Cute Bento 2

7 06 2009

Monday’s bento has a musical theme.

Musical bento

Musical cute bento

A zigzag kiwi surrounded by sweet nutmeg rice and a spring onion, radish, cucumber, carrot and lettuce salad. Leftover potato, Japanese green and soymince curry with rice. Music note made with sesame seeds, ledger lines with nori.





Cute bento

4 06 2009

Bentorocket_Fri4_06A Space-Themed bento. Rocket shaped rice with tofu pouch (inari) rocket and nori (seaweed) star. Pineapple “suns” on lettuce with star shaped choc gingerbread cookies. Cupcake with chocolate icing and star biscuit. Rice with a spring theme – carrot leaves- pulsar-neutron-star shaped cucumbers and veg-dry-curry.





おいしい

31 05 2009

Oishi – delicious (word of the day for Sunday).

Homemade Vegan Gyoza

Homemade Vegan Gyoza

Crispy Pan-fried Homemade Vegan Gyoza

Crispy Pan-fried Homemade Vegan Gyoza

Gyoza was next on our list of Japanese foods to try to make at home. We found some gyoza wrappers in the fridge of the supermarket and Benno bought some  TVP (soy mince) in Tokyo this week.

The filling was made from a mixture of:

1/2 cup soy mince (rehydrated in 1/2 cup hot water)
1/2 cup cabbage, shredded and boiled in the pan
150g mushrooms, diced
1 tablespoon each diced garlic and ginger
5 spring onions, diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegan dashi sauce
2 tablespoons plain flour

To make the gyoza,
1. Place about a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of a wrapper.
2. Wet the edge of the wrapper with water.
3. Fold the wrapper in half and pleat the edges so that the bottom of the gyoza is flat and the top is rounded.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a saucepan. Cook the gyoza (flat-bottom down) for one minute. Then add 1/2 cup water. Put the lid on, turn the heat down and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove lid, turn up heat and cook for 1-2 minutes to evaporate the water and crisp up the bottoms.
Serve with dipping sauce (2 T soy sauce, 1 T rice vinegar, 1/4 t chili oil).

Yummy Peach Crumble

Yummy Peach Crumble

Benno made a dessert of peach crumble. It was so yummy – I feel like we haven’t eaten peaches in ages!

Earlier in the afternoon Lara made some more fluffy white cupcakes and turned some into red bean butterfly cakes with a peppermint chocolate pastille stuck between the wings. We gave these to our neighbours when we introduced ourselves (finally). They seem very nice – perhaps not too much older than us, with a small baby. Hopefully we will get to see more of them and maybe even practice our Japanese language skills with them!

Monday's Bento Lunch

Monday's Bento Lunch

Leftover gyoza were saved for Monday’s lunch. Here is Lara’s bento. It features an onigiri smiley face with steamed broccoli, apple triangles and a choc-chip vanilla cupcake. In the bottom layer is a heart onigiri (rice ball/triangle) with lettuce, cucumber flowers, soy-mince gyoza and an elephant bottle of dipping sauce.





めんどくさい!

30 05 2009

mendokusai – the students’ favourite saying when they can’t be bothered, roughly translated as ‘difficult’ or ‘i can’t be bothered’. Lazy bums.

saturdaybentoSaturday’s bento

I have a long way to go before I have bento looking as pretty as o-bento’s. However, my bento are vegan and don’t contain quail’s eggs. Satuday I had (from left to right) peppermint chocolates, leftover miso pasta with a triangle yaki-onigiri (grilled rice cake), a fluffy white cupcake (with heart strawberry) and popped corn, flower peanut butter sandwiches, strawberries and chocolate cake penguin(?!) with kiwi fruit belly.

Tofu Tonkatsu

Tofu Tonkatsu

To add to our list of Japanese foods we have tried (miso, onigiri, umeboshi, okonomiyaki) on Saturday we made tofu tonkatsu (tofu pork cutlets). We basically followed the recipe from here and they were pretty good. We don’t know how authentic they tasted, but they were yummy and successfully dirtied every plate/dish in our kitchen in the making.

The weather this week was a little dreary – raining most days. However it didn’t stop Benno from having an excursion in Tokyo to see MxPx in concert at the LiquidRoom in Shibuya-ku and going to an Australian Embassy party for Adelaide University graduates. Thanks to Atsu for showing Benno around and letting him stay!

Lunch Buffet at Saishoku Kenbi.

Lunch Buffet at Saishoku Kenbi.

Benno enjoyed a gyoza.

Thanks to everyone who Sykped us for Lara’s birthday or for SSS – we enjoyed catching up over the phone with our Australian friends and family this week!





bento happiness

24 05 2009

This week at school was busy with revision, followed by 3 days of mid-term exams. So I was writing tests, photocopying, supervising study lessons and exams, marking, calculating grades and getting ready for mid-term reports and newsletters.

Swine Flu is still on the front page everyday of The Japan Times newspaper that comes to the Inter department. The school called a 3 hour meeting for students on Saturday afternoon to go over the drills for a flu pandemic (and a flu outbreak coupled with a fire, and a flu outbreak with a lockdown etc). Luckily I wasn’t required to attend the meeting. I also got to go home early 3 days this week (on the days when there were exams- exams only went for the first 4 periods). They were much needed afternoon’s off!

During my afternoons off we went bento shopping (for my birthday).

My cute bento and accessories!

My cute bento and accessories!

We now have 2 triangle onigiri makers with stencils for the toppings (heart, star, music note, faces), animal sauce bottles, small cutters for fancy shapped vegetables etc, colourful animal picks for eating small fruits and my bento lid with the top section. Benno also has a large bento for his lunches. It is black and boring whereas the smaller lady-sized bento are cute and colourful.

My first attempt at making onigiri, ready in the second layer of my bento for lunch tomorrow.

My first attempt at making onigiri, ready in the second layer of my bento for lunch tomorrow. There's a heart, a smiley face and a star topping.

The weather has been all over the place – typical for spring. Wednesay was 26 degrees with 60% humidity while Sunday morning was dreary and pouring rain.

Saturday night we had dinner at Apita’s Italian restaurant with the other Inter staff. It was complementary, thanks to Kocho (the principal), except he wasn’t even there as he was in hospital this week with illness. We thought we had found a vegan option, the waitress said it was fine. The salad seemed ok, but the mushroom pasta was distinctly fishy. They must have added fish stock to the sauce. Bugger. The Japanese never seem to understand or even realise that fish stock (dashi) is not cool. However the grapefruit sorbet was delicious. After the meal we rode our bikes to a karaoke place where we sang some songs with the younger inter staff.

Sunday morning Benno got up and made pancakes while I did some marking of exams. We had red bean jam (adzuki bean paste) on some, maple syrup on some and lemon and sugar on the rest of the pancakes. Yum! Then Benno surprised me with birthday presents! He had snuck out of bed in the middle of the night and made a lemon and coconut mousse and a chocolate mousse in cute heart shaped dishes. We ate them after pancakes, and then he gave me a present of an oven-mit. So good, as I’ve burnt myself 3 times this week trying to remove things from our small convection microwave oven with a folded-up tea towel. So now I feel spoilt! I made cupcakes to take to school on Monday to celebrate my birthday with the other Inter staff. I hope they like them!

Lara's Birthday cupcakes. Fluffy white sponge cupcakes. Some made into butterfly cakes with red bean jam, some with lemon icing and strawberries and choc chips.

Lara's Birthday cupcakes. Fluffy white sponge cupcakes. Some made into butterfly cakes with red bean jam, some with lemon icing and strawberries and choc chips.

Vegan Strawberry Cupcake.

Vegan Strawberry Cupcake.

Inside the fluffy sponge cupcakes, showing the red bean jam inside.

Inside the fluffy sponge cupcakes, showing the red bean jam inside.