One of the things I love about the French is their tendency to understatement; ‘Il est spécial’ (he is special) might easily be used to describe anyone from a mild eccentric to a raging psychopath. Or ‘ce vin n’est pas désagréable’ (this wine is not disagreeable) could describe a 2018 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, and if you hear ‘il pleuviote’, (it’s drizzling), the chances are high there’s a flood warning in place.
When our neighbours recently excelled, by blocking part of our kilometre-long driveway with dangerous metal poles, my reaction was anything but understated. The fact that I was almost decapitated by driving into them, inspired an energetic rendition of my impressive stash of swear words. It was loud, too. Luc captured the essence of the fine art of understatement subsequently, in a letter to our Mairie, saying that if the ridiculous blockade wasn’t removed, ‘nous pourrions devenir nerveux’ (we could become nervous).
Coco Chanel famously said: ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.’ This translates to spoken and written expression when ‘we are absolutely spitting with unfettered fury’ becomes ‘we could become nervous’. In any case, the threat of our potential nervousness must have struck a chord; we are now blockade-free!
The wonder of walnuts
I have mentioned the benefits of walnuts before, but it bears repeating. New research has shown that walnuts actually contribute to longevity. The study showed, amongst other things, that walnut eaters have a 25% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. They also contain a very high quantity of the polyphenol-rich antioxidant, ellagic acid which helps prevent cancer.
Research also shows that consuming walnuts can help alleviate depression and cognitive degeneration. They are the only nut to contain omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is very beneficial for brain health. And walnuts are known to raise melatonin levels by three times, providing relief from sleeplessness and insomnia.
Walnuts are also an excellent source of key nutrients that support overall health, including fibre, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin B6, folate, and thiamine.
Recipe for walnut and blue cheese pasta sauce (serves 4)
- 200g walnuts, shelled
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 25g pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 40g blue cheese (I used Roquefort)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 100ml cream
Blend the walnuts, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and blue cheese together and add the seasoning. Gently heat, stirring in the cream and and mix into your cooked pasta (I used ravioli, but any pasta works nicely).