Beluga lentils Warm Salad

Beluga Lentils Warm Salad

I live in a very interesting place, far enough from my Breton homeland full of Menhirs (standing stones) and Tumulus (cairns), another 800 kms apart. Humbling and interesting thought one might say; descendant of Neolithic tribes, this Breton found himself a comforting home among other far fetched cousins. I guess a lot can happen in 5000 years, but still, it sometimes makes me smile when I contemplate the irony. Not far from where I am writing these words, and in full view – if I was to stand on the roof of my 100 years old cottage that is – proud and time defying are the hills of Loughcrew, better known as “Sliabh na Cailleach” or “Slieve na Caillaigh”, the Hill of the Witch… Full of legends, Loch Craobh named after a hidden lake snugged somewhere in its footstep; the home of St Oliver the martyr, so much blood spilled on a land wrongly taken and yet [ also wrongly] given by Cromwell to some of his Lieutenant… Funny word “Lieutenant”; meaning in French “the keeper of a place” or something like that. But let’s not dwell about this head case. Folks around here call the area “The Stones”, in a walking distance of the house – if you are brave enough- a passage grave, gateway from one world to another; the inside chamber gets illuminated by the sun twice a year, during the autumnal and spring equinoxes, revealing amazing petroglyphs of sun cycles  … Like I said, a magical place, a portal to the “Hereafter”…

Petroglyphs inside the passage grave

I love walking on the hill this time of year; January treats us with some generous falls of snow, almost always, a bit like the legend of the witch who is said to have sprinkled the stones from her apron…

Choice 6
Main Cairn of “Loughcrew”

It’s rolling hills…

Loughcrew Snow
Hills of Loughcrew, Oldcastle, Co. Meath

I met a couple there one day, trying to visit the chamber. They were from San Diego, California; wrongly dressed for the occasion, but full of fun. Since I had better gear on, I opened the way for them… Entering the cairn that was literally like this…

entrance cairn blocked
Entrance to the “passage grave”

With a bit of determination we sheltered inside…

Cairn cleared passage 1
A cleared passage

But I am drifting here, like the snow that sometimes come down on this land. Excuse the pun, I just couldn’t resist! Like I said earlier, I love this time of year to roam the hills. But winter hiking can make one hungry. I wanted to dedicate the following dish to this place, the town and folks of Oldcastle who have been so good to me for over a decade now; a country not far away from mine really, full of stubborn people with big hearts, five thousand years in the making, no wonder I feel like home here, knowing that I am surrounded by Neolithic cousins, pagans talking and reading the land the same way I was taught to… “Why Oldcastle?” people sometimes say to me. I just reply: ” Well, you have to live somewhere, don’t you?”

The land by Oldcastle, County Meath

You’ll Need:

  • 150 g of Beluga lentils ( organic)
  • 1 red onion ( organic)
  • 2 cloves of garlic ( organic)
  • 1 blood orange ( segmented) organic
  • 100 g of good Greek feta
  • 1/4 of a savoy cabbage ( organic)
  • 3 tbsp of Olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 the juice of a blood orange
Beluga lentils

Beluga lentils are called as such because they might remind you of caviar… I have tried both, and I will go for the lentils anytime, I mean c’mon! And a lot cheaper too! A new thing for me, I found them in health food shop last week, and I wanted to do something cool…

Beluga Lentils

How To?

Wash the lentils in cold water and drain. Start frying them gently in olive oil, with a finely chopped red onion and the three cloves of garlic. Do no salt as it might make the lentils a bit bitter. Once the alium has sweated, cover with water and let it reduce for 30 minutes on a low heat…

Now, while you do that, chop a 1/4 or a third of a savoy cabbage; cut it really fine and “blanche” it in salted boiling water for just a minute. Drain and cool straight away after…

Savoy cabbage, ready for the chop…

Ready to serve? Re-heat the lentils, and turn off the heat when off. Throw in the cubes of feta, cabbage and a few segments of a blood orange… Add 3 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the juice of 1/2 a blood orange… The tint on them is the same you get from blueberries, or dark fruits… It’s called anthocyanin pigments and food containing them is super good for you…

Blood Orange

I would recommend to serve this dish warm rather than cold but not too hot. Either way, I think it will warm up your heart and soul…

Final take

Keep Well and eat happy

Slán tamall









6 thoughts on “Beluga lentils Warm Salad

  1. Beautifully written Franck. I wish I could get as comprehensive a post together. The feelings of just how the weather is and what our landscape is like in the changing weather is conveyed beautifully. Lovely salad too!

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