Monday, April 19, 2010

Natural Wonders

When I think about natural wonders of the world, geological formations are what pop into my head -- waterfalls, gorges, geysers, mountains...

But there are a lot of smaller things which are no less wonderful.  Especially if you can eat them.  Today I bring you wonders of the plant kingdom.

These sweet potatoes are fairly unimpressive.

Until you cut them open.

They make a beautiful purple-hued soup, delicious paired with five-spice and sesame oil, some seaweed and the next wonder...

....Ceylon Spinach.  We got this plant from the markets probably 2 years ago and it sort of languished in our pathetic garden.  It went to seed without producing much and survived, just.  But Andy threw some of the seeds into the ground before Christmas and we came home to an absolute jungle. 

Ceylon spinach loves humidity and heat, and it's a twiner so it needs lots of vertical surfaces to wrap itself around.

We have so much of it we've been cutting whole stems, from which we take off the leaves.

The stems were sitting in a pile outside waiting to be dealt with and they started growing roots, so we've replanted them.  It's amazing.

Also wonderful is the standard avocado.  My favourite variety is the Shepherd, which is currently in season and on sale at the local markets.

It makes a wonderful addition to mexican food, salads, burgers, and sandwiches.

It also combines with lime & icing sugar for a delicious and pipe-able icing in a gorgeous green.(On top of orange poppy cake.)

It's a great season for the markets; last week we picked up some mangosteens for $10 a kilo.
They're called the Queen of Fruits for a reason.

In addition to being tasty, I think they're really pretty.  And it doesn't get much more wonderful than that.

10 comments:

Hannah said...

I've never come across purple sweet potato - we always have the orange kind in my house. But why, pray tell, are you being so modest? Don't you want to tell everyone where that bowl for the guacamole came from? :P

P.S. Yay more sea vegies! I bought a packet of arame the other day, do you use that one much?

lisa said...

Great idea with the avocado icing - yum!!

Theresa said...

I'll get to the crockery, Hannah. I'm waiting on the rest of my creations and I'll give them a whole post of their own :) We mostly use wakame, kombu and nori -- that's just because the others are not labelled at the Asian grocery and are just called 'seaweed', which makes me a little nervous for some reason.

lisa - I've been meaning to make it since I was in high school and saw it on Good Eats with Alton Brown. Mandee made some recently which reminded me, and I'm sorry I waited so long!

Vaala said...

Wow! I can't believe it's purple inside and not on the outside! I've only seen purple Maori potatoes but they are purple skinned as well as inside. So cool! And that avocado as icing on cake? Oh man, that is so cool. But avocados are cool anyway. Never even heard of a mangosteen but it sounds (and looks) intriguing.

Mandee said...

I'm glad you liked the avocado icing, isn't it awesome?

And I recently tried purple sweet potatoe too.

Laury Ann said...

Wow, I have never heard of a purple sweet potato!!! These veggies and fruit look AMAZING!! I love the avocado icing idea too!! =)

Carissa said...

OOoo are those okinawa sweet potatoes? If so, I just bought some the other day too. I love those! Here in Hawaii, sometimes people will boil it, mash it up and add coconut milk and sugar. I'm sure you could put agave or any other type of sweetener as well :)

Theresa said...

Carissa - I'm not sure what they're called, they are on sale at the markets as 'purple sweet potato'. They are slightly sweeter than their orange cousins...

Tamara said...

Oh, how very much I love your blog.
As always, a terrific post. I so wish I had more sunshine coming in to my patio so I could set up some pots o'veggies like your ceylon spinach.

BrisVegan said...

That all looks great!

Where did you get your Ceylon spinach? I would love to pant some but haven't come across it down here in Brisbane. I need to start looking in some of the smaller nurseries, I think.