Sunday 8 November 2009

Feeling fruity

The loquats are coming ripe now - it's a race between us and the tui and woodpigeons. Already the lowest ones have been picked by other people who walk the same route that I do, so I'm having to add stretches to the daily routine. Soft, yellow and juicy, with attractively smooth and shiny pits, they're something to look forward to - though it still seems odd to be picking fruit in spring.

Later there'll be plums and feijoas growing along the roads - very welcome, but it's a shame that we haven't the climate for the mangoes that grow so freely - in both senses - in northern Queensland. When we re-entered civilisation after our week-long safari down from Cape York and I wandered the wide, wide streets of quaint little Cooktown, I was amazed and delighted to find juicy, ripe mangoes just lying on the grass verges, so common that no-one bothered to pick them up. Well I did - and I can tell you here and now that there is such a thing as too many mangoes.

I gathered sticky armfuls to carry back to my hotel room where I indulged in a private orgy of sucking and slurping, juice dripping off my chin and elbows. It wasn't a pretty sight (I was bent over the bathroom basin throughout the whole shameful business, so I can say that with authority) and it had internal consequences much worse than simply leaving me with teeth like a baleen whale's.

Much more civilised was the fruit picnic I had in a deserted bay of white sand and Bombay Gin-coloured water on Atiu, in the Cook Islands. Birdman George had taken Eileen and me for a tour of the island, searching for the elusive kura, and he'd stopped off to shin up a coconut palm to twist off some young nuts ("These ones will taste like Sprite!" he promised, and they sort of did) and whack off some leaves with his machete. While we sucked the coconut milk and scooped out the soft flesh with a shell spoon, he deftly wove the leaves into a mat, and at the bay he arranged on it baby bananas - until you've eaten bananas picked ripe from the tree, you haven't properly tasted bananas - passionfruit, crunchy starfruit, and soft papaya sprinkled with freshly-grated coconut and drizzled with lime juice. What a feast!

Thank goodness I wasn't alone, or it could have been the mango debacle all over again.

1 comment:

the queen said...

Sprite fruit! That sounds fabulous!
Well, then it occurs to me that sprite is supposedly lemons and lime.


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