Catch up post

Sorry all, I haven’t been up to much bentoing, and everything has taken a very hectic turn. But here, in very poor Instagram edited form, is everything I’ve been up to food wise. I’ve been trying to eat clean recently, and get back into the gym, and become fit and healthy once more. But this means, I haven’t really watched the presentation of my food.

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I’ve been trying to get into the habit of meal preparation, when I have some free time, to make things easier for the coming week. This is a collage of a meal prep I did a week or so ago. I boiled baby corn, green beans and broccoli. Grilled two gammon steaks, boiled potatoes and brown rice. I also chopped up some honeydew melon.

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I had some friends over, and I managed to serve up some delicious and healthy eats! I cooked Tilapia in lime juice and chili and served it on a bed of baby spinach and lettuce leaves. I also served wholewheat pasta with a fresh tomato and basil sauce, (simply amazing flavor!) a cucumber and corn salsa, pico de gallo, avocado, cilantro and homemade tortilla chips. A bit of a Mexican feel, and it was so filling.

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This is a series of lunches/dinners I have had recently. All nourishing, all delicious and very importantly all filling. I don’t ever believe that eating healthily should leave you feeling hungry and deprived, if that’s the case, you’re probably taking the wrong approach. Starting top left and going clockwise, there is a chicken salad, with baby spinach and lettuce leaves, carrots, baby corn, pepper, tomatoes, spring onion, avocado and cucumber, topped with homemade tortilla chips and olive oil and black pepper dressing.
Then there is a chicken stir-fry, not my finest work…I’ve got some portions left in the freezer, it’s edible, but not overly enjoyable…just mediocre, however I don’t like wasting food, so it will get eaten eventually. Then the same chicken salad wrapped in a wholewheat tortilla and topped with Greek yogurt. Finally a simple omelet with avocado and tomatoes and two pieces of wholewheat toast.

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A different shot of the dinner party, the leftover lunch bowl I made from it and the salad I ordered whilst eating out with a friend. Rich with flavor, but an absolutely huge portion, I only ate half. It was marinated feta, baby spinach leaves, avocado, broccoli, some kind of sprouts, and some other things that I can’t recall. It’s nice to be able to go out, but still feel good about your meal choice.

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The ingredients that went into my chicken stir-fry, two smoothies for breakfast, a nice green and mango one, and a berry smoothie, and soup that I am now addicted to!

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An utterly delicious salmon and Singapore noodle stir-fry, another berry smoothie and scrambled eggs and toast for brekkie!

Finally the only two bentos I have prepared during this time, plus another breakfast shot. The bento on the left is sesame ryvita, honeydew melon, strawberries, rice and gammon cubes with boiled veggies. The bento on the right is the same, minus the ryvita and strawberries.

Sorry for the hugely long post, but that is me officially caught up! Happy Easter everyone.

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Panko crusted mustard salmon bento

I really struggled with the cooking for this bento. I don’t know why as I don’t usually, but I couldn’t get the oil at the right temperature and I couldn’t get the panko to brown nicely..so all in all for me the food just came out ok.
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Honey mustard salmon fillet with panko crust, homehomemade sweet potato and regular fries, sweetcorn and carrot flowers (rather hard to see). I packed a mini cup of ketchup as well. Probably not the best of foods to be reheated,  but oh 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!

Happy Eggs Bento

Happy Eggs Bento

I submitted this bento for Bento&Co’s 4th annual bento competition! Exciting. I’ve never entered a bento competition before, but I always love to check out the entries, and I’m really excited to see the entries for this year. So this bento includes; First tier- Two onigiri (as per the criteria), made with a mix of Thai black glutinous rice (although really the rice comes out this beautiful purple colour, it’s usually a lot darker, but the mix lightened it.), white sushi rice and long grain brown rice. I filled the larger onigiri at the back with a honey soy salmon mix, delicious! The other one is plain. I baked the rest of the salmon in olive oil, and seasoned with a little sea salt and black pepper. Stuffed into all the little gaps are some fresh raw peas, on my food picks, griddled British asparagus (our asparagus season is incredibly short here, especially this year, so I eat as much of it whilst I can), boiled green beans and corn, which I had never sliced before…I got the idea from Happy Little Bento, as she often has corn slices (you can find her blog in my blog roll.) Second tier- Boiled cauliflower and broccoli, hardboiled “Happy Eggs” with YAY spelled out across them, my first time carving something into an egg, again I got the idea from Happy Little Bento. This was undoubtedly the hardest part and took patience, not as good as I was hoping for, but I’m sure I’ll improve with practice. Couple of slices of a white flesh nectarine- anyone else think that they’re yummier than their yellow fleshed counterparts?? A clementine segment, sliced British strawberries( again a very short lived season here, but they’re so succulent and much naturally sweeter than strawberries from hotter parts of the world.) Galia melon pieces and a slice of a very juicy dark ruby plum. Yum! I ate alot of the scraps for this bento, so I feel a bit greedy now. The rest I set aside for use in later meals. I don’t have work today, so this will be my lunch at home. Nice and filling. Why don’t you enter the competition too!? There’s still time. Check out their website for all the details. http://www.bentoandco.com- submission must be done by July the 9th 8am Japan time. Good luck everyone!!