Step 1: Sweet Tomato Relish
Place a medium sized saucepan on medium heat. Add the olive oil, chilli flakes, cinnamon stick, star anise and garlic. Stir for a minute or two until the garlic turns golden. At that point, immediately add the red wine, followed closely by the crushed whole peeled tomatoes and sugar. Reduce the heat down to low, and cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the relish is shiny and thickened. Remove, cool and refrigerate until required.
Step 2: Creamy Mascarpone and Blue Cheese Polenta
Place a large saucepan on a high heat. Add the vegetable stock and milk and bring up to a rolling boil. In a fine stream, pour the instant polenta into the boiling liquid and whisk continuously. Turn the heat down to low while you continue to whisk. As the polenta thickens, swap the whisk for a wooden spoon. After 2 minutes, stir in the mascarpone and crumbled blue cheese. Taste and season accordingly.
Step 3: Plating and Serving
Divide the creamy polenta onto warm plates. Top the polenta with a generous spoonful of tomato relish, the crumbled blue cheese and rough chopped walnuts. To finish, drizzle with a little walnut oil. Serve immediately. A slightly bitter green salad would also make a terrific partner to this dish.
Photography by Kieran Scott