Simple but colourful vegan bento for lunch. Soba (buckwheat noodles) under toppings of diced tomatoes, sliced tofu puffs, courgette / zucchini slices, and soy simmered shiitake. The emoticons are made from sliced radish with nori details. 🙂
Colourful lunch box makes me happy. ^_^
Snack bento: Hello Kitty curry puff on a bed of arugula / rocket salad, with tomato salsa filled mini poppadoms, and blueberries
Hello everyone! Hope you all had a good weekend? The bf and I got our hands dirty making curry puffs. Curry puffs or karipap is a Malaysian savoury snack, also popular in Singapore and Indonesia. It is not dissimilar to an empanada. The curry puff is a deep fried pastry stuffed with curried potatoes and diced chicken, and a wedge of hard boiled egg. My recipe has a slight twist: I made mine vegan with curried sweet potato and mushroom (substituting white potato and chicken) in shortcrust pastry, baked to golden perfection (instead of deep fried). I had some leftover dough which I used to make Hello Kitty faces as decoration.
Noriben is a portmanteau of the words nori and bento. It is a very simple style of bento, consisting of rice (flavoured or otherwise) topped with a layer of nori. To go with my noriben, I made sides of Chinese leaves / napa cabbage rolls (top right) and Korean style tofu fritters (bottom right). Below is my recipe for napa cabbage rolls. Tofu fritters recipe here.
No Face is a character from Studio Ghibli’s film Spirited Away. He is a lone spirit in the form of a masked figure who befriends Sen/Chihiro in the film. I cut nori and peeled radish to create the facial details, adhered using a little mayo. The mask was cut out from egg white.
Here is the recipe for the napa cabbage rolls. They are elegant and flavourful. I made mine vegan:
The bf was too lazy to cook anything outside the box yesterday, so he made a big batch of lasagne using Quorn mince a.k.a. fake meat. We eat so much fake meat that he’s forgotten what real mince tastes like. LOL. Accompanying the lasagne was more fake meat in the form of ‘chicken’ nuggets and ‘Cumberland sausages’ on a bed of garden salad.
Debuting my brand new place mat and serving fork (set of 5) I got from Tiger, a kitsch Danish chain, much like a Danish version of Daiso. 🙂
Hopefully we’ll be in the mood to make something more creative this weekend.
Have a lovely weekend readers and bloggers! ^_^
Alice in Bentoland?
A few weeks ago, the bf and I went to Oxford, the birthplace of Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Across the road from Christ Church college is a little shop that used to be a sweet shop frequented by real life Alice, Carroll’s muse for his books. The shop now sells Alice themed gifts and memorabilia. Amidst the impressive array of tea sets, books, etc., two things stood out most for me: a miniature top hat with tea in it, and a tiny jar of jam with Eat Me on the label – which I promptly bought.
Alice’s Shop in Oxford – a must-see for all Alice in Wonderland enthusiasts
Souvenirs I got from Alice’s Shop: Mad Hatter Tea and Eat Me jam
I was fiddling with the hat when I suddenly had the inspiration to make an Alice in Wonderland bento. I also made vegetarian baked sweet potato korokke (Panko crusted Japanese croquettes) for this bento (see those fuzzy brown things?). They turned out really well, so I will post recipe soon.
Here’s how I made the characters / props:
- Alice (bottom right): Head shaped from rice ball coloured with soy sauce, blond hair from omelette, hair band and facial details from nori
- White Rabbit (bottom centre): Head, ears, and paws are shaped from rice balls, stopwatch from radish and nori, facial and paw details from nori
- Cheshire Cat (bottom left): Korokke for face, eyes and mouth from omelette and nori
- Mad Hatter (top right): Head from soy sauce coloured rice ball, hair from lollo bionda lettuce, hat is my top hat tea
- Playing cards: Saltine / Soda crackers with nori and red layer of kanikama (surimi crab sticks) stuck using a bit of mayo… Without the kanikama, the bento would be vegetarian.
- White rose: Egg white
Happy Monday folks!
Miffy is a rabbit character from a series of popular chidren’s picture books, and is the star of last night’s kyaraben / character bento. Accompanying Miffy are four pan-fried tofu fritters. I believe most tofu-eating nations have their own version and name for these delicious morsels… dubu jeon in Korean, doufu bing in Mandarin, etc. They are filling, yummy, and rich in protein. You can pretty much add anything you like, thus great for clearing out your fridge. Last night I made heaps of mushroom tofu fritters with the help of my grandmother, who pretty much put together this recipe for me over the phone. Other veg that work well are peppers, carrots, peas, sweetcorn, wood ear / kikurage mushrooms, etc. – you get the idea. 🙂
Here is my recipe for mushroom tofu fritters:
Yesterday, I made a bento of vegetarian chirashizushi (scattered sushi). Chirashizushi is perhaps the least known type of sushi in the UK, as many associate sushi with dainty bite-sized morsels of rice and fish. Chirashizushi is easy to make, requires minimal cooking, and can be easily adapted to suit various dietary needs. It is assembled from vinegared rice and a variety of colourful toppings (commonly fish and fish roe). This is my take (vegetarian, of course) on the chirashizushi.
The centrepiece of my bento is my homage to the humble sushi rice. Often the chirashizushi is chock-full of toppings that you can hardly see the most important ingredient, the rice… without which, there would be no sushi! I chose Mini (Chibi) Totoro, a Studio Ghibli character, as it is cute, white, and fluffy… just like perfectly cooked rice. Chibi Totoro is Big Totoro’s littlest ‘cousin’ in the film My Neighbour Totoro.
Here’s the recipe: