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.

My bento box collection ….

Joanna from Every Week is Green and Grace from Refining our Tastes asked me to show a photo with all my bento boxes….(I have already blogged a post about my bento accessories, which you can read all about here)

I was hesitant at first as I’m actually a bit ashamed how many I have, some of which I don’t use that often at all! But here are all of them:

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My bento box collection!

Wow, did you count them?

The “problem” with posting my bento boxes is that I now have the “evidence” right out there, on my blog, so I can’t sneakily go out and buy a new bento box, saying, oh, no, I had that one already for ages…. ;-)

I actually have now “invented” some rules for myself to avoid buying new ones. I’m only allowed to buy a new bento box when:

  • it’s diswasher safe and/or microwave proof
  • a shape or size that isn’t yet in my current collection
  • or too cute to resist!

Yep, self inflicted rules are always a bit flexible :-)

When I put out all my bento boxes to make a photo, I also made some photo’s of “groups” of bento boxes, so in the next few weeks I will try to put up a weekly post reviewing some of the boxes I have, where I bought them etc and linking back to some lunches I made using those boxes.

And now I’m off out shopping…

Shrimp Mandu Dosirak

I have been wanting to make mandu for a very long time, but was always intimidated by making the mandu wrappers. But the other day I realised that of course, I can just buy the wrappers ready made, so here they are: Shrimp Mandu in my Dosirak!Prawn mandu dumplings

Mandu are Korean dumplings, but you might know them as Japanese gyoza or Chinese Jiaozi. They are different from wonton in that the skin is thicker and the shape more oblong. Mandu can be served in different ways, you can boil or steam them, but quite often they will be panfried.

Of course I forgot to make pictures while making them, but I used this recipe by Misty Yoon, and she has some great step by step pictures on her blog.

I prepared my Mandu in advance so they only needed heating up /frying a few minutes in the morning. The blue container holds the dressing: soy sauce with apple vinegar and a little bit of sugar.

To be honest, I ate some of the Mandu when they were freshly made and they were delicious. The ones in my lunch box were still very nice, but the dough had “toughened” up a little, which made it more chewy than it’s supposed to be. Maybe Mandu are just not very suitable for lunch?

My packet of mandu wrappers contained only 18 wrappers, leaving some filling. I shaped the leftover into little patties to freeze and use later.

New kitchen toys…

Postman just delivered these: aren’t they cute?

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And last week, I also got a new rice scoop:

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Close up: I think it has ‘personality’, this rice squirrel :-)

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(Plus practical, once you scoop the rice, the ‘used’ tail/paddle is kept off from the table)