It’s almost like I just discovered vegetables, in the way I stare at them at a greengrocer’s, in how I’ll fondle a ripe orange, in the manner I’ll fantasise about how I’ll cook them, with what. The excitement within is palpable and apart from minor non-vegetarian inclusions to add to the flavour, the end results are usually a medley of vegetables flavoured with a heady blend of herbs, spices and sauces.
I’m staring at some right now, just delivered and lying atop the dining table. I can see two plump aubergines, pomegranate seeds, coriander, a bag full of deep yellow lemons, multicoloured bell peppers, sticks of baby corn, long stalks of spring onions, a box full of mixed sprouts, a pack of white button mushrooms, some tight, juicy tomatoes and more.
As I look upon them, even as I write, I’m thinking of the many flavours that could go into each and how they’ll all come together at the table. Tomatoes with sea salt speckling their juicy surface, aubergines toasted and drizzled with some light Thai soy sauce, spring onions chopped atop a pile of freshly made buckwheat flour (kuttu/soba) noodles, mushrooms chopped and tossed with crisp, deep fried bits of garlic, bell peppers roasted and skinned, cooled and served as limp, flavourful, smoky strips sprinkled with some sesame oil and a dash of fish sauce and finally, the baby corn flash fried into crisp little fritters with a little salad on the side, of mixed sprouts, coriander and pomegranate seeds, with lemon squeezed over the lot.
Can you imagine that? I certainly can and that’s what I’m going to cook for dinner tonight.