30 March 2010

Napolitan spaghetti

It's been a chaotic week! I'm enjoying this more and more every time I make bentos :)

On the top-tier there's, kiwi, tamagoyaki (a little burnt because I used the round frying pan and mirin makes it turn brown a lot faster) some cucumber slices,cheese and ham rolls and spinach with cheese.

On the bottom tier there's the spaghetti, which I made following a recipe from a bento cookbook. It has grated carrot, onion, bacon tomato sauce and red and green bell peppers. The bf said it was like what his mum does at home :D

Since I'm not fond of bacon, I threw it to his bento and kept mine with 2 pieces of it somewhere:

My bento has exactly the same thing but instead of the spinach cheese and the cucumber, I put brussels sprouts (because I love them and he hates them).

I enjoyed making this very much, and feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it my way. I am thinking I should buy some more bento related books or japanese home foods, Do you have any suggestions?

The colour distribution wasn't all that balanced but I ran out of red things to put on the top tiers so, there's green and more green!

22 March 2010

Cupcakes #2

Here's my little Thank-you experiment of the weekend!

I don't know where to start writing this... After I got my bento boxes, I realized the trouble a couple friend went to get them and I can only imagine the hours wasted traveling from one place to another, so I thought of making something to show my gratitude because some may thing "but it's just 2 boxes!" Well, I've been wanting to get those for 2 years almost 3 now and had no luck.

I picked these cupcake liners because they were subtle and yet colourful, something I would like to receive if it was for me.

Then I started mixing the ingredients first for the chocolate cupcakes, which were the only ones I took a good picture before baking.

The recipe said to fill these up to 2/3 of the way and 2/3 I did. The orange cupcakes said to fill the liners 1/2 of the way and well... compare the results with these baked goodies:

The chocolate ones didn't change much in size but the orange ones are spilling on the outside of the liner! They were very different in consistency too. The chocolate cupcakes were a bit more gummy and the orange ones light and puffy.

The hard part started with the frosting: First of all I forgot to take pictures because i was too busy whisking because I had to do it by hand, or by arm :D I don't have a machine to beat the frosting so I thought it'd be easy to do it by hand... I don't know what I had in mind... I started  mixing the chocolate frosting and after I couldn't feel my arm, I called the bf to come mix it for a while. As soon as he did, the mixture started blending and 3 minutes after it was good to frost the cupcakes! I was so happy I did the vanilla buttercream frosting in a few more minutes (still with the bf help for the last minutes) and stuck them in the fridge.

I let the cupcakes cool overnight and woke up very early to frost them. I had never frosted a cake nor used a piping bag EVER in my life. Just tried following what I saw on videos, guides, etc, and experimented with a few tips for the piping bag. After the 3rd try I found the one I wanted and then it was pretty simple. After doing the vanilla frosting, I gained trust to make the chocolate and you can see the difference on trying new stuff. I topped them and carefully packed them for a long trip to school to my couple-friend's hands.

I hope they liked the flavour of the cakes and the frosting. I didn't try any with frosting but the bf offered to serve as test subject to try them out. He said the vanilla one was too sweet but the other one was okay.

I'll wait for their review of the cupcakes :)

16 March 2010

Roasted Salmon bentos

I said I would try not to post both lunches but I was inspired so I made them differently.

Top tier:

in the silicone cup there's spinach with fake crabmeat. Next to it there's some carrot bits, a shiitake mushroom and a cucumber and tomato salad.

Bottom tier:

Roasted salmon mixed with rice and pieces of nori. Decorated with nori and cheese hearts and on the corner chopped coriander.

There's the same thing on the top-tier as the first one but I didn't mix the rice with the salmon here. I separated the rice and topped it with furikake. With the salmon, I put along a slice of roasted onion and some coriander. The lettuce was just for a little colour.

I've been feeling extremely tired lately, so it's very unlikely I'll do anything else this week.

I'm going to bake something for a friend and his wife in thanks for bringing me the bento boxes, I'll try to post it when it's done.

15 March 2010

First use of my bentos

Made from dinner's leftovers:

It's not the healthiest but we had people over for dinner and I didn't have a vote on the matter (the deep fried thingies).  This is my box and on the picture it does look huge to me, not in real life. Most people whom I've shown the boxes to say "it's so small!" and  "you'll be hungry!" and many other related things to small and not enough food. Bento boxes are not known in my country (at least not by 98% of the population) and portuguese, the most traditional, don't rely on food measurements but on making sure no one at their table will get hungry. This is a reason why when I'm with my grandparents (and having been taught to always clean the plate) I put on weight. It's not that the food is unhealthy; they just put too much food on the plate and then we "can't leave anything to waste"

My love's lunch box. He didn't want eggplant so he got some empty space on the bottom tier. We'll see if he gets hungry eating this, I doubt I'll be hungry with mine.

From now on I will post only 1 of the 2 bento boxes depending on how good they look, (if they both look good, I'll put them both :D) some things fit better on the rectangular, others on the oval bento box, simply the rectangular one belongs to my love, the oval one to me.

I'll leave you with a scenery of Portugal - Setúbal, Arrábida.

09 March 2010

Emptying the refrigerator (and some rambling)

It's been a long time! O_O

I haven't posted much lately because our freezer looks like the north pole and for that I've been using up stuff to be able to clean it. Not much shopping and not pretty pictures of what we eat, just plain boring but tasty meals. Its a shame you can't photograph tastyness!

Also, major house cleaning project has been initiated so if I didn't have anything interesting to show in the beggining, I don't feel like cooking until everything is clean. It's the longest setback I have had since I started blogging but it will probably be worth it.

On my next To-do-foods I want to try some inarizushi and the tamagoyaki again with or without square pan. I did find a way to maybe get the pan: one of my classmates lives in that town and she does over there for the weekend. It's a shame I can't go see it with my own eyes but just the trip would be more than I can afford right now (around 45€ which could be spent getting uhm, bento gear! or anything else at all)

School isn't going all that great either... I am running out of options to make a good exam at the end of the year simply because I'm tired of begging people to play with me... I want to get at least a decent mark which for me is quite high and I'm stressing because we're 3 months from the exam and I still haven't done half of what I need and the worse part: It doesn't depend on me...

Enough rambling about bad things!

I have plans for when the freezer is clean and all set, and I'll have plenty to blog about at that time. Until then please bear with the lack of posts, they will come sometime later.

Oh, I almost forgot. If you're looking for bento giveaways check Adventures in Bento making and Bento zen !

02 March 2010

My bento boxes are here!

I was so happy to receive this! :D This is a first view of my box:

It's a 2 layered bento box with the capacity of 610 ml (top tier 380, bottom tier230) microwaveable and adorable to my eyes. I couldn't have been happier with it. Here's a better image of the tiers:

I didn't just get one for me tho. Here's the one for my bf:

It doesn't have bunnies but it comes with a casing with a pair of chopsticks inside. Also microwaveable and with 2 tiers, it's a bit bigger than mine of course, total value being 830ml ( top tier 390ml, bottom tier 440ml). He liked it a lot, now I just have to put them to use!

* on a sidenote I was happy to be able to read and identify from the boxes the "top" and "bottom"so I could specify the capacity of each one, I know it's just 2 kanji, but it still made me happy.

One downside of this was, I realized how much I need a tamagoyaki frying pan and I'm still not sure where to get it, so I don't think I'll be using the bento boxes much for now. I know I could put other things in there, but I'd like to try the more traditional ones and then, drift to my own imagination. Expect to see the old tupperwares sometimes when there's food that can stain the bento boxes or food that is a mix of one thing like the stir-fry I made yesterday.

*goes off to her new adventure in search for the tamagoyaki frying pan*

01 March 2010

Stir-fried noodles

I was hoping to post something on the weekend but house cleaning took over and I have been desperately waiting for my bento boxes:

Emptying the refrigerator/freezer for a clean up has started! I try to use all that's in there or at least 80% of it. For this I used the rest of frozen veggie mix, fake crabmeat, noodles, carrot, tomato an the last slices of chorizo.

I didn't expect it would make that much but I was sure he wouldn't feel hungry after this. Unfortunately he hasn't been too well with his stomach so he couldn't eat it :(

I don't really have much to say, except "I want my bento boxes!!"

Until then! :)