June 27, 2009

Bring Home TeraZo's Superb Salad Mixed

Bali, as stunning as ever, keeps one of the BEST restaurants in it. TeraZo Restaurant and Bar is located on Jalan Suweta, Ubud, Bali serves the most exquisite cuisine you may not expect to get from such a village. But, tell me it's no dream, yeah, this is real!

I just do not forget the flavour in my mouth that day and when I come back to New Zealand, I only know one thing: I have to make that salad alright. And yeah, not being fussy, but that must be one way or another, to find out if you're good or not. Although this has nothing to do with skills in comparison or anything, I find out it is not tricky to get there. Perhaps, it's almost there, but I can find the taste and the mixture.

Crisp Fish with Tart Mango, Toasted Cashew Nuts with Thai Dressing

I have to substitute some tart mango with tart apples, red chili with red capsicum, and I don't use cashew nuts and carrots. Forgot about cashews and carrots, really. And I don't have the same fish they have used. I don't know if that makes any difference, but what I think is the dressing MUST be similar.


Here I go. First, I made the dressing. This is Thai dressing and it must have a hint of chili, garlic, fish sauce or rather. I don't know what they have used, but I am just going to use my imagination and the taste that lingered in my mouth that day. Then, made the salad. Right, no tart mango. Of course, it's Winter here. Even if it is Summer, I don't think I can get any tart mango. So, okay. I use Granny Smiths, that'll do. They're both tart and are crunchy. Does not matter the rest of the other ingredients in the original salad, I think. I need to move on.

And here's what I did.

Crispy Fish with Granny Smiths and Thai Dressing by ab '09

Crispy Fish and Granny Smiths Mixed Salad with Thai Dressing
by Arfi Binsted

Crispy Fish

For the flour, I adjust the amount while I am mixing it. If the fish is well covered, then it is fine. You may want to try to glue with egg white? Make your own experiment.

1 cup minced fish (I used Gurnard)
plain flour
rice flour
1 tsp ground coriander
1 garlic, minced
a little oil for frying

Combine fish, flours, coriander, garlic, salt and pepper together. Mix well. Heat the frying pan and add in the oil. Fry the fish mixture. You may need to break any lumps with your spatula if they become too big. Cook until dry and golden brown. Spread on the paper towel to cool. Set aside and store in a well lidded jar. Makes 1 jar.

Thai Dressing

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp hot chili sambal (you may want to grind fresh chili, be my guest)
1/2 cup hot water
rind and juice of 1 1/2 lime
palm sugar, shaved (brown sugar can be used here, use dark cane sugar for thicker flavour)
rice vinegar, optional
a drop of fish sauce
1 Tbs rice bran oil (I only trust this oil, but you can use your favourite if you like)

Mix everything in a lidded jar. Shake well. Season and taste. The flavour should be tangy, sweet, and mildly hot at the same time.

Crispy Fish in another angle by ab '09

The Salad

I use mixed salad with Mizuna leaves, lettuce and finely sliced capsicum. The Granny Smiths are thinly sliced and mixed through the leaves. Pile these in the bowl, scatter the crispy fish and drizzle the dressing. You should be in heaven :)

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June 20, 2009

Warming Winter Nights with Sup Buntut

Less than a week before we went for a holiday, we had to home-kill Brownie. Since we've been back, we are enjoying the sweetness of home-raised Brownie meat. He did a pretty good job, that's all I can say. We did not give him any chemical growth booster or some sort. He was very happy being on the green paddock and grazed with his mate, Whitey. We did not need to inject him with anything that would make him sick. Organic or natural home-raised perhaps the term is. The reward is that meat which is so tender and the taste which is so pleasant.

We had been warming ourselves up with sup buntut (sup = soup; buntut = tail/oxtail) which is a well-known Batavian or Jakartan traditional soup. I never use ready-made stock and am quite happy to do it from scratch everytime I make soup. I really do care of freshness of the ingredients that bring totally different freshness of the food. I hate seasoning sachets and never have them in my pantry. I'd rather stock, either vegetable, chicken, or beef, and then freeze them within a month use. I can use them in various cookings as well, to give more flavour in gravy, casserole, stew, or savoury sauces.

I like to add vegetables on stock I make. Carrot, leek, potato peels, onion, and garlic are the main ingredients I always throw in the saucepan to make stock. I just need to add chicken or beef shin/oxtail, or different flavour of chicken or beef, and leave them as they are for vegetable stock.

Sup buntut is usually served with warm steamed rice. I served mine with finelly chopped spring onion and celery leaves, and sprinkled with fried shallots. It is easy to make fried shallots. All the pain that you need to go through is to peel the shallot skin. Just sing while you peel, youll get away quickly. Thinly slice the shallots and fry, either shallow or deep. I'd just like to do shallow fry and keep a good watch on them while in the pan. Once they are coloured, remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on the paper towel. Spread them, don't pile to avoid any moisture caught on the bottom that make them lousy and wet. By spreading them, they'll be dry quickly and will be crispy in a minute. Store in a tight-lidded container or jar. I make this once a week to sprinkle on top of fried noodles, nasi goreng, soup, chicken/beef satay, peanut sauce, or even to garnish steamed rice.

The vegetables in sup buntut is varied, depending on what you like. I like to add more carrots than potatoes, as we're going to eat it with rice. I also like to add a spoonful of hot chili sauce and a drizzle of kecap manis into my soup. YUM!

HomeMadeS Sup Buntut by arfi binsted copyright 2009

HomeMadeS Sup Buntut
by Arfi Binsted

I use more garlic than you usually do, perhaps. Feel free to use less or more, to your liking. I do believe garlic has such miraculous power to heal sicknesses and boost my immune system to the higher level. We need more garlic, especially to keep us healthy in Winter time.

Stock Making for Sup Buntut by ab '09

1 oxtail (ask your butcher to cut it up)
1 onion, peel and halved
8 cloves garlic, crushed (don't bother to peel the skin)
1 large potato, washed, quartered
3 medium potatoes, washed, peeled (use the peel in the stock and reserve the remain for soup)
1 carrot, washed, cut up (no need to peel, just cut off the stalk)
4 carrots, washed, peeled (use the peel in the stock and reserved the remain for soup)
1 large leek, washed, cut up
3 medium celeries, washed and cut up
a spoonful of whole black peppercorns
enough water to cover all the ingredients

Stock Making by ab '09

Put everything in the saucepan, except potatoes and carrots for soup. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the water comes down half way. Strained and separate the oxtail from the vegetables. Make soup.

Sup Buntut2 by ab '09

cooked oxtail
potatoes, diced
carrots, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, peeled, finely chopped
a pinch of nutmeg
ground white pepper (I'd like to use whole white peppercorns, if it's available)
beef stock
enough water to thin the beef stock
2 cm ginger root, bruised
1 lemon grass, use white part only, bruised
1 Tbs margarine
raw sugar
finely chopped spring onion and celery leaves, to garnish
fried shallots, to garnish
cooked steamed long-grain rice, to serve

Sup Buntut by ab '09

Heat the pan and add margarine. Add in the chopped onion, cook until soft. Add in the minced garlic, pinch of nutmeg and ground white pepper. Cook until fragrant. Add in the cooked meat. Sautee until well mixed. Pour in the beef stock and water. Bring to boil, then add in the vegetables, ginger and lemon grass. Simmer until everything is cooked. Season with salt and sugar. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped spring onion, celery leaves and fried shallots and a bowl of steamed rice. Enjoy. Serves 6.

Learning Pendet Dance

Uhm, this is nothing to do with soup, but just want to let you know that I enjoyed learning Pendet dance, a Balinese welcoming dance, while I was taking the children to learn it too. Here I am. The shot was taken by Ben using my cameraphone. A bit grainy, but that's okay. He's still learning. When you visit Bali, don't forget to learn Pendet dance. A bit of exercise too!

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June 11, 2009

Ubud, The Village We Love

A Part of Oleg Tamulilingan

Arrived at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, I can feel a decent feeling immediately hit my mind and senses. I can tell that I am in Bali, ever if I am blindfolded with the hints: as soon as my face meet the hot breeze, my nose's sense is catching a familiar fading scent of burning either jasmine or frangipani incense sticks floating in the air, a heavenly welcoming aroma, mixing with humidity, and softly played Balinese gamelan that my ears are friendly with.

There were a lot of people, I mean, a LOT of people, going to the same destination, to go through the customs that is, and that made a long line of human bodies when you can expect all sort of overwhelming odour spreading about. The humidity does not help. No matter how quick you fan yourself to get rid of the heat and smell, you still can feel sweat tricking down your back, and your nose can faithfully trace back various odour mixed with scents. Pungent, fragrance, mushy HOT air.

Welcoming Dance: Chandra Wangi

Then, as there might be One God, He was the One who helped us, to change our luck. One of the crews at the airport approached us and gestured to follow him to go straight to the front line. Just because we traveled with children (gee, thanks kids!), we sort of had a privilege to use the shortcut. Don't mind other people staring at us, really, we just need to get to the front line and breath the fresh air. Can't believe our luck, either. What was waiting for us in the front line you can't even imagine than just gave yourself a good surprise! There was a small box, looking like a metal detector, guarded with people in uniform wearing medical masks, like those ones in the surgery. Oh, we felt like an insect when they started to disinfect us from what bugs may have been attached to our skin, clothes, or hair. What the heck, we just close our eyes and mouth, then put our hands in two small holes prepared for the hands, and let ourselves sprayed with whatever they use. Hey, do we need to take a shower afterwards?

Happened got through that line was just like getting out of a hell pit, and we deserved to wear broad smiles on our face once we were out. We went out of the arrival chamber happily, counting our luck to give the fact that there was still a very long line back there (which I felt I might be fainted if we were standing there long enough) with every half an hour perhaps more passengers from other planes were adding up. What a good start, ey? Our driver, Kadek, was there waiting for us with a broad smile on his face, waving his hands up to give us a sign that he had been there. The rain was pouring thinly in the background as we exchanged our greetings. I looked around. Dark faces and figures of Balinese are somehow an exotic scene to capture, with their high cheekbones and strong jaws, you might want to get a snapshot one or two, once they're willing to show you off their the white ridge of their teeth?

Telek Dance

Denpasar, as the capital city of Bali island, is busy as usual, but we had got no business in there, so we went straight to Ubud, the place that we love to live in. Looking at the sides of the road, I realized that there has been more building development here and there. There are more shops, restaurants, beauty salons, gallery, everything. More tourists, I can see, were strolling along the sidewalk, some were standing in front of the shops windows, and many of them were sitting in the cafe. I believe, the volume of visitors this year can be much more exciting rather than the times we went back in 2004 and 2006. I suppose this is a good sign for Indonesian tourism, especially Bali's. More Balinese will be helped by the income of selling goods, hospitality business, food, and others; which is a good news.

Once we arrived at the Monkey Forest road, more shops we can witness are piling up there. New shops which we had seen there were there three years ago. And some activities were quite dynamic on the road, as usual, where tourism buses, cars, and bikes are crammed with people. It is not as bad as you think, though it is by comparison with New Zealand traffic. New Zealand's traffic is nothing compared to any traffic in any parts of Indonesia.

In Waiting

What is Ubud?

Ubud once was only a forest, situated in the heart of Bali island. Rsi Markandya, a Hindu priest from Java island made a holy journey with his followers to a place where the Wos Timur (East river) meets up with the Wos Barat (West river) in Campuan river, which is situated in the outskirts where Ubud is located. He found out through his religious meditations that this place had to be a holy place to settle down and build stronger power of Hinduism teachings throughout Bali. The river itself has been believed to have a healing power to the sicknesses. Like Hindu people who bathe themselves in the holy Ganga river, India, these Hindu people in Bali do the same in their own land. This river has not only attracted religious visitors, but also has done artists. Antonio Blanco, to name a few, had been inspired by this river and Balinese on his many outstanding masterpieces that you can view at The Blanco Renaissance Museum Campuan.


As the importance of this river to heal those who are sick, it is then believed that the water is to be an ubad, which in Balinese language means medicine. Ubad is then pronounced Ubud, as how people name it to be until today.

Why Ubud?

Because it is the place where you can express your artistic values, minds, and talents that can be creatively transformed artistically in the artistic atmosphere into any dimensions your art of sense may take a lead. I, specifically, regard Ubud as the most artistic village on earth. It is as colourful as what a diversity can ever mean for. Even if you feel you're not artistic, you can immediately agree that you can enjoy the arts instead.

The Barong

Drinking Holy Water

If you love tranquil surroundings, you still can find it in Ubud. Your choice of bungalows can be those of standing in the middle of paddy fields, or of the accommodations resting peacefully located near the forest of Campuhan river in the outskirts of Ubud. Suits your needs and personal preference, I suppose. There are good villas about, you just need to google I suppose. But here they are to name a few: Ibah, De Ubud Villas and Spa, Kajane, and many more.

There is Tjampuhan Hotel if you want to enjoy the luxury of life located in the outskirts of Ubud, and there are also many villas, inns or bungalows offered in different styles you may prefer to stay at. If you are feeling humble you may be just happy to stay in with the locals in their compound, to get access to their daily routines, religious activities, and perhaps learn Balinese language.

If you are hungry, depending on where you decide to stay, you may certainly be instantly able to find a nearest warung, cafe, or restaurant and bar. There are scattered about in Ubud and you don't have to worry that you may get starving. Because you won't! There you can taste the flavour of Bali, Indonesian meals, or Western food.

Kebyar Terompong

If you are someone like me who loves to be entertained by the elegant movements of curly hands and toes of Balinese dancers, you may be wanting to spend the rest of your evening watching various performances held at many places in Ubud. The places that we often go to are Ubud Palace and Ubud Water Palace near the Lotus Restaurants. There are always stories of religious and the way of Balinese see the world behind each performance. I provide you some photos I took from many performances we had watched.

There are also many things you can do in Ubud. When you are with children like we are, you might want to make your quality holidays suit everyone's interest. I took my children to the Museum Puri Lukisan to admire professional paintings which most of them are oldies. I also took them to painting and dance workshops. For one time, we also learn Balinese dance at the museum as well.

When you need adventurous journey, you may want to go to the Ayung river to do white water rafting. Or perhaps, you want to retreat yourself with a series journey of healing energy? There is a yoga retreat to suit your needs.

Legong Kraton Dance

Jauk IMG_3326

Mpu Bharadah The Rangda and the Barong, the Devil and the Protector

Fighting Against the Evil Power

So, why Ubud? You now know the answer.

Note: You'll find descriptions under the photo on my Flickr if you click each of the photos.

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June 07, 2009

Like They Say "Home Sweet Home"

This is a landscape that you may encounter when you visit Ubud, Bali. This is on Jalan Bhisma, were Nick's Pension is. Nick's Pension is an inn that you can rent for days, months, or years.

When the plane touched down with smooth landing, there were applauses suddenly filled the cabin. Such a relief for everybody, I suppose, after long hours trip with being bumped and shaken as we flew on some parts above the ocean (with one session was so terrible that we almost jumped out of our seat!), as if we would not be able to touch the ground anymore. Fear may have been occured for some stage, ironically, it was a bit fun for my kids with they were cheering up themselves with 'weeeeee weeeeee' noise everytime the plane was shaken. I was just glad it was over and now, we can have a cup of coffee, safely on the ground, in our nice warm house.

'Home Sweet Home' you may call it. Both Bali and New Zealand are home for us. Bali is like our second home where we experience different culture and expand relationships with artistic works, and New Zealand is the 'main' home that we always go back from many trips, the safe land and the fresh air with lovely green jewel spread from North to South where we love to live in.

I am just wanting to say hello to you all, I am back! I really would love to share with you what we had done during our trips, but you know when you just arrived from a trip, you really need to adjust yourself again, at some stage, and it can take time. I may be doing it step by step and as we go along, I'll give you more information through photos. There are many cultural experiences we have had that I think might be interesting for you, especially if you haven't been to Bali yet. Here are some photos you may want to look that I took when we first arrived in Bali. I promise to upload more of them in a week time, so please keep looking out :)

These are the photos I took when we first came to Ubud and we went straight from the airport to Tutmak Cafe, our favourite cafe of all the cafes in Ubud, Bali. I'll write a review later.

Ben's enjoying his watermelon juice.

Sarah's enjoying her orange juice.

John's sccoping out the foamy milk out of his favourite cafe latte.

And Me? I forgot what I had, really. Anyway, it doesn't matter :)

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