THE health benefits of watercress have been well extolled over the years, and now this superfood is even believed to be an aphrodisiac.

Chef Keri Astill-Frew who has worked in a variety of fine dining restaurants and gastro-pubs in Dorset, has developed a number of easy recipes to help you incorporate more watercress into your diet. Here’s one to try at home.


Serves 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


20g toasted pine nuts

1 clove garlic

30g watercress (leaves only)

20g vegetarian parmesan

250g cherry vine tomatoes, halved

50g green beans, trimmed

350g gnocchi

50g rocket

Extra virgin olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice

Bring a deep pan of salted water to the boil.

Peel and finely chop the garlic, then add to a bowl along with a pinch of sea salt and mix.

Add the pine nuts to a food processor and pulse once or twice, just enough to break them up but not too finely. Add to the bowl with the garlic.

Finely chop the watercress leaves and stir into the garlic and pine nuts along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Grate in half of the parmesan then mix and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Add the cherry tomatoes to the pesto, crushing with a spoon to release the tomato juices, and mix thoroughly.

Add the green beans to the boiling water for four minutes, then remove from the pan, leaving the water on the heat.

Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the surface. While the gnocchi cooks, chop the green beans into 3cm lengths and add to the pesto and tomatoes.

Drain the gnocchi, reserving about 250ml of the cooking water in a separate jug. Tip the pesto mix and gnocchi back into the warm pan and place over a low heat, stirring and adding a bit of cooking water at a time until everything is heated through and fully mixed. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

In a clean bowl, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the rocket and toss to cover.

To serve, divide the gnocchi between two plates, then scatter over the rocket and grate the remaining parmesan on top. Finish with some freshly ground black pepper.

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