La Lentille de Cilaos

La Lentille de Cilaos

Finalising my menu for this Saturday’s pop-up, I thought I’ll take you to Cilaos, one of my favourite places when I visit Reunion Island.


Cilaos is one of the three volcanic calderas that make Reunion that is overlooked by the highest point of the island with the Piton des Neiges.

Cilaos is well known for its near impregnable valley walls and impressive views. If you like walking this could be your paradise. It is also famous for growing one of the tiniest and most delicious lentils in the world, called la “Lentille de Cilaos”, it is a variety that only grows in those mountains. It is also one of the most expensive ones.

 

 

The lentil is grown on the slopes and steep sides of the cliffs of the mountains, just looking at the fields makes you dizzy.
The fertile and volcanic soils on which they are grown, give the lentil a very distinctive, earthy taste.
They are hand picked and hand shelled.

 

 

 

 

They are cooked very simply with garlic, onions, thyme and turmeric and usually served with the traditional cari. If you happen to visit the island, the best way to buy them is at the farmer’s market or direct from the producer.

 

 

 

 

The Bedingfeld arms

The Bedingfeld Arms: a good find

On a visit to Oxburgh Hall, a beautiful moat house in the stoning Norfolk countryside, my husband, my two daughters and I decided to try the local pub, the Bedingfeld Arms, which happened to be a 5 minutes walk from the hall. What a find!

 

The Bedingfeld Arms was built in 1783 as the coaching inn for the Bedingfeld family, still living at Oxburgh Hall. The Inn was taken over by Stephen and Catkin Parker in Early 2012 who took great pleasure in energetically refurbishing and transforming the building whilst maintaining respect for its history and natural charm.

 

 

As we came in, we were welcome by the smell of the wood burning in the fireplace, for me this is always the sign of a good and cosy pub. They had a good selection of well kept ales, Woodfords Wherry, Adnams Southwold Bitter just to name a few. We were lucky to have a table, as the pub was already packed when we came in. The members of staff were very welcoming and very efficient.

 

 

We all went for the Combo roast dinner, beef and pork with the crackling, served with Yorkshire puddings, sweet potato and carrot mash, parsnips and roast potatoes and a lovely silky gravy with a hint of tomato inside.

 

 

 

The desserts did not disappoint either, and dare I say, I am fussy about that part of the meal. Passion fruit tart and chocolate crême brulée.

We had a great meal… and a great time at Oxburgh Hall… so really worth a visit, especially with kids…

 

 

So if you’re running out of ideas of places to go this half term, I recommend a visit to Bedingfeld arms for lunch and Oxburgh Hall. At Oxburgh, there is a lovely wood for the kids to run around, plenty of activities and exceptionally for half term you also get a chance to visit the manor with an impregnable view from the top of one of their towers.