these are the posts tagged ‘plants’:


the cooking class

turns out, thai cooking is a lot of prep work, followed by a very quick cooking process. everything needs to be minced, peeled, squeezed, measured and mashed beforehand — mise en place is everything here.

afterwards, it’s a matter of heating up a wok and throwing stuff there in a specific order. voilá!

under the close supervision of our host/chef, we prepared soups, curries, stir fries and even mango sticky rice, all deliciously filling but way more stuff than we could eat…

… so we ended up bringing pad thai and some other noodle dishes home for dinner. :)

we were also treated to a tour of their beautiful gardens, where the host grows a lot of the ingredients for the lesions like chillies, mushrooms and ginger. he had all kinds of plants there, and it was pretty cool to see a coffee tree or taste stevia leafs for the first time.

near the end of the tour, we were introduced to this funky plant that turns its leaves when they’re touched:

they’re so cool!! aptly named “touch-me-not”, they’re a common weed in thailand. after this encounter, we started touching lots of plants on the side of the road, just to see if we could make that trick again! :D

echeveria setosa

the setosa came to us unexpectedly (like most of our plants) when some neighbors about to move were looking for homes for their plants. we kept a few of their vases, and in one of them came this furry fellow.

we stuck it in our front garden between some rocks, and it’s been doing great ever since. as they go about reproducing and slowly dominating the patch of garden we gave them, the older leaves seem to dry out and drop, while the plants keep growing upwards.

i noticed it doesn’t need to shed leaves to propagate though: new “babies” just appear from the stem or the flower itself.

cute!

pink echeveria

i don’t particularly like cactus, but succulents are a different story. there’s something very pleasing about their almost fractal beauty, and the thick and robust leaves. plus, i accidentally found out that we can actually grow them outdoors here (more or less easily) so i’ve started a little collection of sorts.

i’m learning about it as i go along, making mistakes and seeing what works. i don’t know if this interests anyone, but i thought i’d write about it now and then, in order to keep a record of our experiments.

first up, this echeveria “perle von nürnberg” (i think?) that i traded my parents for some cuttings of our passionfruit.

isn’t it pretty? it was almost dead when it came to me, but has since decided to grow enthusiastically in the center, and i think it might about to start flowering even!

i look forward to putting it in the garden once it gets a bit stronger, and maybe even try to propagate it at some point.

gum rock rose

these days, the hills of algarve are covered with the beautiful white flowers of esteva, or gum rock rose. everywhere you look, the landscape is peppered with an explosion of white dots!

the sticky bushes where they grow are tough and not much to look at, but the flowers are such delicate things, tissue-thin and blowing in the wind.

this is such a beautiful season!

salicornia

moving south and next to a salt marsh has introduced a dozen new species of animals and plants into our vocabulary. geckos and chameleons are cute, as are the skittish flamingos that eat all the pink algae in the salt ponds. but it’s not just new animals that inhabit these salty places, special plants too — like salicornia!

also called sea asparagus or pickleweed, salicornia is a halophyte, a plant that is adapted to salty environments. when you bite into it, the saltiness immediately floods your mouth… like eating bits of the sea! the flavour is pleasant enough and the surprise saltiness in every bite makes for a fun addition to salads and other dishes.

it’s a bit of a gourmet thing these days, which is funny because for much of history, salicornia was considered a worthless weed. it reminds me of a Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote on the back of one of my field notes:

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

sounds about right!