Flowers from my Garden

This series could keep us going for a few months!


Mape Season

There's a definite autumnal feel in the air at the moment, the sun is still shining bright in the day, but there's an unmistakable coolness to the evenings, that betrays the changing seasons. It's also mape season, for those of you who do't know, mape are Tahitian chestnuts, and Viriamu and Matotea can't get enough of them! Inocarpus fagifer the scientific name for the mape tree, grows at low elevation and is commonly found throughout Polynesia. The trees grow to be huge and are particularly majestic with their large buttress roots. They were often planted around ancient Polynesian homesteads, thus most marae are surrounded by them. I particularly like the mape forests in Moorea's Opunuhu valley, along the belvedere hiking trail, it has a very mystical quality. 

Inocarpus tree with magnificent buttresses

Mape seed
The seeds are poisonous when raw, but have a pleasant chestnut-like texture and flavour, once they've been cooked in a pressure-cooker for a while! They're usually salted, and sometimes sweetened, though I prefer just salted. Matotea and Heimana like us to grate them up and then roll the gratings into little balls. In the Marquesas they're made into piahi, the fallen seeds are removed from their shells, rinsed in water, grated up, mixed with coconut milk wrapped in banana leaves and baked in the Tahitian oven. I'm told that you can roast or grill them too, though I've never tried it.
Delicious mape ready for eating!


Flowers from my Garden

Another moment of beauty from my fabulous rambling tropical garden, a welcome break from a world that just seems to be coming apart at the seams at the moment.....


Tsunami alert puts the dampener on Rurutu women's day celebrations

The terrible earthquake in Japan put us all on tsunami alert around 05h30 on friday morning and kept us glued to the TV until well after 9h00, we finally got the all clear around 11h00. While glad that the
tsunami petered out before it got to us, it was a bit of a shame that it fell on the morning of our planned International Women's Day centennial celebrations in Rurutu (on the 11th and not the 8th, which is in fact women's day! We actually celebrated at our place by eating pancakes!). Unfortunately, despite the tents pitched and a few fabulous headresses it was pretty much a complete wash out. Good thing most of the world had already celebrated on the 8th, and today HRH's Commonwealth Day speech gave us a mention, declaring that we women are agents of change. Hurrah for us! Shame French Polynesia doesn't have a female president, or we might actually have voted our 2011 budget by now.........
So, for the time being, here in Rurutu we remain safe and sound, and proud to be of the female persuasion!


Pancake day!

Yesterday we celebrated pancake day, and what could be more deliciously decadent (and messy) than nutella crêpes! 
Heimana refused to let us cut hers up for her, but had a fun old time trying to get her chops around it, she has a rather interesting technique..........


Welsh Cakes

I've been feeling rather guilty, having totally failed to celebrate St.Davids Day this year (March 1st), so here are a few things welsh, to make up for it. I even got to making welsh-cakes, though I have to admit they didn't taste quite the same as I remember!