Archive for the ‘tapas’ Category

Bento #284

Leftover potato tortilla, a demented looking apple bunny, cherry tomato and roasted mixed bell peppers with balsamico vinegar in the foreground.
Couscous with a cherry tomato and nigella seeds in the background. (you can’t see it, but there are sundried tomatoes mixed in with the couscous as well.)

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Bento #283

Big box: Potato tortilla on lettuce, cherry tomato decoration.
Small box: Broccoli, carrot chips, ajvar and mayo, olives and avocado.

BF gets the same in the square HK box.

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Potaoto omelette slices, ajvar, hardboiled egg, bell pepper slices, olives and a mint cookie for dessert.

BF gets the same and some more cookies.

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I love shopping days. I usually end up making a whole lot of different fresh foods that day!
After using up fridge contents last week, I have leftovers for bento today.
1/4 of a mini pie with feta and sundried tomatoes, rucola, two heirloom tomatoes and a fishy with vinaigrette in the top layer.
Half a marbled muffin (homebaked), tabbouleh, fried mushrooms, tiny baked potatoes with rosemary, some more heirloom tomatoes and olives in the bottom layer.

Since the BF will eat his at home, he does not get a box today. I was lazy and just put everything in the pie form! (I think it looks great. Heh. And he doesn’t mind.)

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I found a new “bentobox” at IKEA! It’s not specifically made for food, but should take not-too-soggy food OK. It holds 2x380ml, which is a very nice portion size, does not lock tight by itself (so you’ll need a furoshiki) but does have a nice handle on top. Will report on how well the box held up tomorrow!

Mine contains rice (already cold so it doesn’t leave condensation) with a cherry tomato and black sesame in the lower layer.
The upper layser holds a silicone muffin cup of green veggie cocos curry, a piece of teriyaki salmon, raw sugarpeas and avocado, a bear cup with teriyaki sauce, some grapes and a pink mochi – all on Chinese cabbage to keep it from staining the box. The Mochi is also wrapped in plastic foil to keep it from soaking up other tastes :P

Closeup of the upper layer:

BF gets the same in the HK box (the big boy’s bentobox is in the dishwasher because I was a bad girl and didn’t wash it out from the last use!):

I did another bento the week before but it felt somewhat uninspired. It was still nummy though – and a great alternative to the lunch restaurant’s vegetarian menu – cabbage rolls! Eugh.
Posting it so you don’t think I cheated on the #134 :)

Curry couscous with feta and sundried tomato pieces, a cup of leftover cheese tortellini, and some assorted tapas – vinegared fried bell peppers and mushrooms, raw sugarpeas and rucola. I mixed the tapas and the couscous together at lunchtime and it worked nicely :D
Then there’s a raspberry container with yoghurt dressing, some grapes and a mozart ball for dessert.

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Bento #108

Tomorrow is my first day at a new workplace. Since I have to give myself a little message (Ganbatte ne! Fight-o! and so on) and also, since I have to get up quite a bit earlier and after work, renovating a new apartment is on the plans for the evening, I packed a little breakfast box with leftovers for a good start in the day.

The box contains, starting from the top left corner and circling clockwise:
Potato halves, Maché sallad (I love this stuff), crème fraiche with chives to dip, a zucchini with a stick of feta, spiced sweet potato sticks, a mini-pie crust with some egg and half an olive, a few lumps of parmesan, eggplant with herbs, more sweet potato sticks, more salad and a mushroom stuffed with pesto, tomatoes and cheese.

Organic check: The ingredients from organic production are: potatoes, sallad, zucchini, feta, parmesan (the last of the one I imported from Italy *sniff*), mushroom. Everything else I either had already or couldn’t find organic.

Everything in there that needed to be cooked was baked in the oven. The potatoes and sweet potatoes baked while I prepared the rest of the stuff, then I put the other veggies on a tray above it and when they were done, so were the potatoes.

I can post recipes if needed. But for now, I’ll kick myself into bed so I can start my new work fresh and rested!

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Long time no bento… I’ve been away too much. I barely eat at home these days – no leftovers, so no bentos! Since I will be going to an interview tomorrow at lunchtime and have no lunch break, though, I had a reason to prepare one!

This one contains leftovers from a tapas meal I made tonight. Starting with the upper corner and spiraling clockwise:

  • grilled wholewheat bread slices with garlic and butter
  • a tomato rose
  • a “ducky” (well, at least to me) of chili cheese tops (bought frozen)
  • mushrooms glazed with balsamico
  • cheese cubes
  • green melon
  • ovenbaked potato wedges and another tomato
  • ovenbaked striped eggplant (sadly the pretty white and purple stripes faded soemwhat in the oven)
  • organic feta cubes (organic feta is very recommendable! MUCH better than the normal one of the same brand.)
  • corn, pineapple and leek salad in the middle

This bento sadly lacks a lot of colour. Since I have been away so long, all the nice stuff in my fridge has spoiled. Curse you, short-notice travelling! But there were always fresh herbs, chilies and spices from my windowsill to the rescue :) Thyme, rosemary, red banana chilies and thai basil adorn this bento!

Things I learned:
Oven-baked eggplant is low-fat and delicious. And fast! It was done much quicker than I expected. I just cut the eggplant into cubes, salted them, sprayed it with chili-infused olive oil from my spray bottle and put them on the sheet with the potatoes. Done in a few minutes and much less hassle than frying them! Wow!
Organic is sooo worth it. I’m increasing the percentage of organic and fairtrade foods on my shopping list – the supermarket helps me with this by marking them on my receipt and giving me the total amount spent on organic food in a separate post. In this lunchbox the organic foods are: the cheese tops, mushrooms, potatoes, feta and leek. Not sure about the melon (didn’t buy it), the cheese and the toast (wholewheat does not automatically mean organic). And technically my herbs are organic too, since the original herb plants I bought were and I only gave them love, earth and water :)

I have a few more posts to write up. But I am doing NaNoWriMo this November! Since blogging isn’t helping my wordcount, it’ll just have to wait. :)

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Leftovers from the tapas (yes, still) as a quick breakfast/snackbox. Not much more to say…
Oh, right. There’s aioli and Ajvar in the little condiment cup (which I sneakily took from the local burger chain’s stash). Ss_biggie reminded me how much I loved Ajvar, so I grabbed a glass at the supermarket the other day. And since I like hot stuff (and can handle it), of course I took hot.
Big mistake. I so love the taste, but my mouth burns too much to eat a lot of it at once! *cries*

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Wah! Kao-chan, I hold you in a whole new respect as photography goddess after trying out taking photos with my BF’s digital SLR. So many options! And after all of this torture to my wrists from holding, aiming, and setting the (bloody heavy) thing I found out I had the wrong ISO setting and the pictures turned out grainy anyway. *cries*
Luckily ever-paranoid, I had taken some pictures with my regular camera too. But they don’t look nearly as good as the SLR ones as I’m already able to tell! Oh well, I guess I’ll be taking pictures in parallel for a while until I have it figured out.

On to the bento…

Main course: Spanish potato tortilla on a bed of salad. Black garlic olives.
Side dish: Cherry tomato salad with red onion and fresh basil; green garlic olive.
Dessert: Freshly-picked forest berries on yoghurt, all frozen to serve as ice pack (this goes back into the freezer until tomorrow).

I love summer! Not just because it’s warm and nice but it’s also the season of fruits, herbs and berrypicking. My grandmother used to go to the forest with me to pick berries and I plan to do the same with my children and grandchildren, if I ever have any. It’s so important to know where the food comes from when it’s not bought in the supermarket. How to live off the land and what delicacies there are hiding in our own forests and meadows is starting to become a sadly forgotten art, and even though I grew up mostly in a city myself it saddens me when I meet people my age who can barely tell a chestnut tree from a cherry tree and would never eat anything straight from the forest. (I say to hell with hygiene, forest berries taste the best when fresh from the branch.)
Today I went to the forest in search of mushrooms. I didn’t find any yet, although the weather was perfect – I guess there were too many mushroom pickers before me! – but I did find an abundance of wild raspberries, forest strawberries and blueberries. I’m especially happy about the forest strawberries (or smultron as they are called in Swedish) because they taste so much better than the giant strawberries you can buy in supermarkets. Talk about a taste explosion in every single, tiny berry you pick. I had a hard time picking any for later and not putting every berry in my mouth immediately!

It is no coincidence or photographic accessorizing though that amidst all the berries, there is also a flower. When I went out to the forest with my grandmother, we did not only pick berries and mushrooms!
The yellow flower giving such a pretty contrast to the red and blue berries is called St. John’s Wort or in German, Johanniskraut and can be used dried as a tea, or steeped in alcohol as an antibiotic tincture that speeds up wound healing. It is rumoured to be good against mild depressions even!
When I saw it growing wild and abundant in the forests close to here, I remembered how we used to collect it and decided to pick and dry some of my own. Herbal medicine, and knowledge of wild herbs is sadly a vanishing art here in Europe, and I am very interested in keeping the knowledge of living off the land alive, at least as little as I ever learned about it! I’m planning to write more articles on vanishing vegetable sorts and herbs on this blog as I stumble across them. Did you know, for example, that you can eat dandelion leaves as a salad in spring, if you pick them very young and before they grow flowers? (I plan to sneak that into a bento next spring, if I get the chance…)

I put the rest of the berries on top of yoghurt into muffin cups (I took two for each cup as I was worried one alone might be too soft) and froze them. I wonder if freezing yoghurt is such a good idea? But on the other hand, I do like frozen yoghurt, and I like the possibility of using it as an icepack as well, so I’ll keep you updated on whether the cups held up to the abuse when I manage to integrate them into another bento…

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Weekend cooking: Tapas!

I love Spanish tapas. While I can’t eat all of them, there’s always something lovely and savoury for me in it. And when I feel blue and don’t know what to eat/cook, tapas are the perfect food to nibble! Colourful, savoury and delicious. A little here, a little there, toss in a salad or a caprese or some cheese (I like parmesan/grana which is just parmesan by another name) and bread and you’re set!

Some of my staple ingredients for tapas:

Olives – whenever I manage to get to an ethnic foodstore, I buy a big pint of fresh olives to bring home. The supermarkets here only have either canned olives or very oily ones – I prefer them marinated in brine with herbs. Shown here are green and black olives marinated with garlic and lemon.

Garlic grilled prawns – I don’t need to put a recipe here, right?

Peperonata – fried bell peppers with balsamico vinegar
* Cut bell peppers into about 1cm wide strips. If you take three different-coloured bell peppers it will look even better – I only had yellow bell pepper at home, sadly. Peel a garlic clove and slice or quarter it.
* Heat a few spoons of olive oil in a deep pan. Fry the bell peppers with the garlic until they start to become soft, but still have a crunch.
* Take the pan off the heat, then pour in balsamico vinegar – enough to quench the heat. Cook a little, remove the garlic and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or cold.

Tortilla Espagnola (Spanish Potato Omelette)
This is a very good way of using up leftover cooked potatoes, but delicious on its own as well! I don’t add anything to the omelette other than potatoes, eggs and salt/pepper, but you can vary the recipe by adding vegetables or spice it up with onions and garlic.
* Take some leftover cooked potatoes, or cook some new ones. Peel them if they’re not this year’s potatoes (mine are and I like the thin, edible bark, so they’re not peeled but just washed and scrubbed thoroughly.)
* Slice the potatoes into 0.5cm wide discs.
* In a bowl, scramble eggs (I used 4 for my pie, take more or less depending on the size of your pan and grade of hungriness) with salt, pepper, and whatever other spices you like.
* Take an ovenfast pan or pie form and spray it with olive oil. Put down a layer of potato slices on the bottom, not overlapping.
* Pour some of the egg mixture over the potatoes to cover them, spread it out with a spoon so the potatoes are covered by a thin layer of egg.
* Repeat until you run out of either potatoes, egg or pan.
* Put in the oven at 200 degrees and bake until the egg is no longer runny and nicely brown on top. Cut into wedges and serve warm or cold. Voilà! Or maybe, Olé!

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