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Serves 4–6 This soup is most delicious when made with a jum­ble of dif­fer­ent potato va­ri­eties — pink fir ap­ple, ni­cola, Dutch cream, de­siree… any and all will do. It also in­cludes lo­vage, which is one of my favourite herbs and is es­pe­cially good with potato. Lo­vage is also known as cel­ery leaf herb, but it has a more sub­tle, pep­pery, curry-leaf-like taste.

1 ta­ble­spoon un­salted but­ter 1 brown onion, peeled, roughly chopped 1 bay leaf 3 large sprigs flflat-leaf pars­ley, leaves and stems roughly chopped 3 sprigs lo­vage, leaves and stems roughly chopped* 1kg mixed pota­toes, scrubbed, halved 100ml pure cream


4 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra vir­gin olive oil 1 ta­ble­spoon un­salted buttt­ter 1 brown onion, peeled, roughly chopped 80g freshly shelled raw hazel­nuts, skins on** 4 gar­lic cloves, peeled 3 large stems flflat-leaf pars­ley, chopped Place but­ter, onion, bay leaf, pars­ley and lo­vage in a medium saucepan and sea­son with a pinch of sea salt. Cook gen­tly, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, over a low heat for 5 min­utes or un­til soft and fra­grant. Add pota­toes and 4 cups wa­ter, and cook for 30–35 min­utes or un­til pota­toes are soft. Re­move from heat. Use a potato masher or fork to gen­tly break up pota­toes into small pieces. Add cream and sea­son to taste. Sim­mer over a low heat for 5–10 min­utes or un­til heated through. Mean­while, to make pesto, place oil, but­ter and onion in a small heavy-based saucepan and sea­son with a gen­er­ous pinch of sea salt. (It will look like more oil than you need, but this is nec­es­sary to gen­tly ‘melt’ the onions. Drain offff any ex­cess oil and save it for later use.) Cook over low­est pos­si­ble heat, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 40 min­utes or un­til onion is golden. (Turn­ing the heat on and offff is a good way to reg­u­late the tem­per­a­ture if your stove does not have a low enough set­ting.) Cool. Place hazel­nuts, gar­lic, pars­ley and a pinch of sea salt in a heavy mor­tar. Add 1–2 ta­ble­spoons of oil from onion mix­ture. Pound with a pes­tle into a coarse paste. Sea­son to taste. La­dle soup among serv­ing bowls. Top with pesto, a ta­ble­spoon of caramelised onion and a driz­zle of onion oil. En­joy! If lo­vage is not avail­able, sub­sti­tute cel­ery leaves or omit it from the recipe. If fresh hazel­nuts are un­avail­able and the skins taste bit­ter, toast gen­tly in the oven and rub the skins offff be­fore us­ing.

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