Flora nad fauna.

Its life, Jim, but not as we know it.

Hello guys! Bill again.

Yes, yes. I missed you too. I thought it might be interesting to look at some of the odd flora and fauna that calls Ghana home. Other than the people.

First off is the vine pictured above. It is a red-sticky-bean vine (correct – you’ll learn very little about the flora and fauna of Ghana today). The pod – the orange bit – looks just like a wild passionfruit until it pops open. It looks like it should stink but it doesn’t. The little red beans are about a centimetre long and sticky.

Megafauna. Believe me, you know when you’ve stepped on one of these.

You’ve met these guys before in Chrissies post on 60 different things about Ghana. They are giant snails. Other than that they are identical to other snails. A bit of a delicacy here, it is an acquired taste (in the same way and with the same appeal that tinea is an acquired condition). Below is a scene that probably won’t make Masterchef. It is how one of these snails was cooked for me. In fact, the one on the flame was all mine! Surprisingly, they don’t taste as bad as they look – they taste significantly worse (and you can’t see the bubbling gloop that comes out the side of the shell. This was a once in a lifetime experience.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a card carrying believer in evolution. But how is this fantastic flower/pollen thing (below) anything other that grandstanding and big-noting? This is nothing to do with natural selection.

I really am lost for words regarding this thing – a Pretzel mold, I believe.

Guinea pigs of the world take heart – you’re not the only boggle-eyed rodent on the planet that tastes good. Grass Cuters will keep you company.

Now if you want to see some real excitement about food, you need to be in the field when one of these crosses the road. Its a grasscutter, a giant guinea pig-esque rodent made out of mouth-wateringly splendid meat. I can’t say I’ve ever tried it (or at least not intentionally) but I have had the pleasure of experiencing the pant-wetting excitement of seeing a free (aka wild) one in the jungle. I have had to bargain with casual labour to determine how much time they had to smoke a grass cutter out of its hide. The cry that goes up on sighting is one of unmistakeable excitement. Grass Cutters are top shelf!

Below is a West African sheep. Mangy, ugly affairs. But clearly comfortable if you’re a chicken.

Chicken a la sheep. Cute.

Looks like banana, tastes like sugary potato. Plantain!

Ah, Plantain, you’ve done it again! If I had to bring 10 things back from Ghana to Australia, plantain would be on my list. How this repast has avoided the western palate for 3000 years is a mystery. Fried or barbequed or …. fried, this is great stuff ( a couple of peanuts help, too!)

Enough. Have a great weekend.

[for info, the title “Flora nad Fauna” contains a typo. But its just too delectible to think that someone searching ‘nad fauna’ might one day visit this site.]

2 responses to “Flora nad fauna.

  1. As you blog , Masterchef is calling for entrants for 2013. Do you want me to enter you? This weeks big fuss was cauliflower ice-cream, so you too could wow them with such delicacies. Rob

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