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Patatas Arequipo

Lots of Suffolk gardens have walnut trees, allegedly for warding off witches (I reckon it works, because we certainly haven’t been troubled by witches at all). We also discovered some time ago that the cavities in our lathe and plaster walls were stuffed full with walnut shells, presumably for insulation – could this be why they are called walnuts? For many years we had the mother of all walnut trees in our back garden, but sadly it was blown down in the gales of ’87. Luckily there were ‘son of’ seedlings that had taken root naturally so we can now boast two fine, flourishing and prolific offspring who provide us with more than enough nuts to see through the winter and beyond. This recipe – basically for a walnut sauce – has its origins in Peru, which of course is where the potato came from and where there is a host of exotic potato dishes. In Arequipo they simply use boiled potatoes for this, but we had the idea of using McCains oven-ready wedges and I have to tell you it was a marriage made in heaven!

 
 

Method

To make the sauce, start off by grinding the walnuts with a pestle and mortar till they resemble a dry paste, then transfer them to the goblet of a liquidiser. Now halve the pickled chillies and scrape out the seeds, then add these to the liquidiser along with the shallot, garlic, cottage cheese, groundnut oil, milk, cayenne and a good seasoning of salt.

Whizz them all together until you have a smooth sauce, then transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the wine vinegar. Taste to check the seasoning, then prepare the rest of the dish.

Roast the wedges in the pre-heated oven for 18 minutes, then arrange them in the base of a serving dish. Halve the eggs and place them over the wedges, cut side up, and arrange the pepper strips over the eggs. Place an olive on top of each one and drizzle some of the sauce over the whole lot. Serve the rest of the sauce in a bowl to pass round.

 

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