Our realtor here in Bali, is married to an Italian man named David. Her name is Mun, and she is from Sumatra.
Mun’s father in law is a sweetheart named Alfredo, and he is very proud of his Italian culture and customs. Mun’s mother in law named Wayan, is Balinese, and has been married to Alfredo for 30 years.Last night Wayan and Alfredo invited us to come over so they could teach us how to cook an Italian meal since we had expressed interest in wanting to learn. We had no idea what an amazing time we were in for…
When Alfredo talks about food, you have to stop and make sure he’s describing pasta, and not a woman’s body. He is very passionate about food – it’s smell, texture and flavor. Each ingredient must be fresh, well selected and beautifully blended into a creation that causes ones taste buds to stand at attention in awe then melt in a delicious symphony. Even while describing his favorite pineapple, he had us all convinced that there was simply nothing sweeter, fresher or more addicting in the world.
Wayan is a kitchen Goddess. She works efficiently and with total calm, ease and incredible knowledge. Wayan’s sister and her Italian husband joined us too.
We started by measuring our flour and semolina, to make pasta. Semolina, which is ground hard wheat, is necessary to add because it keeps the pasta dough firm when immersed in water. We added salt to the flours and formed 2 little ‘volcanoes’ on the table from the mixture. In each volcano, we added olive oil, 5 eggs and some vinegar.
With a fork, Mycah mixed the egg mixture in the center and slowly added flour from the sides into the mixture in the middle. Finally it was all mixed and needed to be kneaded by hand. When kneading pasta dough it’s important to place all the pressure on the ball of your hand when baring down.
Once the dough was ready, we placed chicken wrapped in rosemary and bacon and tied into a neat package with a string, into a pot to cook slowly after browning.
Jude and Teresa peeled garlic and chopped onions.
The smell coming from the kitchen was already captivating, and attracted some gawking salivating creatures.
Teresa and I finely chopped a kilo of Roma tomatoes and added them to a pot on the stove, while Emma help turn the crank on the pasta maker. This brought back memories of turning winch handles on Tanda Malaika and made her very happy.
As pasta past through the pasta maker, it became thinner and thinner, then sliced into linguini sized noodles. These were rolled with flour sprinkled all around, then wound up into pasta nests.
At the table, Jude and Aidan were recruited to peel some boiled potatoes then mashed them in a fancy strainer gadget thingamajig.
While we were busy in the kitchen as the evening wore on, the sunburned from skateboarding man folk relaxed their exhausted bodies outside.
Bella, the tiny 1 year old pup, stuck around to catch anything edible that fell on the floor.
The kitchen was a busy place with only fresh ingredients to be found. Freshly picked giant green olives were sliced,
more garlic and mushrooms prepared,
and smells exploded in the air like pop rocks in your mouth! Pots were brewing, ovens baking, noodles swelling and veggies roasting! The lasagne made with freshly made noodles didn’t have an ounce of cheese in it aside from parmesan on top. Apple pie was removed from heat to cool down, bowls were filled and filed out to the table, and drooling bodies were called to attention.
Two long tables were set to feed all 17 of us, and food was slowly transported out for all to see. First course was pasta in a delicious olive/tomato/onion/garlic sauce. We were so full afterward.
The second course was the best lasagne I have ever eaten! I commented on the creamy white cheese inside and Wayan explained that it was not cheese, but a white sauce made from melted butter, flour and grated nutmeg. It was absolutely out of this world! Our stomachs bulged from beneath our clothing.
The third course was mashed potatoes made from potato, nutmeg and butter and the fall apart in your mouth chicken/bacon bundles sliced up with perfectly grilled eggplant,
and buttery perfectly seasoned sautéed mushrooms with fresh garlic chunks. I felt myself fading in and out of a food coma as I heard gasps, ooh’s and aah’s in the background someplace.
After that, we were served warm apple pie with freshly made vanilla gelato! I slide from my chair onto the floor and found myself at the top of a heap of other bodies I vaguely recognized as my children – already in coma’s as well, only to wake 3 days later with an imprint of a belt buckle on my right cheek and a large tear down the middle of my dress with my belly poking through.
What an amazing, delicious, out of this world, evening! Wow! Now all I have to do is find my daughters Italian husbands!