Before the golden summer when Lilit became my wife, I was, as Henry Higgins observed in Shaw’s Pygmalion: “a confirmed old bachelor and likely to remain so.” Over the years I gradually acknowledged the concept of “housework” and – when the asthmatic vacuum cleaner mum gave me finally expired – I replaced it with my own hard-earned cash. I even acquired a washing machine and located the “on” button. But I embraced cooking.
Rather than living on pizza, I began buying meat from the butcher and veg from the greengrocer. I learnt to steam, roast, grill and fry and mastered my grandfather’s old tripod portable wood-burning barbecue. But other than pizza night and the pub and that rare occasion when visitors braved my cooking, I cooked and ate alone. Meat and three-veg it was. One plate, one knife, one fork to wash. Then I got married.
I have always been on a see-food diet, but love took me places I would never have gone otherwise. It took me to the Adelaide Hills Farmers Market, via Armenia. I never would have stood on the upper courtyard of an ancient monastery, gazing up at Mount Ararat, were it not for hunger of the heart and soul. There is no way I would ever have eaten eggplant again, had it not been for love. And these days I wash two plates, two knives and two forks.
Cooking for the one you love inspires creativity. I like to create a special Saturday dinner for two, all market produce if possible. Last week it was Oysters Kilpatrick, followed by lemongrass beef stir-fry. The oysters and lemongrass dressing came from our newest stall The Oysterbed, the eye fillet and bacon from Wakefield Grange and the vegetables and herbs from Dogans, with Beerenberg Worcestershire sauce and some rice. Be a market epicure. Come by and share your recipes for clean market eating.