And yet another post that was supposed to be two sentences long. The recipe is at the very end. Sorry! Here we go:
All of my closest friends but three are either British or American. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s their incredible sense of humour. Maybe it’s the fact that they are more open and positive in general. I don’t really know…
As you may know, the South West part of France, where I live, is very sunny most of the time. We have some light frost and a bit of rain for a few weeks in the Winter, but that’s about it really. This delightful climate, as well as the variety of landscapes (ocean, mountains, typical – almost cliché – French countryside) have attracted a lot of Brits. They buy and renovate beautiful farm houses and châteaux, that otherwise would have ended up in ruins, and retire here. Most welcome immigrants I tell you!
My friend Peter comes from Yorkshire. He is 76 and quite an incredible craftsman. I got to know him through my other good friend Jamie and our common love for vintage cars. Saying that Peter is a craftsman doesn’t really do his talent justice. What he is really, is an artist. He was trained by his dad to be a coach builder and made it his trade. I am fascinated by his hands. No fetish there, I promise!
Peter has built and rebuilt many vintage Rolls Royces and Bentleys over the years, including one Edward VIII drove. My friends the Howes, have a house on the side of Windsor Castle’s driveway. I’m telling you: I am destined to have tea with the Queen. It’s just a matter of time. Six degrees of separation and all that…
Peter just started working on his very own vintage Bentley. All he has right now is a chassis, 4 wheels and the engine. I will document the whole process and post the photos on my car website. Peter’s shop is filled with Riley’s and Salmsons and Bentleys and all he plays in there is prewar music. Walking in there is like turning back time…
It makes me really sad that when Peter is gone (many many years from now I hope), his knowledge will go with him. He’s had several apprentices over the years, but none of them either had the talent or the patience to stick with it. I myself would have loved to learn his trade, but I’m too old now… And it’s not just him. I’m thinking of all the gilders and the sword makers an the horse whisperers (why not?)… And what about the traditional recipes lost just because we never took the time to cook with grandma?! Quite tragic if you think about it…
Let’s stay positive though. What we can do is remain curious about life and make sure our children are too. Keep meeting and spending time with passionate artists like Peter. Pick their brain. We can encourage our kids to become tradesmen and women. There are enough ego driven, conformist, left brain bores in this world. Don’t you think?
Now, since most of you couldn’t care less about my passion for cars, I thought I’d quickly share a recipe with you. And since I’ve been writing about my deep affection for the UK and its people, I’ll go ahead and give you my recipe for lamb with blue cheese. It’s a really hard one. Ready? Here we go:
- Sear some lamb chops in a pan (do make sure they remain pink in the middle. If people want well done lamb, do us all a favor and send them to MacDonalds where they belong!) – Just kidding though. I kind of like MacDonalds. That’s where I hide when I’m depressed. They have WIFI and ice cream. That’s really all I care about…)
- Spread blue cheese or Roquefort on them
- Serve hot with pasta
Haha. I told you it’d be a hard one.
Seriously though, try it. Truly one of my favorites. You can also mix the blue cheese with heavy cream. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve as a dip with your lamb chops. Perfect finger food. I’ve seen grown men cry eating this stuff!