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!
57 Comments Add yours
Superb photo-story once again. And the lamb chops are definitely on the list for the coming weekend! 🙂
I think you are quite mistaken that your readers on this blog don’t care for the auto-related photos. As said before Stéphane, your photography is absolutely stunning. And so are the chops. Drool.
Ha ha, thank you my friend. It seems you are right. Where there is a foodie there seems to be a petrol head not too far behind. People who love life you know… Our kind of people my dear friend 😉
Lamb, blue cheese and a good glass of wine. Sounds perfect. And the Rolls can call to take me home.
You are so funny Dorothy! 😉
Lovely post. I feel the same about the craftsmanship of the older generation. My dad is a butcher. It is one of those jobs that not a lot of people want to do. My dad can filet a fish in no time flat. Fortunately for me and my brother, he taught us how to do the same. Knowing how to butcher is a lot different than just knowing how to carve a roast!
We have several incredible butchers in my town. Sadly, few young people want to take the trade. Too much work… They are stupid as Butchers, Bakers and Fishmongers get quite wealthy in France…
Lovely photos throughout your post!
Another beautiful post. We have an old guy in town who fixes appliances – ice makers, refrigerators, dryers – and I wonder what 50,000 people will do when he dies. He smokes like a chimney – I have to air out the house after he’s here – and has already dealt with cancer, so who know when it will happen. Not an artisan, but he knows his stuff nonetheless. No one wants to work for him. Of course, he could be a stingy bastard, I don’t know. But I really don’t know who I’ll call when he does die. Your lamb photo is incredible. and the cat photo.
Did I mention Sandra is coming to visit for the food and wine, while I am now coming to visit for the food wine and THE CARS
Given have a chance I reckon you very easily add Australians in that list of friends… we intend working on it shortly.
Did I mention Sandra is coming to visit for the food and wine, while I am now coming to visit for the food wine and THE CARS
Given half a chance, I reckon you might very easily add Australians to that list of friends… we intend working on it shortly.
I wrote that post a little too fast. I actually have quite a few fantastic Australian friends. I met them as guests or when I was working in the hotel industry. They’re always very much fun to be around and all of them are incredible foodies 😉 When you come, we’ll try to go to a vintage car rallye. They are great around here! 🙂
My first car was a 1934 Plymouth (think Al Capone, sweeping guards, big headlights etc, was. Total worn out car but got it running and had so much fun with friends. Would love to see Peter’s workshop with you, I would even give up wine drinking to see him and his workshop.
Sandra meanwhile will seek out the wine and food.
You can tell we are setting to come over and visit.
I hope you will! Wow! 34 Plymouth? That’s what I call class! I hate that all modern cars look the same… 😉
I love lamb, Aussie lamb is fantastic. I love blue cheese too but I’ve never eaten them together. Will have to address that gap in my culinary repertoire! I’ll leave it to the other half to drool over the Bentleys, but I’m with you all the way about preserving the skills of the artisan. Much too valuable to lose!! Your Jordy friend looks a treasure!
Oh I am well aware of the amazing quality of the lamb in both Australia and NZ. We can find New Zealand lamb here and it is always fantastic 😉 I’ll have to look for Australian lamb in the future…
You are welcome to cook a lamb for me!
hum….smells good already.
You are the best.
Je te ferai ça un jour. C’est un peu la folie en ce moment, mais je t’appelle dès que je peux pour qu’on aille essayer le Vietnamien de St Emilion ensemble… Bises!!
Hey – you have a new look! Nice! And I love anything you write about – you make me want to eat a lamb chop NOW! I adore blue cheese – and pasta! And my favorite photo is the close up of Peter’s hands. These hands (and this photo) tell a WHOLE story! Thanks Stephane!
So glad you like the new look of the blog. I know you have great taste, so… Yes, that photo of his hands is one of my favorites too. Wrinkles are my favorite feature in anybody’s face or hands. They do tell a story 🙂
The entire post is delicious! I adore lamb chops and so simple!
You know me. simple is always best in my book… 😉
That’s a beautiful looking Bentley and the lamb looks scrumptious. 🙂
Can´t wait for the post about your teatime with the Queen!
The lamb & cheese sounds great, will try that!
Ha ha! I love that woman ☺️
Love the lamb recipe, I am also putting blue cheese on my shopping list, and those cars….great!
I think you’ll enjoy it Joan. Get the strongest one you can find. Société or Papillon are good brands 😉
I love simple recipes like that. Those chops look wonderful – and melted blue cheese 🙂 I had a passion for cars from my youngest age … one of my earliest memories is coming down the stairs on Xmas morning to find a bright red pedal car waiting for me! When I bought my first car at 19 I did a car maintenance course. It’s of no use now … cars are all computers and I haven’t a clue what to do and have to ring the AA! But how lovely to have Peter’s skills. Fab photos as always, Stephane 🙂
I have a 30 year old convertible without a single piece of computer gear on it and I still couldn’t fix anything on it even if I wanted to… 😉
The lamb chops look delicious and I am always a fan of the artisans that take tremendous pride in their work and take the time to lovingly do such a beautiful job of building or re building or restoring.
I bet New York is filled with incredible craftsmen in tinny workshops lost somewhere in the village or in Soho…
There are a few but not many left its so unfortunate. Soho has changed from an artist community to a shopping area with only the wealthiest of artists that can afford do live there. In Brooklyn there are some old world artisans left a handful. So sad
It really is…
Forwarding on your blog today to two others…one who love lamb AND blue cheese, and the other who owns one Bentley and is restoring another. Oh, how I wish we could say when (and soon) we are coming to visit!!!
Oh I cannot wait for that day my dear friend! Wow! Two Bentleys? Lucky man!
I wonder what it would be like to melt the Roquefort in some heavy cream and toss the pasta in it. Lamb chops on top, smeared with more Roquefort. Overkill?
No great idea! I love lamb because it’s strong enough to take any other ingredients you wanna throw at it. I like the pieces of cheese better only because it’s like rock salt in a way. The flavor idn’t uniform. Every bite feels different… Am I even making sense?
Yes, I like the idea of crumbling the Roquefort into the pasta as well as on top of the lamb. Hell…we just have to try all the variations!
The cars! Oh, the cars! They are soooo beautiful !!! I never tire of looking at their lines. Thank you for indulging this passion. ;->
What is it about Blue Cheeses that is so enticing? So many delicious variations! Melted in a chunky tomato sauce and sprinkled lightly on angel hair = to die for!
Judie < — adding "blue cheese" to grocery list for tomorrow
You are a mind reader. It’s what I’m having right now, except with Comté instead of blue cheese 😉
The lamb looks amazing! I would be so happy, like tears of joy happy, if this was my dinner. Can’t wait to see photos of the car as it progresses. My husband is just in the planning phases of building a vintage car.
What kind of car is he building?
A Shelby Cobra – early 1960s roadster. He’s a skilled tradesman but it should be interesting!!
Oh my God. If my friend Jamie heard about this. It’s his favorite car!
I think it will be a pretty cool life experience. And he will get the car he wants. From the outset it seems less expensive than buying one, but I’m that will change. It’s a dream of my husbands I’m happy to support 🙂 Thanks for the website!
He is a lucky lucky man!!
Could you send me the link to your car website? I’d love to pass it along. Thanks!
Oh thanks: http://www.autoportraits.org
Interesting hands indeed. You already know how much I love te draw hands.
See you in Mac Donald’s then when I too am depressed! 😉
Fabulous post Stéphane – hang the food this time, it’s the cars I love 🙂 We have a barn just like that but sadly without the Bentley, I do have a great mechanic for a hubby however (when he’s not being master chef that is!), all these things should come together one of these days … PS and you even have a cat in this one ! 😉
Haha! Yes, and a cute one at that! Can’t wait for Rallye des Remparts and finally meeting you!
Better put that one in the diary! 🙂
I’ll send you a massage early that week so we can set it up 😉
Great idea ! 🙂