Little thrills, little trips, little ideas


Totoro Lost Weight!
This morning, I found out I did not replenish the rice, only left with a small cup. I promised Tz I will make him a totoro bento today and I did… a slimmer totoro. >O< hee hee…

In this bento,
Body – sushi rice mixed with shoyu
Tummy – hanpen cut-out with a circular cookie cutter and nori for “arrow” stripes
Foot – hanpen cut-out with a small circular cookie cutter and sesame seeds for toes
Eyes – hanpen cut-out with a small circular cookie cutter and nori
nose, mouth & whiskers – nori
Umbrella – Japanese cucumber cut-out

Steamed sausages & Broccoli
Beansprouts wrapped in bacon grilled



Up Up Up We Go! Bento
Did I mention in my last post I cannot wait for Tz’s holidays to start? Well, this bento may clearly describe my current state of mind. I NEED A HOLIDAY! Where to? Anywhere on the map! (=^x^=)

Still got 3 more days to go… so I got motivated to get up earlier than usual to make Tz’s bento. Today on the menu are

Box 1 Hotair balloon – See the description on the last image on this post

Box 2
My mom’s Stewed Pork Belly (Sorry… no recipe yet for this)
Potato Slices cooked in Duck Fat
I know its not exactly healthy but once in a while its ok… they are very tasty! Lightly salt the potato slices and cook in duck fat til light golden brown. Use paper napkin to soak off the excess oil.
Steamed broccoli

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www.ongling.comTz’s summer holidays are coming soon! Cant wait to take a break from making his bentos with my eyes half-open everyday in the wee hours of the morning. (=∩x∩=)

Today, I used left-over kyuri (Japanese cucumber) to shape out little cactus characters. The kyuri is halved and partially hollowed out to fill in a piece of hanpen (Japanese fish cake). I cut out holes for the faces before fitting in the hanpen and used nori for eyes and mouth.

Edamame & Hotate Rice 
Cook 1 cup rice in the rice cooker with light vegetable broth instead of water, add in a few pieces of dried scallops and before 8-10 minutes before the cooking cycle completes, add in edamame.

Pork yakitori 
This is asian style yakitori, I made a quick spice paste with 2-3 garlic cloves, pepper, 2-3 coriander roots, sprinkle of brown sugar and sake using a pestle and motar. I used the paste to marinate the pork belly cubes overnight. Before grilling them, I added some fish sauce, mirin and sea salt to the meat. I grilled them til golden brown and used a pair of scissors to remove any charred bits.

Tomago yaki
Mix 1 egg, some vegetable stock, miring and cook over very low heat.


Smoking is Bad for you, Professor Inkling!
Tz is in for a treat today as he has Professor Inkling as a lunch buddy! “OCTONAUTS …..TO THE OCTOPOD AT ONCE!” ≈ÒuÓ≈

Professor Inkling Bento
Pasta cooked in chicken broth
Professor Inkling – Hanpen as base, Ham for head and tentacles, Cheese and carrots for neck bow tie and nose, nori and hanpen for eyes & pipe.
Sauteed pork belly in anchovies sauce
Steamed carrot flower and broccoli.


Quick 20-mins couscous bento This is a quick lunch I made for Tz this morning. Tz loves couscous so I always have in stock packs of 100g instant couscous. I just add hot boiling water and oil and cover it for 5 mins and Voilà….its done!

The whale shark is shaped out of left-over mashed potato from last night dinner. I added some aqua colouring and moulded the 2 color-tones cutie with a cellophane wrap. Its like shaping with Play Doh… was tempted to use Tz’s Play Doh mould sets to create his lunch…>¸<

Konnichiwa Whale Shark Bento (20 mins preparation):

Instant couscous – lemon garlic flavour from Waitrose

Whale shark – mashed potato with butter and salt, colouring, cheese and nori

Japanese cucumber


Temari Buddies

www.ongling.comThese temari rice balls are quite easy to make. These sushi balls were inspired by very pretty temari thread balls, The way to make temari sushi is pretty similar to how I usually mould the rice in cellophane wrap except that the ingredients for patterns are being wrapped at the same time with the rice to create the “stick on” effect. I picked simple designs for my first time making these cute balls. I made them into petit canapé sizes. Will definitely try to create more complicated ones soon. Maybe I could try making these with chicken rice, Tz’s favourite, just like the traditional Hainanese chicken rice balls but fancier. ⊂(≥ω≤)⊃

Temari sushi #1 – rice sushi with salmon filling, potato slice for face, edamame for ears, nori and carrot for eyes and mouth

Temari sushi #2 – plain rice sushi coated with seaweed, carrot and nori for eyes and hair, cheese for mouth

Teriyaki chicken and carrots, Edemame kebabs, star shaped baked harsh browns, ham and Japanese cucumber.

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Cutest Thai Royal Dessert – Luuk Chup

imageThis one of my favourite desserts for many years. One of the cutest things I have ever seen too besides the beautiful Japanese wagashi. They are called Kanom Luuk Chup (thumb size fruit shaped mung beans) dessert from Thailand. I was lucky to have bought some during my short trip last week to Bangkok. This delicacy originated in the royal palaces of ancient Siam.  Each of them would be skillfully moulded into interesting vegetables and tropical fruits of Asia. It was important that food prepared for the royals tasted good and looked exquisite. It was given as gift to me from a Thai friend more than 10 years ago. By that time, Luuk Chup had reached beyond the walls of the royal palace to the markets of Siam.

They are made with mashed mung beans (the sweetness is well balanced with a hint of saltiness) coated with sugared agar or gelatine.

You can find them now in major supermarkets such as Paragon Bangkok and but one of the best i have tasted in Bangkok is from a stall in Or Tor Kor Market (one of the best market in Thailand)

I am going to savour them with some nice jasmine lychee green tea in the afternoon.


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Cheeky Crabby Claws Bento

imageThis was a fun bento I did a while back for Tz when I started experimenting with inari tofu pouch. I have used it in another bento as a dress and cape, see

I was looking around in the supermarket for ideas to make the claws for the “crab” and found capsicum to be most suitable to cut out the shapes of all the claws and the orange ones are sweet.

Crab body and face – Inari tofu skin with mash potato, corn and minced prawns filling; grapes cut in half and nori for eyes

Crab claws – orange capsicum

Pasta – shell pasta in agio olio sauce with edamame and sesame seeds.




The Noodle Horse

imageYesterday, Tz began his once-per-week horse riding class in school. There is a horse riding academy just next to his school.  I am so excited for him because he has always been a little apprehensive about horses galloping around his school. I hope these classes will help him to overcome his fears.

So I made this bento for him for his lunch in the riding academy to soothe his nerves. Well, he did finish all the noodles, but left the horse untouched “¯∩¯”  and he stayed away from the horse during the lesson. Oh well, he has 3 more lessons to go, hopefully by the next class, he will mount on the pony at least.

Stirred Fried Egg Noodle – bacon, corn and carrots with shoyu and korean anchovy sauce

Horse – I selected an oval shape small MayQueen potato and used the fruit peeler to carve the shape of the head before steaming it. I used light and dark shoyu to shade the norse area. Nori for eyes and straps and cheese for the forehead.image