8

Koi Fish Bento with Mapo Tofu and Gyoza

Koi fish bento with gyoza and mapo tofu

No fish was harmed in the making of this bento

Hi guys! Did you all have a good weekend?

This week’s bento was sort of an experimental bento. I bought a different brand of vegetarian mince (I normally eat Quorn, but decided to give Neal’s Yard soy protein a try) and decided to cook it two ways: mushroom and veggie mince yaki-gyoza (grilled dumplings), and vegetarian mapo doufu or mapo tofu (Szechuan style tofu in a spicy bean sauce). I added to my bento two koi (Japanese carp) rice balls decorated with nori and carrot peel, radish stars, and omelette strips to create a lattice effect over the tofu.

Mapo doufu is like chilli or bolognese; everyone’s got their own recipe. It is usually cooked with pork, but as I don’t eat meat, I needed to add some depth to the dish, hence the miso paste. Unlike pork, vegetarian mince does not add any flavour to the dish, only texture. Here’s my recipe:

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7

Bunny’s First Harvest

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Hello everyone! How are you all? 🙂

We had a rather gloomy winter here in London, but thankfully yesterday we saw our first ray of proper sunshine in months! I have been dormant for a period of time due to forgotten passwords (to WP.com and the email I use for WP), two difficult dental surgeries (ouch!), and horrid weather… With all that behind me, I thought I’d resume cooking and bento-making!

Yesterday’s bento consisted of a Malaysian style ‘chicken’ and potato curry using soya protein, topped with a dollop of plain yoghurt, paired with mixed seed coated ‘soldiers’ (strips of toast for dipping). With the extra bread I had left, I made a simple bunny cut out, showing off its first harvest of the year!

On a completely different note, it was my birthday not too long ago and my good friend made me a cake in the shape of Domo-kun (a mascot monster of a Japanese TV station). How cute was he? 🙂

ImageThat’s all from me today folks! Have a fantastic week!

Lots of love,

Winnie

5

Love Birds Bento

lovebirds

Two little love birds sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

Hello everyone! Hope you had a nice couple of weeks? It is absolutely freezing here; friends in the Northern hemisphere, don’t forget to wrap up warm! 🙂

A couple of you asked where I have been the past couple of weeks… It was the wedding of my sister and her fiancé last week. I was of course there to help out, spend time with the family, and enjoy the festivities. She was, I kid you not, the most stunning bride I have ever seen.

I made the above aptly themed bento to commemorate this special occasion, and I shall name the Love Birds Sasha and Steve in honour of the newlyweds.

Here’s how I made it:

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5

Halloween bento + Mushroom Wellington recipe

halloween bento

Treat or treat?

Hello everyone! How is your Halloween prep going?

Marc the bf is incredibly busy as Halloween is his peak season, being a prosthetic and special effects makeup artist. If you are in need of last minute Halloween touches for your costume, do check out his realistic, reasonably priced prosthetic pieces (click here) << not for the faint hearted though! Still in time for Halloween delivery for those in the UK. 🙂

I on the other hand don’t normally give much thought to Halloween, but this year I wanted to put in a little bit of extra effort. I made a Halloween themed bento last weekend consisting of a mushroom wellington laced with ‘cobweb’, nori spider, baked courgette / zucchini skull and crossbones, and clementine Jack-o’-lanterns, finished with some gory looking tomato sauce ‘blood’.

The mushroom wellington was the most complex and labour intensive component but you can make it in bulk and in advance. Here is the recipe:

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15

Asparagus Hollandaise Pancakes + Liebster Award

Breakfast Bento: Asparagus and Hollandaise Pancakes

Petit déjeuner – breakfast with a French flair

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a good weekend? I have been exceptionally busy the past couple of weeks with my new job and sister’s upcoming wedding (lots of shopping to do) that the blog suffered a little as a result. Thankfully I found some time to make myself a quick and easy breakfast of pancakes with asparagus and home-made hollandaise sauce. I couldn’t resist sneaking a Hello Kitty in. First I made the stencil by cutting out the eyes, nose, and whiskers from a piece of paper, then carefully sprinkling cayenne pepper over the stencil to form the shapes. Cayenne pepper happens to go well with hollandaise. Kitty’s bow was made from cherry tomato. The sauce was not difficult; a lot of stirring to do. Google for recipe – it is delicious with asparagus!

On a different note, the lovely Aearthr of A Little Typical has kindly nominated me for the Liebster award. Thank you very much! The award requires nominees to answer 10 questions and they are:

Are you a dog- or cat-lover? Dog-lover. We had a dog named Billy whom we adopted from the SPCA. He was gorgeous but he left too soon.
Are you a diehard Apple, Android mobile phone user or neither of them? I use Android but wouldn’t say I am a die-hard.
Are you a morning person? Absolutely……….. not.
What is your favourite colour? At the moment it is yellow.
What is/are your pet name(s) called by your family members? Small Sis, because I am the little sister.
What is your best childhood memory? Why? Family spending time together. 🙂
Name one thing you could never (or have a difficult time) forgiving someone for. People who hurt other people senselessly.
Who is the most important person of your life? Everyone in my family. 🙂
Write about something that you learned recently. You don’t ask, you don’t get. Especially true in the workplace.
Use five adjectives to describe yourself. I am confident, charismatic, calm, competent, and courageous. These are some of the positive affirmations I repeat daily to myself.

The Liebster Award is awarded by bloggers to other promising bloggers with 200 followers or less. I will need to research to see who among my favourite bloggers meet this criteria to pass the torch to.

Have a lovely weekend my friends!

11

Princess of Manchuria Bento + Tofu Manchurian Recipe

manchuria

When I was little, my siblings and I used to have dinner at grandma’s. Dinner time would not be complete without back-to-back Chinese period dramas on TV. I remember being in awe of beautiful princesses in their delicate brocade Manchu-style robes and elaborate tasselled headdresses. This bento pays homage to all those TV shows back then that kept us entertained for hours as we chowed down grandma’s delicious food.

To keep my theme consistent, I made a side of Tofu Manchurian, a vegetarian take on Chicken Manchurian (deep fried chicken chunks coated in a hot sweet-and-sour sauce)… which funnily enough, doesn’t originate from Manchuria or China. It is an Indo-Chinese dish, i.e. Chinese food cooked Indian style. I decided to pan-fry my tofu (instead of deep frying) instead for health reasons. Scroll further down for Tofu Manchurian recipe.

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10

Temarizushi Bento + Tutorial

temarizushi

Life in Technicolor?

Temarizushi is ball shaped sushi topped with a variety of colourful toppings, usually served as a celebratory dish. I do have a cause for celebration – I started my new job last week. 🙂

Temarizushi is not dissimilar to other types of nigiri sushi and usually contains raw fish. I am not a fan of raw fish so I made mine vegetarian using whatever ingredients I could find in my kitchen. You can construct temarizushi using pretty much anything, so there is plenty of room for vegans and vegetarians to be creative.

Almost all types of vegetables work well – raw, grilled, roasted, sautéd, or blanched. For extra flavour, I brushed the reverse of the toppings with a little white miso sauce (recipe below):

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