Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Funny Creatures Bento



I received a new bento box from CasaBento today. I used to order another bento box with the same sakura pattern several months ago since I find this pink sakura pattern simply beautiful! If you have been following my blog for some time, you might have noticed that the prize for the second winner of my previous bento competition was a set of bento boxes, chopsticks and a matching bento bag with this yume sakura pattern.



This bento box comes with a matching, elegant bento bag (my first one...:)!!) and an elastic band...



and has two quite roomy compartments.




This box is gorgeous, isn't it? I simply couldn't resist not to make any bentos after seeing it!





I named today's bento 'Funny Creatures Bento', because I myself am not sure what kind of little animals those are ;) - I only wanted to make something quick but different from the characters I have made so far.

The bear-like creatures are made out of soy sauce-seasoned rice which I shaped into balls with a plastic wrap. The ears and noses are black olives and the eyes and mouths are nori and cheese cutouts.

The side dishes include two pieces of tamagoyaki, soy-sauce glazed pork nuggets, two cherry tomatoes decorated with cheese flowers and two fried breaded shrimps.

The purple drink is taro bubble tea, raise your hand if you adore bubble tea too :D :D)!! I am so happy that bubble tea is getting more and more popular in Germany, the last time I was in Frankfurt (which was a few days ago), I saw two bubble tea stores. After doing some research, there are now apparently even 4 or 5 bubble tea stores in Frankfurt. For people who live in Asia, Australia and the US, four or five bubble tea stores might sound like a joke, but for Germany, it's a lot...! Until a few years ago, bubble tea stores were non-existent here and I did moan a lot about it in my very early blog post about bubble tea ;).



Until next time...:)!

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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Tangsuyuk: Korean-Style Sweet and Sour Pork



Two days ago I received the Korean cookbook which I ordered from Amazon.de. It's in German and written by three Korean women who have settled in Germany for a few decades. The book is beautifully illustrated by Tina Kraus and I was very thrilled by the cookbook since I am a real sucker for good, colourful illustrations - if you are more into photos, then this book is not really for you, but if you love something delicious and artistic at the same time, I highly recommend this cookbook :).



The cover says what the cookbook is about:
The Korea-Cookbook - Pictures, Stories, Recipes




The cookbook costs €19,95 which I think is quite decent for 160 pages of delicious recipes and heartwarming illustrations.



A sample of two pages from the cookbook.

Usually I love to look at Maangchi's site, Aeri's Kitchen or Beyond Kimchee when I want to cook something Korean, but I still love 'old-fashioned' (cook)books which I can hold in my hands - in fact I do have a collection of them...:)!

Originally the recipe in the book is called Dwaejigogitwigim - Fried sweet and sour pork, but after doing some research, I couldn't find any recipes with the Korean name Dwaejigogitwigim, instead most (Korean/ and non Korean) people refer to Korean-style sweet and sour pork as Tangsuyuk - that's why I decided to stay with this name, or are there any Koreans out there who would like to enlighten me with the difference between Dwaejigogitwigim and Tangsuyuk? I'd be very grateful :)!

Korean-Style Sweet and Sour Pork - serves 4

Adapted from
Das Korea-Kochbuch
  • 600 grams pork, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups tapioca starch
  • Oil to deep fry the pork

Marinade sauce

  • 3 cm ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Black pepper to taste

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 slices of canned pineapple, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced thinly
  • 1 sweet pepper, cut into cubes
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 400 ml water
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Marinade the pork pieces with the marinade-sauce for 2 hours (I only waited for 20 minutes).
  • Cover each pork piece with tapioca starch before deep frying.
  • Sweet and Sour sauce: Heat oil in wok and stir fry the onion and carrot until slightly brown.
  • Add water and the rest of the sauce ingredients (except the sweet pepper and spring onion). Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the sweet pepper cubes and spring onion slices just before you turn off the heat. Mix well.
  • Serve the sauce on top of the deep-fried pork pieces.

This recipe is very delicious, the only thing that could have been better is the pork bites, they could have been crispier. I think the batter from the Korean Fried Chicken would be perfect for the pork.



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Rosalie und Trüffel Bento



If you read my post two days ago, you'd know who Rosalie and Trüffel are - they are two piglets in love :). Rosalie is the pink one and Trüffel is the dark brown one. Making Trüffel was quite a challange, I only managed to get a light brown tone for his body after soaking the goat cheese in soy sauce for an hour.

Rosalie, Trüffel, all the hearts and flowers are all made out of goat cheese (except the yellow parts which are gouda cheese) - I get the pink shade from beet juice and the brown shade from soy sauce.



The side dishes for this bento includes Korean style sweet and sour pork (I'll post the recipe tomorrow), two fried breaded shrimps, kimchi and a few pieces of fruits.



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Friday, 24 February 2012

Pink Piggies Bento



As promised, here is another piglet-themed bento. These three little pink piggies were surprisingly easy to make - I think I only spent 10 minutes in total. The secret is of course the power of nori punchers and bento cutters :). I simply used a nori puncher to punch out the eyes, the two black dots for the nose and the round black part for the pink flowers. The noses were cut out with an oval bento cutter, the flowers with a sakura shaped cutter and the ears were cut manually with a kitchen knife.



The pink rice was coloured with beet juice, the same with the pink flowers. Some people have asked me how to make coloured cheese - basically you simply have to dip the (white/goat) cheese slice in coloured liquid, for example beet juice for pink and soy sauce for brown. After a few minutes the cheese is going to have a different colour - the longer you let the cheese sit in the coloured liquid, the more intensive the colour will be (but don't exaggerate, because if it stays in the liquid too long, it's going to get soggy in the end).

This bento was my lunch yesterday - besides the piggy onigiris, I also had some pickled carrot and cucumber, pan-fried breaded shrimps, boiled egg and a small portion of beef rendang.



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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Rosalie the Piglet Bento



Have you heard of Rosalie and Trüffle? I love these two adorable characters and I have been collecting some Rosalie and Trüffel merchandise items for about a year now. You might have noticed that I love to include mini chocolate bars with pictures of pink and brown piglets as props for my bento photos - they're Rosalie and Trüffel :)!


Source: Rosalie und Trüffel

So, who are Rosalie and Trüffel? They are two little piglets created by the German author Katja Reider and illustrator, Jutta Bücker. They fall in love at first sight when they meet under an apple tree. Their story is simple but sweet and adorable and I find the illustrations absolutely wonderful!! If you understand German, they have an official website here. Their books have also been translated into many different languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, French, Dutch, etc.




Since I love Rosalie and Trüffel so much, it's time to make a Rosalie and Trüffel themed bento :). This time it's just Rosalie alone, munching a piece of strawberry. She is made out of goat cheese which I coloured with red beet juice. The black outline is made out of nori. As you can see in the pictures, Rosalie is modeled after the picture of the mini chocolate bar. Next time I will also make Trüffel that Rosalie doesn't have to feel lonely in the bento box ;).

The pink flowers are also made out of goat cheese coloured with beet juice and I used my sakura bento cutter to shape them into flowers. The white daisy is, as usual, made out of goat cheese and cheddar cheese and cut out with a sunflower fondant cutter.

The pink bento box contains some Serrano ham/string bean rolls, tamagoyaki, Wiener sausages, cherry tomatoes and a small portion of beef rendang.




I hope you enjoy looking at the bento as much as I enjoyed making it :). I am thinking to make another piglet-themed bento for lunch, so do stay tuned :D)!

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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Creamy Paprika Chicken



Paprika-Sahne Hähnchen is German for creamy paprika chicken. It is usually eaten with steamed rice or noodles - a simple yet delicious meal. The one I made today is using the same sauce but I made a few changes to my liking. The normal German paprika chicken is usually oven baked together with the sauce, but mine is cooked separately. I always love food which is coated with breadcrumbs or flour as these lend crispiness to the deep (or pan)-fried meat, poultry or vegetables. I still wanted this meal to be relatively healthy, so instead of deep frying the chicken fillets, I coated them with egg and flour before pan-frying them.

Creamy Paprika Chicken

Pan-fried Chicken

  • 2 chicken fillets
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • Flour

Creamy Paprika Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 sweet pepper, cut into long strips
  • 1 - 2 dried chili peppers
  • 1 tablespoon paprika powder
  • Chicken or vegetable powder to taste
  • 250 ml cream
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Some grated cheese - optional

Instructions

  • Chicken: Rub the chicken fillets with salt and pepper. Coat with beaten egg and flour.
  • Pan fry the fillets until cooked and golden brown. Set aside (I left them in the oven over low heat to keep them warm).
  • Sauce: Sauté the minced garlic and chopped onion with olive oil until slightly brown.
  • Add dried chili peppers, paprika powder, chicken powder, tomato paste and pour the cream. Cook and stir for a minute.
  • Toss in the sweet pepper slices and cook for another minute.
  • Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken fillets.
  • Serve with rice, noodles or pan-fried potatoes.
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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Cheburashka Picnic Bento



Today is Rosenmontag or Carnival Monday / Rose Monday in Germany and quite some people get day(s) off including my husband and I - the day off is the only thing I like about carnival ;).

This picnic bento has nothing to do with carnival and wasn't made to celebrate carnival either, it's just that I had a bit more time today. Most of the things were actually prepared yesterday, such as the carrot and cucumber pickles, tamagoyaki and the Japanese Hamburg steaks.





I have made a Cheburashka-themed bento in the past and since it's a quite easy character to make, I made it again today. As I have explained in my older post, Cheburashka is a tropical monkey-like creature that accidently finds his way into a grocery store in Russia (it's a Russian character). The two Cheburashkas are made out of mini Hamburg steaks (meat patties glazed with teriyaki-like sauce) and the face is made out of cheese - the facial details include cut out cheese, nori and (red) radish.







There are also some deep fried breaded shrimps, fried wiener sausages, smoked ham/string bean rolls, beef with vegetable rolls and a few pieces of maki sushi filled with fried shrimps, mayo, tamagoyaki and julienned carrots.

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Monday, 20 February 2012

Pork Chop & Beef Steak with Mushroom Sauce



What a change, no bento today...;)!! Well, I have sort of missed posting 'normal' foods in my blog. The last time I posted a non-bento post here was about 2 months ago.

Steak with salad and fries are one of my husband's comfort foods, I think I made him really happy by making this luxurious portion for his lunch - thanks to Charles from Five Euro Food, who gave me the idea to make this meal for my husband :). I also used his recipe for the mushroom sauce, but I didn't blend the sauce since I don't have a hand blender - my mushroom sauce also looks much browner than Charles's because I used the pan juices from the pork chop and beef steak to sauté the onion and mushrooms, but it still tasted wonderful...! Thanks, Charles :)!

Mushrooms and Onion Steak Sauce
  • 150ml heavy cream
  • 2 large mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • Juice from 1 lemon (about 4tbsps)
  • 3-4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 25g butter - * I used pan juices from the pork chop and steak
  • Salt and pepper to taste




If you're wondering where the mushroom sauce is, it's the brown thing inside the little metal cup. Next to the mushroom sauce, there is also Tzaziki sauce.


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Sunday, 19 February 2012

Pink Sakura Bento



I am getting crazy with designing my own mugs ;)! This time I hand-painted the picture with water colour, colouring pencils and markers before the picture was printed on the mug. I think this mug looks sort of better than my previous ones (which you can see here and here) because hand-painting allows me more freedom on the design.

Today's bento is quite simple: the steamed rice is topped with furikake (dried perilla leaves with plums), garden cress and radish sakura flowers. Next to the rice there are slices of roasted duck with paprika sauce and half a cherry tomato.

The bento box on the left contains stir-fried string beans, mini paprika filled with goat cheese, radish kimchi, cherry tomatoes, ham flower and two pieces of Babybel cheese.




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Monday, 13 February 2012

Valentine Butterflies Bento



I don't celebrate Valentine's day, but I have nothing against it either. I actually think it's a quite nice occasion to let your loved ones know that you care about them. Sure it's a very commercialised day, just like Christmas, Easter and so on and people do start to question if we are still aware of the true meanings of these days amidst the roses, chocolate, etc. But I think generally people need days that they can celebrate and look forward to.



I bought a butterfly cookie cutter a few weeks ago and today I finally had the chance to use it. I am pretty happy with the cut out butterflies, they look adorable and cheerful. I used nori and soy paper to decorate the butterflies. These cuties are sitting on top of kakiage (mixed tempura) sushi maki. The red heart is made out of paprika flavoured cheese and the white daisy is made out of goat cheese and cheddar cheese. The pink and purple flowers are my new food picks (they are actually simply paper stickers plus toothpicks :)).

The other bento box is filled with 2 grilled Vietnamese-style pork skewers, 1 sweet mini paprika filled with feta cheese, 1 ham flower, tzaziki and radish kimchi.

The yellow orangy drink in the mug is mixed-fruit juice. The mug is designed by me, it's my rabbit Wilchen juggling with onigiri :).





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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Kakiage Bento



I made Kakiage bento today. Kakiage is a kind of mixed tempura - you can use various vegetables and seafood which later would be dipped into tempura batter before deep-frying. I had never eaten kakiage until yesterday when I saw a kakiage bento being sold in Maruyasu - a sushi chain restaurant in Frankfurt. I enjoyed the bento so much that I promised myself to make kakiage the next day for lunch :). So here it is... I got the recipe from Nami's wonderful website - which is full with delicious Japanese recipes.

The bento box contains steamed rice topped with furikake and umeboshi, cocktail shrimps, fried breaded-shrimps, kakiage and salad.

Do you notice anything special from my bento photos today :) :) :)?



You don't notice it? Look again!
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Yes, it's the mug...!! The mug with my badge, isn't it cool :)?


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Monday, 6 February 2012

Yellow Piggies Bento



I found some yellow cherry tomatoes when I opened my fridge this morning and directly thought that I should make them into little duckies - I am not very sure myself how they turned out into piggies in the end...;).

The method to make these little yellow piggies is very similar to the cherry tomato Elmos which I made a few weeks ago.

The rectangular-shaped bento box contains rice, yellow cherry tomato piggies on top of lettuce, red cherry tomatoes, egg, cucumber slices and garlic/soy sauce chicken.

The round box contains some strawberries, grapes, mandarin slices and two cherry tomato piggies.


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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Charlie Bunny Bento



A few days ago I designed a new badge for my site and my mascot is my bunny, Charlie :). I wanted to 'celebrate' my new badge by making a 'Charlie bunny' bento today - Since I am so proud of it (my knowledge of photoshop is nearly zero, you see...;)). Unfortunately Charlie doesn't look so cute in bento :(. I should have placed her eyes a little bit lower...!



I ordered some decoration tapes from CasaBento some time ago - do you see the three pink rolls of tape behind the bento boxes? Don't you think that they're adorable? I created some food picks with the tapes as you can see in the pictures above and below. Check out CasaBento's site under stationary and you will find the tapes.

CasaBento has quite some beautiful new products in their site as well. They now even have several new bento boxes and thermoses exclusively designed by them! They're real pretty, you should check them out, especially because those bento boxes are made by Hakoya - which is known as one the best bento box makers in Japan.




Now let's find out what's inside the bento boxes...!

Right:
Charlie bunny
is made out of rice which is slightly seasoned with soy sauce. Her pink tummy is made out of deli meat and the heart (and also the nose) are actually the case of Babybel cheese (so it's inedible and purely for decoration). The pink part of the ears plus the pink cheeks are made out of deli meat as well.

There are also 2 ham/green bean rolls, 2 Babybels, 1 ham flower, parsley and 1 piece of grape.

Left:
4 liver pate/green bean rolls, coleslaw, pan-fried garlic/soy sauce chicken, radish kimchi, boiled egg, mandarin, strawberries, cheese flower and one piece of radish.


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