Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hibiscus tea at the Casa Luna Cooking School, Ubud, Bali

The other thing I liked about the class were the great jugs of hibiscus tea. Brilliant red, I have had it before, but had forgotten about its existence. I can't remember where I had it; probably in Bali four years ago I suppose. You take a hibiscus flower, break off the stamen, and pour boiling water over it. The water goes blackish purple. Then you add sugar, and dissolve it. A couple of tablespoons of lime juice turns it scarlet. It tastes good, and is terribly refreshing. There is an astringency about it redolent of cranberry juice, but it is much more drinkable.

You come away with a little spiral bound recipe book containing only the recipes from the class, and notes on all the ingredients which were the subject of the first few hours' discussion. When de Neefe advertises a culinary tour of Bali, go on it. She is talking about writing a Balinese cookbook, though Fragrant Rice already contains many recipes. So are Mary and Agus of West Melbourne's wonderful Warung Agus. Either will be worth buying; the existing cookbooks have quite a different emphasis from what I reckon will be in de Neefe's.

Thanks to Duane Romanell, a 39 year old guy from the United States with a pretty serious Flickr addiction for the beautiful photo.


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