Put some colour in your lunch!

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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 lunch:-)

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

 

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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 – this 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!

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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 – 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’s 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)

Miffy bento

Miffy Bento

It has been some time since I made a kawaii (character) bento, so I today I packed a Miffy Bento.

I do like bunnies, they are so fluffy and cute. One of my favourite blogs is Bunnyeatsdesign. Genie is a brilliant blogger and obsessed with food and bunnies. Every Tuesday her blog features her rabbit Tofu, who is incredible photogenic. A highlight on my Tuesday but on other days there are also brilliant recipes, do check it out! 

Anyway, to get back to Miffy.  Miffy was created by Dick Bruna (source about Miffy) in 1955 after telling stories about a little bunny seen in the dunes to his son. In the Netherlands, Miffy is known as “nijntje”, which derives from the Dutch word “konijntje”, meaning “little bunny”. Because “nijntje” is difficult to prounce for non-Dutch speakers and because there are so many different words for “bunny” in other languages, Dick Bruna’s little bunny is simply known as Miffy. The name doesn’t have any special meaning, but it is easy to pronounce in all languages (source about Miffy).

Initially featuring in picture books aimed at pre-schoolers she has since become hugely popular amongst pre-teenagers especially in countries like Japan where they even have a  Miffy cafe. Since 2015 there is also a Miffy museum in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

My Miffy was made from rice and holds a strawberry heart. There are two pieces of a courgette/salmon tart tucked away next to her, and the rest of the Bento was filled with vegetables. I also had some little bunny cutters to cut some carrot Miffy.

Cute and delicious:-)

 

Mango Sorbet

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Whilst most of the UK population is enjoying the sunshine outside, I have to confess that I have been hiding indoors to escape the heat!  Don’t get me wrong, I do like the sun, but all in moderation and the temperatures that we had this week here in London are just a bit too high for me.

However, it was a great reason to use up those mangoes I had and turn them into mango sorbet.

We have a biweekly vegetable and fruit box delivery, and although there is the option to have a “surprise” box, sometimes I opt to pre-select my choices and order a custom box. So, I was a bit surprised to discover two mangoes in the box instead of the two avocados I had ordered! They were very green mangoes…so I guess the person who packed them isn’t very familiar with either….

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Anyway, the mangoes were very green, ie unripe, so I just stored them in the brown bag until they were nice and ripe to be used this weekend.   I have never made mango sorbet before, but a quick google learned I only need mango (✓), sugar (✓) and water (✓). And an ice cream maker….Hmm… definitely lacking an ice cream maker, but apparently you can make it by hand as well, just a little bit more work.

So, first, I peeled the mango and roughly cubed it, before blending it into a smooth puree.  The recipes I found online all indicated a 4:1 ratio puree and sugar syrup. My puree was just over 500 grams, so I made a simple syrup by dissolving 125 grams of castor sugar into 125 ml of water. Mixed up the two together, transferred to a metal bowl (to speed up the freezing process), covered with some cling film and popped into the freezer.

For the next 4-5 hours I took out the sorbet every 45 minutes or so, and stirred the mixture. For the first hours, the mango sorbet just changed from very fluid to a sort of slushy mixture, but after 2 hours it started to turn slowly into a sorbet, mainly along the sides of the bowl. In the end it took almost 6 hours to more or less freeze enough to transfer to sorbet from it’s bowl to it’s container and another night until fully scoop-able.

Lovely and refreshing!

 

Asian seafood soup

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Packed an Asian inspired sea food soup for my lunch.

I did not follow any recipe, just made a basic fish stock with some fish stock granules, dried anchovies and miso. Added some more flavour with fish sauce and soup soy sauce (Guk Ganjang) and wakame. Further filled it with carrot, leek and mini corn and of course sea food.  I used tiger prawns, crabsticks, mixed seafood (octopus, mussels, prawns) and some crab fish balls that I had cut up in smaller pieces.

Very easy and delicious.

The fruit is Korean melon. Never tried it before, but it was smelling so delicious so thought to give it a try.

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To be honest, it was a bit disappointing as the taste didn’t live up to the promising smell. Based on that, I was expecting it to taste like a cantaloupe, maybe even sweeter, but instead the flavour was very light, more like a pear than a melon.  It has a very thin rind, and the texture is very crisp, quite juicy, refreshing and nice but just not what I expected! Was good to try out though:-)

 

Gimbap

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It has been a long time since I made these!

Have not been making a lot of lunches recently – somehow I get distracted by my new cake decorating hobby – but was really craving these lovely Korean rice rolls. They are very easy to make, but a bit time consuming because the different ingredients need some prepping.

This is a very classic gimbap with omelet, beef, cucumber, carrot, spinach, danmuji and burdock. I had prepared all the ingredients the night before, making the omelet, marinating and cooking beef, stir frying the carrot etc and had cut everything in thin strips ready for packing. Cheated a bit with ready marinated spinach from the Korean supermarket.

In the morning I only had to fill and roll the gimbap, much easier now with my new sushi roll gadget :-)

Here you can see how I made gimbap before.

Onigirazu

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This is a lunch I made last week when we went to watch the qualifying games for Wimbledon*. I made some onigirazu, filled with omelet, smoked salmon and green beans. Packed it with some carrot sticks, few cherry tomatoes and a piece of rainbow cake – left over from a cake I made for a colleague.

Very simple lunch but very good:-)

I often use salmon for filling an onigirazu, but there are lots of other options, like this delicious bulgogi onigirazu made by Nami from Just One Cookbook.

Just looking at it, I now want Korean food!! Have to stock up on ingredients so will go to the Korean supermarket tomorrow. Might also treat myself to lunch ……. mjom mjom…

 

Chinese duckies…

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Some Chinese food in my bento! Not sure if I should still call it a bento, but I don’t know the Mandarin word for lunch box. Is there actually a Chinese version like the Japanese bento or Korean dosirak? I might have to research this to see if I need to expand my blog!

We love crispy Peking Duck. Whenever we go to a Chinese restaurant or order take out, we tend to include a starter to share. It’s so satisfying to fill – and eat! –  those little pancakes with the slow roasted meat, crispy skin, spring onions and cucumber and dip this in some hoisin sauce.

Although I do cook duck sometimes at home, I have never yet attempted to make Peking Duck. Usually I stick to French recipes like confit de canard or duck a l’orange. I think that the whole process of brining, air drying, glazing etc is a bit too intimidating to attempt but luckily I have now discovered a supermarket cheat to serve this dish at home.

The Gressingham Duck people  are selling precooked, marinated, seasoned Crispy ducks or sometimes supermarkets have their own branded ones (we tried out various brands but prefer Gressingham). Because all the preparation – and most of the roasting- has already been done, you only need to pop these in the oven for 40-60 min and you have lovely Peking Duck at home. We know that they are not as authentic and delicious as the “proper” ones, but they are a good alternative.

The ducks usually come with pancakes (which can be reheated in the microwave but we actually prefer steaming them in the rice cooker) and hoisin sauce and you just have to add spring onion and cucumber.

I used some left overs for this bento, but packed rice instead of pancakes. The little container holds some hoisin sauce and I added some broccoli to up the vegetable. When I finished packing, I thought that the bento lacked a bit of colour, so I added some little ducks. I didn’t have a small duck cutter, so I used a tiny chicken cutter and created these “Chinese carrot duck” variety. One of them made it into the hoisin pool:-)

Do you enjoy Peking Duck? Have you ever attempted to make it – from scratch – at home?

Sushi burger

sushi rice burger

This time a sushi burger!

After last week’s gigantic Hamburger cake I made this burger from sushi rice. A lot easier:-)

I used some metal food rings and cling film and just added the rice and ingredients layer by layer. My favourite sushi fillings are salmon or crab, cucumber and avocado, and in this case I used smoked salmon. The cling film is very useful to avoid that the ingredients stick to the metal ring but more importantly to help press the ingredients down so that you get a nice and tidy layers in the “burger”.

The sushi burgers were served on some cucumber slices and added a simple decoration to make it look prettier. This could also work great as a starter, or you could wrap these in nori and turn them into Onigirazu for a (bento) lunch.