Pasar-Pasaran please come back soon

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Almost 3 months ago Isan’s sister plus her cute little family and I took another day trip up to Ubud. The town is a great place for exploring when you live closer to the city; its like a breath of fresh air and the perfect neighbourhood to relax and recharge.

Isan had disappeared for a week to Bandung to help his Mum, so it was nice to be able to spend some family time without the structure of Isans regular Sunday routine. Vespa tinkering reigns supreme on Sundays.

Our plan whilst we were in Ubud was to stop by an awesome cafe, Warung Sopa where we had heard there was a quaint craft markets being held.

According to the markets Facebook page “Pasar-Pasaran” is a Sunday morning artsy crafty market in Ubud. Handmade goods + DIY crafting + local indie designers + workshops. The gathering enabled Indonesian artisans to come together and showcase their wonderful wares. There was a lot of beautiful things for sale and I could have bought one of each in everything. I tried my best to collect as many business cards as I could for future reference but alas I have seemed to misplaced the collection. If you are reading this and had a stall at the last Pasar-Pasaran please leave a link to your fb/instagram/webpage below in the comments section. Christmas is coming soon.

The markets were a buzz with kids playing, Mums and Dads relaxing and a creative young crowd who were setting the standard of all things cool in Indonesia. What I noticed most though was everyone was smiling. The markets premise “Make things not war” couldn’t have been more true as market goers and stall holders were just so lovely and the vibe there was extremely welcoming.

Throughout the day there were also various DIY workshops as well as musical performances to keep everyone entertained.

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People were scattered everywhere throughout the cafes’ blissful gardens; roaming, chatting and taking in the fresh air on picnic rugs.

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This was my first visit to Warung Sopa and since then I have been back several times. Its grounds are magical plus the menu is delicious and fair priced. I recommend this place to all families as there is an abundant amount of grass for all your children to run around on. There is even a tyre swing set for small and big kids alike!

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Arsa, Isans nephew made good use of the swing and we were able to capture some precious photos of him. The 2 below are my favourite, especially the one on the right; a gorgeous family memory and one for Yanti to dote over.

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Arsa loved the markets more than us and at the end of the day he didn’t want to leave.

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Since then 3 months has gone by and not a word has been spread about the next Pasar-Pasaran. Will there be another one? Please come back Pasar-Pasaran, we miss you.

-Simone

I will miss the sea the most

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Postcard perfect sunset from Uluwatu’s clifftop, South Bali

At the end of this year, perhaps sooner I will be packing up my bags and moving back to Australia. I have finally finished my university studies and now I must pull up my socks and search for a grown ups job. This year in Bali has been a great learning experience; my language skills have sky-rocketed (hampir lancar!), I’ve learnt how to cook delicious Indonesian dishes, faced my fears and learnt how to ride a scooter, gained a better insight into the daily lives of everyday Indonesians (hand-washing your clothes has that affect on you) and the most important thing, I’ve learnt that Isan and I have a relationship that’s worth fighting for. The whole point of us moving to a new place together, free from anyone else was to see if we were meant to be. Well due to the last post (you can find it here) I think you can pretty much bet that its going to happen; a marriage is in our foreseeable future.

I have enjoyed my time in Bali for the above reasons and later some day we will return to Bali to holiday, see our friends and eat some babi guling. Isan and I both agree that the one thing we will miss the most is the beaches of Bali.

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The above 2 photos were taken on a day out with friends. We all jumped into a car (much to Isans disgust- he reckons everywhere is better explored by Vespa) and headed towards the south of Bali, Uluwatu way. The plan was to beach hop around what I believe are some of Bali’s best beaches; Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Dreamland and Balangan. The sand is white, the ocean is clean and always a beautiful turquoise colour and I am told that’s where you will find the most thrilling waves in Bali.

Another time Isan and I snuck away for an afternoon to watch the sunset from the cliffs of Uluwatu. With an hour to spare before sun down we took the chance to explore around the beach below.
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The beach is also Kawans favourite hangout and I will miss the opportunity to run around and play with her seaside.
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When I return to Australia I will be moving in with the Rentals in the Blue Mountains of NSW. Its not ideal, but if Bali has taught me anything I am just lucky to have a roof over my head and a hot shower. 

In saying that, I suppose Isan and I will have to get use to moments like this too.
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-Simone

Crossed-cultural Relationships and Wedding Plans

My fiance, Isan and I have been engaged for over a year now and our wedding plans are still on the back burner. We had been together for 2 years when Isan popped the question and to me it all happened so fast. We always talked of getting married, as I think its best to lay all your cards out on the table when in a crossed-cultural relationship. I was approached to write about it here for the website jakarta100bars.com recently.

Anyways cut to a few weeks ago and we still hadn’t booked a venue, let alone chose where to have it. Originally we thought of having 1 big wedding in Bali, so that both our family and friends from either side would be able to join us on the special day. But since life here in Bali hasn’t been as fruitful as we liked and all our favourite memories together have been in another town we made a different decision. We decided that we would have 2 weddings; The first one in the Hawkesbury district of NSW, Australia where I grew up and the second in Jogjakarta, Indonesia where Isan and I first met.

After making the decision it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders, it just felt right. For the wedding in Australia we plan on having the ceremony/reception at a small country church and using their hall for a vintage themed afternoon tea. Expect tea and scones, spiked punch and cucumber sandwiches. The whole thing will be totally kitsch and just plain old fun. Here is some swell ideas we might go with.

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We will have our Indonesian wedding in Jogjakarta, Java. Javanese weddings are famous for being over the top and can go for days on end. Luckily for Isan (he is a simple kinda guy) and I, Isans’ parents are modern folk and they are just happy to have a party and a makan besar (a feast). Although I personally would like to include some traditions in our wedding as respect to Isan and his parents culture. Here are some clues to how we might celebrate our marriage, Indonesian style.

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There is a lot of things to get organised first before we can start planning the weddings. Such as sending Kawan to Australia and submitting Isans’ visa application but well I am a girl after all and thanks to Pinterest I can start dreaming/planning over my morning coffee.

All images sourced via here 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

You can also follow my Pinterest board ‘I do’ to see more pretty wedding pictures and the plans for Isan and I’s big days.

 

Behind the scenes

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I am making a conscience effort to blog more frequently. At the moment I am trying to organise all my photos to make posting in the future more simple.

So yesterday when playing virtual cleaning lady I came across some photos intended for previous posts that didn’t quite make the cut. They are just another insight into the life of Isan, Kawan and I.

-Simone xo

I cooked a cake in a rice cooker

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Did you know that a rice cooker made this dense, moist, morish carrot and coconut cake seen above? Damn straight it did and the recipe was actually meant for the oven. You can just about cook any simple flour, milk, eggs cake that you want in a rice cooker. So far I have made a upside down apple cake, a coffee cake and now I have made this delicious carrot and coconut cake.

And to test it out even more I twerked the recipe to include ingredients that were more commonly used in an Indonesian kitchen. Just like this little sweety.

gula-jawa.jpgThis is gula Jawa or gula merah or probably what you know it as, palm sugar. This type of sugar is made from extracting the sap of the palm tree and boiling it down to produce a syrup that is sweet and nutty. It is famous within Indonesian cooking, sweet or savoury and it is also less refined than granulated sugar therefore it is healthier for you.

I got the recipe for the cake from here. I just did a quick pinterest search for a carrot and coconut cake but I switched the pineapple with a mashed banana. Follow the recipe as it states and at the end you can add the cream cheese if you wish. It’s a little on the expensive side here so I gave it a miss but the cake was still yummy all the same.

The difference when cooking a cake in a rice cooker is you must butter the inside of the rice cooker and pour the mix in like the picture below.

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Place the lid down and turn it on to cook. Now you will need to listen out for when the cooker clicks over to warm. Leave it for 10 mins and then press cook again. Repeat this for a total of 3-4 times until you can stick a skewer in the cake and it comes out clean. Pull the inside of the rice cooker out and leave to cool for a few minutes. Flip it over gently and your cake should pop out. If it wont budge use a rubber spatula to nudge it a little.

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You will notice the cake will have a lot of craters all over it from the steam used to cook within the rice cooker. This does not affect it any way but rather makes for a more dense and moist cake. I bet you a rice cooker would be able to cook some rich, fudgy chocolate brownies better than any oven.

So what do you all think? Will you try to cook a cake in a rice cooker too? If so please let me know how you go. Honestly this was the best cooking discovery I have ever made either here in Indonesia or back in Australia. Western style cakes are expensive here and being able to enjoy something that reminds me of home (my Mum is a big cake baker) puts a smile on my dial.

By the way I just had to share this picture of Kawan eyeing off the cake. In this picture you can also see the ingeniousness of my cake display. Its just like the way they do in Padang restaurants.

-Simone xo

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Our Home in Bali

Recently a few friends have asked us to show some photos of our home. Well, actually one friend has been asking us since we moved in and that was over 6 months ago. So here you go all you wonderful people. This is the place we call home in Bali, Indonesia.

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It is a 2 story building with 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and ample yard space for our puppy and her friends to run around in. We chose such a big house just for the 2.5 of us because we wanted the extra space in case family came to stay. Isans’ sister and her family have stayed many times and even lived here for a little while when Isan had to return to Bandung to help his mum.

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Our bedroom isn’t anything fancy but we are thankful that we have a spring bed to sleep on and a big window that lets in a lot of natural light.

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We actually haven’t been able to make use of all the space in our house as the 2nd floor has some real bad juju about it. We did intend to turn it into a study area as it has large windows and a wooden floor but the bad vibes just got too much for us. We actually were storing towels and sheets in a cupboard up there but were told by some lovely local friends that things like that shouldn’t be stored higher than the shrines in our backyard. Promptly we removed all in storage to another room and now its just wasted space, but I’ll take that over the bad vibes any day.

We did think about moving but because renting in Indonesia usually means laying down payment for the whole year we didn’t want to loose out. So with the use of some local remedies we were able to bring some light back into the house.

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This is our gully style kitchen that we added a couple of shelves to. You will notice there isn’t any cupboard space at all! We have learnt to work around it and it means we never buy more than we need. Lately our kitchen been getting quite the workout via the Indo Food Cooking Project!

We also have a rice cooker, toaster oven and of course my coffee peculator who weren’t in the photo because they were recovering from a big night. Told you I have been cooking A-LOT!

The storage room. Nuff said.

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This is our ‘slashie’ room; it functions as a loungeroom, dining room, study and sometimes as extra space for guests or Kawan to catch a few zzzz’s in the afternoon.

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This is looking into the house from the french doors that lead outside to the backyard.

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As you step through the doors you will see all this to the left and right of you. Our whole house is surrounded by some high cemented walls that keep prying eyes from taking a sneaky peek. Isan and I both feel safer in our ‘compound’ as I am the only foreigner in the area.

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The backyard hasn’t been the labour of love it was intended to be. I have never been one for pottering around in the garden (my mother and brother are) but lately I have been dreaming of what our garden would have looked like if I put a little more effort in.

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The Pelingi (Hindu Shrine). Isan and I are Christian so we do not utilize the shrines, but the owner of the house comes every few weeks and gives offerings to the gods. I once put some biscuits in the offering space when we were having our troubles with the house (on the advice of our Balinese friends), it seem to do the trick. For now Kawan likes to use it for her photo shoots and catching up on her beauty sleep. Her sister, Rascal wanted a slice of the action too. Can you spot her?

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Isan catching a break at our ‘front door’. The bungalow that came with our house (in the left of this picture) hasn’t been as loved either and I know, such a waste! Sometimes we have had lunches out there or I have caught up on some blogging/blog reading but time and money have not been on our side. We moved to Bali as it was closer to Australia and it seemed there were more opportunities for us both. We will not be extending our rental agreement with this house and in saying that at the end of the year we both will be leaving Bali.

I will be returning home to Australia and if Isan gets his Prospective marriage visa then he will be coming too. My mother and her partner gave up coming for a visit so we could afford to send Kawan to Australia as well.

Even though we will not be returning back to Bali after December, Indonesia will always be on the cards. We have lots of plans that involve this wonderful country and therefore the blog will still be fully operational. Isan and I planned to get married next year; 1 wedding in Australia and another in Indonesia, both small and with just close family and friends. My career will always revolve around Indonesia and our children will grow up here.

There will always be lots of stories to keep on sharing.

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Go Bananas for Pisang Goreng

pisang-goreng.jpgA few weeks ago I decided it was time I learnt how to cook Indonesian food. I have ate my way through many a dish, thanks to encouragement and guidance of my fiance, Isan but I’ve never really learnt how to cook them. I can remember trying to cook Nasi goreng a few times in Australia but I only just learnt how to use a rice cooker this year. So go figure! It has been a great experience so far (luckily) with no major fails or upsets. Isan is really happy with the majority of my cooking and he even proclaimed that I make better Nasi goreng than him! As my endeavors have been more positive than negative, I have decided to make a little project out of it and write about it (among other things) on this blog. ‘The Indo Cooking Project’ will hopefully teach you all how to make delicious Indonesian food mixed with a western perspective. I will try my best to offer recipes that will give you with the same results as I would get here, cooking in my kitchen in Bali. To begin us off I’ll start with the simple treat, Pisang Goreng or Deep fried banana. I actually decided to start with this recipe as a blog I read, Backpacker Lee (find his blog here) wrote a post about the top 5 Asian street foods for Backpackers here. He proclaimed in the comments section that he was missing Pisang goreng and said he wasnt sure on how to cook it. I thought, I love Pisang Goreng too! Hey Lee I reckon I can give it a crack and then if I can do it, so can you and all of my wonderful readers out there. Here for your tummies pleasure the recipe for Pisang Goreng. The Ingredients you will need Fried-Banana-Ingredients.jpgYou will see the optional extras I have added, which I do suggest you try mixing into your batter once you have mastered the basic recipe. Instructions Prepare the batter by combining plain flour, rice flour, egg and water. I recommend using a whisk until the consistency is like this. fried-banana-batter.jpgDon’t worry if there are air bubbles, as they will create crispy, crunchy bits all over your banana after frying. Now peel and cut the bananas to you liking. If using cavendish I suggest cutting them in half and then slicing length ways- meaning you will end up with 4 pieces from 1 banana. If you got your hands on some lovely finger bananas then all you have to do is slice them in half length ways. Or do as I have done and cut the banana into three parts just stopping before the bottom. This is so that you can shape it into a fan, and its also the way those from Kalimantan prepare their pisang goreng. kalimantan-bananas.jpgDip your bananas into the batter and now your ready to fry. Do as the Indonesians do and fill a wok (no need for deep fryers here) with enough oil to cover the bananas and then add a bit more. Heat the wok to a medium heat and drop about a table spoon of batter to test the temp. If the oil starts to bubble then your good to go. Drop them slowly one at a time. They are ready once they have reached a dark golden colour. pisang-goreng.jpgPut them onto some paper towels or newspaper as I have done here and wait for them to cool for a moment. pisang-goreng01.jpgAfternoon-snack.jpgPisang goreng is best eaten warm and served along side a cup of tea or coffee. Sometimes Indonesians will serve Pisang goreng with chocolate sprinkles, cheese or even a drizzle of condensed milk. I allowed the sprinkles.