Recipe courtesy of Watercress.
Afternoon Tea Recipes: Spoil Your Mum On Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day (31 March) is the annual opportunity to really treat that special lady and show her how much you care.
The Watercress Company has worked with development chef, Keri Astill Frew to conjure up something a little bit out of the ordinary so you can splash out on a tea party with a twist.
From sandwiches or scones to cake or brownies and even a celebratory cocktail featuring watercress to wash it all down, it will be a Mother’s Day she’ll remember!
Afternoon Tea Recipes: Spoil Your Mum On Mother’s Day.
Watercress grows in the flowing spring waters of Hampshire and Dorset, thirstily drinking in the health-giving vitamins and minerals the water provides.
All in all, watercress is one of the healthiest plants known to man and has been revered since ancient times.
Today we know it contains over 50 vital vitamins and minerals and gram for gram even contains more calcium than milk, more folate than banana, more vitamin C than oranges and more vitamin E than broccoli.
Watercress has been scientifically proven to help prevent cancer, reduce the DNA damage caused by exercise and yet still more is being discovered about this wonder leaf with other scientific work currently underway.
What other salad leaf can claim all that and have a special celebratory day to mark the beginning of its UK season?
Come and join in the fun at the annual Alresford Watercress Festival on Sunday 19 May – if these tea party recipes appeal, there are plenty more to enjoy at the Festival and why not take part in the World Watercress Eating Championships while you’re about it!
Perfect Egg Mayonnaise And Watercress Sandwiches:
What better way to start the proceedings than with a classic egg mayonnaise sandwich given added piquancy by fresh peppery watercress? More tea vicar!
Perfect Egg Mayonnaise And Watercress Sandwiches.
- 4 eggs
- Good handful watercress, roughly chopped
- Salt and white pepper
- 2 tbsp soft salted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 50-100ml rapeseed oil
- Salt to taste
- Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 6.5 minutes. Drain and run cold water over the eggs until they have completely cooled.
- Next make your mayonnaise. Put the egg yolk in the bowl of a food processor and pulse. Add in the mustard and white wine vinegar along with a pinch of salt then blend together. Next begin adding oil a few drops at a time, keeping the processor running the whole time and making sure each bit of oil is fully incorporated before adding the next. As you blend in more oil and the mayo starts to thicken, you can start adding it in very slightly larger quantities until you are steadily adding it in a thin stream. Keep adding oil until the desired consistency is reached (thick and holds its shape fairly well), although you must be careful not to add too much oil or the mayonnaise will split. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Peel the eggs, and mash them with a fork. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the mayo, then season to taste with salt and white pepper.
- Butter your slices of bread then spread thickly with the egg mixture before topping with plenty of chopped watercress. Add on the top slice of bread before cutting each sandwich into four neat triangles. You can remove the crusts or not as you prefer!
Rare Roast Beef, Wasabi And Watercress Bagels:
For the carnivores try this modern twist on the original sandwich eaten by the Earl of Sandwich back in 1762 who is said to have first put some beef and watercress between two slices of bread so he could eat without interrupting his card game!
This more sophisticated version with bagels is a perfect teatime treat.
Rare Roast Beef, Wasabi And Watercress Bagels
- 2 bagels, cut in half and lightly toasted
- 4 tbsp wasabi mayonnaise
- 200g rare roast beef (cooked to taste), thinly sliced
- Good handful watercress
- Spread the toasted bagels wasabi mayo. Layer on the slices of beef before topping generously with watercress.
- To serve, cut each bagel into quarters and arrange on a serving plate.
Watercress And Cheese Scones: Afternoon Tea:
A tangy alternative to the traditional sweet scone served with cream. These watercress And cheese scones are delicious with butter or perhaps topped with a cream cheese.
Watercress And Cheese Scones
- 100g watercress
- 225g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp mustard powder (optional)
- A pinch of salt
- 50g butter, cubed
- 75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
- 200ml buttermilk plus a little for brushing the tops
- A pinch or two of cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 220oC/Fan 200oC/ Gas Mark 7. Reserve a few small sprigs of watercress to decorate the tops. Finely chop the remainder.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and mustard into a large bowl. Add the salt, butter, then use your fingertips to rub it into the dry ingredients. Stir in the chopped watercress and two thirds of the cheese, mix well.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the buttermilk and mix together with a round bladed knife to form a soft dough.
- Very lightly knead on a floured surface, then use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough to a thickness of 2.5cm. Use a 6cm plain round cutter to press out circles of the dough, re-rolling lightly, as necessary. The mixture should make 9 scones.
- Place the scones on an oiled large baking sheet. Brush each with a little buttermilk (or milk), top with a sprig of watercress, then scatter over the remaining cheese. Dust with a little pinch of cayenne if liked, then bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 mins or until golden on the top. Leave to cool on the baking tray for 5 mins before serving warm.
Chocolate, Orange & Watercress Brownies with Chocolate Ganache Topping:
Chocolate, orange and watercress may not seem the most obvious combination but by golly, it works!
The sharp pepper of the watercress contrasts deliciously with the citrus flavours and bitterness of the chocolate to make a truly mouth-watering treat.
Chocolate, Orange & Watercress Brownies with Chocolate Ganache Topping
- 300g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 200g unsalted butter
- Zest of one orange
- 350g caster sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 100g plain flour, sieved
- 50g cocoa powder, sieved
- 50g watercress, finely chopped
- 250g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
- 250ml double cream
- 1 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a square brownie tin with greaseproof paper. Place 200g of the chocolate, all of the butter, and the orange zest in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave, using full power for 30 seconds at a time then stirring and repeating. Be careful that the chocolate does not get too hot otherwise it will burn.
- Use an electric whisk, or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, to beat together the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Leave the chocolate mixture to cool for at least five minutes before stirring into the egg mix, then mix in the flour and cocoa. Stir in the remaining 100g of chopped chocolate, as well as the chopped watercress, then pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, using a skewer or knife to test if the brownies are cooked. Once the skewer comes out clean, remove the brownies from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- To make the ganache topping, gently bring the double cream to the boil in a saucepan. Keep an eye on the cream as it will easily boil over once it starts to simmer. Remove from the heat, then stir in the chopped chocolate, continuing to stir until melted and mixed thoroughly. Finally stir in the Cointreau if using.
- Allow the ganache to cool slightly (but not too much or it will harden), then pour over the brownies while they are still in the tin. Smooth the topping out using a pallet knife or spatula, then leave for 30 minutes for ganache to cool and harden before cutting into squares.
- The brownies can be kept for 3-5 days in an airtight tin or frozen for up to three months.
Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting (vegan and gluten free):
The classic smooth cream cheese filling of carrot cake is given a kick with the addition of watercress.
It complements the sweetness of the carrot cake and nutty texture of the nuts. It could be one for the Mad Hatter but don’t tell your mother that!
Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting (vegan and gluten free)
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- 80ml rapeseed oil plus a little extra to grease cake tins
- 60ml golden syrup
- 235g apple sauce (preferably unsweetened)
- 200ml non-dairy milk (we used soy milk)
- 100g dark brown soft sugar
- 50g caster sugar
- 160g grated carrot
- Pinch of salt
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 170g ground almonds
- 150g gluten free flour (we used Dove’s)
- 30g chopped walnuts
- 30g raisins
- 100g vegan butter (we used Naturli, a hard block which is better for this than a spreadable tub)
- 1 tub vegan cream cheese
- 500g icing sugar, sieved
- 30g watercress, finely chopped
- Edible flowers such as violas and primulas
- Chopped nuts
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Prepare three 15cm loose based cake tins by brushing the insides with rapeseed oil and placing a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the baking soda and vinegar, then add in the rapeseed oil, apple sauce, oat milk, sugars and golden syrup. Mix together. Add in the grated carrot and stir thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl sieve together the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ground almonds and gluten free flour. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, ensuring they are fully incorporated, then add in the chopped walnuts and raisins and stir through.
- Divide the mix equally between the three cake tins. Bake for 40 minutes before inserting a skewer or knife into the centre of each cake. If the skewer comes out clean then the cakes are baked, otherwise return to the oven and check again after five more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing carefully from cake tins. Once removed allow the cakes to cool completely before icing.
- To make the icing, take the cream cheese out of the fridge one hour before using so that it is slightly softer and ensure your vegan butter is soft too. Use an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment to beat the butter until smooth. Then add in the cream cheese and beat on a low speed until fully combined. You may need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides before beating again to ensure everything is fully mixed. Be careful not to beat on too high a speed as the mixture may split. Add in the icing sugar then beat on a medium speed until combined fully before stirring through the chopped watercress.
- Once your cakes are cooled completely, use the icing to cover each layer before stacking, finishing with a thick layer of icing on top. Add fresh edible flowers and/or chopped nuts to decorate.
Gin, Watercress And Pink Grapefruit Cocktail:
Of course, it may be that tea is preferred on an occasion such as this, but on the other hand, continue the adventure with this exotic watercress infused cocktail to wash everything down.
Gin, Watercress And Pink Grapefruit Cocktail
- 50ml gin
- 20g watercress, roughly chopped
- 50ml pink grapefruit juice
- 250ml tonic water To serve (optional)
- Watercress sprigs
- Edible petals
- Pomegranate seeds
- Pink grapefruit slices
- To make decorative ice cubes for your cocktails, place a few watercress sprigs, petals or pomegranate seeds into the sections of an ice cube tray. Fill with water and leave to freeze solid for at least one hour.
- Muddle together the gin and watercress by putting them both into a jug and mashing well with a fork. Strain the gin through a fine meshed sieve to remove the chopped watercress while still leaving the flavour. Add the grapefruit juice to the gin and mix.
- Take two gin and tonic glasses or large tumblers and fill with ice cubes. Pour over the gin and grapefruit, then top up to the desired level with tonic water. Garnish with a slice of pink grapefruit and serve immediately.
What do you think about these Afternoon Tea Recipes: Spoil Your Mum On Mother’s Day? Fancy making any?
These recipes were created by Keri Astill-Frew who splits her time between being a development chef for The Watercress Company and building her own vegetarian and vegan catering business, V Dorset.
Keri has worked in top restaurants across the UK including a Michelin star hotel in Lancashire and a variety of fine dining restaurants and gastro-pubs in Dorset and Sussex.
She is passionate about watercress, both as an ingredient and for its fantastic health benefits and is devoted to developing new and delicious ways for you to incorporate more of it into your diet.
For more information and many more recipes please visit:
Recipe Photography credits Lara Jane Thorpe.
Some More Posts That Might Be Of Interest:
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- BerryWorld Strawberry Mousse: Afternoon Tea Treat
- Afternoon Tea Recipes: Spoil Your Mum On Mother’s Day
- Gin, Watercress And Pink Grapefruit Cocktail
- Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting (vegan and gluten free)
- Chocolate, Orange & Watercress Brownies
- Watercress And Cheese Scones: Afternoon Tea
- Rare Roast Beef, Wasabi And Watercress Bagels
- Perfect Egg Mayonnaise And Watercress Sandwiches
- Top 5 Dinner Party Dishes for Easter
Afternoon Tea Recipes: Spoil Your Mum On Mother’s Day.