My friend Lorna and I had landed. We were in the Ark, the most exquisite retreat centre in Ubud, Bali, at that time owned and run by two dear friends of mine, Anthony & Amy. We had travelled on from the coastal region of Sanur where we'd taken some time at the beachside yoga shalas, raw food cafes and the calm of the ocean in general, to hang out with another dear friend Sunne. After 2 days restoring our flagging post-long-haul-flight energy, those positive ions from the ocean had charged us back up to normal and we were ready to join our friends who were also staying in Ubud to complete their breathwork training.
Bali, the love of my life, the keeper of my heart!
One of the many things I love about Bali is the prolific availability of great food and drink; raw food cafes, speciality juice bars, and the wonderful affordable warungs and healthy food places which are in abundance there; to a foodie like me, this means not only is my heart happy but my belly is blissed out too!
It was probably on my first Balinese visit 4 years ago that I discovered Jamu Kunyit, a traditional Balinese drink usually made from turmeric, ginger, tamarind (sometimes) lime juice (sometimes), sea salt (sometimes) and occasionally raw honey or other natural sweeteners. Each place I went to had a slight variation on how they make and serve it, but the general rule of thumb is always the ginger, turmeric element.
Bali is an island rich in culture and heritage and steeped in tradition. The statues, temples and places of worship are literally mind blowing and heart opening, and the smell of incense seems to be forever hanging in the air from all of the daily offerings made to appease the Gods and bring sweetness to the lives of those making the offerings. I fell in love with the people, the place and the culture from the first time I set foot on this magical island!
This love affair with the magical south pacific island is not a brief dalliance for me; it's an entrenched and passionate love affair of the soul. When I leave, my heart grieves, when I'm there, it fully and completely opens in ways I cannot quite describe with words. Even writing about it calls me there; it's like the exquisitely haunting song of the Sirens - I am called back, and I am peaceful here, but before I go rambling off into focussing this post on my ongoing love affair with Bali, I must return to the subject at hand; jamu and healing drinks!
As a lifelong juicer I love the the different variety of fruits and flavours I find in Bali, and which I can use an inspiration for my drinks. Durian was my first crazy discovery (that wildly seductive fruit!) and jamu one of the first tonic drinks I learnt about too. It's drunk daily over there; often used to cool the body (makes sense in that heat and humidity) and to alleviate menstrual pains, it's also a powerful anti-oxidant and alleged anti-tumour tonic too, and as with all potent and pungent drinks and foods, is best used in moderation. Native Indonesians would not drink this more than once a day in relatively small quantities.
I recently discovered via my friend's instagram page that a juice bar in Ubud was offering a mix of Jamu and Kombucha, another of my favourite healing drinks; imagine my excitement! I resolved there and then to try this for myself - the gut healing properties of kombucha blended with the anti-inflammatory qualities of turmeric/jamu could only be a win-win in my eyes. So, I tried on my last batch of kombucha, adding my personal recipe for jamu to the second ferment of my 'booch' and it was good; and I'm talking REALLY good!
Now this as become a staple of my menu and my offerings. I'm excited for others to try it too! If you want to learn more about this amazing drink and try it for yourself, come to my next pop-up cafe, a collaboration with Mindful Kitchen Manchester which we run on a monthly basis. It's advance orders only for these events as we work on minimising food waste, so please let us know if you're coming and you want to try this amazing tonic drink!
We'll be waiting for you with open arms and open hearts, your friends Jamu & Booch!
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