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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Malabar Spinach

Here are the delicate flower buds of the Malabar Spinach. Her latin name is the basella alba. I'm such a greedy gardener, so keen to eat from my garden, that I have never seen the flower buds of my Malabar Spinach. I usually harvest the leaves for my ham and feta cheese quiches. The leaves of the Malabar Spinach impart a very pleasant nutty taste to the quiche. Unlike most spinaches, this one has robust leaves that don't soften over much in the cooking and provide a pleasant crunch for the teeth.

The Malabar Spinach is a beautiful plant. So lovely that she doesn't look at all edible. She has red stems which fade into green leaves, each with a glossy shine. She needs to jostle for space and sunlight with tufts of bamboo leaves. As she grows through the thick green tufts, little splashes of red and shiny green smile through at me like a little monkey through the trees.

This is the first time she is giving me buds. I am so a greedy gardener that I've until now, always pruned it back and munched it up before it actually gets a chance to flower. But aren't the buds so beautiful? A delicate pink tip fading into white. Such apparent fragility presents a misleading face to the world. Mr Bamboo has now become resigned to the presence of this gently intrusive beauty. Ms Malabar Spinach has placed her arms around Mr Bamboo and charmed him into doting submission with her pretty flower buds. Mr Bamboo used to compete fiercely with her for sunlight and space. No longer... Now, they look great together and have become good friends. One needs the other to be complete. Indeed, Mr Bamboo looks reproachfully at me when I prune back Ms Malabar Spinach and cook her in my quiches.


Blur Ting said...

:-) wonderful writing.

petunialee said...

Gosh! Blur Ting, you're prolly the only fan I have! But thanks for your encouraging words!