olive oil in a large pan.
  2. Peel and dice your onion and garlic, adding it to the oil and cook on low for around 10 minutes until the onion looks glassy.
  3. Add the stock, watercress and frozen peas. Cook for five minutes or until the water starts to violently boil. Remove from heat and pulse with a hand-held blender. It will turn a brilliant green.
  4. Pour into a large, pre-chilled jug and allow to cool in the fridge for one hour.
  5. Bake the almond flakes on a flat oven tray at 180ºC/gas mark 4 for 4-6 minutes until lightly coloured, but not brown.
  6. Once the soup has cooled down, add the flesh of your chilled avocado. Give everything another blitz and serve immediately with an untidy smattering of toasted almond flakes and a wedge of lemon on the side.

TIP: I like to add a few ice cubes to this soup upon serving – chilled soup has a tendency to take people by surprise.

TIP: Watercress tends to divide opinions due to its strong, signature flavour. It’s known for its pungent peppery flavour. Highly nutritious, ancient Greeks believed that watercress aided their intellectual prowess. Combining it with other ingredients in a soup or tart is an ideal way to serve it.