Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lobong Culinary Experience - Part 2, Morning Tea

Our driver took us back to the Sang family’s, Lobong Villa complex, pulling up on the side of the road all I could see were a couple of yellow flags and some Bali bunting, it was not until we were led to a staircase that went down into the complex that the family homes came into view.  

Like most staircases in Bali, they were big steps and with each one more of the garden were exposed, it was gorgeous, frangipani trees adorned with stag horns and orchids, green grass dividing by the paths that led from one pavilion to the next.

In the centre a beautiful pavilion looked splendid in its plum coloured tiles, had a timber coffee table surrounded by cushions, we were motioned to take a place around the table, while we waited for the other couple and our host to arrive. 

Once Made arrived we were offered Bali Kopi, which when brought to the table came with baskets of Pisang Goreng (banana fritter cakes), piping hot straight out of an oven, I had never had these before, but after taking my first bite I wanted more, it was delicious and I at first thought the banana to be custard, it was so smooth and YUM YUM.

Whilst we were having our morning tea, Made explained the setup of the family complex, firstly explaining the family Temple and how it sat in the North-East of the property, with shrines dedicated to the Hindu Gods and family ancestors. He then explained the other buildings and their significance and placement around the property.  The eldest family member being housed in the pavilion nearest to the temple, had three rocks either side of the path leading to it, when a child is born, the placenta from its birth is placed under one these rocks, boys one side, girls the other and according to their order of birth within the family.  Another interesting fact we learnt after a child is born, the child’s feet do not touch the ground until he or she has turned 105 days old, until that time the child is continually held in the arms of a family member, and then they have a special ceremony to celebrate the child’s 105th day.
These huts stored the family's rice store, the rice grown at another of their properties

When we had had enough morning tea we were guided toward the kitchens, the complex has two kitchens the first known as the black kitchen, was a bit like a lean-to and it was obvious why it was known as the black kitchen.  

As we approached, we could see Made’s mother there preparing coconut oil, he was so proud to introduce her to us, his respect and love for her was obvious by the introduction, she had the biggest smile as we approached.   

Just beyond the black kitchen, we noticed some pigs and we were distracted by them for a few minutes, before coming back to Mum to see how she went about extracting the oil from the coconuts, we would be using the same oil in our cooking lesson.

The coconut oil is extracted, by firstly shredding the coconut flesh finely, then by adding it and some water to a pot, which is boiled for a few hours, the oil rises to the top and is skimmed off, once there is enough oil skimmed off it is re-boiled to evaporate any remaining water and then bottled.  Unlike other oils we learnt, coconut oil can be used over and over again.
The family complex was awesome, and far exceeded what I had expected, it was virtually self contained, they had pigs, chickens, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the home grown spices various varieties of ginger, galangal, turmeric, chillies and peanuts, and from their rice fields rice, just about all of which would be used during the cooking session.

There has been so much to this day already and we are still to see the white kitchen and to meet Chef Dewa Jana, Made’s cousin, the best is yet to come…

Continued here Lobong Culinary Experience part 3 Cooking lessons

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