First a note:
I returned to Bali one month ago. Oneworld Accommodations in Istanbul is now running full steam thanks to my on-the-ground partner Elif and a host of other supportive friends. I hightailed it out of Istanbul end of September to attend the Annual Ubud, Bali Writers’ Festival in October. My plan now is 6 months of intense writing during which I will birth a book, 9 years in gestation. Stay tuned for the “Unleash the Book Within” workshop I am putting together, to be held in Ubud, Bali the first week of October 2010.
For today, here’s your first course in the Bali buffet, fall 2009. Lots of love to you all, Robin.
FOOD OF THE GODDESSES
One of the best things about living in Bali is the food. Food that is unprocessed, healthy, whole, organic, delicious, and cheap. Indeed, as I sit here typing, a few feet away on a palm tree hang at least a dozen coconuts, ripe for the picking ($1 if I ask Made to cut one down for me and hatchet it open in my kitchen), and to my left there are a bunch of Alice in Wonderland sized papayas dripping from a tree.
I spent my first two weeks in Bali stoking up on Indonesian food. Nasi goreng, soto ayam, gado gado. And then that was enough, and I was ready to start cooking. This is no small thing as I haven’t cooked except for the rare occasion in over 10 years. And I certainly don’t need to as warung food runs about $1 per plate and is available on every corner.
I must be nesting and manifesting a partner or dinner party friends because I am lovingly choosing items at the Organic Market twice per week, filling my refrigerator with enough for a family of 4, and cooking day after day. For me.
Dishes like banana pancakes topped with pure honey collected in the Sumbawa tropical forests from large cones found only in the highest trees. How can I best describe this sweet nectar of the Gods? Let’s just say it’s so good that I sometimes take sips directly from the jar.
Some of the other dishes I’ve whipped up for myself the past 3 days: A smoothie this morning blended with a homemade ginger/lemon/guava/soda drink purchased at the Organic Market, a splash of Jamu (a turmeric drink made by the Balinese for good health and long life), to which I added fresh cut papaya and mango, a dollop of yogurt, a teaspoon of Ashitaba (an green organic herbal powder containing vitamins and minerals too many to mention) and a teaspoon of Spirulina. A few ice cubes, blended for 2 minutes, and I’m telling you…this was one exotic creamy drink that would have elicited oohs and ahhs at any 5 star restaurant.
Yesterday’s breakfast was a bowl of fresh pineapple and banana slices topped with Bali Buddha’s crunchy, palm-sugar sweetened homemade granola (the only one better than my own) topped with a healthy spoonful of yogurt, and moistened with almond milk – the almond milk pressed fresh at Bali Buddha and delivered to me in a corked glass bottle that I will return for a refill when it is empty.
And breakfast the day before yesterday? A honey-sweetened, moist whole wheat mulberry muffin from Bali Buddha Bakery, and 3 eggs, which I whipped and folded over chopped yellow and red peppers, avocado, spinach leaves, onion, garlic and rosemary (the latter brought from Turkey).
Dinner: fresh tuna steak ($2 at Bintang market) seared medium rare with Balinese sea salt, pepper, and dribbled with sesame oil, served atop a plate full of organic greens, topped with sliced cucumbers that I had marinated in a sauce I prepared containing (all fresh & organic of course) lemon grass, garlic, chili peppers, num pla (fish) sauce, sesame oil, and mint leaves.
Dinner day before yesterday: Thai chicken soup made with minced lemon grass, tiny red peppers chopped fine, cilantro, lime juice, lime leaves (which Wayan brought me from her garden), curry, and more, with a side of organic red rice, and a plateful of assorted organic greens topped with Juice Ja’s amazing homemade ginger sesame dressing.
This afternoon, Wayan got out her trusty hatchet and hacked open a green coconut, poured the clear liquid into a large wine glass which I then gulped heartily snacking on the delectable coconut meat throughout the afternoon.
You get the idea. There’s been a self-love orgy going down in my Junglelow.
Last night, driving home on Champuan Road, I found myself inexplicably turning into the Bintang Market parking lot. I walked in and zombie-like (arms held straight out in front – OK, that part I made up) marched straight for the refrigerator case, where I pulled out a half pound carton of imported Hagaan Dazs Macademia Nut Brittle ice cream, and paid a whopping 100,000 rupiah note ($10) for, and which I disposed of at home, half that very night, creamy spoonful by creamy spoonful into one very happy mouth.
A whole lot of good, fresh, wholesome mixed with a little bit of bad makes for one very good life.
Dinner party anyone?