Food for life, Great things to do in Bali, healthy cafes Bali

Kayun restaurant: Heart Touch

Translating into something akin to ‘heart touch’ the founding philosophy of Kayun is that “Anything created with a heart will bring happiness, inner peace and positive energy.”

Unless you are lucky enough to be invited to a ceremonial meal in a village, finding a traditional Balinese dining experience can be surprisingly difficult. A visit to the Kayun Restaurant and Lounge in Mas gives a rare insight into the relationship between food and the divine. The setting is utterly enchanting, thatched berugas and a main dining pavilion set amidst a natural garden. Many of the products used at Kayun are homemade, from the brem (rice wine) to coconut oil to soy sauce, and you can watch women at work in the traditional open air kitchen fuelled by a log fire.

Our welcome drink is a rather potent Brem Mojito and we follow with some traditional jamus, including a Loloh Kayun Turmeric, a dark orange concoction made with turmeric, ginger and lemon, and a grassy green Loloh Kayun Saraswati sweetened with honey from Singaraja.

Food is beautifully presented, the Nasi Saraswati comes on a lotus leaf, topped with eight dishes woven from banana leaf. Each is an offering and pays tribute to the ocean, the river, trees, earth and sky, with turmeric rice, dry salty fish, river shrimp, grated coconut, crunchy soya beans, sambal and spicy chicken. The Lotus Rice is decoratively wrapped in a lotus leaf tied in a bundle. It’s a little like opening a birthday present to reveal rice that is slightly sweet and just a little spicy rice with pumpkin, carrot and tossed in coconut oil. The Vegetable Bamboo comes packed into a bamboo stem, blending the earthy goodness of cassava leaf with tofu and tempe and Balinese spice. While the Yuyu Crab is a fresh river crab soup beautifully served in a coconut. Other traditional dishes include Crispy Duck, Soto Ayam and Bubur Rempah, herb porridge made with red rice, star anise, sweet corn, cinnamon and chicken stock, and a Natural Daluman Pudding that takes its green colour from the dalaman leaf.

Mas is famed across Indonesia for its wood carving. As legend has it, in the 16th century, a monk named Danhyannirarta placed a wooden twig in the ground, which miraculously became a living tree filled with golden flowers. He took this as a sign that the people should put down their roots in this place, and call it Mas, meaning gold; and declared that the people who settled here would create their life from wood. As well as a restaurant, Kayun creates stunning works of art and sculptures lovingly carved from single tree trunks, so make sure to take a peek in the Bidadari Gallery at the entrance to the restaurant.

Herbal Bali

Coconut hair rituals


In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as [kalpa vriksha,] meaning “tree which gives all that is necessary for living,” because nearly all parts of the tree can be used in some manner or another.

Coconuts are full of things that are great for your skin and body, like vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, natural proteins and fibres. One of the best ways to stay hydrated in the tropics is to drink plenty of coconut water as it is packed with natural electrolytes that replenish and nourish the body. Applying coconut to the body has a similarly hydrating effect. The milk is particularly rich and has been used for centuries to nourish hair and skin and leave it looking smooth and radiant, while coconut oil is a valuable source of vitamin E – an antioxidant which keeps skin soft and helps battle the visible effects of aging.  For a deep conditioning treatment at home, wash your hair, towel dry, then massage two tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil into your hair and scalp – concentrating on the damaged ends.  Cover with a shower cap then wrap in a hot towel and leave for two to three hours, before wash thoroughly (the oil is heavy so you may need to wash a couple of times.)


Splurge at Four Seasons

 It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting for a tropical spa treatment than one of the open-air bales at The Spa at Four Seasons, Jimbaran Bay. Opt for a Coconilla ritual, imbued with the exotic aroma of coconut, the scent of vanilla, a salty sea breeze and the gentle lap of waves on the beach.  Freshly grated coconut is blended with thick coconut milk into a rich luxurious body scrub that gently polishes and rehydrates the skin, leaving it incredibly soft and supple. I highly recommend following with a Neem and Coconut Oil Treatment. The deeply relaxing scalp massage stimulates blood circulation, neem rejuvenates hair cells, and the coconut oil nourishes and restores the hair. The effect is astonishing, after this treatment my hair is positively lustrous (and that is not an adjective I could usually use when describing my hair.) Many say that when it comes to hair care, virgin coconut oil is better than any manmade treatment on the market and I tend to agree. Unlike most oils and moisturisers that  just sit on the skin, coconut oil actually penetrates the hair shaft to prevent damage from the inside out. Alison

Coconilla Ritual at The Spa at Four Seasons, Jimbaran Bay +62 361 701010

More about coconuts







Food for life, Great things to do in Bali, healthy cafes Bali, Uncategorized

Little Green

In the three years that it has been open The Little Green Cafe has built a loyal following thanks to a fresh salad bar, friendly vibe, and delicious healthy desserts. With its relocation last year to a bigger space (just across the road from the original spot,) Little Green has blossomed –  quite literally – into the cafe it was always meant to be. Vines dangle in the vibrant garden, aloe vera spills out of  terracotta pots; basil and coriander thrive amidst the Buddha statues, and there are colourful garlands of flowers everywhere. Simple outdoor furniture is punctuated by sunbrellas, heart-shaped napkin holders and woven placemats.



Little Green has always been a  gathering place, somewhere to sit down with friends and enjoy a good healthy meal in atmospheric, welcoming  surrounds.  Now there is room to breath, and the garden creates a true sanctuary –  its hard to believe we are just meters  from busy Jalan Mertanadi.  The concept remains the  same – home style whole foods, with daily changing salads and bakes, vegan burgers, healthy juicy elixirs. However, the menu, like the premises has expanded, with a recent shift  towards more raw vegan foods – including a huge range of delicious and nutritious desserts.  


We start with a Raw Mexican Platter, a new addition featuring  crunchy, locally made tortilla chips, home baked chilli beans, a sharp, piquant tomato sambal, fresh salsa and a creamy tahina and peanut sauce. I follow with the bake of the day – a light and tasty vegan Vegetable Lasagne made with eggless pasta, lashings of fresh vegetables and spinach. The rich creaminess coming from a cashew nut cheese and totally renders béchamel sauce obsolete!  I choose two side salads, Pumpkin & Pineapple, with rucola, lemongrass, cranberries and a hint of chilli, and Fennel, Beetroot Coleslaw, a bright, cheery and very red salad madewith lots of peppers, cabbage and beetroot.


I really enjoy the desserts which have a natural and earthy goodness. The moist and sticky Vegan Chocolate Cake is textured and flavoured with organic raw cacao and cashews, and sweetened with dates. While the Raw Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake is made with creamed cashews, vanilla, honey, almonds and dates set in a macadamia nut crust.  



Drinks range from Young Coconut, to Aloe Vera, Orange and Apple and Green Juice, and there is also a small selection of nuts and pulses, teas and organic products for sale in the shop front. For those looking for a healthy kick start to the day The Little Green breakfast beckons with Cranberry Almond Porridge,  Apple, Date and Cinnamon Porridge.




The Little Green Café  Jl Bidadari No 1. (off Jalan Mertanadi)


P +62 361  2752125  Open 9am – 6pm


Food for life, Great things to do in Bali, healthy cafes Bali, Uncategorized

Kopi Kultur

A number of charismatic warungs and cafes have sprung up in Kerobokan lately.  Kopi Kultur is one of them, and turns out to be the most wonderful of discoveries.


The rustic cafe is housed in a sloping bamboo structure and is part of the Wisnu Open Space which incorporates a gallery, a library and  headquarters for the Wisnu foundation. Set up to empower local communities, the Balinese foundation has a  range of initiatives including eco tourism that promotes traditional villages and their natural attractions, such as rice fields, organic coffee plantations and customary rituals.



Ayip Budiman a communications expert, and one of the founders of Kopi Kultur explains that, “The cafe is a showcase, but the real story is what lies behind.” This is the perfect example of a group of  people with very different backgrounds but similar social values who ar. The four include Ayip, along with  I Made Suarnatha who created the Wisnu foundation, Dicky Lopulalan – a facilitations expert, and Rai Bangsawan of ‘Bali Exotic Beans’ a farming and agricultural consultant who works directly with farmers to implement sustainable, fair trade practices.


While coffee is a specialty, there is also  Indonesian food, homemade cakes, pies, baguettes and a range of products on sale such as organic coffee, palm sugar and 9 grain rice – all supplied directly from small local businesses. Rai expertly prepares us Bali Arabica coffee in an elegant glass siphon right at the table, and we sip the resulting smooth rich brew from dainty glasses. He makes a great Cappuccino too, and there is also coffee from Ache, Timor and Papua, as well as  Bali Rustica and Bali Peabody, all of which can be spiced up with the addition of cloves, cinnamon, ginger or cardamom.  


The menu offers Indonesian favourites such as Campur and Rendang as well as grills and a couple of pasta dishes. The Nasi Bamboo Kopi Kultur is impressive – rice and vegetables steamed in a piece of bamboo more than a meter long. The bamboo is split open at the table releasing a wonderful aroma. Half is filled with nutty nine grain rice, the other a light and fragrant mix of colourful vegetables, fish and chicken. The pies are also good – especially the Apple with lots of cinnamon.  



The gallery currently has an interesting exhibition by the Eco defenders #Kudamacan, a local cyclist group who are passionate about protecting the environment, while the library shelves are filled with titles in Bahasa Indonesian, English and other languages. Set up as a space for the community, Wisnu Open Space has developed into quite a gathering place, a true melting pot of musicians and artists including locals, expats, and increasing numbers of tourists who are looking for cultural insight. We are also in luck as the Black Valentine community events gets underway just after sunset and some great local bands take to the outdoor stage to belt out some good old fashioned rock n roll.


What started as a simple restaurant review turned into an inspirational experience, marked by excellent coffee, interesting people, good music and a genuine sense of community.


Kopi Kultur   Jalan Pengubengan Kauh 94    P +62 361 798 3222


Food for life, Great things to do in Bali, healthy cafes Bali, Uncategorized

Kreole Kitchen



The food alone is enough of a reason to stop at Kreole Kitchen, but the retro ‘old school’ Melbourne vibe creates a wonderful sense of nostalgia that has me  reminiscing about the carefree days of my childhood in Australia.

Lime green Tupperware, pots shaped like pineapples, vinyl album art and lamp shades made from tea towels printed with kangaroos and kookaburras evoke the 70’s.  A black board lists homemade pies, and a glass cabinet is filled with the kind of sweets I used to bake with my mum – like peppermint slices, crumbly short bread and chocolate crackles, while I could swear the vintage crockery and framed teaspoon collection came from my grandma. However the rice field views from the breakfast counter at the back don’t let me forget that I am in Bali.


Annick,who formerly worked in the design industry started the cafe in 2012 and  now spends her days cooking and playing gracious host to her many regular guests. “I am living my dream,” she says with a smile, “I feel blessed.”  While her heritage is Mauritian Creole, she grew up in Melbourne, and the menu and the paraphernalia reflect both.The space is nurturing and comforting, heavy on the human touch, with a dose of spirituality thrown into the mix. Paintings of three female deities preside over the open  kitchen to “bless the food,” and the counter has wooden  boxes marked with ‘magic bits’ and ‘fairy dust.’ “We sprinkle it on all the food,” she tells me with a smile. Whether its magic or just good old-fashioned home-style cooking techniques,  the food is delicious.

The popular Kreole Platter releases a fragrant aroma as it is set on the table – a thali tray with a thick yellow dhal; a light, yet fully flavoured okra and vegetable curry, creamy raita; tasty Mauritian-inspired coconut chutney, chapati and a mix of red and white rice. Aussie-style pies are also a crowd favourite and include Chunky Beef Pie  encased in golden pastry, a hearty mashed potato-topped Shepherd’s Pie and real, homemade Sausage Rolls,soft flaky pastry filled with chicken, beef, carrot and just a hint of apple. The mini Spinach and Feta Borek are excellent – I cook good borek myself – and although it kills me to admit it,these are better.


There are no sugary soft drinks on the menu, instead  fresh juices, young coconut, herbal teas and homemade cordials like Rosella and Vanilla Bean and Ginger and Lime mixed with soda water. Annick also stocks the rather  hard-to-find, but very good Bali Cider and organic F.R.E.A.K(Fresh Roasted Enak  Arabica from Kintamani) coffee  which is cold-pressed, smooth and full bodied. It is  the perfect accompaniment to Chocolate and Peanut Hedgehog a crunchy chocolate nutty slice, a Lemon Slice and  a Melting Moment – shortbread that really does melt in the mouth.


Kreole Kitchen

JalanDrupardi 11 no.56

P +62 361 738514

Food for life, Great things to do in Bali, healthy cafes Bali, Uncategorized




Just minutes from Seminyak, the pretty seaside village of Berawa is developing quite a cafe scene.  Bungalow is the newest addition, combining  gorgeous homeware with a tasty home-style menu. Balinese-born musician Donald, and his Australian wife Giovanna, have drawn inspiration from their global travels to bring a touch of the exotic to this charming store/cafe, where everything has been hand-picked to create a wonderful homey atmosphere.  “We wanted to make a cosy sanctuary with good music…..a place to smell the flowers, the coffee and the incense, ”says Donald. 

A colonial-style wooden bungalow with distressed timber, exposed brick walls and quaint shutters sets the scene. Ornate bird cages dangle above the shady terrace where shelves are stacked with hand painted watering cans and fresh potted herbs (for sale) in bright flower pots. The air-conditioned interior is brimming with retro style furnishings and antiques, many in soft hues of green – chosen, says Donald, “To create a soothing, natural ambience.” All homewares are for sale, from four poster bed, to chunky dining table, brass hurricane lamps, woven place mats, crocheted quilts and floral cushions. A veritable treasure trove, Bungalow is ideal for gift shopping with its own line of bath products and candles, antique toys and inspirational books, with titles like ‘Thank you’ ‘I Believe’ ‘Joy’ and ‘Love.’  Cafe tables are scattered amidst the antiques and there is a lovely cushion filled alcove under a wall of clocks.  

A cabinet displays an enticing arrange of cakes, big glass jars are filled with cookies and fresh herbs, and baskets are piled with almond croissants, blueberry muffins, and French apple pie. The menu is listed on blackboards and includes a healthy range of juices, smoothies, baguettes, open sandwiches on sourdough, and salads. Tofu is blended with red peppers and walnuts, flavoured with herbs and mustard then baked into patties and served in a sesame seed bun with rocket, tomato, cheese, and homemade mayo to create a wholesome and tasty Tofu Burger. The Daily Salad is a fresh and springy mix of rocket, mixed leaves, pumpkin and fetta, while Baguettes come with a selection of fillings, like smoked salmon, rocket and cream cheese. Refreshing drinks include an invigorating Ginger Lime Cooler blending crushed ginger root with Bali lime, fresh-picked mint and ginger ale, while the Berry Delight is a luscious, dark pink  treat of mixed berries.

A good range of coffees make a perfect accompaniment to rich Chocolate Cake, Blueberry Cheese Cake,Carrot and Walnut Cake and my choice – Italian Meringue Pie a creamy, lemony concoction with the softest sweetest meringue.

 Bungalow home/books/music/coffee 

Jalan Pantai Berawa

T+62 361 8446567

Open 8.30am – 6pm  Mon – Sat

Food for life, Uncategorized

Tofu and Tempe


While both tofu and tempeh come from soy beans they are made with different processes. Tofu comes from curdling hot soy milk with a coagulant, while tempeh is made from slightly fermented cooked soy beans. While both are good sources of protein,  the fermentation process and the retention of whole beans gives tempeh a higher content of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins than tofu, as well as firmer texture and stronger flavor.


Tofu is quite bland alone, but is a sponge for flavours, making it highly versatile as an ingredient. As a rule of thumb you could try preparing it in the same way that you cook chicken, using similar seasonings , best just to try and see what works for you. Silken tofu can be pureed and used in sauces, while the firmer tofus work well in stir fries or baked in the oven.

In Indonesia it is often deep fried which makes it tasty but not particularly healthy, and I have spent years experimenting to find the best way to cook it. Generally I keep it simple with a meal of tofu and salad, or a tofu sandwich layered with crispy tofu, grated carrot, sesame seeds and lettuce.To cook the tofu, first pat dry with absorbent paper, sprinkle with salt then pan fry in a thin coat of corn oil with sliced garlic and a little fresh ginger. Cook till golden. A drizzle of kecap manis (sweet soya sauce) at the end adds a sweet flavour, while a sprinkle of black sesame seeds adds a crunchy texture.


Recently I tried the Caprese Kampung at Desa Seni. I am a huge fan of buffalo mozzarella and always love a Caprese salad, but this one  exchanges mozzarella with  fresh tofu, layering it  with avocado, kemangi (Balinese lemon basil) and firm but juicy tomatoes with a tangy sambal vinaigrette. The taste is  incredibly fresh and the sprinkle of crunchy fried shallots adds extra flavour. I will see if I can get the recipe so watch this space!

2013-02-08 12.32.22

Another of my favourite tofu dishes is at Clear  in Ubud, I think its called the snow crusted tofu – or something like that and I have been trying to recreate it. My version is  different – but it tastes pretty good.

Coconut crusted tofu

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • 1 x block tofu (firm tofu is best) cut into cubes sprinkled with sea salt
  • 2 x tablespoon organic coconut syrup  – available at Zula (or agave nectar)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (fresh if possible, but dried is ok)

Mix the tofu in a bowl with the coconut syrup and coconut until all the cubes are coated. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until the coconut begins to toast. Serve with rice, or mashed potato.

This recipe  is a favourite with my friends

Pasta with tofu, broccoli and feta

  • I block tofu, sliced 1cm thick
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots diced
  • 1 head broccoli (chopped into florets)
  • 50-100grams firm feta cheese
  • 1 pkt pasta
  • handful fresh parsley finely chopped

Sprinkle the tofu with salt and lightly pan fry, adding the garlic and shallots after a minute or so. Cook till golden. Meanwhile boil or steam the broccoli until cooked (but still firm) strain then add to tofu garlic mix and heat through. Cube the cooked tofu and lightly mash the brocoli and add the feta cheese.

Boil the pasta till al dente, toss with olive oil, then add the tofu /broccoli mix and serve with a sprinkle of parsley.


Tandoori Tofu

These tasty cubes of tofu are great as canapes, served on toothpicks.

  • 600 gr deep fried tofu
  • 150 gr thick plain yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • a garlic clove, crushed
  • 3cm fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped (with seeds)
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds plus 2 teaspoons coriander seeds,  lightly toasted in dry frying pan, and finely crushed 
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • fresh coriander, coarsely chopped

Cut the tofu into bite sized cubes and place in a large bowl. In another bowl combine all other ingredients (except fresh coriander and lemon.) Spoon the mixture over the tofu and toss well until evenly covered. Marinate for at least one hour (overnight is even better.) Spread on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour at 200 degrees Celsius. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with lemon juice and fresh coriander. 

Tofu and Shitake Mushrooms with crispy black rice patties

  • 600 gr deep fried tofu cut into cubes
  • 1 tbspn each soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil
  • 2 tbspn each sunflower oil, hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tspn chilli oil 
  • 275 gr carrot cut into match sticks
  • 250 gr shitake mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 9 spring onions, cut into 3 cm  strips

Rice Patties

  • 200 gr uncooked black rice (you could also use red rice)
  • 1 tbspn soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 heaped tbspn plain flour
  • handful of fresh chives and coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Cook the rice and soy sauce, then rinse until water runs clear. Put in a bowl and mash with chilli sauce, egg yolk, flour, chives, coriander, salt and pepper. Roll into 12 balls and flatten into patties. Heat oil (3 cm depth) in fry pan. Add a few patties at a time and cook on each side till golden brown. 

Put tofu on baking tray and sprinkle with soy sauce and chilli oil. Cook in pre heated oven at 200 Celsius for 20 minutes. Fry sunflower and sesame seeds , add carrots and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Add hoisin, soy sauce and rice vinegar and 200 ml water and continue cooking for two minutes. Stir in spring onions, roast tofu and salt/pepper. In a separate wok/fry pan stir fry bok choy for 2 – 3 minutes.

To serve  Put three rice patties on each plate, with bok choy, tofu and mushrooms alongside. Sprinkle with coriander. 


Tempeh has a slightly sweet nutty flavour and much thicker texture than tofu. The Tempeh penyet (fried in batter) that  you find in the street markets in Jogjakarta (Java) is divine, but once again a little too oily to be healthy.  The thing is tempeh definitely tastes better when its crispy, and although I have tried baking it, I find its tastiest if I pan fry in just a little corn oil with some garlic (you can soak in water and salt for a few minutes first to make the tempeh a little more moist.)  I then use the crispy strips to make tempeh burgers or sandwiches or just toss it into a salad. Recently though I have been experimenting with tempeh manis, a sweet and crunchy dish that’s popular in the warungs here. Its really good sprinkled on salad.

Recipe Tempeh Manis

  • 1 x block tempeh, cut in slices 1/2 cm thick
  • 4 x garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots finely sliced
  • quarter teaspoon chopped ginger
  • 75 grams peanuts
  • 40 grams palm sugar
  • 3 teaspoons water

Lightly pan fry in batches, first the tempeh, then the peanuts, then the shallots (till crispy) and then the garlic and ginger (taking care not to burn).Heat the water in a saucepan with the sugar and sprinkle of salt until the sugar melts and the liquid is bubbling. Leave for a couple of minutes and then pour over all the fried ingredients, breaking the tempeh into small pieces. Allow to cool

Eco resorts Bali, Yoga and Meditation

Yoga Music Art Dance a thon 2012


I haven’t laughed so hard or for so long in ages, and herein lies the beauty of the event, we are supporting a worthy cause – and having an awesomely good time while we are at it.

2012 Yogathon, article published in Kula magazine 2012

After a week of torrential rain the clouds finally part, bathing Desa Seni in the glow of the emerging sun – an auspicious start to the second annual Yoga, Music, Dance A Thon.

I arrive to find brightly hued umbul (Balinese flags) flickering in the breeze and the path  strewn with frangipani and hibiscus – at Desa Seni the road to  wellbeing is always a colourful one. But today our practice has an even higher purpose, as all money raised by the event is directed to Ayu Kita Bicara HIV/AIDS, a program that promotes awareness through a series of work shops aimed at Bali’s youth. It is estimated that the number of people infected with HIV has tripled over the past five years; Ayu Kita Bicara aims to stem the spread of the disease by targeting Bali’s youth through a series of workshops. Last year’s event raised over $15,000 for the cause, an amount that we hope to match today.

It’s 8.00am, and with a full 12 hours ahead of us Daphna raises our energy with an uplifting kundalini class. Jocelyn Gordon then gets us into the swing of things with hula hooping on the lawn – the hoops bringing a whole new dimension to yoga practice.  Workshops are spread over three different areas, with 30 presenters signed up to lead the way. Cherie Rae enthusiastically leads a workshop entitled ‘Peace it’s an inside job,’ “Yoga is for the world, not just skinny people,” she calls out. I catch her afterwards at Jeff Von Schmauder’s Union Yoga – which  results in some rather amazing feats of balance, and some spectacular topples – “ I am so high right now,” she shouts.

Late in the morning dark clouds dance menacingly around us, before slinking off to the horizon – there is no place for rain today!  Following a healthy organic lunch in Rumah Uma many of us join Awahoshi  who lulls us into a blissful state with crystal sound,  succinctly summing up the vibe of the day when she says “You are here because you are amazing. ”  I join some friends in the  pool but am soon drawn out as “Another one bites the dust” rings out – its Charlie Patton’s Dancing Extravaganza and it looks (and sounds) like way too much fun to miss out on.

When I told a friend I was going to a Yogathon she said “Ooh that sounds like fun” in a tone dripping with sarcasm – if only she knew…. I haven’t laughed so hard or for so long in ages, and herein lies the beauty of the event, we are supporting a worthy cause – and having an awesomely good time while we are at it. EVERYONE is smiling! Desa Seni is in its element, today we truly are one! “ “How amazing it is when the Kula  (community) of Bali, from all over the island can come together and truly represent the meaning of  Kula ” says Desa Seni founder Tom.

As the sun sinks into the horizon flaming torches are lit as we join Kevin and Mel for inspirational Kirtan chanting. Finally, Hamanah Drum n Dance lead us in a high energy, butt shaking dance to the beat of the djembe, ending twelve hours of yoga, music and dance with a bang!

Yoga Desa Seni

Restaurant Desa Seni




The scent of lemongrass

Lemon Grass on wood background Stock Photo - 14502215

The heady aroma of lemongrass evokes the tropics and invigorates the senses, and has long been used in cooking and traditional healing throughout Asia and the South Pacific.  Strangely, I first encountered lemongrass in a friend’s garden in London and would infuse it in tea, add it to salads and roast vegetables and tie bundles of it around the house for use as an air freshener.  In Thailand my love affair began in earnest , I loved the citrus hint in fragrant Thai curries, but best of all were the steam rooms in Thailand and Laos which were filled with the tantalising and intoxicating vapours of lemongrass.

When I found myself living in the remote islands of Fiji I discovered that the Fijians planted it around their houses to ward off evil spirits and made special oils from its essence to use on those who had been possessed by devils.

Lemongrass has an enticing, lemony perfume without the bite of lemon and its taste is slightly sweeter with just a hint of ginger. It blends well with garlic, chili and cilantro, harmonises with coconut milk and works particularly well with chicken, seafood and vegetarian dishes. Here in Indonesia it often appears in curries and soups as the citrus taste helps to lift richer tasting dishes.


A tall tropical grass, the fresh stalks and leaves of lemongrass contain an essential oil with a clean lemon like perfume (similar to that in lemon peel.)  The lower portion is sliced or pounded and used in cooking, while the stems can be made to use lemongrass tea (particularly good with ginger and honey). It also makes a flavourful marinade.


Medicinal Uses

As well as being a versatile and tasty cooking ingredient, and a natural mosquito repellant, lemongrass has a plethora of medicinal uses. The grass is considered a diuretic, tonic and stimulant which promotes good indigestion and relieves nausea. It can also induce perspiration which cools the body and reduces fever. Lemongrass tea combats depression, bad moods and nervous disorders and the oil of lemongrass has anti fungal and anti backterial properties so can be used to treat cuts and scrapes. It is a popular ingredient in massage oil due to its relaxing aroma and it will help sooth lower back pain,sprains, circulatory problems and rhumatism.

The Mystical Realms

In ancient times lemongrass was used to repel dragons and serpents and was bathed in to promote lust, fidelity, honesty, strength and purification.Lemongrass tea is believed to aid psychic abilities and divination while carrying a sachet or charm is thought to attract the object of your desire and to bring honesty to your relationships.

Whether cooking, healing or practicing magic, lemongrass is best when bought fresh (or better yet, grown in your garden) so be sure to buy ones that have plump bases and long, blade like green leaves. Strip off the tough outer leaves and cut off the bottom root portion. Slice the bulbous end into ring about 1/4 inch in size on a diaganol then bruise the pieces to release the flavour and enter the seductive world of lemongrass.

Lemongrass Massage Oil

add a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil to create a  soothing massage to alleviate muscle aches and pains, such as rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis and  lower back pain

How to make Lemongrass Essential Oil

Recipe from

Fresh lemongrass, 4 to 5 stalks
Fresh lime leaves, 5 to 6
Peanut or canola oil, 1½ cups
Garlic cloves, 3 to 4
Fresh ginger, 3 thin slices


Wash the lemongrass and lime leaves thoroughly to clean the dust and dirt. Place them on a tissue paper so that the water seeps away and they become dry.
After the water has drained away from the leaves, chop them with t a knife. Slice the garlic cloves finely and keep them aside.
Now take a medium-sized, heavy bottom saucepan and heat the oil. After the oil has heated, reduce the heat and transfer the lemongrass and lime leaves, and allow it to simmer on this heat for about one hour.
Once the oil has turned a light green, add the garlic and ginger slices and let it continue to simmer for about 30 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let this mixture stand overnight in the same pan. You can even keep it for a longer period to gain a better, developed flavor.
With the help of a strainer, pour this oil into a sanitized glass bottle to store it. Your lemongrass essential oil is now ready for use.

Eco resorts Bali, Healing, Uncategorized

Fivelements Puri Ahimsa

Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa sits at the end of a narrow country lane surrounded by rice paddys and fields of ripening corn. Thatched circular buildings with conical roofs reach for the sky, the gardens are filled with lush foliage, and the gushing of a fast flowing river  intermingles with birdsong.

From the moment I step onto the property I become aware of a shift in energy, a higher vibration. Perhaps it’s the convergence of eight energy lines that run through the property; maybe it’s the all-pervasive concept of ‘Love in Action,’ or possibly it’s the ritualistic Agni Hotra fires that are lit at dawn and dusk each day to purify the property. I have a traditional Balinese healing treatment that is a mix of reflexology and chakra balancing with Pak Dewa, a wonderful and powerful energy healer. At times the session is painful and I shed tears,  but by the end my spirit is soaring. Afterwards I sit on the verandah drinking ginger tea and reflecting on my life and my need to restore balance.That evening I join the Agni Hotra  fire purification ceremony, with Balinese priests leading us through a powerful ritual that includes throwing beans, seeds and incense into the fire, to symbolise cleansing, healing and forgiveness, while coconuts are smashed to signify the breakdown of ego. Through it all mantras are chanted, bells are rung and prayers recited.

The Balinese concept of Tri Hita Karana ‘creating a harmonious relationship to God, other human beings and to nature,’ is integrated in every aspect of the design. Local priests provided spiritual guidance in the layout of the resort, while international environmental consultants were consulted to minimize the ecological impact. Thoughtful construction utilizes  bamboo, riverstone, coconut wood and recycled teak and mimics the curves, colors and rawness of nature. Sustainable practices include effective waste management, low energy consumption and  efficient use of water resources; all  contributing  to making this one of the most sustainable eco conscious resorts on the island.

But just because it is sustainable doesn’t mean it cuts any corners when it comes to luxury. Five sumptuous sleeping pavilions have decadent outdoor bathrooms, private decks with sunken tubs, high tech chromo graphic lighting, and handpicked antiques, while the spa specialises in organic treatments concocted in the spa laboratory and the restaurant serves the most exquisite raw food on the island – truly food for the soul.