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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Friday, 15 March 2013

Botanic Gardens II

At the risk of boring some of you I am going to blog a little more about the gardens. The richness of the fauna and flora is perhaps the single most remarkable aspect of this country and it is something I think that I will return to often and write about with the eye, hopefully, of a keen observer.

I wanted to share with you the ancient steps from the river that lead to the house re-built in 1901 for the curators of the gardens. There is something comforting in the way they have endured in the shade of the beautiful trees that flank either side.

The neat cottage that was built for them and which at some point was converted into a cafe. Now it awaits some other re birth and is home to the occasional homeless person which is not entirely a bad thing. 

In India I came across the Behr Tree, and I blogged about it in a blog called Apples but not quite. Here I have come across what I am told is the Elephant Apple tree. It is just as impressive, if not more, and here are some of its incredibly hard, almost wooden apples that grow to a large size. 

It got its common name I think because Elephants eat them but whether this is true I do not know. What I do know is that they are known as "Bush Tucker" here - food from the rainforest.
The forest yields so much - look at this wild ginger which has the most vibrant blue flowers.

Another tree that intigued me was the Bixa tree or Lipstick tree. We couldnt find any pods to yield the colour that gave this tree its name, so I will have to return to the gardens when they are ripe to show you what they are like. The colour was used as lipstick , body paint and to colour foods. Then there is the Ginko tree which is used medicinally and a tree called Bakhousia Citriadora, the common lemon myrtle tree whose leaves smell strongly of lemon. One of my mother's favourites and of course used in cooking and in teas, commonly also known as lemon verbena. Apparently here it is regarded as the "Queen of lemon herbs" and for good reason. I should also mention the Bunya Pine, planted by Walter Hill and forming a whole avenue in the gardens, not to mention the nut trees which he planted, the most famous of which is the Macadamia. The big oversized cones of the Bunya can weigh up to ten kilos. They are full of pine nuts and were used by the Aboriginals as a good source of food.
Finally in this section of bush tucker food I will show you the Davidson Plum which is extremely tart even when ripe but which can produce some good jam. I will look out for it. 

There is so much more, the ramrod bamboos whose invasive roots spread fast, the Quadong and the Tamarind, the Silky Oaks and the Firewheel Tree. Perhaps more at some other time. 

I will finish today's blog with a picture of the fountain built in 1867 when mains water was introduced to Brisbane which is named after Walter Hill, as one of the ways to acknowledge this man's immense lifetime commitment to the Botanic Gardens. 

1 comment:

  1. That was a nice description of the botanical garden. I was lured to your blog by your reference to wild ginger. I've seen a lot of it growing in the forests and even used some for seasoning. After digging up a plant (taking care to avoid centipedes) I found a fibrous root system with a number of spherical nodules with a gingery odour. It's a lot softer and milder than regular ginger.


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