Thursday, January 15, 2009

January Bento Days (1)

Super cold day and we stayed indoors. At the time I am doing this post, it is -4'C outside. This winter has been brutal and I wonder how long will this cold span lasts. It takes forever to bundle up when going out and walking and driving after an overnight freeze can be very nerve wrecking. Even my mail box doesn't open and frozen shut!
Recently I have been able to access blogs from Japan and I am just lost for words when I see the Japanese bloggers do their Bento boxes. From the painstaking effort of creating a Character or Kyaraben to a simple arranged multitude of ingredients to create the eye pleasing and palate tempting lunch, Japanese people are so creative. Patience plays an important part in this art of lunch box and early planning and preparation of the matching ingredients contributes to a successful attempt every time.
Infact I am so inspired and I wanted to do it more often for the kids. Prince D has reached the age when he understands possessions and whatever his sister has, he must have too. He may still be too young for a Bento box lunch as he can hardly aim his spoon right to his mouth, let alone eating neatly from a compactly arranged box of food. But having kids with 2 years of gap between them makes teaching both together of life's rules and ways easier and I always look for ways to maximize education in both Missy E and Prince D in the most minimum time. And I believe kids learn faster from their own kind than the adult or parent paying too much attention on little details.
I made each of them a Bento Box today. Of course, the portions were for Missy E and Prince D shared his with me. I made potato croquette simply by mashing up cooked potato with some butter and milk and coating them with breadcrumb and pan fried them with vegetable oil. The broccoli florets and carrot chunks were boiled before I cut them into flower patterns with mini cookie cutter. It took me alot of time to release the carrot cutting by poking them out of the rim of the cookie cutter as they were so small. I always think quail eggs were made for kids, adults shun it for having so high cholesterol but kids have not as much concern as we do and they love their baby eggs. For my first attempt of a character Bento, I chose a simple one. Using toasted black sesame seeds and carrot, I poked them into the eggs to make eyes and beak of ducks look alike. Prior to this I poked the eggs with toothpick so that the indentation can hold the seeds and carrot better. Next I attempted the cow. With a teddy bear face sushi mould, I cut the shape out of white cheese and and sliced off the ears part. For the cow's face, I shredded some nori and randomly stuck them all over to give the black and white effect. For the ears and nose part, I cut shapes from yellow cheese. Not a very successful attempt and needed a bit more practising. The blackberries serves as a nice filler and added patterns and color to the Bento.
Missy E finished up everything and I am proud of her for being a neat eater. Prince D on the other hand, has lots to learn for his motor skills and table manners. They were happy.

1 comment:

Ling said...

I love the moo-moo. Happy Chinese New Year to you! May the year of the ox bring you much happiness and more inspiration for bento boxes!