Little thrills, little trips, little ideas


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Frankenstein, Dracula and Mummy 😈👻🎃 Bentos

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Mummy Hambagu Bento

Its about a week more to Halloween and I had been busy making Halloween themed bentos for my son. Last year, I made him a Beetle Juice character, it was my first Halloween Bento. Time passes so fast!

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Beetle Juice onigiri and sandwich

He has been so obsessed with Hotel Transylvania 2 movie. Every other day, he would request for a Halloween character in his bentos. Of course, I could not replicate characters from the movie 100% as it would take too much time in the morning to prepare. So I made simplified versions of mummy and Frankenstein and he loved them! Except for the Dracula, which he also requested but did not touch it because he thought it was too scary for him! So much for my efforts to see Dracula come home intact after school ꒰╬•᷅д•᷄╬꒱

If you are keen to make the Mummy Hamburger or the Little Frankenstein Ham Sandwiches (҂⌣̀_⌣́) for halloween parties or your kids, please check out my hand=sketched instructions below. I hope you can read my handwriting… Have a great Halloween!

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Little Frankenstein Ham Sandwich

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Dracula Bento & Chicken Wraps (Dracula made out of mashed potato, hanpen, carrot, nori seaweed and soy sauce)

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Little Frankenstein- How To Make (Ingredients: 2 slices of plain bread, ham, hanpen, soy sauce, 1 piece of nori seaweed &  1 Japanese crabstick)

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Mummy Hambagu – How To Make (Ingredients: 1 Hamburger patty, 1 carrot, 1 cheese slice & 1 piece of nori seaweed)

 


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Hubby Bento #29 – On the move lunch and its not sandwich

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Last week was very hectic for my husband, back to back site meetings without time to sit down for a meal. He’s an architect, running to several sites within a day. Some evenings, he would come back without having eaten lunch. I believe many of us experienced that many a times in our work life. Therefore, I insisted he take his lunchbox along and eat in the car if necessary. He was glad he did. I prepared 2 types of onigiris and left-over fried chicken for him. First onigiri is saba soboro rice ball, I used the recipe from Japan’s famous chef, Harumi Kurihara. She made saba soboro (鯖そぼろ) served on top of a bowl of rice. It was very easy to make and I adapted it into a rice ball. The second onigiri is chestnut rice ball. Since chestnuts are in season now in autumn, I was able to get raw Japanese chestnuts from the supermarket, toasted them and mixed with rice. Two very easy, yet tasty recipes. Below is the recipe for making 1 Saba soboro onigiri

Ingredients
1 fillet from 1/2 mackerel
1/4 onion (minced)
2 shiitake mushrooms (can use dried ones too, just soak for 30 minutes until soft and squeeze excess water out from the mushroom lightly)
1 cm ginger minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp sake
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
pepper

Use a tablespoon to scoop or scrap the mackerel flesh from the skin from head to tail avoiding the centre portion where the bones are. Remove the mushroom stems and roughly mince them. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium fire, add in the ginger and the mackerel. Stir fry the mackerel until the flesh turns flaky, add the shiitake mushrooms and onions. Add the sake, sugar, soy sauce and mirin. Keep stirring until there is a little liquid left in the pan. Cook some rice and cool it down before mixing with the saba soboro. Do not mix in too much liquid from the soboro sauce or the rice ball will be wet and soggy to form. Wrap the mixed rice with a piece of cellophane wrap and start shaping it without getting your hands dirty. Since the soboro has salt in it, I did not add salt into the rice, however I added a little when mixing it with the chestnuts. It was a nice sweet nutty contrast to the savoury saba soboro onigiri.

 


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Hubby Bento #28 – Stewed Squid and Ume Pork Belly Wrapped Asparagus

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EASY EASY EASY! Bento

This stewed squid is one of the easiest recipe I have tried and its sweet savoury flavour goes well with white rice. It is also often called tender squid stew. Here’s the recipe:

Stewed Squid
1 whole squid cleaned and cut into rings
2 tablespoons each of mirin, sake, sugar and shoyu
2 thin slices of ginger
some whole green peppercorns (optional)
Grated kabosu or lemon zest

Throw all the ingredients except the zest into a small heavy pot. I added some leftover soup stock and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat to let it slow simmer for 20 minutes. After its cooked, mix in some grated kabosu/ lemon zest before serving

Ume Pork Belly Wrapped Asparagus
Thin slices of Pork Belly
Asparagus
Ume plum paste

This recipe is really easy too. Just spread a little of ume paste on one side of the pork belly. Place 1 asparagus on 1 pork belly slice  and roll them up. Sprinke a little of salt & pepper on the outer side of the rolled pork bellies before sautéing them until the asparagus is cooked and the meat is lightly browned. Be careful ume paste is salty, so moderate the amount of salt used.

Steamed Kabocha カボチャ
Its easy to carve any pattern on the skin once its steamed.

Have a great day ahead! “^x6”


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Baby Sloth Bento

www.ongling.comI am embarrassed to confess that the animal that I thought was a slow loris for a long time is actually a sloth  ^‡^” …. So I have been giving wrong information to my little one all along. They are all equally adorable animals, slow loris, sloth, baby tarsier….big eyes.

Glad I found out the fact before I post this bento photo up, if not, it will be unimaginable embarrassment in public…haha…≥†≤”

In this bento, I made the baby sloth out of shoyu-flavoured rice, face and facial features made out of hanpen and nori cutoffs.
Other bento items  include

Pork belly wrapped Asparagus sautéed with a pinch of salt
Negi Chikura with crabstick filling
Sausage and Tomago flower
Apple chunks and edamame

Well, you can never be too old to learn from mistakes and gain new knowledge!


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Hubby Bento #27

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Over the weekend, I bought some freshly made squid mentaiko chinmi during a Kyushu fair in the Japanese supermarket, Isetan. it hosts Japanese food fairs regularly showcasing specialties from different preferture. Isetan is a very well known departmental store brand in Japan and in many parts of the Asia alongside its established counterparts like Takashiyama, Mitsukoshi, OIOI, Tokyu store,  Hankyu, Seibu,etc. I am a big fan of Isetan supermarket! “>x<”

Wikipedia
Chinmi (珍味
) is a Japanese term meaning literally “rare taste”, but more appropriately “delicacy“. They are local cuisines that have fallen out of popularity or those cuisines that are peculiar to a certain area. Many involved pickled seafood. The three best known chinmi of Japan are salt-pickled sea urchin roe (uni), salt-pickled mullet roe (karasumi) and pickled sea cucumber innards. (konowata)

In this bento, there were rice balls mixed with steamed sweet potato (satsuma imo) and minced shiso leaf & myoga, tomago-yaki and shishito peppers wrapped in pork belly grilled with seasalt (shio-yaki)

All the foods prepared were placed in this beautiful megawappa bento box from Yoshinobu Shibata Shoten, Japan.  There is a little writeup about the cedar wood artisan on my previous post Hubby Bento #25 . Do check it out. 😉


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Dad and Son Bentos – Friday Happy Meal 😜

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Its Friday! And I get a weekend break from making 🍱! Yah! So today I made something extra special for them, some Japanese sweets (Dango 🍡 and jelly) to accompany their seafood patties sandwiches. I bet Tz will skip his sandwich and go straight to the sweets….

The seafood patties are made up of :
half a cod fish fillet, half a squid and 4 prawns, all minced.
I mixed in :
half an egg, some potato flour to bind the ingredients (you can use breadcrumbs too), 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce, 3/4 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoon coconut cream, 1 tablespoon of tamarind pulp, some minced coriander and basil leaves, and 2-3 green beans chopped.
And I fried them in some vegetable oil until all sides are golden crispy brown.

I added some crispy fried bacon into the sandwiches too. Tz is mad about bacon.

Have a great weekend ahead! I will catch up on my sleep……😴


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Red Hair Girl Bento

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Red Hair Girl

Today I made a little girl out of mashed potato and instant noodle, Tz’s two favourite foods. For the sides, I have steamed siew mai (meat dumplings), broccoli and a chicken ham flower. Tz asked me who she is and I made up a silly story that this girl is a grown up Ponyo. He believed me….^x^….and told me he would take good care of her. I told him to eat it……..Ò⌈Ó

Red Hair Girl
Face – mashed potato
Eyes & nose – hanpen (surimi) & nori
Mouth – crabstick, hanpen & nori
Hair – instant noodle with tomato ketchup & a little olive oil

Have a great day! 😉


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Eat your lunch!

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Eat your lunch

Sometimes, Tz would come back with his bentos almost untouched…. you can imagine how worried I would be because it meant that he was on an empty stomach for more that half a day after breakfast. Its always mind-boggling to think up what to prepare for him. I believe most parents who prepare their kids’ lunch face the same dilemma. Thats why I always try to put various different types of food in his bento hoping he will at least eat some of them. In this bento, I made spam meat sandwiches and udon-yaki. Cut out some comic characters out of nori to give him a gentle reminder (more like stern reminder) to eat his lunch. Surprisingly, it did work! He finished 80% of the bento. I was so happy! Probably next time, when he is able read simple words, I will leave a note in his bento box to nicely “threaten” him, òó .


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Husband Bento #23 – Chicken Wraps

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Yup! The title of this bento is simply Chicken Wraps (….creative brain juice running low, can’t think of one… haha).

The ingredients are nothing fancy. Just
◊ Grilled chicken thighs marinated overnight with garlic, coriander roots, pepper and fish sauce paste
◊ Sautéed cabbage and carrots with shoyu, sake, sugar and balsamic vinegar
◊ Some fresh herbs
The only thing that is different is the wrap itself. I made korean jeon or pancakes (thinner than usual, like a crepe) to use as wraps. I added small tiny dried ebi or prawns (you can buy from Japanese stores) to the pancakes.

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Accompanying the wraps are some mashed potato with cucumber salsa salad, a jumbo Nira (chives) tomago-yaki, some radish pickles and a chestnut yokan  (Japanese wagashi) as dessert.

Check out the adorable little spoon which I bought from a talented ceramic artisan in Chiangmai. I love how he mixes raw wood with ceramic and cute patterns on it. They are clouds with tiny raindrops…. Awww….. ♥ ♥ ♥….

…Sorry, there is no recipe on this post…. >x< …. I will make it up on my next post. However, if any of you need the recipes, just drop a note to me. Have a great day ahead!


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Hubby Bento #22 – Spice Island Bento

www.ongling.comWe are going off for a little weekend holiday in Thailand tomorrow, thought it would be fitting that I make a spice-themed lunch for my husband’s bento today to set the mood for our little getaway. Its a combination of Indonesian and Thai recipes in this box.

Tumeric Saffron Rice (Indonesian)
Ingredients: 1 cup rice, a pinch of sea salt, 1 clove, 1 cardamom pod, 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or coriander seeds, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1/8 teaspoon turmeric, 1-2 inches pandan leaf.

Cover the rice with normal amount of water needed for the rice cooker. Throw in all the spice ingredients and start the cooker. Discard the pandan leaf and cinnamon stick after the rice is cooked.

Famous Sukhamvit Soi 5 Fried Chicken (Thai)
This is one of my all-time favourite fried chicken recipe from Thailand. Thanks to a wonderful writer, who managed to track down the owner of a small well-known street hawker in Bangkok in 2009 and miraculously got the family recipe! You can read the little story behind this dish and the recipe on http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2009/04/recipe-sukhamvit-soi-five-fried-chicken/38633/

Tahu Telor, Bean curd Omelette (Indonesian)
Ingredients: 1 box or tube of soft egg bean curd (tofu), 3 large eggs – beaten, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1/4 portion of a onion – finely chopped, 1/4 portion of large green capsicum-finely chopped, some coriander or parsley leaves – finely chopped, 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock.

Mix all the ingredients together. I used a deep frying pan to cook so as to achieve a chunky omelette about 2 cm thick. The trick to a crispy egg surface is sufficient hot oil (covering about 1/2 to 1 cm in pan depth), preferably peanut oil which will fry the egg whites in the eggs to a light, fluffy and a crackling texture. Cook with a medium high fire fire and then reduce it to medium-low after 2-3 minutes when the outer skin layer is turning golden in colour. When the middle portion of the omelette is nearly setting, use a second pan to cover the the first pan, tilt it over and use the second pan to complete the cooking process. This is to prevent the golden omelette skin from burning too.  Do not remove the second pan until the omelette is cooked, this will maintain the shape.

The portion of ingredients I give above may be too much for just 1 bento. You can keep the rest for dinner!

Urap Urap Sayur (Javanese, Indonesian)
I have eaten this dish many times whenever I travel to Java, Bali and Sulawesi. I still remember the first time I ate this in Sulawesi, it was on a boat just after diving. I was freezing cold and my dive master gave me a pack of rice with this vegetable inside. It was HEAVEN! Its basically a cooked vegetable dish, mixed with spiced grated coconut like a salad before serving. And different region has their own version of cooking this dish.  I love it with Nasi Campur or Nasi Kuning (Wikipedia: Nasi campur  “mixed rice”, also called nasi rames in Indonesia, refers to a dish of a scoop of nasi putih (white rice) accompanied by small portions of a number of other dishes, which includes meats, vegetables, peanuts, eggs and fried-shrimp krupuk.). I made a big portion of the spice paste and store in the fridge.

Spice Paste ingredients: 4 cloves of garlic, some hot dry chilli flakes or 2 birds’ eye chillies, 2 cm galangal sliced, 50 g palm sugar, 4 fresh kaffir lime leafs (finely shredded), fish sauce to taste

Simply use a pestle and mortar to pound all the ingredients into a smooth paste. You can use a blender too. Add a little oil into a sauce pan and stir fry the paste until its fragrant over low fire, about 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn it.

Other ingredients : Dried grated coconut about 1 to 2 tablespoons, 1 small aubergine or Nasu chopped, 3 – 4 chopped okras.

Stir-fry the aubergine and okras with a little oil and salt until they are cooked and set aside. Toast the grated coconut to light golden brown in the oven. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of the spice paste with the toasted grated coconut and add it to the cooked vegetables.

I had a pleasant surprise today when this bento photo got featured on @FoodPornAsia and #igsg on both Facebook and Instagram. I am honoured and humbled. I would like to thank them for choosing my little photo for their sites.

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