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Watercress terrine

Watercress terrine is one of Victor Gordon’s examples from The English Cookbook of a traditional concept transformed into a lightened ‘new English’ dish, something inventive as well as recognizably British. It relies on cullis, a brothy sauce widely employed by British cooks at least as early as the seventeenth century. The cullis for this recipe is itself one of Gordon’s innovations, for while watercress is a quintessentially English ingredient it was not one commonly used for such a sauce. You will need four ramekins to hold four starters.

watercress-old-image.pngFor the cullis:

  • 2 bunches watercress trimmed of thick stalks and yellow leaves
  • about 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the terrine:

  • the cullis
  • butter to smear each ramekin
  • 2½ Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon cream cheese


  1. Make the cullis by simmering the watercress in the stock until tender but not insipid for no more than 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the watercress and reserve the liquor, then use a little of it to puree the greens in a food processor or blender
  3. Smear the puree into a small saucepan over low heat along with the cream, butter and lemon juice.
  4. Simmer the cullis until it thickens, stirring constantly.

Preheat the oven to 350˚.

  1. Smear the ramekins with butter, mix the other ingredients together and drop an equal portion into each ramekin.
  2. Cover the ramekins with parchment or silicone paper or foil, place them in a bain marie and bake them for a scant 20 minutes.
  3. Leave the terrines to cool before popping them out of the ramekins onto separate plates.



-The terrines are pretty, even festive looking; the lemon juice helps set the verdant color.

-Gordon considers the cream cheese option but it does help bind the terrines.