I’ve written previously about the great author events that specialist cookbook store Books for Cooks run. They are becoming so popular that they’ve started moving certain events out of their store – too many books and people to fit into a small space!

While the non-store events are generally not free, the great thing is that they tend to pick local restaurants with a particular affinity for the cuisine in question. So for the launch of Janet de Neefe’s cookbook Bali: My Island Home, we met up at Rice Queen for a talk by the author and four tastes from the book prepared by the Rice Queen kitchen for $20.

Janet began her talk describing how she came to live in Bali. She travelled to Bali with her family as a teenager and was immediately captivated by its exoticness compared to Melbourne. Ten years later she returned after university and met her future husband. She also fell in love with Bali and started collecting Balinese and Indonesian recipes from her sister-in-law and other locals – and with no formal culinary training opened her first restaurant. Janet and her husband have since opened restaurants Casa Luna, Bar Luna and Indus, a bakery, the Casa Luna cooking school and the Honeymoon Guesthouses.

I’m visiting Bali next year so I purchased Bali: My Island Home to gain an insight into the island and its cuisine. The big glossy tome not only gives mouth-watering recipes of Balinese dishes but the photos and text explore the daily life and culture of Bali. It was interesting flicking through the book and encountering new ingredients – fortunately there’s a glossary for things such as candlenuts and salam leaf.

As for the tastes from the book – I highly recommend the black tapioca pearls in coconut milk!