Friday, June 13, 2008

W is for Watercress and our visit to Kingfisher Farm


Its W for Watercress!

Kingfisher Farm is one of our favourite places to visit. It is a watercress farm in Abinger Hammer in Surrey. And when we were asked where we might like to go to have some photographs taken for the book this is where we went. Watercress has been cultivated since Roman times but the first reported watercress farm dates back to 1808.

The reason there is watercress growing in Abinger Hammer is because of a stream of chalk that streaks across England deep underground all the way up to Lincolnshire. The chalk behaves like a giant sponge storing water that then springs out bubbling up to the surface. And this is where watercress farms first started to appear. Barry Arminson from Kingfisher Farm showed us around the long rectangular beds and took Freddie with him to cut and bunch up the cress. Freddie tiptoed along wooden struts. But when it came to posing for the photographs, holding watercress, smiling and balancing was a challenge....

We dried off and had a watercress picnic on the village green - soup and watercress calzone. Over the next week we will be eating more and more watercress which is very much in season. So please tell us how you like to eat your watercress...as Freddie decided that having munched on the watercress fresh from their Abinger Hammer beds, he is keen to try new watercress recipes. Tonight we are making pancetta & watercress quesadillas.

6 comments:

  1. christina8:53 PM

    My favourite thing to do with watercress is make soup, my 2 year old son loves it!
    Chop one onion and two cloves of garlic and fry until softened, add one chopped medium potato and fry for a minute, add one pint of chicken or vegetable stock and cook for 20 minutes, then add three bags of watercress (sorry, I don't have a local supplier, just Sainsburys!), then puree and serve. If you're feeling decadent, add a swish of double cream before serving!

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  2. Many thanks for your lovely message on my blog. I've visited yours before - last year when purple podded peas first started up and I wasn't really sure what a blog was! Have you been round the alphabet a few times now? Looks as though your project's a great success

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  3. Great Big Veg Challenge7:42 AM

    Christina
    You cant beat a little cream in watercress soup...or creme fraiche.

    Silverpebble - No - this is the first timeround - its a gradual process!

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  4. Highly impressive! I wish I could visit something like that up here. Very envious as I adore watercress. I like mine as it is as a salad leaf and a lemon dressing, or make a pesto with toasted hazelnuts and a strong cheddar. Delicious!

    xxx

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  5. Nicole1:30 PM

    I was cooking fish the other night and it was topped with watercress and it make me think of your challenge.

    The recipe is from Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine and is really simple.

    Vietnamese Caramel Glazed Salmon
    1 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 clove garlic, bruised
    90g palm sugar
    2 tablespoons fish sauce
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    4 salmon fillets
    50g watercress sprigs
    50g snowpea sprouts
    Dressing
    3 teaspoons vegetable oil
    2 teaspoons rice vinegar
    2 teaspoons lime juice
    1 teaspoon light soy sauce
    2 teaspoons warm water

    Heat vegetable oil in small saucepan, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Remove and discard garlic. To oil add palm sugar, fish sauce, rice vinegar and water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins or until syrupy.

    Combine all dressing ingredients in small bowl and mix well. Toss with watercress and snowpea sprouts.

    Cook salmon in large non stick frying pan with olive oil until cooked to your liking. When salmon is almost cooked reduce heat to low, add palm sugar mixture and coat salmon in mixture.

    Serve salmon on bed of rice and top with watercress and snowpea sprouts.

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