Menu: Grilled snapper in moromi-miso (bought from the street fishmonger), Spinach Omelet, Boiled green beans, Cherry tomato
Tangerine mikan for dessert
I hardly pack sandwiches for my daughter’s lunch. I have a reason for it; I’m afraid of overfeeding bread for our girl. Having a Dutchman in our household, we have bread for breakfast, almost everyday. We eat thin slices of bread and/or buns, with accompaniments such as cheese (preferably Gouda), ham, jam, unsweetened peanut butter, and this heavenly chocolate sprinkles called “Hagelslag” that the most of Dutch people love. If I have time I’d serve fruits and yogurt, but my husband is happy as long as there is bread on our breakfast table.
Anyway, as a very rare occasion I ended up buying sandwich slices at a bakery nearby yesterday, since all the other bread was sold out (anyone from Central Tokyo, you may want to check out this tiny but beautiful bakery called Panetteria Kawamura). And this made me think of making sandwiches for lunch for a change. I thought it would be easy and quick, and I could even save some time in the morning.
The part of making sandwiches was easy, how can it not be, but the real problem was with packing. I cut the sandwiches into quarters so that it would be small enough for my little girl to hold it with one hand and is also visually appealing. But the sandwiches kept falling apart when I tried to pack them while attempting to hold them up vertically. I’ve seen it many times in various bakeries where they are packed nicely and standing straight in a plastic sandwich box. I didn’t realise how hard it was to pack bread in a neat manner. There must be a trick for it, but I couldn’t figure it out today.
As a result, instead of saving time, I totally ran behind schedule and had to rush like a headless chicken to get ready to walk my daughter to school.
Japanese Nashi pear for dessert
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