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Archive for October, 2008

Bento #175 – something’s fishy…

Homemade potato salad garnished with red onion, crisp lettuce and a baby plum tomato in the smaller box.
Wholewheat-breaded fishsticks on brown rice, a yellow tomato slice, broccoli tossed in sesame oil and a slice of pomegrenade in the bigger box.

There’s another reason for the title than just the fishsticks, I wonder if anyone can spot it… (hint: I was rather tired when I made this bento x.x)

BF gets the same in a square HK box:

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Bento #174

Three nests of spaghetti all’arrabiata with parmesan, scattered tamagoyaki for the proteins and broccoli for the vitamins, some organic tomato wedges and strawberries for dessert.

This is the BF’s version as I was not happy at all with how mine turned out on the photo. I also had forgotten my HK bento at work, so I had to use a pink box… not so great colour scheme:

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OK, when I said I was going to post a complete recipe I lied – I still haven’t gotten over my respect for making gnocchi myself, so those are of the storebought “fresh” variant. But the final dish is so infused with the delicious flavour of chanterelles I didn’t want to keep it from you!
It’s just to my taste – simple and lazy, but with a fantastic final result.

Here are the mushrooms in their glorious yellow goodness. I cleaned them – you shouldn’t really clean mushrooms under running water, but those were full of moss and pine needles and associated things, and needed to be cleaned. Since I was going to use them immediately, I didn’t bother about it too much. There’s also a red onion, already chopped, a clove of garlic and about half a cup of chopped parsley.

I started by frying the onion and garlic in some chili oil (you can also use butter) until it was soft and translucent. Taking some time seems to really be worth a lot in this dish – I am usually all about getting things done quick but the flavour gets better here if you really get everything timed correctly.
The next step was to fry the parsley a little, and then add the chanterelles, salt and pepper.

At this point, I started to warm the lazy gnocchi: I emptied the bag into a sieve, hung the sieve in a pot on the warm stove, and poured boiling water on it, leaving them to steam for another minute.
I also added 1/2-1 cup of cream to the pan to infuse it with the mushroom taste.

I love gnocchi for their ability to really soak up sauces and flavours, much better than pasta. Therefore, just pouring the sauce over them would be wrong. They have to go in the pan and finish cooking with the sauce! Since they’re pre-made it takes about 2 more minutes, just enough to set the table and pour the wine. Perfect!
Aah… it’s good to be lazy…

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Bento #173

Rapidly advancing towards 200!
This bento is another collection of weekend leftovers. The protein ratio is way off, but I really didn’t feel like more falafel, so this will have to do.
Top (big layer): Gnocchi with chantarelle mushroom sauce, rice decorated with a bell pepper on a lettuce leaf.
Bottom (small layer): Strawberries, breaded ovenbaked eggplant, fried marinated bell pepper on top of baked potato cubes, organic tomato wedge.

The BF gets the same but with some extra falafel (because he asked for them!).

Recipe for the gnocchi and the peppers will be posted later, not because I’m lazy but because I took pictures of the whole process but only uploaded the main picture so far:

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A mixed box of mostly freezer-stash staples.
Starting in the back, a mini feta/tomato quiche, half an organic tomato in slices, some mini falafel, asparagus spears, a bottle of balsamic vinegar for the tomato/lettuce, some pickled onions (the purple stuff under the bottle), a paper cup with baba ganoush, a blue onigiri and strawberries dipped in chocolate.
It may be mostly from the freezer but it’s all yummy!

BF gets the same, with a slightly different arrangement – I was experimenting. :)

I’m almost at the bottom of my blue onigiri freezer stash now. I’ll have to make more sometime. Indigo is one of my favourite colours!

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Top (small box): Couscous salad with parsley and mint (technically Tabbouleh with the couscous ratio cranked way up), two dates and a tiny radish.
Bottom (big box): Heart-shaped falafel on lettuce, organic tomato wedges, grilled Halloumi, Baba Ganoush with olive oil in a muffin cup.
The falafel are restaurant leftovers – I thought they were perfect for bento!

BF gets the same in a square HK box. His radish has a little heart cutout and the falafel show off their heart shape a lot better than in my box.
I’m not happy with the box anyway. The colours kind of run together on the left side, everything is beige. Meh! I should have separated it better.

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Raspberry-almond muffins

Makes 6 muffins.

50g butter
0,75dl sugar
1 handful of grated almonds (or almond mass/marzipan)
2 eggs
2,5-3dl flour, e.g. 1dl Graham- and 1,5-2 dl plain wheat flour
1/2 tsp. vanilla sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
0,5dl milk
1 handful raspberries (frozen works very well for mixing them in easily)
butter and almond shaves for lining the muffin tin

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Mix butter, sugar and almonds well. Add in the eggs one by one and whip.
Mix the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder and vanilla sugar) and mix just to combine. Add milk as necessary.

Line a 6pc. muffin tin with butter and almond shaves. Carefully mix the raspberries into the dough using a spoon and spoon the dough into the tins.
Bake at 200 deg C for 15-20 minutes, cool covered with a towel.

Enjoy!

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I regularly cook vegetarian, but I very rarely cook vegan. Since this October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, I thought I would challenge myself to create a complete, nutritious Vegan meal.

The bento contains the results:
1 Tofu “yakitori” spit, 1 kimchi dumpling (egg-free), grilled zucchini slices, some tiny purple potatoes that grew on my windowsill, 1 slice of tomato and some cubed mango with cinnamon and almond splinters in a silicone muffin cup.
Rice, spring onions, black sesame and another tomato slice in the upper layer.

The BF gets the same, but two more spits. He liked them better than I did!

Here are the spits fresh from the grilling pan. The sauce is homemade. I thickened it a little using potato starch after I had marinated the tofu cubes in it.

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It’s that time again – autumn and time for Pumpkin soup.
Lovely butternut squash soup in the thermal container, decorated with a cream and pumpkinseed oil swirl and some oregano.
The top box holds crisp lettuce, a whole organic/locally grown tomato (YUM!), and sliced bell peppers, a bottle of olive oil and balsamico vinaigrette, and a piece of marzipan chocolate.
There’s also a piece of baguette that I packed on top to add some starch (and calories!) to the menu.

PS: You can also make the soup vegan and a little more asian-style by adding coconut cream (and some lemongrass) instead of the stuff squeezed from cows.

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A pretty flowery box for Friday.
Starting from the top left, the bento contains boiled sweet corn flower-wheels, a rosette of veggie bolognese, rucola salad with red bell pepper and carrot flowers, something vaguely flower-shaped that’s really a sundried tomato mini quiche, a bottle of olive oil and balsamico for the salad and some pickled onions or cipolli.
There’s also a “snack size” (meaning sliiiightly smaller) Reese’s cup tucked somewhere in there for dessert.

Cipolli are pickled onions, preferably tiny salad onions or French shallots. To pickle, you boil the whole or halved lengthwise peeled onion for at least 30 minutes in a mixture of caramelized sugar, wine and vinegar (thyme or laurel are also nice spices to add).
I used red wine (since that’s what I had on hand) and ended up with those beautiful, deeply purple onion rosettes. They keep in a jar in the fridge for quite a while, although they are best fresh and crunchy.

Additional bonus: I used the liquid from the jar in my veggie bolognese, which gives an excellent “authentic Italian” taste!

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