Stray Foodie recipe: watercress is a hard act to follow


Last updated Apr 7, 2021

Stray Foodie Lockdown Recipes are written by Michelin-starred chef, Frances Atkins. In 1997, Frances opened the Yorke Arms near Pateley Bridge, where she was the owner for 20 years. During her ownership, she held her Michelin-star status for 16 of those years.

“I’ll be bringing you some of my favourite recipes each week. I’d love to see how you make the recipes your own – let me know by using #StrayFoodie or tagging @thestrayferret in your social media posts.”


This common Brassica I always feel is somewhat overlooked, yet it has amazing health benefits and is packed with nutrients. It is high is antioxidants and its taste outshines lettuce when used as a salad base.

We love to use watercress as a great base or accompaniment for many of our dishes, especially this time of year when spring is in the air but the temperature is still a little contrary!

We have a great fondness for wild watercress which is super healthy and can be found by streams and water edges with slow flowing water. Always check that it is wild watercress and wash thoroughly!

This week’s recipe is for a watercress mousse. Not only is this a delicious way of serving this great leaf, it also lends itself to many green additives: as you will see in the photograph, we have put it with artichoke, spring onions, asparagus and added a little pickled dragon fruit for interest! It sits in a chilled watercress soup/ sauce. This list of things you can build on with this dish makes it both very versatile and very healthy.

Watercress Mousse

To serve 4 small starter portions you will need:

  • 100g Watercress
  • 50g White Wine Vinegar or White Wine
  • 50g Water
  • 60g Philadelphia Cream Cheese Light
  • 3g Salt
  • ½  Teaspoon Mustard Powder
  • 40g Mayonnaise
  • 2 Softened Leaves of Gelatine or Agar


Wizz the watercress with the white wine and water liquid in your food processor.

Fold in the light cream cheese.

Add the salt and mustard powder and then the mayonnaise.

Soften 2 leaves of gelatine, add them to your mixture.

Leave to set in your round moulds.

Watercress Soup / Sauce

You will need:

  • 1 Shallot
  • 60g Celeriac
  • 100g Watercress
  • ½ Pint Water / White Wine
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Pinch Nutmeg
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Natural Yoghurt


Sweat off the shallot and celeriac in the olive oil and cool.

When soft, blitz with the watercress.

Add a pinch of nutmeg.

Add the liquid and yoghurt.

Correct the seasoning and chill.

This is served cold and is simply delicious with the mousse that sits in the centre of the bowl.

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