Monthly Archives: March 2017

Kindergarten bento – Colours (17/Mar/17)

Menu: Grilled salmon flakes & boiled komatsuna mixed in rice (with sesame on top), Plain omelet, Steamed pumpkin, Cucumber sticks

Kiwi & banana for dessert

As I was sprinkling sesame on top of the salmon rice as the final touch after packing my daughter’s bento this morning, I had a flashback of the colour matching I was doing last night with my kimono. I was trying to achieve a springy look, struggling to see which colour of string should be added to make it look most fresh, cheerful and elegant. 

Only a tiny bit of difference, but I think they do make different impressions to its viewers. The same principal also goes to bento making in my opinion, especially considering the fact we have many traditional colours derived from food and plants. 

Ha! I have never thought of that!

Kindergarten bento – Cold pasta (15/Mar/17)

Menu: Pasta with cherry tomato, broccoli and soboro (chicken crumble), Boiled snow peas,  Pumpkin & sweet potato mash

Syrawberries for dessert

My daughter requested pasta for bento today. I asked her if she didn’t mind eating it cold (I prepare it warm in the morning of course, but it cools down by the time she eats it around noon). She said it’s ok because it is because of time as opposed to having it cooled deliberately in the fridge. Interesting observation.

* Note: There is no microwave at school.

Kindergarten bento – Japanese Worcester sauce (14/Mar/17)

Menu: Fried aji (horse mackerel) with Japanese Worcester sauce, Tomato & komatsuna omelet, Boiled broccoli, Goma-konbu, Rice

Apple mousse & banana for dessert

Leftover fried aji from last night’s dinner. 

I’m sure my daughter will eat the fried fish especially because it’s served with this tasty, irresistible Japanese Worcester sauce. The sauce is often used for deep fried fish and cutlets made with egg & bread crumbs (such as croquette and tonkatsu), and probably as popular in Japan as tomato ketchup if not more. It is much sweeter and starchy than the authentic Worcester sauce.

The one I have at home is from the most well known brand called “Bull-Dog,” and this product in particular has 50% less salt than the regular one. Maybe it’s just one of those marketing tricks, using more sugar or something alike instead of salt, as it tastes exactly the same… Well, let’s just believe it’s slightly healthier than the regular one, shall we?

Kindergarten bento – Wakame rice (13/Mar/17)

Menu: Wakame rice (with jako fish & sesame), Stewed veggies & chicken, Boiled broccoli, Boiled egg, Cherry tomato

Apple & banana for dessert

Wakame is one of many different  seaweeds we eat in Japan, and one of most popular ones. The wakame  I used today comes in a package dried and seasoned with salt, so all you need to do is to quickly mix a sprinkle of it into freshly cooked rice. I added jako fish and sesame for extra taste, nutrition and colour. 

This is the one I used

Kindergarten bento – Graduation (9/Mar/17)

Menu: Salmon flakes & scrambled egg on rice, Hijiki, Boiled green beans & broad beans

Strawberries & apple mousse for dessert

This is the bento from yesterday. Today no bento is required at my daughter’s kindergarten, because they are celebrating the graduation of the oldest kids with the onigiri & soup lunch to be prepared by the younger kids. How lovely is that!

(In Japan, the school year starts in April and ends in March. March is the month of graduation, so everyone is in the celebration mode)

Kindergarten bento – Macaroni with broccoli & chicken (8/Mar/17)

Menu: Macaroni with broccoli & chicken, Plain omelet, Cherry tomato, Boiled broad beans

Strawberries & banana for dessert

Cooking pasta is actually quicker than preparing Japanese style bento. 

While boiling the macaroni, in a cooking pan with extra virgin olive oil, I cooked diced chicken, broccoli (steamed ones, leftover from the previous day) and chopped celery. After a while I added some boiling pasta water to cook further without drying the ingredients. Just a minute before the pasta is ready, added salt and pepper to taste, poured the cooked pasta into the pan and tossed them all together. At the end, sprinkled grated parmiggiano for extra flavour. All of these steps took only 15 minutes. 

Viva pasta! Buonappetito! 

Kindergarten bento – Miss Picky (6/Mar/17)

Menu: Grilled chicken marinated in soysauce & honey, Spinach goma-ae, Goma-konbu, Tofu omelet, Cherry tomato, Rice

No dessert due to time constraint😓

As is always the case, I got distracted by my daughter while preparing her bento this morning and burnt the chicken. I cut off the burnt parts as much as possible, and above is the result (not too bad I thought).

Once my daughter came home, I opened her bento box for washing, and found the empty box except for the uneaten chicken dices (all of them). I asked her why she didn’t eat them, and she told me she didn’t want to because they tasted yucky.

I cannot force her to eat what she doesn’t like, but thought she was being a little too picky. I hope she won’t exploit this attitude on food. Well, I guess I will need to try not to burn anything for a while. 

Kindergarten bento – Gucha gucha (3/Mar/17)

Some days, you just cannot make it right. Today seems to be one of those days. With salmon flakes, coleslaw salad, and mashed sweet potato & apple mousse for dessert,  the bento looks rather “gucha gucha,” which is a Japanese onomatopoeia for messy.

Menu: Grilled salmon flakes on top of wakana rice, Coleslaw salad, Boiled egg, Cherry tomatoes 

Apple mousse & mashed sweet potato for dessert

Kindergarten bento – Fishmonger (1/Mar/17)

Menu: Grilled Madai fish marinated in moromi miso, Nikujaga (stewed pork, potato & carrot), Nira (Chinese chives) omelet, Cucumber & tomato salad

Kiwi & banana for dessert

Today’s fish is bought from the fishmonger who comes to our apartment building in a small pickup truck with a customised glass fridge and a plastic roof on top. This used to be common, but these days we rarely come across this type of ‘moving shops’ any longer.

He is a friendly elderly man in his mid 70’s, always does a great sales pitch with his thick Tohoku (North-Eastern Japan) accent. He’s been coming to us for the past six months or so, and he now even calls me on my mobile phone to announce his arrival at our front lobby on every Wednesday morning. His fish are always fresh, reasonable and tasty. But most of all, his charming character makes this whole experience special, reminding me of good old days Japan where things were more personal.

I greatly appreciate his presence in our neighborhood. He, together with his fish truck, adds a bit more reality in the otherwise quite inorganic cold concrete jungle. I hope this will continue. I hope he will keep coming back and let us continue to have this amazing traditional social interaction in our everyday life.