An old favourite dressed up with buffalo cheese

Posted on: 6th March, 2014

Category: A Flavour of West Cork

Contributor: Karen Austin www.lettercollumkitchen project.wordpr.

We arrived home from our holiday to find the place rearranged by the wild weather and we were surprised to find how much had moved. The beach was reorganised, 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 with this dish is with 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.

The cooking classes are in full swing and there are still places in the following courses: Fish cooking Saturday, March 22  – 1 place only; Gluten Free cooking Saturday, April 5; Italian Saturday, April 12; Bread-baking, Saturday, April 26; Vegetarian Cooking Saturday, May 10; Low Gi Cooking Saturday,  May 17.

Please pop into the shop or contact us if you are interested.



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