Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bento Days

February kicked off busier than January. As kids grow, priorities changed, and now I need to look for a bigger house and this time I am definitely sure that the biggest room for the new house shall be the Kitchen! When I first moved to my present house, never had I imagined that cooking and baking will take up most of my time and if jotted down and recorded, the time I spent in my kitchen far extend and outnumber the days I spend in any other parts of my house. There are times when I fret and curse about my present small kitchen and now when I have to put it up for sale, my heart beats and feel longing and attachment to it. There is no Kitchen island and I only had 3 very limited separated counterspace top to work all my ingredients, cakes, elbow grease and photo session, but somehow I survived! As evidenced from this blog, I have indeed done Alot in my little humble kitchen and I shall miss it when it is time to say goodbye. It is strange how one can get attached to a space, no matter how crowded, small or unfriendly it is!

While my attention is shifted to the whole house now in cleaning up, junking out stuffs and bringing out space once stuffed to the ceilings, I haven't spend much time cooking nor baking. Only managed to do Bento, partly because they are necessary for my daughter school lunches. I hope to be able to keep cooking, baking and blogging till the day I move.

Mushroom Rice with Cut out Cucumber slices. Doesn't matter if you don't have any Bento cutters, a paring knife will do the decorating part as long as you use some Maths concept and imagination! I always love the idea of the Taiwanese eat egg immersed and cooked in tea and herb. For this Bento, I boiled an egg and gently cracked the shell without breaking off any after it is cooked. And then I immersed it into a mixture of soy sauce and water for 10 mins, so that I don't have to waste a cup of soy sauce and cut down the saltiness if I had used only the soy sauce. For the carrot, I thinly sliced them into sticks and par-boiled them for about 7 to 10 mins which brings out its lovely orange color. To season it, I used a bit of sesame oil and soy sauce and sprinkled with toasted black sesame seeds.

Just a simple chicken & mayo sandwich. With Side salad of peas and corn to add colors to the whole Bento Box. For the decoration, I used punches and dried seaweed.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bento Days

Welcome February. I am finding less energy to do cute Bento and trying to keep it simple this year. My daughter seems to socialize more now and busy chatting away during her lunch time at school, sometimes only finishing half of the content of the Bento. My only choice is to use a smaller size lunch box for her and trying to squeeze in everything neatly. Small and mini cookie cutters together with cute food picks can brighten up a usual lunch.

Lotus Root is crunchy and fun to eat. Here I parboiled them for about 5 mins to soften their texture, and drained and then mixed them with a bit of light soy sauce and sesame seed oil. They added shape and a nice color to the overall combination of colors inside the bento Box.

There are more choices of mushroom in my local grocery store now and they stock up on these little ones, which are usually available only at Asian stores. This one was referred to as Beech mushroom or 'Bunashimeji' in Japanese and only needed to be sauteed in very little oil for about 5 mins to soften and bring out the semi firm and crunchy texture. They look pretty in a cluster. For the mini pork patties, I used some minced pork, mixed and stirred it with seasonings and cornflour and shaped into flat disks. Pan fried for about 7 to 10 mins, turning sides and they fit in with the rests of the mini baby tomatoes, mushroom, cucumber and cut orange quarters from wedges.