Archive for January, 2009

I know, Chinese New year is technically over :) No reason not to celebrate though!
Cow-spotted rice (It’s the year of the cow bull), vegetarian dumplings, red-dyed egg and some broccoli and sprouts. Bottle with dipping sauce for the dumplings (dark soy+vinegar+chili).

My own box has the same and my attempt at a bit more “natural” looking cow pattern – it didn’t really turn out though, I think.

PS: For those of you still looking for natural dye, cooking stuff with black rice in the water will make it *very* purple – my fingers are witnesses! *looks like she robbed a bank* It’s no good for onigiri though, I couldn’t get it to stick together.

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Bento #205

Continuing the celebratory theme.
Starting top left: Muhammara and grilled zucchini, cherry tomato, hazelnut lentil balls, colourful sushi rice rolls (no stuffing, just differently coloured rice), grapes, and a tiny cherry tomato.

Here’s a not-so-artsy shot of the same box. Yes, it all fitted (except the picks which I tucked in afterwards)!

And my own box. Same food, but arranged slightly differently.
I also have wasabi, ginger, soy sauce and a candy tucked away at the sides.

PS: I used this recipe for the hazelnut lentil balls, but substituted red dal. They are really yummy and I’m going to whip up a batch to freeze next time. Sadly they do benefit from being fried a little, just oven-baked was a little bland.

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This one is finally supposed to get me into a more celebratory mood. Inarizushi kitten, rainbow maki with carrot and cucumber stars and 5-coloured rice, tamagoyaki and lots of tasty veggies, fruit and chocolate.

I sacrificed the last of my blue onigiri freezer batch for the maki – now I’ll have to wait until I get new easter egg dyes! (It’s freakishly hard to get hold of blue dye around here.) The yellow is done with turmeric and the green (badly) with spinach, but the red is also food dye – I didn’t feel like bothering, and I wanted a pinkish red, not an orange-ish red like tomatoes give.
The last colour is white, so no colouring needed.

The BF gets the same in a bigger Curver box.

I have more rainbow maki left, so expect another celebration tomorrow!

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Bento #203

I used up nearly all my freezer stash, which mainly means that I need to scrounge for good protein in my bentos. Luckily I always have eggs :)
This bento contains, of its basic elements:
Carbohydrates: Jasmine rice
Proteins: Tamagoyaki, two vegetarian dumplings
Veggies: Enoki and oyster mushrooms, carrot kinpira, fried eggplant (rolled up), a cherry tomato and salad.
Other: a fishy of soy sauce.

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Eggplant and feta roll pasta

I saw someone using eggplant and feta rolls in a bento recently and remembered that I had done a similar dish before. Which I promptly got a craving for, so I made it the following evening. (Yes, my finger is much better now, thanks mom! :P)

Looks elaborate, but is simple and delicious: *very* thinly sliced eggplant rolled around feta sticks, skewered to keep them from unrolling themselves and panfried. Then, I covered them in tomato sauce and cheese and baked them in the oven for 10 minutes.

Yes… it’s eggplant Burritos! :)
You can serve them on their own or as a side dish, but since I will be submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights #98 hosted by The Skinny Gourmet, I serve them on pasta.

Formal recipe
1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise into thin (very thin!) strips.
Feta cut into sticks
French herbs
Olive oil

Tomato sauce:
Crushed tomatoes
Chopped garlic
chopped chili
olive oil
or use your own favourite recipe

Salt the eggplant slices to draw out the bitterness somewhat and leave for 10 minutes. Dab them off with a towel, brush with olive oil and Fernch herbs (I skipped that step for less oiliness) and roll the feta sticks in them. Skewer them (single or in a line) to keep them from unrolling themselves in the pan.
If your slices are too thick, the eggplant will break during rolling. You can either try again with thinner slices or steam the eggplant a little to make it softer.
Fry in olive oil on both sides.
You can skip the frying if you want to save on fat; personally I think eggplant tastes a lot better fried. Likewise, you could skip the skewering if you squeeze them together tightly in the pan, but this is Presto Pasta Nights, not elaborately composed Pasta Nights after all!
After frying, put the skewers into an oven-proof pan and cover with the tomato sauce. Throw some melty cheese on top and stuff in the oven for 10 minutes.
While the eggplant cooks in the oven, boil the pasta.

Serve (on or off the skewers) with the tomato sauce on top of the pasta.

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Bento #202


I might wait with the celebrations until #250…
This bento isn’t very celebratory today, on account that I cut my finger somewhat painfully yesterday while making dinner and was in no mood to make bento afterwards. So I threw this together in the morning out of a leftover upper layer from Monday and some stock ingredients from my fridge/freezer.

The upper layer is still couscous salad with parsley and lemon. The lower layer is a frozen quiche cup on lettuce, a cherry tomato, pickled onions, some homegrown alfalfa sprouts (I put some homegrown cress on the quiche as well), a candy and a fishy with balsam vinegar.

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Grr – and I didn’t make a celebratory bento! I’m going to have to do that tomorrow.

I’m not sure my BF will be able to eat this… creepy forest spirits made of cheese on 3 mushroom rice. (By the way, this is not a good dish for mixing different types of rice. The cooking time difference makes the recipe not work well :/)

Since I’m gonna eat bento both morning and evening tomorrow, I made a whopping 4(!) different bentos tonight! Weekend cooking + weekend leftovers make for lots of bento ingredients, luckily.

Also for the BF. Halloumi sandwiches with homemade half-wholemeal buns, lettuce, onion and tomato, and a marble box of falafel, croquette balls, brussel sprouts and a cherry tomato. The dog contains Ajvar and mayo.

The box is new and has a cute cartoon character on the front, Petterson and Findus (Findus is the cat). There is also a tray that fits in it, but I took it out to fit the sandwiches.

My sandwich is accompanied by couscous salad decorated with a tomato and parsley flower, and a fizzy lemon sherbet candy for afterwards.

And my lunch menu contains leftovers from the curry cookoff yesterday: Bell pepper curry on rice, and plantain curry with grapes and a cherry tomato in the upper layer.

I’ve never had plantains before! They are quite nice – somewhat like potatoes, but without the typical “boiled potato” taste. They smell nicely of banana, too. I used this recipe and I heartily recommend it!

So much for my cooking adventures this week! How about you?

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Inarizushi kittens playing in a broccoli forest! And carrot flowers, a fishy of soy (fits the kittens), three pieces of egglog and some grapes.

We’ll see if I can eat them. I don’t often do charaben – well, actually that’s because I really have no patience, but the few I made I had *serious* problems eating! Cuteness and food… is a hard combination for me.

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Bento #196

Mostly to show off the new picks I got in Austria :) Falafel, croquette balls, broccoli, ajvar and mayo in the cup, half a hardboiled egg, lettuce and sliced carrots with a fishy of vinegar dressing, a cherry tomato, grapes and a chocolate.

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Toast on dark sourdough bread? Weird, you might think, but it’s quite common in Austria, and quite tasty. It’s generally known as Bauerntoast, or “Farmer’s Toast” because of the generally homemade farmer’s type bread.

It’s also very easy to make on a foreman grill or waffle maker. Just cut some bread, put it on the grill, toss in sliced cheese (something tasty, please, like Emmental or at the very least Gouda), hardboiled egg (see the lovely golden yolk? YUM), onion and tomato slices, another layer of cheese and top it with another slice (or leave it open if you like grilled cheese).
Eat with ketchup, mayonaise, mustard, all of the above or neither.

The bread I used is the rest of the piece of Spelt bread I took home from Austria, by the way. It is delicious – a slice of this farmer’s bread will leave you completely happy and satisfied even without all the trouble with the toasting. It also will keep for ages even without the modern technology of plastic bags and fridges – a linen sack is quite enough for it, according to the testimony of people who actually lived when everybody was making their own bread still.
I will definitely attempt to get hold of some spelt flour around here and make the bread myself. I assume the dough is quite similar to that of my walnut bread that I made a while ago – the pre-dough is prepared to rise the day before the bread is made, and the dough rises quite a bit more afterwards. Oof – good bread needs time! I’m not sure where I will find that ingredient, either. But it’s worth making some time for lovely bread, definitely!

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