Confession: I spend most of my time thinking about food. I’ll often catch myself wondering how many hours until I can have my next meal, what I’m going to have for dinner, and if I smash out a session at the gym does that mean I can have ice cream for dessert?
I find joy in writing grocery lists, scanning the internet for new recipes, and experimenting with herbs and spices.
So when I went to Bali, I was ecstatic to try a cooking class.
A Taste Of Bali
My friend and I enrolled in the Friday Beginners Class at the Casa Luna Cooking School in Ubud, Bali.
I was in Eat, Pray, Love territory and I had high expectations. Little did I know, this one class would change the way I prepared meals forever.
Casa Luna Cooking School is owned by Janet DeNeefe, who has been teaching Balinese cooking for 30 years. The school was also listed as ‘amongst the world’s best cooking schools’ in The Australian.
When we arrived we were given a refreshing hibiscus cold drink while we explored the tranquil grounds.
Ingredients for the cooking school are sourced from local markets. The class we’d enrolled in didn’t include the market tour, however the use of each ingredient was explained to us. The Balinese make all of their meals from scratch, using fresh ingredients. They cook with coconut oil, which promotes the health of the heart. It is high in natural saturated fat which increases the healthy cholesterol in your body.
Once we had been given the theory behind the ingredients, it was our turn to help prepare them. You could do as much or as little as you liked, but I enjoyed getting hands on and crushing the hazelnuts that would eventually be made into a delicious peanut sauce.
In our class, we also learned how to make the rice dish Nasi Goreng, Chicken Satay, Krupuk (deep fried crackers), and the delectable ‘Fruit in Coconut Milk’ dessert. We also learned how to use shrimp paste, which certainly had an interesting aroma however added a fantastic flavour to our meal.
Taking Home A Piece of Bali
This wasn’t just a cooking class, it was a full immersion into Balinese culture. Topics such as spiritual practices were discussed, including why the Balinese put tiny baskets with assorted flowers and petals on their doorstep (they are essentially an offering meant to appease and please the various gods and demons of Balinese Hinduism), family life, and gender roles.
We were given a booklet at the conclusion of the class with the recipes we had learned. One of the best things about this class was that when I returned home, I invited my friends and family around to share what I had learned about Balinese culture over a delicious three-course meal.
You can learn more about the Casa Luna Cooking School by visiting their website: http://www.casalunabali.com/