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06 Jul 2017

Recipe from the Veg Patch

BBC Gardeners' World Live
Recipe from the Veg Patch

James Martin's Pea & watercress soup with croutons

James Martin

July is a pea-lovers dream as plants literally drip with pods, and replenish almost as fast as you can pick them. To celebrate the humble pea, try this fantastic recipe from James Martin.

James is a regular at the BBC Good Food Shows, and was a sell out at the Show back in June where he cooked this recipe live on stage. You can also find this recipe in your souvenir Showguide.

As well as succulent peas, this recipe will also use up tasty shallots, garlic and parsley from your veg patch.

Pea Show Perfection Robinsons & Sons in the Floral Marquee 2017

Tips from the veg patch: The editors at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine have shared some top tips for growing your own

  • Peas sown directly in the soil can be eaten by slugs, snails and mice. For better results, raise them indoors in individual pots 8cm (3in) deep or root trainers.
  • Once the plants are around 15cm (6in) tall, plant them outside. Push twiggy sticks pruned from shrubs or trees in the soil to support them.
  • Encourage the plants to grow up the supports by gently twining them around the sticks. You may even need to gently tie them to the supports initially so they don't flop over.
  • And don’t forget to water them – for best results, peas like their soil to be nice and moist.

Pea & watercress soup with croutons

James Martin Recipe


  • 400g fresh watercress
  • 100g flat leaf parsley
  • 45g butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 400g peas 
  • 100ml double cream

To garnish

  • Croutons
  • Sour cream


  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the watercress and the parsley by plunging it into the boiling water and removing it straight away. Drain in a colander to remove any excess water.
  2. Melt 20g of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 5 mins until soft but not coloured. Add the stock and bring to the boil. 
  3. Add the peas and cook for 2 mins until the peas are just tender and bright green. Add the cream then remove from the heat. Add the blanched parsley and watercress and blend with a stick blender. 
  4. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add the remaining 25g butter. Ladle the soup into warm serving bowls and garnish with croutons and sour cream. 
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