Monday, May 31, 2010

Seasoning the Rice:

When I first started making bentos I never seasoned rice, and Husband would forget his bentos, which was a polite way of saying your food isn’t tasty! So Remember to Season!

My portions are for 3 cups of uncooked rice, i use the following ratio of salt, sugar, vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons of salt
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of rice vinegar.
Also you can add flavour to the rice by throwing in to the pot as it cooks, nuts, beans, legumes, mushrooms, dried seafood and various other things. But practice! As some product will colour your rice. Ie Mushrooms will give your rice a brown colour… okay for Bears but not okay for Police Cars.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sweet Heart Bread Bento

I am so happy!!! I can bake the perfect sized bread rolls for bentos!
Its my 2nd batch and the bread is so easy to make!
 I'll post about it tonight when i make a batch for a Sunday picnic!

Main: Heart Rolls with Heart-cut Ham, Butter Lettuce & Whole egg Mayo.
Apple, Beetroot and Carrot Salad with Coriander and Lemon Juice
Fennel, Orange and Radish Salad with French Dressing
Mandarin Segements and Cherry Tomatoes
Apple Pie - Apple slices stewed with butter and sugar, with puff pastry top.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garfield Bento

Who put all those blasted stripes on that fat cat???

Now I know why there are so little Garfield Bentos on the net.  He was lots of hard work!  I nearly gave up, but thanks to husband who encourage me to stick to it.

I steamed a slice of pumpkin and cut out his body. Then with the leftovers I made his ears, arms and tail. His eyes are made from radish whites. and his mouth, cheese and ham nose. Then came the stripes.

Remind me to get some pinking shears next time I take up this crazy cat for a bento theme. Each triangle individually cut. and placed with some mayo and a chopstick point.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bento Manga

Although its titled as Hatsukio Lunch Box, if you're reading my blog you should know that Bento Box is the correct and preferred term!

Its light reading for bento lovers who make bentos for the purpose of their friends, loved ones, who aren't aiming for perfection, or artistic FACE FOOD value.  I don't have a problem with those bentos.  but I do question the priorities of someone who painstakingly cuts out a intricate pattern in Nori.

Anyway back to the Manga, Sae, our heroine, loves to eat, but can't cook.  Enter childhood friend Yuuki who picks on Sae's insaitable appetite but scores points because he and his sister run a very tasty cafe.  Each chapter starts with Sae finding a friend who's in need of courage to declare their devotion to the object of their affection, (a clueless cute boy)  Bentos are made with the help of Oni-san (Yuki's sister) and Yuuki, food is packed and the blushing girl gives her bento to a blushing boy.  Accepted and Happy ever after.  Fuzzy good feelings assured.

But the best thing is at the end of each chapter, YOU yes YOU!  can  make the starring bento!  The Recipe and Ingredient list are very concise and easy to follow!  

I just read chapter 4, and I'm interested in making umorice (rice in omlette) will tell you how that goes later!

Quick Tip: Cubing rice for Chopsticks

This is a good tip.

Maki from, one of my favourite factual bento sites has gleaned this tip from a Jap Magazine.

"... there was a tip to put crisscross lines on top of the rice packed into a bento box, to not only make the rice look a bit prettier, but to make it easier to pick up with chopsticks." More

Nice!! I shall  try this next!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bento Desert - Croissant Flooding


Its nearly a week and no Bentos!

But I have been busy!  hehehe :D

You can tell by the way the kitchen is covered in flour, and Steph won't go near the bench. keke

That's because all week I have been making Croissants! More

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Raining Bento Boxes!

Edible Skewers

Hello People!  Today I would post a bento tip.

The orginal source came from a Japanese Bento Book (Kaeranmama), and my lovely friend Marisa, who is Japanese. She read the book and pointed out this great tip. Heheh the conversation was rather funny now that i think on it

E: Hi Marisa, i bought another bento book, could you tell me what this is?
M: Oooh! (looks) Oh thats pink cod flakes
E: ahh okay thanks
M (starts flipping the book, reading in japanese) Oooh!! Ahh!
E: What??? What??
M: Ahh they use raw spaghetti
E: Huh? (Looking at picture for raw spaghetti
M: No they use it as skewer, then it soften with water
Use Raw Spaghetti, instead of wooden skewers
E: Oh I see! Clever!

Brilliant! Marissa also said that she has to make a packed lunch for her daughter, and the teacher told her that no toothpicks were allowed. So this was a great idea.And I have used it ever since.

Without Spaghetti, Shaun's ear would have floated away

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Bento Library

Today I thought I would share my bento books with you.  Its a small collection, but its growing!
My Precious Books

Thank god for Kinokunya! If it wasn't for them I would be paying even scarier prices with online book shops.

Books (Image 1)
Kaerenmama no Mainichi Kawaii Character Bento  [Purchase]
はじめてのキャラ弁 忙しい朝でも、かわいいお弁当がスグ作れる![Purchase]
Hajimete no Egokoro Bento - Oishii! Kawaii! Tanoshii!  [Purchase]
Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go  [Purchase]

Book (Image 2)
Kawaii Bento Boxes: Cute and Convenient Japanese Meals on the Go  [Purchase]
いちばんわかりやすい!飾り巻きずしの作り方  [Purchase]
Face Food Recipes  [Purchase]
Face Food:The Visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes  [Purchase]

Now if I was to rate them:

Most Inspiring: Kaerenmama - Her book is easy to follow, despite the japanese writing, which yours truly cannot read! 
Most Freakiest: Face Food - There are some bento artist in the world that show their dedication, determination, single-handed mindness, and downright scary attention to perfection.  This series is a book about them.
Most Admirable: 飾り巻きずし (Panda Book) This is a recipe book from Kawasumi Ken, a renown sushi chef in Japan.  I have made the panda from this book. (hard work) one day ill do the Koi.  One Day.  

One Day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Bento Box - Blue Money Bear

New Bento Box - Money Bear
I bought my first Bento Box for 2010, Cripes its almost June!  So slow! Anyway I found him in Morning Glory, and get this - he was only $6.00AUD! So cute!

Pity there wasn't a pink and cream one! I could have had a whole family! LOL!

New Bento Box - Money Bear is a widdle cold

His bento belt begged to be decorated! So because its Winter I made him a cute little scarf from some scrap fabric.

That had me thinking about what other accessories I could make. Gawd... As if I don't have enough hobbies.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bento - robot challenge

Bento - robot challenge

Meet Dexter! - (I think only Aussie stuck here in the 80's would know who this is.)

This was a hot hot show about blind dates! :)  A female contestant would stand behind a wall and ask three gentlemen - (NOTE: I use the term "gentleman" VERY loosely here!) questions about what their dreams, hopes and ideal woman. 
A bit of meet and greet, more questions, jokes and embarassing moments before Dexter would come on and he would compute all the answers and advise the female hopeful of who was their perfect match.

I would watch this on telly after school, before the 6.00pm restaurant rush, guessing which mullet man would be the perfect match for the hopeful shoulder-pad shelia.  It's so corny and 80's that it's priceless.

Here are some more images and articles

Dexter with Garry Evans and Debbie Newsome Source

Dexter the true star of the show. Source

There are even clips on youtube! *OMG!*
Hahaha! Lambing Time! 

I also chose Dexter has he will be my first competition entry into Kawaii Bento Club Challenge!  Wish me luck.

Rice and my non-Asian Abilities.

Rice Bowl - Just like the restaurant! Source

I admit it.  Despite the Chinese heritage, despite living in a Chinese restaurant, DESPITE having a Chinese chef for a father.  I . cannot . cook . rice.

To my defense, I grew up watching dad cook rice in big 20L wash-your-baby-in pots.  My duties involved scooping 3 shovels of rice into the pot, and washing the rice three times.  My final duty was to add hot water until rice covered and give it to Dad. 

Dad would take a look at the water, tip the pot on its side, swirl it around then splash some of the water out, or add the water in.  Then he would give it back to me and tell me to put a lid on it and the gas on high.  See! I was crippled.

Mum tried,  she told me that the water needed to cover the first knuckle of your first index finger.  I could never quite grasp the concept because, your hand grows right?  Why would the measurement work if I was 10 and now at 30?  Attempt No 2. Fail.

So if Boyfriend/Fiance (now Husband) wanted steamed rice for dinner (not jook), the rice duties were his.  And to this day he points out that the white guy makes better rice than his chinese wife …

I have no comeback.

Bento - Un-cute

Bento - Un-cute
Originally uploaded by EvaApple

Honey ... Well you did kinda got what you wanted... 

This bento is a continuation of the un-cute theme. Or maybe the end.  *thinks* Yeah - its The End. 

But to my defense, It's hard for me to make un-cute bentos!  The urge to cover things in happy symbols is too strong!    You open your lunchbox at work, do you want it to say to you.  work harder? or do you want it to take you to some happy place... where the boss has a mute button, and sales are sane?  Yeah.  Keep Dreaming.

But on another note, while I muse about this bento, I do believe hearts are my favorite shape!  Why wouldn't they be? They are SO versatile! On its own it is a symbol of love, but in a bunch you can make flowers or butterflies!

Thats got me thinking .... I might try a heart bento! See how many hearts I can put in one lunch box. heh. the lunchbox of lurve... haha. If i gave that to Husband he might get turned off Bentos completely!

Better give it to Defenseless Brother *evil grin*

Sandwiches - Ham Radish, Lettuce and Mayo
Carrot, Celery and Cucmber sticks, orange segments.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bento - LOST TV Series 1 - Not Penny's Boat

Bento - LOST TV Series 1 - Not Penny's Boat
Originally uploaded by EvaApple

Husband asked for an "un-qoote" Bento.

Okay. Wifey make "un-qoote". That means Hello Kitty is out, so are faces, smileys hearts, animals... Boring! Not challengeing! Wifey has standards!

Ask friends. Someone suggested SAW the movie... hehehe.

Instead Pikko's bentos inspired me to do one of Husband's favourite TV Series LOST.

This is one of my favorite scene. Where Charlie aka Hobbit performs his last action - hes just declared his love for Sarah and finally their relationship looks like smooth sailing when this happens!

You know its his last word, and you expect something soppy for Claire but instead - NOT PENNY'S BOAT was sharpied onto his hand.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bento - The Picnicking Couple

Bento - The Picnicking Couple
Originally uploaded by EvaApple

A couple out on a picnic!

Taking a break from work. Mr White collar take time to join his girl in the Green Baby Spinach park amongst the flowers and cherries.

Between them a picnic mat, made from crab and avocado salad and a pretty sakura flowers pattern for them to sit on and enjoy the greenery before them.

Bento - Snoopy cuddles Love

Bento - Snoopy cuddles Love
Originally uploaded by EvaApple

Ahh. This one is one of my betters

You have Snoopy, made with Rice and nori features. cuddling a ham heart. with fishball arms.
Side Dishes
Pickled Daikon
Woodchuck sits on a crab and avocado salad.
and a baby spinach and cherry tomato salad is in the remaining corner.

Bento - Keroppi - Take 2

Bento - Keroppi - Take 2
Originally uploaded by EvaApple

I wasn't happy with the side dishes. Not cute enough. should be better now.

So along with the original rice ball, eggy eyes, I have changed the carrots and put cheesy stars on them. Added some roast pumpkin leftover from last nights dinner with cheese hearts, a cherry tomato filled with KP mayo with a nori flower.

Now I look at it maybe i should have done his hands...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Bento - Keroppi Frog

A big Rice ball mixed with mashed peas, and spinach. with ham cheeks, and nori lips. Boiled eggs make the eyes and baby carrots to fill in the spare space.

For Lu. - Thanks for the suggestion.

Jules - I'll do Snoopy tomorrow.

Friday, May 07, 2010

I see Grease Characters

I see Grease Characters
Originally uploaded by EvaApple

Turnip with Nitsuke sacue, meatballs. i like the betel leaves. they give the riceballs sideburns! hehehe

and the egg car... who wouldnt eat an egg that goes broom broom?

Back to Bentos - Box 3

Back to Bentos - Box 3
Originally uploaded by EvaApple

Rice onigiris with beef ravioli, steamed chicken and steamed cabbage.

Three Penguins with Betel Leaves

Three Penguins with Betel Leaves
Originally uploaded by EvaApple

Cheep Cheep