brunch

Lazy weekends are the ideal time to make the perfect brunch.  

So, if you’re looking for a recipe for a leisurely repast, and one which is nutritious and delicious too, these three new watercress recipes are certain to appeal.

Halloumi and Watercress Brunch Salad; Baked Egg Avocado Watercress Boats; and Chorizo, Cheese and Watercress Toastie are easy to prepare, quick to cook and are bursting with flavour. Using watercress, grown in flowing spring water in beds from around Hampshire and Dorset, the recipes are nutritious as well as delicious.  The peppery leaf contains over 50 essential vitamins and minerals and gram for gram more calcium than milk, more folate than banana, more vitamin c than oranges and more vitamin e than broccoli – it’s the original superfood.

But what makes watercress especially good for brunch is that its packed full of antioxidants, ideal to mop up the free radicles produced as a result of the night before!  It’s also high in fibre, iron and vitamin C without which the body cannot effectively absorb plant sourced iron.  Everything you need to start the day well, which after all, is what brunch is all about, often after an excessive night before!

So, whether you’re brunching with friends, enjoying a romantic brunch with your partner, getting together with the family, or treating yourself to some ‘me’ time, brunch is a time to pause for breath after a frantic week.  Simply take time to enjoy the flavours of these recipes and discover that brunch time is the best time!

Halloumi and Watercress Brunch Salad (vegetarian)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 x 85g bags watercress
  • 1 block halloumi, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 large avocado, halved and sliced
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 50ml distilled malt vinegar (malt vinegar and white wine vinegar could also be used)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mixed seeds, i.e. pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, pine nuts

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ᵒC.  Halve the tomatoes and place onto an oven tray.  Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.  Place into the oven and roast for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  2. Place a large pan of water on a high heat and add in the vinegar.  Bring to the boil.  While the water boils prepare your other ingredients.
  3. Place a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add in a splash of oil.  Once the oil is hot throw in the halloumi and pan-fry, moving occasionally so that the cubes are golden on all sides.
  4. Crack the eggs into mugs or ramekins, then reduce the boiling water to a simmer and gently tip in the eggs.  Cook for 3 minutes 30 seconds, then remove from the water with a slatted spoon and allow to drain on kitchen towel.
  5. Toast the sourdough, then place a slice on the side of each of four plates.  Place half a bag of watercress onto each plate, then arrange the tomatoes, avocado and halloumi on top.  Top with a perfectly poached egg, then scatter over with mixed seeds and nuts and serve!

Baked Egg Avocado & Watercress Boats      

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 x fairly ripe large avocados, halved and stone removed
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 x 85g bags watercress
  • 4 slices smoked streaky bacon, cooked until crisp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch red chilli flakes (optional)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220ᵒC.  Use a spoon to scoop out a little flesh from each avocado, in order to ensure that the eggs will fit inside the cavity.
  2. Place the avocado halves in a baking dish, ensuring that they cannot tip and allow egg to trickle out of the sides when cooking.  Crack the eggs into a bowl.  Use a spoon to transfer one yolk into each of the avocados.
  3. Take a small handful of watercress and roughly chop.  Use a fork to lightly whisk the chopped watercress and egg whites together along with a pinch of salt.  Tip the egg white and watercress mixture carefully into the avocadoes, fitting in as much as you can without it spilling over the edge.
  4. Sprinkle over a little black pepper and a little more salt as well as some chilli flakes if using.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the eggs are done to your liking.  We like ours with the whites nicely set and the yolks still runny.
  5. Remove the avocados from the oven and top with bits of crispy bacon.  Serve immediately alongside the remaining watercress.

Chorizo, Cheese and Watercress Toastie

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 x 85g bag watercress

8 slices sourdough bread, not too thick

3 tbsp salted butter, softened

200g gruyére, sliced

200g sharp Cheddar, sliced

200g cooking chorizo

½ a red onion, finely sliced

Olive oil

Method

Thickly slice the chorizo at an angle.  Place a large frying pan over a high heat and add in a small splash of olive oil.  Pan-fry the chorizo, turning frequently with tongs to prevent burning.  After frying for a few minutes remove from the heat and drain the chorizo slices on kitchen paper. 

Take your slices of bread and butter on one side.  The buttered side must remain on the outside when you build your sandwiches, this will create a lovely crunchy crust. 

Fill your sandwiches with the chorizo, cheese slices, red onion, and watercress, splitting the ingredients evenly between the four sandwiches. 

Place a clean, dry frying pan on a medium heat.  Place your sandwiches carefully into the pan and cook for around four minutes on each side, using a spatula to press down and ensure the cheese melts.  Manage the heat carefully so that the outside doesn’t burn.

Remove the sandwiches from the pan and serve immediately with some more watercress on the side.

So, take a well-deserved break and enjoy a leisurely brunch full of nutritious watercress.