Gardens and food seems to be a big focus in most of my blog posts so I’ll get around to changing the blog name soon…of course there were no trains in Bali!

I’ll begin with more photos from the Hotel – a memorable stay. I had many swims in the gorgeous pool – the forest setting was so beautiful, tranquil and private.

Next two photos below: we spent quite a lot of time reading, listening to music and relaxing on our deck. We stayed a week – mostly relaxing and eating at various restaurants in the area (the hotel just served breakfast) but also doing 2 cooking classes. More about the 2nd course later.

Back to some food prep photos…learning how to wrap filling in banana leaves takes a bit of practice. Tony has mastered it and he cooked a beautiful dish from Janet De Neefe’s book last night – see photo below. I chose 2 of the 3 dishes we prepared for a small dinner party with friends. They were Spiced Fish in Banana Leaves (P135) and a Carrot and Cucumber Salad (P142) – both were delicious! The fish was a more time consuming recipe…worth the effort Tony thought as both our guests and I said it was beautiful!

Tony also made a platter of Chicken Satays…we bought the smaller skewers from the Asian store at the markets – so with the banana leaf fish, it all looked and tasted very authentic although I’m pretty sure chicken satay has Thai or Malaysian origins??…something for me to investigate another day! We served everything with plain steamed rice…Tony loves our small rice cooker. We use to have a large one but now we’ve downsized to a small apartment (+ we only have small dinner parties now) the small one is perfect.

The Carrot and Cucumber Salad (Janet suggests adding other slaw ingredients so we did – cabbage):

Ingredients: 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded; 1 large carrot (julienne both carrot & cucumber); 2 red shallots finely sliced; 2 tablespoons white or raw sugar; sea salt; 80 ml rice vinegar.

Method:

Put the cucumber, carrot, cabbage (if you decide to use), and shallots in a bowl and add the sugar and some salt to taste. Mix with your hand, slightly bruising the ingredients to draw out more flavour. Mix in the vinegar. Taste for seasoning, making sure there is a good balance of sweet and sour. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serves 4-6

Note: we reduced the amount of dressing as we thought it was getting a little too wet for our liking.

It’s a bright and refreshing salad, perfect as an accompaniment to spicy Indonesian dishes. The salad is also beautiful the next day – starts to ferment so is good for aiding digestion & a healthy gut!

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The other book I like referring to is Flavours of Bali – published May 2016 so a fairly up to date resource describing the various regions of Bali, the restaurants, cafes and hotels with their signature dishes. Some are quite detailed with ingredients that might be difficult to find in some countries. Instead of “Candlenuts” used often in Balinese cuisine, Janet De Neefe suggests macadamia nuts. This book is $80 at our local bookstore so I borrowed it from the local library (Kingston) for a few weeks and will borrow it again when we start planning another trip there. We hope to get back one Canberra winter soon!

My next 2 blogs...1 will be on the 2nd cooking course in Ubud and then another on our stay in Central Seminak, Bali – we did our 3rd cooking course there. Each course ended with a shared lunch…it was lovely meeting people from all parts of the world!

A couple of pics of the inside of hotel room in Ubud – net over the bed when windows open…there was air con too which we put on at night when we went to bed as in our experience Bali is always balmy; bath with a very private view was gorgeous too.