Monday, August 30, 2010

Passionfruit magic

It's here finally! My very own 'mmmmm!' moment.
The first passionfruits from my vine have ripened and I just had to share them with you.
Slice them in half and you'll see the most eye-catching combination of red, white and gold. I have to admit that the red and white looked so pretty that I was a bit reluctant to spoil that look.
For about 2 minutes !

Then I grabbed a spoon and got busy scooping up all that juicy, golden goodness. You just can't begin to imagine the flavour if you've never eaten passionfruit before.
Juicy, fragrant, sweet, tart, fruity flavours pop on your tastebuds and swirl around in a heady melange of sensory surprises. Summery fragrances seem to weave around your brain until you can't think of anything else.

There's so little of it, do you moan? But with so much concentrated juicy, sweet flavour who needs a watermelon-ful?
Each little golden smidgen is like a flavour-bomb bursting in your mouth and inundating you with flavours and fragrances till you're replete with the magic of it all.

When I was done indulging myself, I sat there wondering whether I should've waited and concocted some fancy dessert with it instead. You know the answer, right?
Naaah! Maybe another time.
Unless the passionfruit magic overpowers me again and forces me to stretch out for the nearest spoon instead.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A passion for Passionfruits

One of the most exotic (or should that be quixotic?) blooms ever! The passionflower lends itself to science-fiction just as easily as its fruit does to gourmet cuisine.

How else would you explain the inexplicably weird radar-like contraptions that pop up above it?
Or the squiggly filaments, like a tutu gone haywire?

If the stigma and anthers look like alien pieces of technology, the flavour of the fruit too is simply out of this world! A hint of tartness and a touch of sweet melding in the warm sunny days to make its own exquisitely juicy, fruity flavour.

And it definitely has its own very distinctive fragrance too. Very summery, and fruity and tropical island-ish, of course. Check out perfumes like Keiko Mecheri Passiflora which draw on the fruity notes of the passionflower.

I had got a few passionfruits as a gift and saved up one to dry and plant. It ached a bit to not scoop up all that juicy pulp but I told myself that it was in a good cause. So I cut it open and spread the golden pulp on a few layers of tissue paper to dry.

I wasn't too sure whether it would grow because I had been told that the red passionfruits are difficult to sprout. Either that was a myth or I was very lucky because I got about 30 - 40 seedlings scrambling for attention.

You have to be pretty quick to transplant them into their own space, preferably where they can climb, because those curly tendrils take hold of anything they find and are soon clambering all over the place whether you like it or not!

I thought I had found the perfect sunny spot near a chain-link fence for one seedling but the vine just leaped and threw itself all over a nearby custard-apple tree. After encroaching on all available limbs and surfaces, it settled down to blooming exuberantly. And now it looks like one of those exotic experiments with 2 different fruits growing on one tree!

But it's such an amazing transformation, isn't it? From exotic, almost architectural blooms to perfect globes of speckled green, blushing red to summery sweet ripeness.

And if you thought that you're the only one who enjoys passionfruits, meet the Tawny Coaster. This pretty orange butterfly loves to lay its eggs on the leaves of the Passionfruit vine. This one didn't even budge when I zoomed in close for a Macro shot!
I wonder whether its babies will get a taste of passionfruits when they're busy munching on the leaves. I don't really mind. So long as they leave enough for some fruits for me!