Fried pork and Tamagoyaki bento

I received my awesome prize from Pepper Bento ‘s competition yesterday.  Thanks so much Pepper,  can’t wait to use them.
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I was pleased with todays bento,  simple, quick to cook,  but delicious and filling!
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Boiled carrots,  black Thai glutinous rice, Tamagoyaki and fried pork.  I’m really struggling with the lighting currently, unfortunately with it being winter,  and with the fact that I live in a top floor flat, running downstairs to take a picture in the car park isn’t really an option.  The best light is in my kitchen,  but I’m having issues with my shadow. What are your lighting tips and tricks? Happy Weekend everyone. 

Easy Chili Bento

If I’m being completely honest, this chili was nothing special. It wasn’t awful, but nor was it good. It was just ok, ordinary, I don’t think I put enough seasoning in it, but what can be expected from a pot of “I’ll just chuck in anything I’ve got in the cupboard” Chili. That really was the case, can of borlotti beans, check, aduki beans, check, dried chipotle smoke jalapenos, check…you get the picture. The cheese I used to top it with was rather strong, so it did give it a tad more flavour. I cooked it in my slow cooker, for a very long time….it ended up with a little too much liquid in it, but it wasn’t a problem to strain that out. It was a huge batch, I had two lots for dinner, have taken this bento to work (back to my trusty aladdin once again.) and there are four more large portions in my freezer, ready for those moments when I just can’t make it to the store (or more likely, have whittled my money away on something frivolous.). So here is my chili bento, served with brown rice, topped with very mature cheddar cheese and two little pots of greek yogurt… does anyone else use this as a substitute for sour cream? Day off tomorrow, so I plan on doing an incredible amount of cleaning, and then ruining it all, by making lots of bento suitable meals!

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Mixed Beans and Rice Bento

Mixed Beans and Rice Bento

Another simple, not particularly well presented bento, buuut now I have the flu….and that’s my cue to be lazy! It was on the other hand utterly delicious…having some southern roots (Thank you Dad!), I love beans and rice, and of course, that meal is not complete without cornbread! So on top of the rice is half a sweet corn muffin. Mmmm delicious. As you can see there are some lovely big hunks of ham on top there, and there were about 6 or 7 types of bean in this particular one, so all in all, simple, but not too bad, at least there’s veg and protein, and a wee bit of carbs too. Being ill, means I’ve been sticking to simple bentos, (sometimes none at all, just stuffing my face with fruit) and I haven’t experimented with what I want to do for the bento competition yet, time is running out, so whatever I do, I’ll just have to try my hardest to make it extra awesome.

A super cheat bento!

A super cheat bento!

Ok, so this isn’t the best debut for my new box, but oh well. I was late and rushing to get to work on time, so I just slopped in some chicken chasseur ish type dish, that was cooked for me (hence the super cheat, and I say ish because the recipe was adapted to add a lot more veggies), then I added some microwave rice and a little satsuma. It was quick, and messy, but it was hearty, healthy (minus the white rice, but it’s a small portion) and tasty…I think, ha, I’m suffering with a cold currently so everything tastes a bit mellow, I can’t really tell if I like them or not ha ha. I’m having a lot of fun catching up on all of your blogs! Better bentos to come! Promise.

Thai style “fish” cake bento

First off, apologies for my incredibly poor progress on this blog, my life suddenly took on whirlwind status, and everything seems to have been chucked at me (both good and bad) and blurred by so quickly, I can barely recall what happened when. As a result, my diet has become nonexistent. Not cooking or preparing any meals, consuming a lot of candy and redbull, and grabbing fast food on the go, combine that with the fact that I haven’t been to the gym in a month and have been treated to numerous meals out, it’s no wonder i’ve gained some weight and felt my health deterioate slightly. So excuses being pushed aside, I need to get back on the bento train! After a grocery shop, because my cupboards are pretty bare atm! In the meantime, to make up for the lack of bento, here’s one from before this blog.

Thais style “fish” cakes, which actually are made (if I recall correctly) with cashew nuts and chickpeas as the main base. They were spicy, flavourful and filling! They are sitting on a bed of cold soba noodles. (I didn’t actually rinse these off properly and felt quite sick after eating them.) Two purple onigiri, cucumber sticks and a peach fill up the second layer.

When you look back at older bentos, what differences do you notice? Sometimes I feel my older bentos looked better, well some of them, but I do think I’ve got better at balancing my food groups, often my older bentos had far too much carbs and not enough vegetables…this one being a prime example. Rice and Noodles?! Ha ha..oh well, plenty of time to continue improving!

Hope everyone is well! 🙂

A whole lot of cooking.

So I had the day off today, and with my food supplies at a seriously all time low, I hauled my currently lazy self, down to the supermarket and topped everything up…I went a wee bit overboard though, I actually whimpered when the lady at the checkout gave me the final figure. After bringing my bounty home, I proceeded my usual regime of cook as much as you can before dinner and freeze it all for future use! I prefer doing this, as on days that I’m rushed, all I have to do is pop something in the microwave and I’m good to go, no faffing about what to take for lunch or having to cook dinner after a long day of work, it’s so easy. So i’m going to share with you, all the things I made today. I apologise now for the poor quality of the photos, but I can’t recall for the life of me where on earth I put my camera. So I had to make do with my phone. Image

A super healthy bolognase! Recipe from an old issue of Shape magazine, 1 or 2 years old actually! Now I very rarely eat beef anyway…I live in a no beef household (long story), so anytime we have ragu or bolognase it’s made with pork, this version however is made with lean turkey mince. It’s choc full of veggies and flavour! I used spaghetti as you traditionally would instead of the penne the recipe calls for. I also omitted a tsp of red pepper flakes, I’m not good with too much heat, so I only had 1 tsp, which was more than enough for me, I could definitely feel the spiciness! I had this for lunch and it’s utterly delicious, very happy with how it turned out!

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These I actually made yesterday. I’m calling them my “anything goes” quiches. I made three, and they have borlotti beans, tomatoes, onions and tinned salmon in them. They’re made entirely with milk (and eggs obviously) instead of cream, and no cheese. The pastry is homemade olive oil pastry. It was my first time making olive oil pastry, and although I was a little concerned about how flaky it seemed, it turned out very well. If you’re a big lover of olive oil, then I seriously suggest you give this a go. I found the recipe here: http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2009/05/easy_olive_oil_tart_crust.php

The only thing I did differently was I used mixed herbs. I think next time I’ll omit the salt though.

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Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Why has she uploaded this, it’s just plain ol’ chicken with tomatoes and broccoli, how boring!’ Wrong!! Well, not wrong, it is just chicken with tomatoes and broccoli, however it is far from boring. This is another very old Shape recipe. I’d tried it back then and loved it, and promptly lost the recipe. Doh…but I found it again, it’s so simple but imparts a huge burst of flavour! You drizzle it with balsamic vinegar, but I haven’t done that as they went into the freezer anyway, I can do that part when I eat them! The tomatoes have become so soft in the cooking the they go all squishy in your mouth and it’s like fresh tomato sauce, but better! Chicken is baked, seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika.

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Turkey meatballs with creamy lemon pasta. Recipe adapted from a Waitrose recipe card. I am an official hoarder of those things! I have tons! The recipe called for linguine, but I used wholewheat fusili instead, and it also calls for creme fraiche, but I used non fat greek yogurt. Other than that, it’s all the same, quick and easy to make, smelt good but I didn’t sample this one, so who knows, it could be awful. haha.

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Mid way through cooking the pork and cashew nut stirfry! This smelt good, and the little nibble I had seemed very promising. I stuck some long grain brown rice in the rice cooker to go with this. This was from an old edition of Olive magazine.

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Shrimp ratatouille!! This recipe is from Fitness magazine. It is yum! Yes, I snuck a mouthfull, ssh. It was pretty low matinence cooking wise too, just chuck it all in, simmer and done, well more or less. I love watching the prawns change from grey to pink, am I the only one?? I found some super big, juicy ones too, so they should be very succulent in this dish. I set aside a bowl for dinner tomorrow, the rest I froze. It looks a little over liquidy in the bowl, but that’s probably because I tipped in the watery remains of the sauce that was at the bottom of the pan, no sense in letting all that flavour go to waste!!

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Wholewheat loaf and rolls, woopsie, you can see my slipper clad foot. Ha ha sorry. My bread never ever looks pretty, and doesn’t help that this loaf rose so much it kind of spilled out of the tin, so I smooshed it back in…however, it always tastes lovely! Crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside. I love homemade bread!! I can’t remember the last time I had white bread and the last time I had store bought was when I was trying some rye bread, to which I have some bizarre intolerance to, so that was short lived, but other than that, the last time for store bought was about 2 1/2 months ago!

Most of these will be making bento appearances soon! I did make one for lunch tomorrow, but there was absolutely no way I was taking a picture, I don’t think I can even call it a bento really…all I did was put half a quiche in there, a roll sliced in half, and stuffed it full of grapes…shame on me. So here as the final pic is another old bento!

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Chicken Karage, Italian cured meats, tomato slices, Thai black glutinous rice sprinkled with sea salt and sesame seeds. I remember it being quite yummy, except for the tomatoes, they were rather sour, a bit past it I think.

The self imposed no buying bento equipment ban was lifted for the 10% off at Bento&Co. I bought some lovely new goodies, I got an email this morning saying they were shipped, can’t wait for them to arrive!!! I was having issues with my basket though, items kept mysteriously removing themselves, so it wasn’t until I read the email today, I realised I didn’t purchase one item I’d wanted, I was sure it was in the basket…oh well, I’ll have to wait for another time…the ban is back on, because now I’m broke. Ha ha.

Done rambling. Have a good evening everyone!