Last night before going to bed, I realised there was no rice left in my pantry. I totally forgot to replenish the stock, which is an absolute shock in a normal Japanese household (thankfully it is not that hardcore at our place). Anyway, I had to think quickly to come up with an alternative. Since there was some cooked rice kept in the freezer, I decided to whip up fried rice in the morning. (Just so you know, rice defrosted in microwave is not ideal for packed lunches, becauae it gets too dry and hard as it cools down. It may work if you steam it once again before packing, but I can’t imagine doing it in my busy morning!)
Menu: Fried rice (with egg, spring onion & dried ‘jako‘ baby sardine), Pumpkin with chicken soboro, Cucumber & cherry tomato salad, Boiled green beans
Kiwi & Nashi pear for dessert
Niku-don for bento, prepared according to my mum’s recipe. It’s one of my favorite dishes from my dear mother, and I believe so as my daughter’s. In the morning I packed the bento with care and love, picturing my daughter’s big smile as she opens the lid at school lunch time…
And of course I get pulled back to reality from such dream-like moment, as my daughter drops her backpack with the bento in it on our entrance floor (stone) while she clumsily buttons up her uniform jacket… And again on the way to our bike downstairs as she stumbles on a small stone in the bike shed… Just to top it off, she drops her backpack one more time on the concrete ground while she climbs up onto her bike seat, reaching out to me to put it into the front basket…
Probably her face wasn’t smiling when she opened the bento today at school, but at least it looked like this before the backpack debacle.
Menu: Mum’s nikudon, Steamed pumpkin, Boiled green beans, Cherry tomato
Japanese Nashi pear for dessert
Incidentally when I finished packing my daughter’s bento this morning, I realised that the colours of autumn was everywhere. Tangerine, mustard, forest green, burgundy…
Usually, I would have put a bit more green to make it brighter (afterall this is for a small child), but thought that I would keep it as it was, hoping she would get my intension to teach her the subtle expression of a changing season.
Menu: Macaroni Amatriciana with broccoli, Boiled egg, Mashed pumpkin & cucumber salad
Japanese “Mikan” orange & Kyoho grapes for dessert
Grilled fish in saikyo-miso (Kyoto-style sweetened miso) marinade.
Due to the marinade containing sugar, I always end up burning a fillet of fish in the morning, and today was no exception. I try to put the heat of the fish grill to minimum, but if I place my mind elsewhere for just a quick moment, it just always gets burnt. I scraped off the burnt skin off of the fillet and packed it in the bento box. My daughter, used to this ordeal by now, emptied her bento without complaint.
Menu: Grilled “Sawara” Spanish mackerel in saikyo-miso marinade, Boiled green beans, Potato salad, Rice with black sesame sprinkle
Apple bunnies for dessert
Menu: Simmered sword fish, Omelet, Boiled okra, Cherry tomato, Chopped boiled spinach mixed in rice
Kyoho grapes for dessert
I love the simmered sword fish my mum used to make (actually, I believe she still does, but haven’t come across it for a very long time). I remember my mum pouring the sauce over the fish in the pan on the stove so that the sauce gets covered evenly, and taking out the fish carefully onto a plate once done. Now I kind of copy her method when I cook this, which I was never been properly taught, but it always turns out pretty much the same. It’s not a complex dish, but it always makes me happy when it does.
Omuraisu is a Japanese name for Omelet & Rice. The ingredients are still scarce in my fridge, so this is my ultimate effort to come up with something that is both ethtetically and nutritiously satisfying.
Menu: Omuraisu, Steamed broccoli, Cucumber & cherry tomato salad
Kiwi fruits for dessert
As a sign of changing season, I see many Japanese “Nashi” pears, in addition to Kyoho grapes, displayed in grocery stores in my neighborhood. Compared to what you find in the West, Japanese pears are rounder (sphere) and juicier (maybe comparable to that of watermelon). Again we generally pear the skin off, as it kind of disturbs the taste of the flesh in my opinion. I know, I may be taking its precious vitamins off, but what can I say, that’s how I’ve always eaten my Nashi… (FYI, in Japan we incline to peal off skins off most of the fruits. Must be something to do with… fertilizer?)
Menu: Grilled salmon, Edamame mixed in rice (with sesame sprinkle), Mashed pumpkin & egg salad, Steamed broccoli, Cherry tomato
Japanese “Nashi” pear for dessert