Ochazuke again

Ochazuke green tea rice

Previously I turned Ochazuke into a Bento, and as I really enjoyed having this for lunch, I made a repeat version today.

I’m also still attempting to avoid getting a cold, so made my lunch extra healthy by adding lots of vegetables this time, broccoli, spring onion and carrot (flowers).

The broccoli and carrots were briefly blanched before packing, as the hot tea alone wouldn’t cook them. I do like crispy veggies, but there is a difference between crispy and raw! The veggies were packed together with the salmon and spring onion and stored on top of the rice in the larger container. See  my previous post on how I packed the Bento.

You will probably see a few more of these lunches as I love Ochazuke. It has also really turned into Autumn here in London,so I am craving hot food for my lunch.

Bibimbap in a box

bibimbap in a lunch boxKorean Bibimbap (mixed rice) is my favourite Korean comfort food. It is also a very economical dish as you can make it with your left over banchan (side dishes).  We don’t eat Korean food for dinner, so I usually make or buy banchan for making Bibimbap, but I suppose you could also make a more “Western version” with left overs from your usual dinner. I do wonder how that would taste…hmm…one to put on my “idea” list for future lunches.

Anyway, as said, I love Bibimbap, and especially when served in a dolsot, a very hot stone bowl – lightly coated in sesame oil- which will help cook the egg and crisp up the rice. A dolsot isn’t very practical to pack for lunch ;-) but it’s still a nice dish without the crispy crust.

My Bibimbap in a box lunch was made with a “ready made” bibimbap set, bought at the Korean supermarket, and has 5 different vegetable toppings: spinach, beansprouts, korean radish, courgette and carrot (all marinated). I added some marinated minced beef (from my freezer stock), a few quail eggs, gochujang (in the little pot) and of course rice (some of it is hidden under the carrots/courgette). There are also some Kongjaban (soybeans).

After taking the photo, I fried the flower egg a bit longer to make sure the yolk was cooked through (like I did with the egg star). Normally the egg would cook in the hot dolsot, but for my lunch I don’t want to run the risk of having a raw egg yolk….

At work I actually put all the ingredients (except for the Gochujan and Kongjaban) in a large bowl, which I heated up in the microwave for a few minutes, before mixing it up all again. Looked a bit messy, but tasted very good :-P

Boy loves girl bento

First, welcome to new readers and followers! Thank you for finding my blog & I hope you will enjoy reading about my lunches :-)

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This morning I had a little bit more time than usual as I was leaving for the office slightly later (will be staying longer as I have an appointment after work), so I spent a bit more time on creating this ‘boy loves girl’ bento.

What do you think, does she love him back?

The boy and girl are made of onigiri, decorated with nori (eyes, mouth, hair boy), black sesame seeds (eye lashes girl), egg sheet (hair girl) and carrot (cheeks girl). Some of the inspiration for this bento came from the Yum Yum bento book I won.

I had boiled the egg yesterday and put it into a heart shaped egg mold overnight, but I think I needed a larger egg…oh well, it sort of vaguely has a heart shape and I added the nori details and carrot heart as a sort of ‘love declaration’ (the boy gives his heart to the girl). These two nori punchers are actually paper punches, I bought them some time ago at Tiger, for £1 each!

The rest of the bento is filled with various veggies (broccoli, cucumber, carrot and tomato) and a sweet potato falafel (the dark round shape in the bottom of the container).

Oh, and I added one heart shaped pasta shape….maybe the girl is giving her heart to the boy???

Shrimp patty Dosirak

prawn patty bento dumpling filling

I made these shrimp patties from the left over filling of the Shrimp Mandu in an earlier blog post. They were so delicious, that I’m now actually considering not bothering with mandu wrappers at all!

The patties were pre-shaped, pre-fried and frozen (I used some baking paper to avoid them sticking together) and in the morning, I just put them in a non stick frying pan for a few minutes to defrost and reheat (food safety and such). I was afraid they might end up rubbery, but no, they were still juicy and bouncy and even a bit crispy.

Big success :-)

The only change I made to the original filling recipe was adding another table spoon of corn flour. This helps to keep the filling together and it also adds an extra crispness when frying.

The blue container holds the same dipping sauce (soy sauce, apple vinegar and sugar) and I added some vegetables and fruit to complete my lunch.

 

Not a packed bento lunch today… but (small) bento boxes (review)

Small bento boxes

Instead of showing a bento lunch, I am showing you some of my bento boxes in more detail. You can see my whole (current) collection in this post, and as promised, I will write a few posts describing the why/what/where’s of the bento boxes featured.

I actually didn’t make a lunch today….I was really struggling to get out of bed today and just quickly grabbed a few items. I will pop out to a shop to buy some sashimi, and all together it will still make a nice lunch, but hardly one to feature on my blog :-)

(Update: I went and bought some very nice salmon/veg pots from Itsu, so decided to upload a photo of my lunch after all… 2 Itsu to go pots, some reheated rice with salmon furikake, miso soup and seaweed crisps :-) )

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But back to the bento boxes in  the photo…these are boxes that I actually don’t use that often, mainly because they are a bit small….I am a big eater and have found that a lot of Japanese Bento boxes are on the smallish side for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t use them at all, but sometimes just for smaller snacks.

  • pink box, can’t remember where I bought, but it was very cheap and it does feel a bit like cheap as well. No instructions on whether microwave proof. I do put it in the dishwasher though and it has survived (so far)
  • Yellow, two tier Korean Pororo set. Bought at Korean supermarket. No instructions on dishwasher/microwave use. Came with a bento belt. Very cute and fairly leak proof but just a bit small.
  • Wooden bento box. Bought on Amazon. Never used! I know! I’m actually a bit afraid of using it as this is the only untreated wooden box I have and not sure whether food will stain/smell etc. But I would really like to use it. It has only 1 compartment and a deep lid plus inner lid (all wood), so I have already been thinking that you could turn it into a two tier box and thus increase capacity. Definitely not micro/dishwasher safe though!
  • Glit & Brillia Blue Bento box (Japan Centre, around £5). Microsafe. Practical in that the smaller compartment fits into the larger compartment after you have finished your lunch. Came with bento belt. I love this box, just wish it was slightly larger… I do think that this one, plus the last one are both very good and inexpensive boxes to start with, but be aware of the size….
  • Vive style pink lunch box with compartment (Japan Centre, around £5). Microsafe and very practical with the compartments. It’s larger than the Glit & Brillia box (if you take out all the compartments). I haven’t used this box yet, because I only bought it a few weeks ago…..

Lastly, some photo’s (and links to previous posts) where I used some of the boxes above :-)

 

For the post about my Octonauts bento: see here

For the post about my Noodle bento: see here

For the post about my World Book Day bento: see here

Please note that I have not been asked/paid to review these boxes, the above is my own opinion.

Mouse or cat or ?

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Hello, I’m back, but this is what happens when I don’t “prepare/think” about what to pack in my lunch….a case of “identity confusion” :-)

Whilst I had all the ingredients for my lunch ready to pack, I only decided when packing it that I wanted to turn the onigiri into some cats. I thought cats would be funny as there is some fish in my lunch (in case you are wondering…the fish is the stuff that is in the blue silicone mold, it looks a bit messy, which I tried to hide by sprinkling some salmon furikake on top of it..).

But well…as you can see, they don’t really look like cats…I forgot to shape the ears, and than tried to add some ears with food picks, which somehow made them look more like mice? Or a cross between…cause? mats? strange rice thingie with eyes?

What do you think they are?

Oh, and did you notice that I did punch some cat nori on the tamago in the right hand bento container :-) ? Sort of final attempt to go for a cat theme….

 

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

Does anybody actually know the answer of this question? Or is it one of those questions that will never get answered because of it’s hidden, deeper meaning, and links with existentialism and the meaning of life and such :-)

Anyway, it really doesn’t matter as in this bento case the chicken got eaten first…..

chicken and egg bento

This bento was very quick to make with rice, edamame beans, carrot flowers, danmuji flowers (pickled radish), hoisin chicken, cherry tomatoes and a hard boiled Hello Kitty shaped egg.

I assume you are all aware that Hello Kitty is actually not a cat but a girl? If not you can read more about it in this BBC article, but anyway, in this bento she is an egg and got eaten last :-P

Also, I am currently out & about for a few days with limited internet access. This post has been scheduled to be published whilst I’m away (the joys of WordPress…) ..but I will probably not able to respond to your comments / revisit blogs / read / like posts etc until next week. 

 

 

 

Quick Dosirakbento

Quick dosirakbento

Wow, these colours look a bit psychedelic or sixties don’t they? :-)

A very quick dosirakbento to pack, again relying on my freezer stash and also leftovers from dinner.

  • Left container: mixed peas and corn (leftover from dinner) with added carrot flowers, a tomato and some radishes.
  • Right container: rice and grilled salmon (leftover from dinner), some Gaeran mari (Korean omelet with seaweed, from freezer). There is a dot of wasabi in the corner and the little pot holds Salmon Furikake to sprinkle over the rice.
  • These containers are a bit deeper than other (similar) containers, so they are very good for packing food on top of a layer of rice.
  • Packing time 10 min :-)

Also, I will be out & about for a few days with limited internet access. I have scheduled another post to be published later this week…but I will probably not able to respond to your comments / revisit blogs / read / like posts etc until next week. 

The very hungry caterpillar Bento

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This Bento was again inspired by my recent Yum Yum Bento book win!

As you can see, it was featured on the back cover of the book, and it’s a very quick and easy Bento to recreate.

My caterpillar is a very hungry one, it has 5 rice balls instead of 4 :-P.  I added some minced beef to represent the earth that the caterpillar is lying on…and of course lots of flowers and veggies for the caterpillar to eat.

Just realised that the lunch box I used today is the Tum Tum box…so I now have a Yum Yum lunch in a Tum Tum lunchbox… :-) :-)

Please note that I have not been asked/paid to review this book, but that I won it recently in a Japan Centre competition. However, I do find it a very practical and inspiring book, both for new bento makers and not so new bento makers, so can definitely recommend it. It is available at Japan Centre or Amazon.