Leftovers Bento

Bento

Leftovers from dinner. Not that I minded :-)

It’s actually easy to cook some extra food for dinner and use the leftovers for lunch, especially when making dishes like this chicken & veg in oyster sauce.

All part & parcel of the bento making process, being organised and such and of course it’s also less wasteful. According to Love Food, Hate Waste,  around 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year in the UK (7 million from our homes)!!

I am not an overly “green conscious” person, ie we drive a car, don’t always turn off lights or unplug chargers or bring our own shopping bags. And yes, sometimes food ends up in the bin… but still… 15/7 million tonnes…wow that is one big waste mountain.

Anyway, I’m glad that my leftovers from dinner didn’t contribute to that mountain but ended up in my lunch today. Plus I used reusable containers :-)

It was packed in the containers of my Zojirushi Ms Bento lunch jar – you can also see in use in this post here. No soup this time, instead the smallest container has some tomato salad.

London Korean Festival Trafalgar Square Sunday 9 August

Just to let you know that there will be a  ‘London Korean Festival 2015′ in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 9th August 2015, free entry!

 

The event brings together an exciting mix of modern and traditional Korean culture with a dynamic programme of K-Pop, dance from classic to break dance and delicious Korean food, plus E-Sports Games and live music.

  • K-Music – Leading K-Pop group f(x) & Rock band Guckkasten
  • K-Dance – Break Dancing Battles with World Champion B-boy crews
  • K-Tradition – Gilnori traditional, instrumental & contemporary dance performances
  • K-Cuisine – Live cooking demonstrations by Chef Judy Joo and Chef Joo Won & Korean Street Foods
  • K-Contents – Animation screenings, gaming & technology demonstrations, fashion shows

The event is organised by the Korean Cultural Centre UK, Korea Tourism Organisation, Korea Creative Content Agency and supported by the Mayor of London (more info here)

There is also a competion to win a free trip to Korea, you can download the form here

See you there!

How much is that doggy in the…

Doggy Bento

….in the window bento…

When I started packing my bento this morning, I didn’t have any plans to make a doggy. I hadn’t thought at all on what I could create, and initially I just packed the ingredients and was going to put the carrot flowers on top of the rice or adding some furikake.

But it turned out that I some time left over and suddenly when looking at the lid, I thought, hmmm that doggy should be relatively easy to create.

So out came the nori, the punch and scissors and I managed to make a sort of similar – if slightly small & different size eyed dog :-)

Other ingredients are radish (for the tongue), cucumber flowers, carrot flowers, crabsticks and some tamago. I also used the outer bits of the cucumber flowers to fill up the bento box as it was a bit low on veggies.

Now just trying to get that song out of my head….

Watermelon feta and black olive salad

watermelon feta olive saladAfter Hello Kitty enjoying some watermelon (in my previous post), I thought to turn some of the remaining watermelon into this refreshing salad.

My recipe is based on Nigella’s (see link here), but I made a few minor changes.

Ingredients

  • banana shallot, in thin slices
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • approx 750 watermelon, cubed
  • 150 grams feta cheese, cubed
  • 75 grams pitted black olives
  • 1/2 bunch mint, large leaves roughly torn, smaller leaves whole
  • black pepper

Method

  • Marinate the shallot in the lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Carefully toss watermelon, feta and olives together.
  • Add the shallot/juice/oil with  juices plus the mint and mix again, very gently so it doesn’t break up.
  • Season with black pepper.

My changes:

Nigella’s recipe has larger quantities, so I roughly halved the ingredients. She also uses limes instead of lemon, but I only had a lemon and didn’t want to go to the shop for just one ingredient. That’s also why I omitted the parsley from her recipe. Finally, I felt that the olive oil detracted a bit from the “freshness” of the salad, that’s why I mixed it with the shallot and only used 1 tablespoon, but you can of course up that according to your taste.

I packed the salad in my lunch box and added some a tomato, mini bread rolls and cherries to it. The green container holds some red wine chorizo slices.

Hello Kitty enjoys some Watermelon

Hello Kitty enjoys some watermelonDo you like watermelon? Hello Kitty does ^*^!

The slice of watermelon was created using white and pink rice (I used sushi vinegar powder for the pink rice and also added a drop of red food colouring). The watermelon rind is made from chopped up broccoli and the pips from nori. I also created a few smaller watermelons from cucumber and watermelon :-)

I still have most of the watermelon waiting in the fridge to be used. Nigella has this salad which combines watermelon, black olives and feta, not something I would immediately think of to do, but I can imagine it would work. Or maybe I will make some watermelon sorbet…. Plenty of ideas.

Although… I do like eating it just on it’s own, as it is always so sweet & refreshing.  We had a party the other weekend, one of those -everyone brings food- lunches that turns into a dinner..because you keep going back to the buffet to eat some more and in the end you get to lazy to move….  Anyway, part of our contribution was this huge watermelon, and initially I was wondering how I would be able to cut it up. It was huge, I think 13 kg!! In the end, I kept it simple and just took off the top third, put some ice cream scoops and small bowls with it and let everyone scoop their own bit. It was a big hit, and I suppose that if there are no kids, you could consider making a “drunken watermelon” version… >.<
watermelon.jpg

Salmon salad & salmon crisps

Salmon salad bento

Didn’t fancy any rice in my lunch today and opted instead for a salad with cooked salmon.

Whenever I see salmon fillet on offer, I will buy it. If we don’t have it for dinner, I will either turn it into salted salmon (see this recipe from Just Bento) or I will oven cook it. Both ways I will portion it up for the fridge/freezer and future use in my lunchbox.

I find cooking salmon in the oven the easiest method, just pop it onto a non-stick tray, with a smidgen of vegetable oil, and oven cook it for 15 minutes in preheated oven at 200 C. (Depending on size/thickness of fillet you might need a few minutes more or less).  Plus it has the extra advantage that you can turn the skin into crisps! More about that later..

My salmon salad has loads of veggies in it, there is some shredded iceberg lettuce hidden underneath, (cooked) green beans and broccoli, some cucumber and carrots and a few radishes. Plus of course loads of cooked salmon. And I made a very simple, but incredible delicious dressing: 2 tbl soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp each of sesame oil, apple vinegar and sugar. I only mixed the salad & dressing together when I ate it, and it really made the whole salad come together! Will definitely make this more often.

The other container was filled with some nice summer fruit, the raspberries are actually from our garden! Neither of us is very green fingered but somehow the raspberry bushes manage to survive our clumsy skills :-)

To off-set all that healthy food, I turned the salmon skin into crisps. Salmon is supposed to be quite healthy isn’t it, but I guess that applies more to the fish flesh itself and not to the skin… I think that here in the UK a lot of people don’t eat the skin of fish, maybe partly because of the way it is prepared, ie the skin is not crispy. But I find crispy salmon skin delicious and it’s so easy to make.

  • First oven bake the salmon (see above).
  • Once the salmon is cooked, it’s very easy to remove the skin from the flesh. Use the salmon flesh itself for something else and pop the skin back on the same oven tray.
  • Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and optionally a drop more oil (depends on the quality of the non-stick tray).
  • Up the oven temp to 220 and bake the skin for a further 5-10 minutes until crispy.
  • Let is cool down and cut into bite size pieces. It’s easiest to use scissors.
  • Enjoy!

salmon skin crisps

P.s. I once had salmon crispy skin sushi roll, can’t remember where, but it’s delicious. I guess it works quite well because of the texture difference, but you will have to eat it freshly made otherwise the skin will go all limpy again.

Minion Bento

minion bento

“Wave”, I’m back :-)

Very busy in the last few weeks, didn’t make any packed lunches at all, but really wanted to make this Minions Bento because of the movie.

I don’t always have time to make kawaii (cute) bento, as they are quite time consuming. But I am always full of admiration of two few bento bloggers I follow who both make kawaii bentos:

  • Little Miss Bento: Shirley Wong has been making bento’s since 2011 and is also a certified instructor in Kazarimakisushi = sushi roll art. Her bentos always look amazingly pretty and cute. She has published a Kawaii bento book and will soon be publishing another book focused on making sushi roll art. I only ever attempted to make Kazarimakisushi myself (see here), but would love to learn more about this so will put her book on my wishlist…
  • Bento Monsters. Ming is a mother to 2 boys and started making bentos in 2008, focusing on character bentos in 2011. I love how her bentos are always so creative and how she manages to make all these amazing looking characters from rice, potato or bread.  She also has some great tutorials, for example the one I followed to make these Hello Kitty steamed buns.

My Minion Bento above is my attempt to recreate this Minion Food Art that Bento Monsters posted a few weeks ago. She actually made several Minions, but I thought these were the easiest to recreate with the ingredients I had at home.

The rice is coloured with cooked egg yolk (I wasn’t quite sure how many eggs I would need as I had never used this mixture before, these are 2 yolks for about 1.5 cup cooked rice), and the details are made with courgette, nori, egg white, radish and parsley.  I don’t have a lot of patience, hence the lumpy legs/arms but still…definitely Minions :-)

Side dishes are courgette strips, strawberries and some dumplings.

 

This blog post is part of my attempt to clean up my Blogs I Follow list

Baking not bentoing…

Didn’t have much time last week to make more bentos as I have been more or less baking every other day.  Lots of different reasons to make cake, like delicious British strawberries, meetings at work, visiting colleagues and friends, and of course just because I needed cake!!

Anyway, lots of cakes, so instead of a bento today, just an impression of the cakes made and the process…

The photos are in complete random order, but the cakes I made were:

  • Strawberry cheese cake: chocolate digestives base with a creamcheese/double cream filling topped with fresh strawberries and strawberry jam glaze;
  • A Schwarzwälder inspired Chocolate Sandwich cake, filled with home made cherry jam, smothered in chocolate Ganache and some fresh cherries (the name on top – a colleague- is made with white chocolate but me and the white chocolate icing bag had a bit of a disagreement…hence rather wonky… (the icing bag won by the way…);
  • Chocolate sponge tray bake with feathered/marble icing (as said, the white chocolate icing bag won the battle… so rather messy decorating);
  • Carrot & walnut cupcakes topped with a honey cream cheese frosting – remind me not to make cream cheese frosting when it is 25C and sunny….; and
  • A marmalade tray bake – using home made marmalade, drizzled with orange vanilla icing… This one smelled so gorgeous whilst mixing/baking…I wish I could convey the smell

This week I will be again busy…not with cakes…but a friend is visiting, not sure yet when I will be posting another lunch box…

Meanwhile take care & eat cake :-)

 

Quick bento

imageNothing exciting, just a very quick lunch from left over rice & meatballs. Although I did “make” a “Japanese Flag”… :-)

Am a bit busy with other kitchen activities, might post about that next week.

Until then, keep well & take care!

 

P.s. am trying to catch up on posts via my WP reader..but a) some blog posts don’t show up anymore in my WP reader – ie very annoying and b) I need more time!

As I actually commented recently in reaction to another blogger’s post about whether you can be lonely as a blogger, I had to respond I don’t feel lonely at all.

Before I started to blog, I wasn’t that much into Social Media and not aware at all of all the blogger communities, interaction, groups etc etc that exist. Only once I started blogging I discovered all these other people, and now I have a lot of interaction with bloggers all over the world. These are people I would never have “met”  were it not for “Blogland”

Have to say I have also been lucky as almost all of the bloggers I interact with are friendly, and give great feedback or advice on my blog. In my turn I try to make new contacts with other bloggers by finding new blogs (using the WP tag function) and by liking & commenting on other blog(post)s.

So, my blogging limitation (aside from technical knowledge) is more time related. I wish I had more time to invest in my own blog, as there are so many ideas in my head that I want to create.

But I also wish I had more time to interact more with others as giving and receiving feedback/comments is really motivational. 

Caterpillar Bento & Korean translation help?

caterpillar bentoMade another caterpillar bento (this was my previous one) 

This time the “earth” is made from some precooked marinated beef (soy & garlic), and I also put a little bit of the beef in each onigiri. Added carrots, asparagus, green beans and courgette. Plus some carrot flowers, a radish flower and quail egg flowers.

The quail eggs are coloured with food colouring, but I used a bit too much for the blue one…it is rather vibrant blue isn’t it? I read somewhere that in nature the colour blue signals danger/poison, but in this case the egg flower is edible!

You might also have spotted that I have a new bento box! Couldn’t resist it as it was very cheap, on special in the Korean supermarket…. Plus an useful shape which I don’t have yet.. :-)

Yep…I am just trying to justify another box…. But it really does look like a practical box that I can use often, it has a lid with pop up handle to carry it, and a “thingie” to close the box airtight. It is metal lined inside so should retain heat/cold bit longer than my other boxes, but this also means it will not be microwave proof.

The only problem I have (aside from finding space to store it)  is that that I can’t read the instructions so I don’t know whether it’s dishwasher proof….  – my Korean is limited to deciphering the menu and an occasional hello or thank you…

I have posted below photo’s of the little booklet, and am hoping that any of my lovely readers could help me out on this :-). Looking forward to see some translation help in the comments…