Spicy Lentils

When we arrived home from our holiday and found the place rearranged by the wild weather we were surprised to find how much had moved. The beach was re-organised as was the view with several trees missing and the tunnels in our garden were no more. We opened the garden gate and saw sad looking skeletons with plastic flapping in the wind. It was quite a comeback and the sunny memories went into shock.

I have to say that I’m now enjoying the new view and we do have lots of firewood. The tunnels will be fantastic when they are re-covered as new plastic lets in lots of light and we will also be able see out of them. We’re just waiting for a clear calm day so that we can get cracking. This means that the garden is going to be late kicking off this year but considering the dire weather it probably won’t set us back too much. I have plugged in the propagator and all going well we should have seeds germinating within a couple of weeks.

Here is an easy warming recipe for lentils

It’s a recipe we’ve been making for years and it originated in the Quaglino cook book.

I recently discovered that I don’t follow the recipe at all. I have my own madey up version. It was only when I watched Con make it for dinner one night that I realised. I thought he had some fancy pants angle on it when in fact he was following the recipe. It doesn’t seem to make much difference though as both versions are equally delicious.

Here’s my method

300g puy lentils

50g butter or 50mls oil

2-3 red onions, peeled and chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

3cm ginger, peeled and chopped

2 red chillies, chopped

1 tsp turmeric

4 cardamoms

2 star anise

3-4 tomatoes, chopped

600mls vegetable stock

1-2 tbs fish sauce

100mls cream

a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Heat a saucepan, add the oil or butter and the onions. Cook on a medium heat stirring from time to time until the onions begin to melt down a little.

Add the chillies, garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes then stir in the cardamoms, star anise and turmeric.


Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan. Keep cooking until the tomatoes begin to break down then add the lentils and stock. Bring to the boil and then cover with a lid and simmer for about forty minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Season with the fish sauce and then stir in the cream .

Our current favourite for eating this dish is the Toonsbridge Haulomi cheese, which we grill and pile on top.


To do this simply cut the haulomi into slices, season with black pepper and a few drops of olive oil and put on a grill pan or under the grill. Be stingy with the olive oil, you don’t need much.

About lettercollumkitchenproject

A cook that gardens. Sun addict. Not a good addiction in West Cork hence the travel addiction. Add in a splotch of kitchen snooping while away, a big walled organic garden while home and a kitchen full of a bit of everything. Runs an organic bakery/delicatessen/food shop with her husband using food from the garden and the years of accumulated kitchen snooping. Check out the shop and garden at www.lettercollum.ie View all posts by lettercollumkitchenproject

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