Wednesday and Thursday’s bento, plus courgette flower fritter failure!!

A little late behind in terms of putting these up, but hey better late than never right? These are the bentos I took to work for Wednesday and Thursday just gone. All packed up in my new bento box. I’m totally in love with it!! It’s just so cute! Wednesday’s box:

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Bottom tier: piece of corn on the cob, and some asparagus seasoned with salt and pepper. Small silicone cup of canteloupe melon.

Middle tier: Healthy turkey spag bol. I love that the inner leakproof lid is domed, so you can stuff as much food in as possible! Hence it looks like it’s overflowing with pasta.

Top tier(bowl) Wholewheat zucchini and carrot muffin and a little rapeseed oil in the panda sauce bottle. I had to move the sauce bottle into the middle tier when I put the bento together because it wouldn’t fit in the lid space with the muffin. and then, I ended up forgetting to use it anyway. Doh! This lunch was incredibly filling and yummy! So at least now I know I don’t need a huge bento box to fill me up.

Thursday’s bento:

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A completely messy mix and match bento. Bottom tier: vegetable tian.  Middle tier; Chorizo and chickpeas, raw carrot baran, cold paprika spiced new potato and onion salad.Top tier/bowl; mini homemade wholewheat bread slices. I ended up losing half my tian on the floor…woops. It didn’t matter, since I’d seperately packed some fruit and nuts as well, I was more than full.

Absolutely ages ago, I read on Just Bento, Maki’s recipe for zucchini (courgette) blossom fritters…I knew instantly I had to try them, unfortunately where I lived at the time, it was difficult to find the flowers, and even where I live now, I have only just found a vendor on the market that sells them! Very expensive £2, for four blossoms….I was beyond excited to try this….but unfortunately I royally messed it up :(. I’m not sure how I managed it, but my batter was far far too heavy, and they ended up with a slightly chewy texture, rather than being light and crisp. They’re quite bland, no distinctive flavour, I’m not sure if the texture of the petals was caused by my dodgy batter, but either way I just didn’t like them. I also (despite thoroughly cleaning and checking the flowers) was a little paranoid I was going to eat a bug…and I’m generally not squeamish in that sense.  There are many other recipes for them out there, stuffed, sauteed, all sorts…but for now, for the price they are, I don’t think I’ll be trying them again anytime soon. So here is my awesome courgette fritter failure! Lol.

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Hope you’ve all had a good weekend!

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Zucchini muffins and a little bit of Spain

Another day off yesterday, ( I know, I’m lucky to get so many) and once again finding myself with a fridge and pantry full of food that is edging dangerously close to their expiry dates. So I decided to have yet another day of cooking, only much simpler this time, all easy basic dishes, more like antipasto actually, but yummy nonetheless. To start off with I tried to make a tian…emphasis on the word tried! I’d never made one before, but it’s so simple it’s almost impossible to mess up….well me being me, I forgot to put the onion in..woops. From the recipes I looked at, mine isn’t a traditional summer vegetable tian, because it has oyster mushrooms in it (with aubergine/eggplant, courgette/zucchini and piccolo tomatoes)…I only had a few left, and couldn’t be bothered to incorporate them into another dish, so in they went. I made two, this one is a tad sparse looking, plus you can see where I pinched a bit out of the corner to try, haha, it’s simple, letting the natural flavours of the vegetables speak for themselves, but I like it. It’s definitely something I would do again.

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This dish (if I can really call it that, it’s so beyond basic!) came from a little tapas recipe book my friend bought me before I went to Spain, and as I recently recieved some chorizo from Spain (Thanks Daddy!) I thought I’d give this one a whirl. Chorizo and chickpeas.

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It said to eat hot, or at room temperature with crusty bread. I actually had mine cold out of the fridge and it was wonderful! Rich in flavour, as expected of a good quality chorizo! The peppers and chickpeas added wonderful texture to the dish, makes for a nice simple meal with some salad on hot days like this!

Last but most definitely not the least are these wholewheat zucchini (courgette) and carrot muffins. As per Vegan Food Addict’s recipe. Here is the link : http://veganfoodaddict.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/whole-wheat-carrot-zucchini-muffins/

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I didn’t have any almond milk on hand, so I subsituted with regular skim milk. I realised after I’d baked them that I actually had some almond essence I could have added in, but never mind, I can try that next time! Because there most definitely will be a next time. My Dad is always going on about zucchini bread, so when I saw this recipe I decided to try it, it’s something that has always interested me. Why, oh why did I not try it before! They’re amazing! Not only were they incredibly easy to make, but they’re so flavourful and so unbelievably moist! I gave some to a friend and she agrees! I’m also very pleased to say, having just had one with my breakfast, they are still just as moist as they were fresh out of the oven! Yay. Thanks to Vegan Food Addict for posting the wonderful recipe, this is officially a new favourite of mine!

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I also made a sort of potato salad, no picture though. It was simply new potatoes seasoned with smoked paprika and cooked in the leftover juices from the chorizo with onion and garlic, very simple, but satisfying.

No bento for yesterday, nor one for today. However, today is the day that my items from Bento&Co get redelivered!! Woop woop! I’m very excited and am sat waiting (not so patiently), for them to arrive. So there will be plenty of bentos for the remainder of the week and next week too, featuring my new tools. I’ll be sure to share my order with you when it gets here!

Have a happy day everyone! Yay! 🙂

Simple chicken bento

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This was yesterday’s work bento. I actually really like this one, despite how simple it is….the brightness of the tomatoes seems to spread across the entire bento and makes up for the lack of colour elsewhere, but I think the main reason I love this one so much is because it contains my very first checkered apple! I finally decided to give it a go, and I think for the first time it came out alright actually. What do you think? Next time, I think I’ll try and make the squares smaller though. Here’s a closeup.

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So this oh so simple bento contains my paprika seasoned oven baked chicken on a bed of watercress and baby spinach, boiled broccoli and sauteed piccolo tomatoes, and raw carrot pieces to fill up the gaps.  I forgot to pack the balsamic vinegar, woops. The little disposable tupperware ( I have yet to invest in a snack box) has my checkered apple, grapes, picota cherries and 3/4 of a clementine. I also packed a small wholewheat roll to go with this lunch. It was incredibly filling, and for the first time in forever I wasn’t ravenous and practically lunging for the fridge when I arrived home from work.

I missed my Bento&Co order today :(, since I live so so far away from the post office and I don’t fancy walking for a couple of hours to pick it up, I’m having it redelivered on tuesday, when I know I’ll be here…having to wait two more days for it is torture though. I want my goodies now!! I think everybody is impatient when it comes to recieving a package they were really looking forward to!!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend guys. 🙂

Turkey meatball pasta bento, handmade drawstring bag and my not so midnight munchies!

I did try to submit a post earlier, but my computer was having a bit of a hissy fit, now unable to sleep, and a case of the munchies, (just cured) I’m trying again. So let’s start off with the recently cured munchies, and I’ll work my way backwards through the day. Tossing and turning in bed, I decided to give up on sleep and start randomly downloading a bunch more recipe apps for my phone…bad mistake, or perhaps actually glorious mistake…because my gently rumbling tummy slowly transformed into a thunderstorm of malicious hunger, which reached it’s peak as I started reading the recipe for wholewheat oatmeal pancakes, that was it…I had to try them. I apologise for the utterly terrible picture, bad lighting at night, our lights aren’t the best, plus it’s taken on my phone (again), but I assure you despite the fact they don’t look amazing, they were fantastic! So freaking good, I might never go back to regular pancakes….ok not true, I love pancakes, adore them, so I will have them at some point, however I think this will definitely be a regular substitution!!Image

The recipe was from Healthy Recipes app, they have a website too I think, it’s sort of like AllRecipes, by the looks of it, but only “healthy” recipes can go up, of course that’s really all a matter of opinion. But pancakes made with skim milk, wholewheat flour, oats and a teeny bit of olive oil, well that’s healthy for me! For a topping, I drizzled a little bit of natural local honey, added some walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sea salt…yes salt. Lol, I’m one of those people, I love sweet and salt together! Especially on popcorn!! Butter sugar and salt popcorn…YUMMY! I love cinnamon, I think it’s a lovely natural way to add a sweet flavouring to your dishes, and a little goes a long way!

On to my drawstring bag. Tah Dah!

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Well not so much haha, I’m not great at sewing, and me being me, and not paying attention, I made the amateur sewing mistake and sewed it the wrong way so you can see all the stitching…never mind, focus on how cute the buttons are!! They better be darn cute, they set me back £2.60! That may not seem like alot, but for me and buttons, it most definitely is! I made this for my purple one tier bento box, it’s large enough to fit that, plus the chopsticks and a snack box or a small bottle of water inside. Yippie, overall, I’m pleased with the result. I did buy some red material to make a furoshiki for my other bento box, but I haven’t started on that yet.

Finally my rather disappointing bento that was today’s lunch. Disappointing in looks, lack of colour and presentation, plus this has so far been the only recipe I made (on tuesday) and I haven’t enjoyed, loved the bolognase, the quiches surprisingly turned out to rather tasty, the ratatouille was lush, but this…this was bizzare and bland all in one…I know creamy stuff doesn’t tend to freeze and then microwave well, but having frozen fat free greek yogurt before, I know the creaminess does stay a little bit, and the flavour is most definitely still there…well I don’t know what went wrong, but definitely not creamy in the slightest, nor could you really taste it…all there was, was a slight hint of lemon, and it didn’t seem that savoury type lemon, it seemed as if I’d crumbled some type of lemon sugar desert over my pasta and then ate it…I just didn’t particularly enjoy it, so I won’t be in a rush to make that one again. The cherries were the highlight. Ripe and juicy, just the way they should be!

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I recieved another email from Bento&Co today, offering 15% off….as we say over here…Sods law!! Oh well, now I just have to try and resist the urge to buy the item I thought I’d put in my basket, but apparently hadn’t…plus a few more, you know since it’s flat rate shipping and all….stay strong, stay strong! I don’t think I’ll last long haha.

That’s all. Good night everyone!

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!