Monday, November 30, 2009

12.05am Bentos

Bento definitely take me 3 hours to make. And 2 hrs to blog.

Ed gets lucky tomorrow. That big one is his. Steph has the Rudolph Bento and Chris has the cat and chicken Bento and I'll have the leftover mutant one.

New items this week

Quail Eggs - Not sure about these. Sure they're cute but I'm feel guilty, quails are ... I've cut a bit of carrot moon to make the comb, eyes are made from nori.

Steph has a "red rooster" made with a grape tomato, nori eyes, carrot comb, and lemon peel beak, held in by a little bit of spaghetti.

Turkey Balls - from last time. Ding and they're done. I have lots of little balls in the freezer...

Onigiri - I have new letter punches hence so many cats. the whiskers are made form a "b" with a bit of cutting. I also got an "n" for the eyes and a "y" which makes great antlers. The filling is pork meat soboro. I didnt drain the sauce off properly that why this neko has a bit of brown on its face! But it makes it look "or-fen-tick" (authentic)

Spinach - Everyone needs to do the Popeye and ate their greens. Its so simple to make! Just finley chopp it all up, then blanch quickly before a stir-fry with garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds and mirin. Stores for ages and you can even use it as stuffing for onigiri. Just be prepared for some faces going green ^^

Muesli bars - I made these mini bars to go into the bentos. I find that with baked goods you will need to make your own. So with a bag of lowan Muesli, honey, golden syrup, butter and cornflour, mix it all and bake on baking paper. Then let it cool and cut into small bars. Now I have a jar full of them! Ed scored the leftovers which are in a jar for him to munch on. They are seriously easy to make!!! for the price you pay for a packet of jumbo ones you could make muesli bars for so much cheaper... and probably less sugar too!

Friday, November 27, 2009

5.30am Bentos

This time I didn't stay up! I'm not going to be a mess, because I went to bed EARLY! and woke up early today too!

On a side note. I'm a bit disturbed by the dream i had, Where I had to go downstairs to get to the carpark and one step was a good one metre drop! Which is fine if your in sneakers but I was wearing stilettos in this dream...

Anyway back to bentos.
I've been following AnnaTheRed's Bento Factory Website, obviously she's more pro than me, but she's a great source of inspiration! (And today I've been inspired by her Sheep Giris, and Ponyo Sisters! So cute!)

Onigiris - this time they have no filling, just the RVSS mix. - But i made sheep faces! and to follow the vampire theme, a bloodsucking Onigiri, and a few mutants.

Beef Meatballs - these have tofu in them!!! It add health factor along with moisture, as bento need to have a dry factor, something a bit wet is nice on the palate.

Ponyo Sisters, I had some big grape tomatoes and this seemed like the perfect use of them. Rarely do i have ham in the fridge (gets hoovered pretty quickly) They are so cute. ATR's instructions are great, so much so that i could do them from memory.

Anzac Cookies - well you know that Massive biscuit i baked yesterday? Well i thought i would make one big one and cut them out... right? Wrong. ANZAC is very soft when warm. Lucky however as its still mallable, so i ripped of little bits of the monster cookie and rolled them into balls and other shapes! They still taste good and the fit in the bentos to boot! NICE!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

4.07am Bento

Its been a long day... I'm too tired to really blog properly so use your eyes. But there's so much talk about vampires fiction and movies had to make Count Onigiri!

First one. Ugh! Corny Count

Ahh Second One... Much Better!


I'm awake now. 5 hr sleep, and I'm fresh but a a bit worn down from all of yesterdays exercise. So onwards with a description.

Onigiri. I have been working on the RVSS mix and i think i have it down almost right! for 3 Cups of rice, use 1.5 teasp of salt, 2 teasp of sugar, and 1/2 cup of rice vinegar. You need to have a heavy elbow with the seasoning, or the rice wont be tasty :(
This lot of onigiri's had salmon and tuna mayo filling. I had a can of greensea, seeded mustard mayo flavour in the pantry. but there was so little tuna!!! i had to add a can of red salmon to the mix, again use a heavy seasoning elbow. The mayo helps add flavour and moisture too!

I made turkey meatballs! There's heaps in the freezer now so I have a quick meat option for the Bento They were easy to make! 1kg of turkey mince, 2 eggs, and a whole heap of breadcrumbs. 1 cupped hand of teriyaki sauce, and some extra salt and oil. mix togehter until well combined. shape balls using one gloved hand and a bowl scraper (keeps one hand clean) plonk on a plate to be ready to cook. Now to pan cook, use a wok. add oil. wait till its hot (sizzle when meat touches it) then throw in 6 or 8 of them in. let them sizzle for a few seconds. Pick up the wok and swirl to make the meatballs roll around in the wok, until all sides are browned. then just leave the wok for a bit turning occasionally until the balls are golden brown! YUM!

Next Item! Anzac Cookies! (Yes this was now 2am by this stage) The recipe asked for me to drop walnut sized mounds, but I needed them small, so I tried almond sized. but the mix was so dang dry that the little mounds would flake and i would have ended up with toasted museli instead! GRR!!! I tried for 2 trays. Then Gave Up. Hence this photo of the biggest Anzac cookie ever.

Man I had a workout (gym, wii and kitchen!) I hope the scales tell me so tonight!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bentos for Tommorrow

1 2 3 4 Bento for Edmund. - just in case he does a face-plant munching session :P

The other bentos were for Steph and Chris/Me. Chris and I share one so we good on our food restriction plans.

This onigiri was made from leftovers. I cooked extra amount of rice, and we had roast duck and BBQ Pork from last nights dinner. I ripped off the meat and chopped it up. Seasoned the rice with RVSS and tossed in the chopped meat, stirred and made the onigiris.

Ed had cherry tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, salami and crackers
Steph had a salad of pretty much the same stuff with some grated carrot.
Chris and I had cherry tomato and cheese sticks with raw carrots and left over white and green asparagus i cooked for dinner last night.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bentos 18th November

I like shape cutting. its lots of fun, and adds a new dimension to bento making.

Here we have a set of bentos, using rice flavoured with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt(RVSS) To make the shapes, put a handful of rice on some gladwrap, roll it up so the rice is encased and mould. Then unwrapped and added nori punched shapes. I had bought numbers cutouts and with those cut out ham and cheese bits to add to the faces.

I never know how the bento turns out until i make them. Their faces are never planned, they just seem to happen.

The pacman bento was a surprise. i had a bit too much rice for that bento box, so i squeezed it into a log, and fluted one of the ends. to turn it into a ghost. And you need the hero, pacman was made from one rice ball, with nori mouth cut out and added on. Eye and Eybrow (which i later learnt was of my imagination)

I made the pink from seasoned cod powder which you can buy at japanese grocery stores, season your rice with RVSS, seperate some of the rice into a seperate bowl, sprinkle the colouring you add and with cutting motions mix it into the rice.

Once youve made the rice, then fill the bento space with spare bits you have in your fridge/pantry.
Pop in the fridge. and if they remember the boys will take them to work, cool and let them warm up in their bags, so that by lunchtime its ready to eat!
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Freakiest Dream to Date

If Dreams are related to events of the day before then I must have an alternative mind out there...

My dreams are never a sequence, its more like a random series of events
  • Steph had found a source for one of the rare fiction books he reads. Yes he does read novels!
  • We followed a monk. (old man, beard, brown robe) into a church.
  • church layout was L-shaped. on the short arm, inner corner was a bench where another monk was manning the front desk.
  • Steph and the monks discussed the book while I looked around.
  • To the left was the most garish duck-shell blue and white pedestal, made of little columns with a big white central flourish with a big sapphire. On it was a human head, the size of a big water melon. I was sure it was art, but it was life-like enough to be freaky.
  • The pedestal and head was for sale.
  • I told some Church Aunties who were there. (Hi Auntie Millie and Auntie Alison) about the freaky face. It was a interesting topic.
Then the dream changes.
  • We're at home. Friends are over. Wilson (i only know one Wilson) wants to stain some wood for us, but needs the crates to rest the wood on.
  • Steph and Ed cant find the crates, I go looking. (they're on the book shelf)
  • The wood is dusty. I ask if one could brush away the dust after staining. It took a bit, I had to hear a lot about reasons, when I only wanted an answer.
  • While I was looking for the crate. Steph lit the candles on my birthday cake, but had to put them out because it was too smoky
  • He ran into Ed's room with the cake, I found him there. The chocolate cake with plastic happy birthday was surrounded by many many many candles. and the heat had melted the cake into a sorry looking puddle.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Whos up for cake?

I have a mild obsession with baking. I bake then remember how messy it is and I put away the flour, sugar, icing sugar for a month or two. Then it begins again.

I dreamt of a three tier cake, but not only three tiers but three differnt flavours! And one icing to combine the flavours! An interesting mix... nor was I interested in making one big mother of a cake! I wanted to make toy tier cakes. (packs less on the hips)

So I thought about what cakes I would like to make. and I wanted a compliment of flavours. I was thinking about a hot lemon and honey drink. I like the combination of sweet and zest, and it seems like a great starting block... So what other flavours would go well with that? There was Lemon and Vanilla, and also Ginger and Lemon! Sorted! And then thinking of my first taste of Sweetness's lime and poppy seed biscuits - the icing can be lemon and poppy seeds!

Now I figured out I wanted to make small cakes – Gotta find small cake tins... hrm let see. I have a 20cm and a 22cm. Too big. I would like something a lot smaller please. Can I find it? No!. (I can find small loaf tins, but round? Nope.)

Was this the end of Eva’s baking future? Had it finished before it had started? Ha! Little you know of Eva’s ingenuity! Cake Baking with Ceramics! Okay its not exactly new. But it was a new adventure. Would it work? Would it shatter? Into a thousand pieces like her dreams, or would the glass hold on and cradle perfect circles of sugary goodness? Time will tell. Stay tune for the next episode of.... Baked in the Face!

Sorry Sugar talking.

So the baking in ceramic, surprisingly went very well. Will do this more often.
Ginger cake yielded perfect tops and an amazing aroma! The Vanilla cake had too much baking powder and each ramiken looked like mount edna. And the Honey Cake. Well I had to make some changes here. I only had 100g of honey so I used 100g of golden syrup. Figured that GS is sweeter than honey so I reduce the measurement to 200g. To that I added butter and sugar, and brought to a simmer on the stove. Let it cool and check temp before adding eggs. Taste dirty spoon. PHOWAR!!! God that stuff is tops! Buzzing now. Continue baking.

And if you need visuals, I did take a time lapse while I was cooking

Oh and before I forget. NEVER bake in black.

The Recipes – from the WWW. Just google the cake names
The Very Best Vanilla Cake Recipe
Yield: 2 8-inch cake layers
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cups sugar
½ Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
11/3 cups all-purpose flour

1. Heat oven to 350ºF (180*C). Line dishes, line bottoms with wax paper and spray the paper.

2. Beat butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with mixer on high speed 1 minute or until well blended. Add eggs; beat 2 minutes or until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and beat in milk and vanilla (batter may look curdled), then beat in flour just until blended. Divide batter between prepared pans; spread evenly.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Run small knife or spatula around edge of cakes to release. Invert cakes onto wire rack, remove wax paper and cool completely.

Ginger Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar or baking sweetner
1 tbl spn fresh grated ginger
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tea spns baking powder
1 tea spn vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
Preheat the oven at 350 F for about 10mins.
Sieve together flour and baking powder, keep it aside.
Mix butter and sugar(or sweetener) till they are well mixed. Now add eggs, vanilla extract and mix well till the eggs are mixed. Pour in milk and mix again.
Now add the flour-baking powder mixture, a little at a time, mixing it all the time. When everything is incorporated well, add the grated ginger and mix.
Grease a baking dish, dust it with some flour. Pour the cake batter into it and bake at 350F for about 40mins or till a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
While serving, dust with some confectioner’s sugar or decorated it.
Makes : 6-7 big pieces
Preparation time : 10mins (excluding baking time)

Devonshire honey cake
250g clear honey , plus about 2
tbsp extra to glaze
225g unsalted butter
100g dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs , beaten
300g self- raising flour

1. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/ conventional 160C/gas 3. Butter and line a 20cm round loose bottomed cake tin. Cut the butter
into pieces and drop into a medium pan with the honey and sugar. Melt slowly over a low heat. When the mixture looks quite liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about one minute. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes, to prevent the
eggs cooking when they are mixed in.
2. Beat the eggs into the melted honey mixture using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture, beating until you have a smooth, quite runny batter.
3. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour until the cake is well-risen, golden brown and springs back when pressed. A skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
4. Turn the cake out on a wire rack. Warm 2 tbsp honey in a small pan and brush over the top of the cake to give a sticky glaze, then leave to cool. Keeps for 4-5 days wrapped, in an airtight tin.

Royal Icing:
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups (330 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
Beat eggwhite and lemon juice, in the mixer on low, add the sifted sugar slowly in batches. Keep beating until all the sugar is added. Do not lick the spoon. This stuff is leathal.
Scoop a small part out and dilute with a bit of water or more lemon juice, so its the consistency of honey. Then strategically pour it on so it runs over the sides.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


End result. Not bad. No knowningly added MSG

The juggle of getting hot noodles, hot broth and cold condiments to the table is a challenge. I tell you. This could be the next egg and spoon type race event of Masterchef.

Just need to be prepared for the splash off.

The Pho broth receipe is on the previous entry. :) try it! so worth it and the cost. heh. less that the 10 bowls of pho it made :)

Next adventure.... Cake Baking!
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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Vietnamese Shopping

I bought this instrument. not sure what it does but theres a few pics of it in the collage. Hrm... anyone know?
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