In 1984 I landed in Bali on a mission to learn about the food I had devoured on my first visit in the 70’s. I returned to Ubud, met Ketut, a Balinese man and my future husband and without much thought and with gilded stars spinning in my eyes, moved to this charming hillside town. I threw myself into an intriguing new life and ate as much as I could on the way.

Back then, ducks, cows and farmers wandered down the main road, telephones were few and far between, rice fields filled the spaces and life was slow. That was more 30 years ago. Since that time, 4 babies have been born and businesses have blossomed. Our children are now stepping into our shoes..

Ketut and I are the proud owners of Casa Luna and Indus restaurants, Honeymoon Guesthouse and the Honeymoon Bakery. We also run Casa Luna Cooking School where I share the secrets of Balinese cooking and the healing properties of spices. The Emporium, next door to Casa Luna, is a treasure chest of artisan Indonesian crafts, from wood-carvings to hand-woven textiles and homewares. Drop in and say hello!

[caption id="attachment_1867" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Balinese Coffee Balinese Coffee[/caption] It’s no secret that I love Balinese coffee and for nearly thirty years my day has began with a strong cup of it. A heaped teaspoon of ground coffee topped with boiling hot water, tubruk-style, is the way I like it. While the global thirst for coffee is brewing out of control, a cup of Bali’s deeply aromatic and richly flavoured single origin beans is more satisfying to me than any latte-arty frothy concoction. Most Balinese I know start their day with it: strong, hot, sweet and black, maybe served with fried bananas or jaja kukus, sticky rice cakes.
Martabak Telor is a supremely delicious snack of Arab-Indian origins. Think paper-thin pastry meets omelette and there you have martabak telor. 8
Back on board Katherina, Sea Treks’s elegant Phinisi boat, cruising the Komodo Islands for 6 days after the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. Hard to believe!
[caption id="attachment_1801" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Aceh-Style Fish Curry Aceh-Style Fish Curry[/caption] The cuisine of Aceh is influenced by Arab and Indian spices that were introduced by foreign traders, and these, when combined with local produce and especially seafood, created a fascinating fusion of flavours.
[caption id="attachment_1747" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Satonda Island Satonda Island[/caption]
I’m at the home of Pak Rimpin, the man who makes the finest smoked duck in Ubud. Pak Rimpin lives in an area known as the Jungut, just a stone’s throw from Casa Luna, tucked away in the back streets. He has been making smoked duck for as long as I can remember and when we have a ceremony we always order from him.

Welcome to the New Year! I hope that you have all...