FIRE ISLANDS: RECIPES
FROM INDONESIA
ELEANOR FORD, MURDOCH, H/B, $55

The thousands of islands that make up the Indonesian archipelago, along with its myriad cuisines, mix of religions, languages and cultures is something of a mystery to me. The  national motto is ‘unity in diversity’ and it speaks to the food too. Ford spent her childhood in Java and Bali, and later returned with her own family so her children could enjoy the childhood she had. She feels that the one unifying factor to most of the food is the freshness of the dishes thanks to the pounded spice pastes or bumbu. She organises the recipes according to balance of texture and flavour. Crunchy snacks, rich and creamy coconut dishes, dry and aromatic spiced meats and vegetables or fragrant broths and tangy sauces. Fiery sambals are tempered with fresh and flavoursome salads, and most recipes come with a suggestion of other dishes to serve with it for a complete meal. The recipes are inspiring and achievable; it’s bright, colourful and I can taste it from here. GINNY GRANT

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