Little thrills, little trips, little ideas


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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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Fig and Chestnut Tarts [イチジクと栗のタルト]

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Yesterday I baked some tarts with leftover chestnuts and canned figs for desserts. I tried googling for recipes combining these 2 fruits and I could only find one. Therefore, I decided to combine various tart recipes together and came up with this. I did not want to waste too much time making these tarts and it took me only about an hour from preparation to baking. I used the fig and chestnut tarts with jam filling recipe from http://www.thelovebite.com but changed the filling to mascarpone and ricotta cheeses. The outcome is a nice biscuity tart crust with a soft, light, fruity centre and a nutty chestnut flavour inside ლ(´ڡ`ლ) 

Makes about 12 muffin size tarts (Use a muffin tray)

Ingredients for the tart crust
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
2oz / 60g shortening
grated zest 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 egg
a pinch of salt

Ingredients for the filling
6-8 roasted chestnuts (breaks into small chunks)
4-5 Fresh figs or canned figs

150 grams ricotta cheese (room temperature)
200 grams mascarpone cheese (room temperature)
80gm castor sugar
70gm-80gm honey
1-2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
(You may have some leftover liquid filling. Keep it for a day or 2 for another tart!)

Pre-heat your oven to 375f or 190c

Place the tart crust dry ingredients except for buttermilk and egg into a food processor and pulse to fine crumbs. Then add in the buttermilk and egg and pulse, a dough will be formed. Add 1 teaspoon of water if its too dry for the dough to form. Roll the dough into a log 12 inches in a cling wrap and slice into 12 pieces. Hand roll each piece into a ball and press into a nicely greased muffin tray, gently press the pastry to spread evenly out to the sides of the muffin cups. Once done, put the tray into the refrigerator while you work on the filling.

Break the chestnuts into small chunks (not too small, you want to be able to have some crunchiness in the filling.) and slice the figs. Combine mascarpone, ricotta, sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon powder, eggs, egg yolk and flour in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Take out the muffin tray from the refigerator. Distribute the chestnut chunks evenly among the muffin cups before spooning the cheeses mix into the tart shell. Arrange sliced figs  on top to finish off. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until filling is set but still slightly wobbly in the centre and golden. The crust should have a nice crunchy yet soft base. If you like chestnut flavour, add more in the muffin cup.

We drizzled some spiced blueberry cherry port sauce on the tarts which I made a week ago and it was very good together.

Try it yourself!