Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Casa Luna Cooking School is more for looking

As I still haven't done an ocean swim or written one pathetic word of my Great Australian Novel (*snort*) I thought I would return to my recent adventures in Bali.

Of course, with the imminent cinema release of Eat, Pray, Love, this post is timely as it deals with my own middle-life crisis, which is pretty ordinary albeit 'strangely compelling'*

But this post is about Ms Fivestar's and my experience of the renowned Casa Luna (CL) Cooking School in Ubud. The CL empire is run by Janet De Neefe, a glamorous expat Australian who married a Balinese more than 20 years ago and is now behind the Indus Restaurant, Honeymoon Guesthouses, Pantheon Gallery and the Casa Luna Restaurant, Cooking School and Emporium. 

We didn't meet De Neefe or "Mrs Janet", as she is called by her staff, who obviously adore her.

But we did get to enjoy several hours with our Casa Luna cooking 'teacher', Made, whose huge smile and wicked sense of humour was thoroughly engaging. On the downside, we didn't get to do much cooking. The class was less hands-on and more of a cooking demonstration.

One of the reasons for this is the class sizes. In our class was a group of around eight women from Geraldton in WA, Angela from Darwin in the NT (her boyfriend Robbie had a dose of Bali belly and couldn't make it), around half a dozen women from the USA (Pennsylvania), a mother and daughter from Brazil and Ms Five Star and me. Note: the majority of the women were aged 40-60 and the token male was absent.  

The cooking facilities in the tropical semi-outdoor setting comprised two wok burners, so you couldn't accommodate more than two people at a time. Admittedly, half the challenge in creating the dishes was the slicing and dicing, which was mostly completed for us before the class started. And at the end of the class, we consumed the feast. 

The dishes were: 
spiced fish in banana leaves, fish curry, spinach in tomato-chilli sambal, carrot and cucumber salad and sambal. These were followed by black rice pudding.  

There are lots of cooking schools in Ubud, and some might just be more interactive than this one. If you like to look and eat, it's a winner. But if you prefer to do more than stir and pound for a bit, you might just want to look around.
*Stay tuned for my 'the day I cried in the supermarket' post. It's a cracker. 'Strangely compelling' is designed to attract curious readers to my blog.  


Anita Joy said...

Shayne, found your post interesting, but then ROFL at your reasoning for *strangely compelling* lol. Can't wait to hear the supermarket story.

Shayne said...

Thanks Anita. It is tragic. And I just noticed that I referred to my crisis as 'middle-life' which has echoes of Lord of the Rings! said...

Nice blog still crack me up