Potato surprise

It was the Growers Market at Blackheath this weekend, which has incredible local produce and the best plant nursery ever. Just as well because it is high time we replenished our woody herbs and our depleted veggie patch. I bought herbs of every kind, two kinds of zucchini, carrots, radicchio and most exciting – horseradish! Julie volunteered to turn all the earth in the garden bed which has lain fallow and weedy and neglected for a few weeks. It was in that turning she discovered the surprise veg, the Spuds that Time Forgot. We must have planted these last October or thereabouts, and because nothing seemed to be going on above ground we kind of forgot all about them. So now the patch is ready for planting and we gathered a decent crop of new potatoes. How to honour our unexpected harvest? How to show them the respect they deserve? With what I’ve got in the house at 7pm on a Sunday?

Si, patatas bravas. I think I first had these at almost every Spanish joint on Liverpool Street Sydney, a place I haunted regularly in my youth. When I finally got to Spain, every time my friend Vic and I ordered tapas this was the mandatory dish. When you are travelling you need your carbs.

I’d never made them before but Jamie has, so I sought his advice. He reminds us that the name of the dish means ‘fierce potatoes,’ so you need a good kick of chilli. I had everything but the carrot and the fennel seeds, so I substituted brown sugar and cumin. Worked a treat. To go with it I made another offering from our Jamie – Chorizo and garlic, which has honey in it of all things. On the recipe page you can read my versions. Our dinner looked frumpy, but like so many frumpy dishes it tasted brilliant in front of Rake with a glass of pinot gris.

There is something very pleasurable about finding something you’ve forgotten about. I think that was the secret ingredient.

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