The Republic of Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia, located in the Malay Archipelago between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Its territory is spread over the Sunda Islands, the Moluccas, as well as the western part of the island of New Guinea. This country is the largest Muslim country, consisting of 17,508 islands, most of which are mountainous. There are over 100 active volcanoes in Indonesia. The country ranks fourth in the world in a population of over 240 million and has 742 different languages and dialects. I know that the island of Bali is just one of many in Indonesia, but today I will tell you about it first hand.
I have been to the island of Bali twice and it has a very special place in my heart. I last visited it half a year ago and the memories from there are still bright and very warm. The first time was four years ago. Then I needed to achieve peace mostly with myself. I wondered what would be the place that could calm me down and I choosed Bali. I do not regret my choice. This is the place with the nicest and most positive people I’ve ever been to. And this is not a myth, but the real reality there. Everywhere, without exception, people greet you with a smile and calm. And, if at first I thought it was because they work in the hotel and require it from them, then after many tours of the island and meetings with all sorts of people, I realized that everyone there is just like that – kind. This comes from their culture, way of life, beliefs. People there believe that they will be reborn, and if they were not good enough, the rebirth would not be very good. It is not a question of being afraid, but rather of caring for their immortal soul. In both my stays I never saw anyone quarrel with another, radiate malice and hatred, be rude to the people around him. Sounds amazing, right? But it is a fact. And on the island you really live easily and you feel great – breathe lightly, walk lightly, smile and have peace in your soul.
Balinese are wise people. If you ask them what they expect from life, they tell you – nothing. And they have the wisdom to enjoy the little things and just be happy. Objectively speaking, they are much poorer materially than us, but they live better. I always thought that happiness had nothing to do with money and things, and I saw it there. I became sad for our dear native reality, because we make our days unhappy, we are always looking for something, we suffer that we have nothing, we are angry about nonsense, we poison our lives. According to various studies, this attitude towards life depended on latitude. Because Bali is almost at the equator all year round the conditions are almost the same. They have a dry and rainy season, but apart from the amount of precipitation, the rest is almost constant. This led to a calmer acceptance of life, there was no need to stock up on food, fuel for heating… while with us the fact that there is winter leads to a desire to accumulate food, belongings and makes us more anxious and more materially oriented. I don’t know if it’s just that, but this theory sounds pretty believable.
Aside from people, the other thing that draws me furiously to this country is the Indian Ocean. My favorite ocean. 🙂 The water is almost like tea, and the color is crystal clear. In combination with the white beaches and the lush greenery around make the feeling indescribable. In general, the island is very green. And the rice terraces are like a green sea to me. I can sit and contemplate them for hours and I can’t stop smiling all the time. They create so much peace and silence in my soul that I do not have enough words to describe the feeling to you. I can only wish you to see and feel them with your souls.
Bali is called the island of a thousand temples. There is something true about this, because there is a temple in almost every house. I went to all the big and important for the Balinese temples. Honestly, I wasn’t very impressed. Some of them are located in picturesque places and in fact the combination of temple and nature creates a special feeling. One such place is the temple complex in Lake Beratan, as well as the Tana Lot temple. I liked them the most.
Bali’s cuisine will make all your senses celebrate – it is delicious, spicy, natural, simple and rich in seafood, fruits and vegetables. I personally learned to eat spicy food on my first trip to this country. Since I was in Malaysia first, it can be said that I had no choice – spicy or nothing. In Bali you can eat more neutral foods, but once you have tasted the authentic flavors you do not want to do it. 🙂 I really like lobster, fish and shrimp there, as well as chicken dishes (often cooked with pineapple). The main food there is rice. It is also used in daily Hindu ceremonies. They have a dish with rice, chicken, vegetables and pineapple, which is served in halved pineapple. It is my favorite. 🙂 On the island I saw for the first time fruits like mangosteen and snake fruit. Mangosteen, in addition to being delicious, is also very useful. Its bark is dried and added to tea and is said to keep you forever young. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it’s a fact that the people on the island have very young faces. Whether from mangosteen or something else, but it’s a fact. The snake fruit grows on a palm tree, which is very similar to the date palm, but has terribly large thorns. This fruit impressed me the most because I had never tried anything like it, nor had I seen it on TV, I had not read about it. I thought that globalization was taking away from us the feeling of discovering such unknown foods, but fortunately it is not so ubiquitous and there are still some exotic foods that amaze and fascinate me.
On the island you can try the most expensive and according to some the best coffee – kopi luwak. Coffee like coffee, but passed through the civet’s digestive tract before being roasted and served in a cup. Many people are disgusted to try it, but these are prejudices. The coffee simply has a slightly astringent taste. If you can overcome it, try it, so for the experience. 😉 And as for the civet – it is a cute tailed animal that you can see in many places where there are coffee plantations. It looks to me like a cross between a fox and a squirrel. Talking about animals, I remembered to recommend a visit to the monkey forest in Ubud. There you can walk among the free-living monkeys and even they get on your backpack, back, head, have your glasses stolen or something you have left in an accessible place in your bag. Despite these extras, the visit is very pleasant and invigorating. Personally, I really like monkeys and I felt good there. You just have to remember not to look them in the eye, especially the dominant males. This will not lead to anything good for you.
In Bali, the dessert is mostly fruit. Ice cream is also available. When I was there earlier this year, I had already started writing in this blog and I explicitly asked our guide there about a traditional cake, but he couldn’t tell me about one because there isn’t one. It’s understandable – it’s humid and hot there and you really don’t feel like eating a cake, especially with the abundance of delicious and fresh fruit all year round. To my delight, I was able to find a recipe for a cake from Indonesia, which is probably prepared on another of the many islands. I have prepared Lapis Surabaya for you. Here are the products from which it is prepared:
10 egg yolks
125 grams of sugar
50 grams of flour
125 grams of butter at room temperature
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1 tablespoon cocoa
grated orange peel
2 tablespoons strawberry jam (maybe more)
Steps of preparation:
Beat the butter with the salt for about 10 minutes to get a fluffy cream. Separately beat the yolks with the sugar until the mixture doubles in volume and turns white. Add powdered milk, vanilla and flour. Finally, add the oil mixture in portions. Beat on low speed with a mixer until it becomes a homogeneous mixture. Divide it into two parts – 1/3 + 2/3. In the smaller part, add the orange peel and the cocoa dissolved in a little water. Distribute the mixture in three cake pans or as I did – in a larger pan + one for cake. Line with baking paper beforehand. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.
Remove the cake bases to cool on a wire rack.
Then form three layers.
Place one white cake base at the bottom. Spread with strawberry jam.
Place the cocoa cake base. Then spread jam again and finally place the third cake base.
Here is the original recipe. The rest I added is for decoration and more flavor. I could not help it. 🙂 I decorated with ice cream, orange spirals and slices and some French macaroons with orange and mocha flavors.
The cake is simple but rich in flavors. While it was baking, everyone who passed through the kitchen made strange noises and the invariable – “Mmmmm, it smells delicious.” 🙂 When they saw the result there was only one remark – it is very little, for whom ahead. 🙂 So, if you do it for more people, you can increase the quantities of the products proportionally. The cake is airy and light. It is very easy to prepare – about 2 degrees of difficulty of 10. At home it disappeared in a few minutes. Literally. I felt a dose of disappointment about the quantity… But the important thing is what the taste brings. Or so I think. Otherwise for Indonesia and Bali in particular. I am convinced that I will go to this place again. To recharge with positivism, to warm up in the winter, to find peace… Because of so many other things. If you haven’t been there and you liked my story – go. It’s not that expensive, it’s not that far. 🙂 If this cake looks delicious – make it. For afternoon coffee, for the weekend at the villa or simply because everyone at home loves sweets. 🙂
Next destination – Iraq.