The Byrrill Creek house is a space for family and friends, lovers and layabouts, cooks and companions.
It's a bitter irony that the corpulence of the rich (remember the 'fat cat' epithet?) is now the defining body characteristic of the poor.
Our lives are increasingly ruled by the fast food giants, usurped by the usury of the retail food duopoly and governed by the hideous idea that you have to work all day every day to be able to pursue your own interests. We are getting further and further away from the sources of our food. Mass production and the idea of vast mono-planting of commodities for profit is ruining the way we prepare and perceive food. Just look at the chemistry contained in the pre-prepared excrement that passes for something you can eat. Ironically you pay through the arse for it.
This property will never be completely self sufficient - simply because of lack of expertise and sometimes the motivation. Sitting around with a glass of iced tea and a book on a hot afternoon beats effort hands down. But there's something quite fantastic about preparing things from scratch. Home made bread and pasta are magic. A salad with leaves, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs straight out of the garden is unbeatable.
A passionate, better-than-competent cook, my definition of fast food is an apple. There's always a trove of wine lying around.
The ideas in recipes are more important than the quantities - everyone cooks differently and my premise is that everyone can cook. You don't need oxygen thieves like celebrity chefs and competitive cooking show wankers who have forgotten that cooking for friends and family is an act of love and not a glamour treatment for an economy-sized ego. You need to understand food and realise that the effort you put into the ritual and process of eating with others is intrinsically rewarding.
I had an extensive vegetable and herb garden at the old Brisbane house courtesy of two of my best friends. Colin and Micaela stayed a couple of months and prompted me into upgrading the garden. After a bloody lot of work I had a close-to sustainable house and garden. It's a lot of fun for a completely ratshit gardener.
That passion (and growing expertise necessitated by a 'bugger it, give it a go' attitude) drives Byrrill Creek..
I write the cooking column for the internationally famous Uki News.