Saturday, 30 April 2011

"Piggy-Daisy" Onigiri Bento



I am in love with my daisy fondant cutter...:)! The cutter makes really pretty daisies, doesn't it? The daises are made out of goat cheese (white) and cheddar cheese (dark yellow). And it's not me if I don't add extra cuteness to my bento, I just had to add the little piggy faces on top of the daisies...;)!



The little piggies are made out of bologna and I coloured the rice with beet juice again. Since quite some people asked me how to colour the rice with beet juice, let me use the chance now to explain how:

Basically you need to puree the beets than strain the juice with a sieve. Add this juice to cooked rice and mixed well. And please note: you don't have to add too much juice to colour the rice pink, it's quite intensive and I am sure you don't want to have soggy rice in the end. Just add little by little until you get the shade you wish. I hope this is explanatory enough...!




These two onigiris are filled with chicken teriyaki (again;)) and the bento box behind is filled with 2 slices of pizza baguettes, 3 pieces of baked potatoes, cheese-daisies and a slice of tomato.


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Polar Bear Sandwich Bento



This was my husband's lunch, rye/wholemeal sandwich decorated with cheddar & goat cheese daisies and mozzarella polar bears. If you are not that into quail eggs, mini mozzarella cheese can be a good alternative.



I used my fondant cutters to make the cheese daisies and cucumber ivy-leaves. The sandwich is filled with smoked ham, deli chicken breast, cucumber and tomato slices and lettuce.



That's it for now. Have a great weekend, everyone. I hope you're not too glued in front of the TV watching the Royal Wedding...!



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Friday, 29 April 2011

Another Chi Chai Monchan Bento



After making the mini Chi Chai Monchan bento this morning, I knew I wanted to make another Chi Chai Monchan-themed bento, but the picnic version :). You all know that I like to make picnic bentos, don't you?

I like this version much better, because the monkey looks sweeter. It is onigiri, made out of pink rice and white rice and filled with Stir-Fried Chicken Bulgogi. I coloured the pink rice with beet juice - I was surprised that I didn't taste nor smell anything 'beety' at all, that's why I think beet juice is a real good alternative to red food colouring if you want to keep everything natural.



The way how to make this character is quite similar to the bunny character in my Blushing Bunny Bento. I provided a short how-to tutorial, so click the link if you want to make this little monkey at home. You just have to make sure that the 'pink half-moon shape' is longer, because it has to go round the whole face.



The yellow banana on top of his head is made out of omelet (egg sheet) if you're wondering. He's eating onigiri (which is actually a baran (food divider sheet) and he is also surrounded by a piece of green tea mochi, baked potatoes, a few pieces of blanched broccoli, a few pieces of strawberries, grapes, a flower omelet and 2 smoked ham/cucumber rolls.


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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Mini Bento: Chi Chai Monchan


Another very simple bento :). I just made this bento half an hour ago and I mainly made it for fun. Chi Chai Monchan is another cute character from Sanrio. I browsed the Sanrio homepage and thought that this character seemed to be quite easy to make. Making him only took me 10 minutes, because again, I simply used some cookie cutters to help me make this character. I didn't take the step-by-step pictures, but I will do so later in the day after I do some grocery shopping. I don't have deli-meat available anymore...!







The bento is filled with rice, toasted sesame seeds, scrambled eggs, cucumber sticks and Chi Chai Monchan (deli meat, cheddar cheese, carrot and surimi). I will update this post today and include some step-by-step picture. So stay tune...:)!

UPDATE

As promised, here are the step-by-step pictures. This time I use white coloured cheese for the face. Decide yourself which colour you like better, white or orange.

What you need:
  • A slice of pink deli meat
  • A slice of cheese (white/orange)
  • A piece of nori paper
  • A slice of carrot
  • 3 different-size round cookie cutters
  • A think drinking straw
  • A fat drinking straw
  • A kitchen knide
  • A kitchen tweezers



  1. Use the biggest round cookie cutter to make Monchan's face.
  2. Use the second biggest round cookie cutter to make the inner part of Monchan's face.
  3. With a kitchen knife, cut out a triangle from the cheese-face.
  4. Make Monchan's body using the smallest cookie cutter.
  5. Make 4 mini circles with a fat drinking straw (2 for the ears and 2 for the feet).
  6. Pinch a fat straw so that the end is oval.Punch 2 ovals out of the deli meat - these ovals are the hands.
  7. Punch a circle out of the remaining deli meat with the smallest cookie cutter. Then with the same cookie cutter, cut out the top/bottom bit of the round deli meat to make a smile shape.
  8. Punch 2 circles out of the carrot slice with the thin straw - these are for the rosy (well, orangy) cheeks.
NOTE: One last thing, you still need to cut 2 circles out of nori for the eyes. If you have a nori punch, you can use this too. The tail is optional.

UPDATE: 19/7/2013
Video Tutorial 



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Two Bears in the Forest Bento



A speedy bento today. I have got quite some responses to my question yesterday about which character to make for my next bento. First of all, thank you for taking the time to write down some ideas for me. Highly appreciated...:)! Truth be told, I finally got confused...! Too much input is after all probably not that good for my disorganised brain ;). Somebody said 'Hello Kitty', I almost made this character because it's easy, but I am not a fan of Hello Kitty, that's why I finally didn't do so. I thought about making a koala or a panda too, but in the end lost interest because both were too complicated to make - maybe one day when I am more skillful in bento making....!

Eventually I made something very simple : Two bears in bunny suits, only with the help of a bunny sandwich cutter and a round cookie cutter. I've included the step-by-step pictures below if you're interested to make the bears. I hope the pictures are enough to show you how to make the bears. At the moment I am not in the mood of writing much because it's already very late here and I don't intend to stay up much longer.




What you need:
  • Bunny sandwich cutter
  • a round cookie cutter
  • Nori punch (for quail eggs)
  • a piece of Nori paper
  • Chili sauce
  • Toothpick
  • a slice of (white) cheese
  • a slice of pink deli meat
  • a fat drinking straw (Apologies, not in the photo...!) - to make the nose, ears and hands.
UPDATE (29/01/2012)
Here are the step-by-step instructions:
  1. Cut out the deli meat with the bunny cutter to make a bunny shape.
  2. Cut out the cheese with the bunny cutter to make another bunny shape.
  3. Remove the bottom half of the deli-meat bunny with a round cookie cutter to make a bunny suit
  4. Add the deli meat bunny suit on top of the bunny cheese.
  5. Add the nose (you can make the nose by cutting out cheese with a drinking straw).
  6. Add the facial features (punch the eyes, nose and mouth with a nori puncher). Use a toothpick to dab the chili sauce on the cheeks. The hands and white parts of the ears are made out of cheese - these are also cut out with a drinking straw.



To be honest, I am not very happy with the bears. They look as if they're wearing a bunny hair band instead of a bunny suit... But anyway, the bento was at least quite tasty. It's rice with chicken teriyaki :).



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Lo Pak Ko - Radish Cake



I do realise that in the past weeks my blog has been bombarded by bento-related posts. I've got a bento fever, I am very aware of this, but I just can't help it. It is simply so addictive making cute characters out of food :). But I have always been rather artsy and I like to express myself and channel my feelings through creating something 'nice', since I have never been that good at words, especially orally. My dream when I was younger was to be an author, but growing up with two languages and now three has been a rather confusing journey and I sometimes think that I cannot speak any of the three languages perfectly. My husband thinks I am crazy because I often tell him that my English is getting worse by the day because now I live in Germany. Maybe it's the perfectionist in me, I just can't bear to make mistakes. Maybe I need to be more positive and think that at least I can speak all three languages fluently...;).

Anyway, today's post is about fried radish cake. Even though I love making bento meals so much, from time to time I still want to post some recipes which I like.

Radish Cake or Lo Pak Ko in Cantonese is very commonly served in yum cha restaurants. Compared to the other dim sum delicacies, such as har gao, shao mai or chee cheong fun, radish cake is quite easy to make at home. As long as you have a food processor, making this cake is really just a piece of cake ;). I used to grate the radish manually in the past and grating a whole radish with a grater does take quite some time and energy to do. Fortunately yesterday I tried the easier method and simply used a food processor to shred the radish. Tastewise I don't notice any difference, grating the radish manually IMHO doesn't make the radish cake taste in any way more superior.

Ingredients
  • 1 medium daikon radish
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 - 3 chopped Chinese sausages
  • 5 - 6 Shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon fried onion
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon 5-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
  • 250 grams rice flour
  • 50 grams tapioca flour
  • 500 milliliter water
Instructions
  • Peel the daikon radish and cut into cubes. Shred the radish cubes in a food processor with 100 milliliter of water. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok. Stir fry sausages, mushrooms and green onions. Add fish sauce, oyster sauce, 5 spice powder, fried onion, salt, pepper and sugar and keep stirring until fragrant.
  • Add shredded radish and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Mix rice flour, tapioca flour and 400 millilitre water in a bowl.
  • Pour the rice/tapioca flour mixture into the wok, cook for 1 minute.
  • Grease a cake pan. Pour the radish cake mixture into it. Steam for app. 40 minutes.
  • When cold, refrigerate overnight. This will make the cake easier to cut.



Steamed radish cake





Slice the cake and you can directly eat it, but I prefer to pan-fry my radish cake. It tastes much better so.




Serve your fried radish cake with fried onion, chopped scallions and chili sauce.


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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Kamonohashikamo Platypus Bento






This was my lunch for today: a platypus bento, inspired by the San-X character, Kamonohashikamo. As some of you might have noticed, this is another new bento box which I bought online some time ago but have not used until today.



This bento is relatively easy to make and took me about half an hour. The front box is filled with Platypus-shaped Omurice (fried rice wrapped in omelet), a few pieces of blanched broccoli, half a strawberry, a slice of ham, a pieces of grapes, kiwi and a thin slice of surimi.

The second box is filled with leftover mapo tofu from 2 days ago, stir-fried with egg noodles, a turmeric tinted hardboiled egg which is also supposed to imitate Kamonohashikamo, three slices of cucumber, red currant, a slice of ham, a flower cheese and parsley (?).


Which character should I make next? I am somehow rather uninspired... Could you help? But please ask me to make something easy ;).

Till next time :).


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Monday, 25 April 2011

Baby Pooh Bears Bento


I received my new wooden bento box which I ordered online from CasaBento a few days ago. It looks gorgeous and traditionally elegant...! The only drawback is that it is not dishwasher-safe. But truth be told, I don't really mind that it's not dishwasher-safe. It only takes less than one minute to wash it by hands...



Since I love this new bento box so much, of course I need to make a bento meal just for the sake of using this new box ;). I had some leftover yellow-tinted quail eggs from two days ago (I thought about using them for the Easter Parade Bento, but the basket got too full before I could do anything with the quail eggs), and somehow Winnie the Pooh came to mind, even though I am not a fan of this character. I do like the classic Winnie the Pooh illustrated by E.H. Shepard though.

If you own a nori punch for making characters with quail eggs, making my version of Winnie the Pooh would be quite effortless. I have got quite some requests from my blog readers that I should include a tutorial to my bento posts, so today I will attempt to show you how to make the pooh bear in the tutorial below. Apologies in advance if it's not that clear. I still need to get used to doing a tutorial...!

TUTORIAL

HOW TO MAKE BABY POOH BEAR USING QUAIL EGGS


What You Need



You can colour the hard-boild quail eggs by soaking them in yellow-tinted water. Dilute turmeric / curry powder in warm water and soak the eggs until they turn yellow. You can make the eggs rounder by slightly pinching them with your fingers.

STEP 1 - The Happy Faces



Use a nori punch to make eyes, nose and mouth out of nori paper.

STEP 2 - The EARS



Use a fat drinking straw to cut an oval (by slightly pinching the straw) out of the cheese for the Pooh Bear's ears. Cut the oval in half.



Use a knife to make a slit at the top of the quail egg. With tweezers tuck the cheese ears into the slit.


STEP 3 - The Nose



Use the same straw to cut a circle out of cheese to make the nose.




Use the straw to cut out the edges of the cheese-circle to make a small oval nose.


STEP 4 - The FUN Part: Applying Facial Features

Attach the nori eyebrows, nori eyes, nori/cheese nose and nori mouth to the egg. I didn't use anything to stick these facial features to the egg, but in case they didn't stick well, use a dab of mayonnaise as 'glue'.


Please welcome The Egg Pops...:D)



Yellow Pooh Bear
Dab on rosy ketchup/chili sauce cheeks with a toothpick.




White Pooh Bear
In case you don't want to tint your quail eggs.



The Pooh Bears Trio




Bento Box 1: Rice topped with toasted black sesame seeds, ham flowers and cucumber leaves, 2 pieces of edamame, Baby Pooh eggs, lettuce, 2 slices of tomato, a piece of broccoli and a piece of strawberry.

Bento Box 2: Easy Mapo Tofu, a few slices of cucumber, tomato and carrot, 2 rolls of ham, half a quail egg and a few pieces of edamame.


Easy Mapo Tofu
  • 100 grams tofu, cut into little cubes
  • 100 grams minced pork
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 - 3 tablepoons hot bean sauce
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons Szechuan chili oil with fried pork (see picture below)
  • A pinch of sugar


My secret ingredient for beautiful Szechuan dishes...:D)!

Stir-fry all ingredients until cooked. That's it. Super simple. And super tasty! I used to make the elaborate version of Mapo Tofu, which was also very good, but this speedy version really can compete with the original!




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Five Recipes to Celebrate Easter

I was invited to join an Easter party by Lyndsey - The Tiny Skillet, Lena - Frozen Wings and Cheah - No Frills Recipe. Rules of the game: suggest 5 - 10 recipes with pictures plus the links and then tag another 10 bloggers to do the same. So here is my Easter menu taken from my old posts :

Appetiser: Graupensuppe - German Barley Soup











Dessert 2: Easter Cookies



These Easter cookies are decorated with royal icing and the patterns are hand-painted. I don't have a link to this picture because I made these cookies before I started blogging.

The 10 people I would like to invite to the Easter Party are:
  1. Mokiko from Oiishi Bento Blog
  2. Nami from Just One Cookbook
  3. Minnieh from Food is Delish
  4. Parsley Sage from The Deep Dish
  5. Tamara from Bite My Cake
  6. Coraine from Life is Like a Long Journey
  7. Min from Honest Vanilla
  8. Yummy Chunklet from Yummy Chunklet
  9. XinMei from Pudding Pie Lane
  10. Adora's Box from Adora's Box

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