Healthy snack box

healthy snack box

After eating way too many cakes in the recent months, I thought I’d better pack myself some healthy snacksūüôā

I have cut cucumber and carrot into small sticks, and rolled these up Рtogether with some crab sticks Рinto lettuce leaves. Lettuce wraps are a great way to pack up all kinds of foods, like Thai inspired shrimps, Mexican taco meat, Chinese sweet chicken and so on. Or even better, make Korean Ssambap and wrap up some rice topped with grilled beef, chicken or pork!

Anyway, I digress, and even though I would love to have some Korean Samgyeopsal-gui (grilled pork belly) now, I was quite happy with how my crab-cucumber-carrot-lettuce wraps turned out. The lettuce kept the veggies moist and crisp and they were actually quite filling. To go with my wraps I also packed some radishes, blueberries, a satsuma and some nuts.

It all packed very neatly in my new Bento Box. Found it some time ago, it’s from Sistema and quite practical. It has a main compartment with a movable divider, two small compartments with individual lids, and a side compartment which comes with a small lidded pot. Of course all food, freezer and dishwasher safe. The packaging says that it can also go in the microwave, but without the lid. The lid is hinged though, and although you can detach it from the box, it’s a bit fussy, so I think I’d rather use it for¬†cold lunches only.

And I have still lots of cake ideas that I want to make, so I guess I’d better come up with some more healthy lunch ideas as well!

Bibimbap Hetbahn cup

Do you remember that I bought some instant Hetbahn cups at the Korean supermarket?¬†Well, I tried some and they turned out to be pretty good. Actually much better than expectedūüôā

The one I tried was the assorted vegetables Bibimbap. Bibimbap is mixed rice with vegetables, and I usually eat mine mixed in a hot stone bowl (a dolsot) so that you get some nice crusty rice. Of course that was not possible with this instant meal, but taste wise it was quite good. The Hetbahn cup consists of a pack of rice, some gochujang sauce and sesame oil and a packet of (vacuum packed) vegetables. It even comes with a little spoon.

Basically you heat up the rice in the microwave and add it to the cup before adding the other ingredients. I was surprised how good the vegetables were (carrot, beansprout and mushroom), they tasted really fresh although I do think it could benefit from some green vegetables like cucumber, courgette or spinach. But maybe these are not so suitable for vacuum packing?  The sesame oil and gochujang sacue were quite generous in quantity, you could adept it to suit your taste.

It is quite a small portion of rice though, compared to my usual bowl of Bibimbap this Hetbahncup was tiny. But a very tasty ¬†and quick snack/lunch solution when you’re craving Korean food and can’t pack/make your own.

Korean supermarket lunch

imageAs I mentioned in my previous post, life is a bit busy at the moment, and I haven’t packed a lot of lunches to blog about. Fortunately for me, I live very close to some large Korean supermarkets,¬†Koreafoods and H Mart¬†in New Malden.

So today’s lunch is packed with courtesy of the ready made food counter of H mart!¬†The container on the left has Japchae – stir fried potato starch noodles with vegetables and sesame/soy flavouring. ¬†This version at the supermarket doesn’t have any beef in it, so the other container holds spicy chicken. So delicious! ¬†There are some tomato pieces in the last container to add a bit of health to this lunch..

Whilst I was at H mart, I saw these instant Hetbahn Cupbahn instant rice bowls from CJ. CJ Cheiljedang  is a huge Korean food producer (among other), and brands include Beksul, Bibigo, CJ Hat Kimchi, DASIDA and Haechandle. I think that here in the UK, Bibigo is the most well known as they have also several restaurants in central London. Bibigo food products were originally created only to be exported, to spread Korean cuisine around the world, but it became so popular that it is now sold in Korea itself as well.

imageAnyway, to go back to these Hetbahn cupbahn rice bowls… apparently “bahn” is a traditional way of saying “bap = rice”, meaning main meal. As I will be away on a course for the next two weeks, I thought to try out a few. There were different flavours, but I choose the assorted vegetables bibimbap and soft tofu stew ones as these are some of my favourite korean dishes.


I also bought some¬†instant ramen. I know, not very healthy! But I won’t be able to prepare proper food for myself and I don’t want to have to go out for dinner every evening. Plus…secretly… I quite like instant ramen… it always reminds me of Korean dramas.¬†Everyone in Korean dramas seems to eat ramen, usually bought and heated up at the local supermarket and topped up with some processed cheese. Not sure about the processed cheese…. but I will update on how the¬†Hetbah cupbahn turn out!

Take care and let me know if you have any favourite instant Korean food!

Avocado cheese sandwich (to be)

Sorry, I have been so busy lately that I haven’t packed any (blog worthy) lunches! So I thought to have a browse through my previous posts to see what I posted before around this date.

Well, 2 years ago I packed this avocado sandwich to be lunch. Looking at it, I am actually thinking I might pop into the supermarket to see if I can find a ripe avocado as I suddenly fancy an avocado sandwich.
Unfortunately, the artisan bakery were I used to buy my bread has recently closedūüė¶ It was a small business and apparently they had problems retaining their staff. A real shame as I like to support smaller, local businesses and their bread was fantastic.

Maybe I should start making my own bread again. If only I could find the time! Have loads going on at the moment, including going on a course for the next couple of weeks…so not sure when I will blog a new lunch box again. Hopefully soon!

Meanwhile, hope you’ll enjoy my old postūüôā


Avocado cheese sandwich to be

You might wonder, where is the sandwich?

Well, the title says to be…the bread is still missing, but this box contains all other the ingredients to make avocado sandwiches.

Apparently avocado on toast is very ‚Äútrendy‚ÄĚ right now, think they call it AVO toast or something like that. It made me smile when I read this as I have been eating avocado on bread/toast for years‚ĶAnyway, it gave me the idea for this lunch box.

It contains an avocado, sprinkled with some lemon juice to keep it from discouloring, babybel cheese (admittedly not the best cheese in the world ‚Äď ha, understatement of the year ‚Äď but practical for packing in a lunch), cress and some tomatoes on the side. The little containers (which I rediscovered when making photo‚Äôs of my bento accessories) contain (salted) butter and mustard.

I will buy some fresh sourdough bread on my way to work…

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I don’t often write about¬†Korean restaurants. Mainly that’s because I actually don’t go to them that often and when I do, I usually go for a quick lunch and order a dolsot bibimbap.

However, this week, I didn’t make myself a packed lunch to write about, and I had recently been with friends to Asadal in Central London, so I thought to share this photo of our table full of delicious Korean food!

There are mandu, kimchi set, namul set, kimchi jeon, pajeon, japchae, kappongi (korean fried chicken) and teokbokki. And that was just starters! ¬†We always tend to order loads of dishes to share before ordering our main dish – yep even after all this there is usually still space for a mainūüėõ

I love the sundubu jjiggae at Asadal, and usually order that as main dish but I forgot to make a photo this time. Good reason to go again soon….


Name: Asadal

Address: 227 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7DA

Phone: 0207 430 9006


Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday noon-15.00 and 18.00-23.00. Sunday 18.00-22.30


Cake pops


So what do you do with left over cake?

Turn them into cake pops!

Cake pops are literally that, a cake ball on a lollipop stick. If you google cake pops you will find the most creative designs and versions. Often people will bake a cake to make these and you can even buy a special cake pop maker or molds which will bake cakes in perfectly round balls.

It’s much easier though to use cake left overs, and better as well as you won’t waste anythingūüôā

I don’t have a recipe, but normally you crumble up a cake and mix it with some buttercream/frosting. As I had made a dark chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, I used this for my version. The mixture needs to be moist but firm, you don’t want the cake pops falling apart.

First you roll the cake mixture into balls, approximately the size of a walnut/golf ball (I actually weighed them to make sure they were all equal). If you make them too large, they will get too heavy and will fall off the stick. Plus,¬†you can’t really easily pop them into your mouth! After rolling the balls, I placed them in the fridge to harden up, this took about 45 minutes. I meanwhile prepped my drying board, a piece of foam in which I pierced some holes to fit the lollipop sticks.

I also melted a small portion of candy melts, I used these from Wilton which were supposed to be red but turned out pink! Not sure what candy melts are exactly, I suspect sugar with vegetable fats and colouring, but they smell and taste vaguely chocolaty as well. You can melt them in the microwave. Just take care to stir often and heat in short burst to avoid burning the candy melts!

Once the cake pop balls had hardened up, I inserted the sticks by dipping the top part in the candy melt mixture and inserting this halfway into the cake ball. This helps the stick to “stick” to the cake. Popped the tray bake into the fridge for another 30 minutes so that the candy melt “glue” could set.

I then melted some more candy melts for dipping the cake balls.¬†Aside from the colour failure, I also felt that the mixture was quite thick. This was the first time¬†I made these, so I wasn’t sure of the consistency, but I thinned it out with some Trex until¬†smooth and a bit runny. ¬†I had read somewhere that you should not dip an ice cold ball into a hot coating mixture, to avoid cracking. Makes sense, and I took out the pops from the fridge again and waited for another 10 minutes for them to warm up and the mixture to cool down before dipping the ball into the mixture and carefully tapping off any excess. Not really sure how to best describe it, but there are lots of videos on Youtube that show this. You sort of want a thin, smooth coating all around the cake ball.

After dipping, I either dipped the top half again in some hundreds-and-thousands before the glaze had set, or I stuck them immediately into the foam board to dry.¬† I had one or two accidents, when the ball threatened to slip of the stick, so I dried these upside down and used them for quality control checkūüėõ

Finally, I wrapped them all up individually in little cellophane bags.



They look pretty, and are nice – if a bit sweetly- to eat, but also quite a faff to make, so not sure if I would make them very often. I guess I have to find some more ideas for using left over cake… any suggestions?


Put some colour in your lunch!


In my Miffy Bento post I referred to one of my favourite blogs Bunnyeatsdesign. Aside from blogging about her very photogenic rabbit Tofu, great recipes and other food related stuff, Genie also coordinates the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge.

You can read all about it¬†here, but basically it’s a way to share with and inspire other food bloggers. The theme changes monthly and for August it is work day eating, so I thought to cheer up the start of the working week with a colourful lunchūüôā

In my lunch today I have covered the rice with loads of veggies like carrots, sugar snaps, broccoli and mini corn. The meat is soy marinated beef, it is called Jangjorim and very easy to make. Maangchi has a great recipe and also some examples on how to pack it in dosirak. My version didn’t have the eggs but next time I will make them with it as they are delicious as well.

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Cheryl at Businesschic



Yaki onigiri

Yaki Onigiri

Some left over rice turned into a simple but tasty snack: Yaki Onigiri!

Yaki means grilled, and Onigiri is a rice ball. Usually Onigiri are filled with all kinds of ingredients and/or wrapped in seaweed, but instead of filling, a Yaki Onigiri is grilled on a BBQ and brushed with soy sauce or miso.

Instead of a BBQ, I am using a heavy duty frying pan to obtain the same effect. First I shape the rice into triangles, making sure I really press the rice firmly together as otherwise it will fall apart later.

I then fry each side for a few minutes in a little oil on medium heat.  You can use vegetable oil or even butter but I like add some sesame oil to plain vegetable oil to enhance the flavour. After each side has crisped up Рthis usually takes a few minutes, avoiding to turn too often, I brush some soy sauce on each side before frying a further minute until done. Instead of soy sauce you could also use miso paste or even BBQ sauce!

I like eating Yaki Onigiri with some pickles.


CowParade Cake

Surrey Hills is currently hosting a CowParade event and in the last few weekends we have been #followingtheherd! Ie driving around the beautiful Surrey country side and admiring the cows that are being displayed.

Some cows seems to have paraded onto my cake!


CowParade is¬†a huge¬†public art event in the world, where life size cows are being painted by local artists, “paraded” around a town or area, and afterwards auctioned off for charity. CowParade was born in Switzerland in 1998 and since then has been staged in more than 80 cities and towns worldwide including¬†New York, London, Mexico, Istanbul, Paris and Buenos Aires.

The cow sculptures are made of fiberglass, reinforced with steel and come in¬†three basic positions ‚Äď standing (head up), grazing (head down) and a reclining postion. From each CowParade event, 8 to 12 cows will be reproduced and become collectible art items (CowParade‚Äôs line of figurines).

We have been collecting the cow figurines for some years now, they are fun reminders of places we visited and pretty artworks to display around the house.  The two in the photo are my favourite ones, one is inspired by Klimt and the other by Dutch Delft Blue tiles & flowers.

I thought it would be fun to make a cake inspired by the cows parading around Surrey Hills. 

The cake is a 3 layered vanilla madeira sponge – sandwiched with caramel buttercream, and I first covered it in blue (for the sky) and green fondant (for the Surrey hills). I didn’t have a cow fondant cutter and I wanted to make the cows as identical as possible to the CowParade version, so I printed off some pictures and used that as a template to cut the fondant.

I really enjoyed creating different designs for the cows. In a way I felt like the artists must feel who create the life size ones. Unfortunately it was an extremely humid day when I made this cake, so the fondant was a real pain to work with and I had to keep the designs quite simple but I think they look pretty good!

Which one do you like most?


(no real cows were harmed in any way when creating this cake)