Category Archives: uncategorized

Kindergarten bento – Chicken Balsamico (Wed 10/Oct/18)

This is my original Chicken Balsamico. It’s been highly approved by the family.

Ingredients:

500g chicken thigh (cut into bite size, put salt & pepper in advance), 2 celery storks (sliced), 1 clove of garlic (chopped), 15 – 20 cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 – 2 bay leaves, 1 table spoon of olive oil, dash of white wine, 2 table spoons of balsamic vinegar, 1 table spoon of honey, 100ml water, salt & pepper to taste, and a dash of soy sauce for extra flavoring

Direction:

In the medium sized pan, on medium heat, fry the celery & garlic with olive oil until golden, then add chicken, fry further until golden, and pour in white wine.

Add cherry tomatoes, water and balsamic vinegar & honey, as well as bay leaves, stir, and put the lid on, lower the heat and cook for 10 – 15 minutes or so.

Sprinkle salt & pepper & soy sauce to taste.

That’s it, easy & quick! You can either cook celery leaves together, or sprinkle it over the stew once it’s done.

Kindergarten bento – Colours (Tue 9/Oct/18)

Monday was a public holiday in Japan, and we went to this beautiful and exciting museum called Team Lab / Borderless.

As soon as you step in to the museum, the world of fantasy spreads before your eyes, with the incredible combination of darkness, exuberant lightings and dreamlike hues. Kids start squealing in excitement, and grownups get stunned, marveling the creativity put into it.

Having been inspired, the next morning I wanted to make a colorful bento for my little girl, but I totally forgot about grocery shopping. I didn’t have much in my fridge, and all I could come up with was this unflattering bento. The panda pick was my pathetic effort to give some accent. Maybe that is how the reality goes, and I accept my shortcomings to start a new week.

Kindergarten bento – Sandwiches (Thursday 20/Sep/18)

As requested by my daughter, I made sandwiches for her bento today.

Coming home, she told me that she had diligently followed my instruction by starting off with savory cheese sandwich, moving on to ham & cucumber, then to peanut butter & jam, and finally finishing it off with Nutella.

She also followed my instruction not to tell anyone she had Nutella in her bento, as sweets are not allowed for the bento time at school. I want to show her that sometimes the rules can be broken and live life a little, so she can learn how to be lenient and flexible in otherwise quite a disciplined environment. So every once in a while, I enjoy sharing this small piece of delicious secret with my little cheeky girl.

Kindergarten bento – Sandwiches (19/Apr/18)

My daughter asked for sandwiches for bento, so I made them. It’s easier to get a request like that, I don’t have to think about the menu.

She must’ve liked the sandwiches, looking at her empty bento box after we came home. Even if it is not such a big deal, it still makes me happy and puts a smile on my face. I asked her how her bento was, whether she liked it or not, just to get a reassurance that she really liked it as I had assumed. I wanted to hear it directly from her.

Then she told me she actually wanted to eat tortilla wraps instead.

Kindergarten bento – Last semester (January – March 2018)

For the past three months, I have not uploaded any of my bento pictures as I have had a plan – I have been collecting all of my bento pictures to see how many bentos I make in a semester, and how much variety I could come up with. It’s said to be “A picture is worth a thousand words” – let’s see how many words this will be worth!

From mid January until mid March, I’ve made 37 bentos, different menu everyday. It’s worth 37,000 words, so I don’t have to say much and had better sign off now.

Bento making continues when the new school year starts in April, and it’s the final year for our daughter at her kindergarten.

French New Year holiday 2017-2018

In between our stay at my husband’s mother’s place in the south of the Netherlands, the three of us took a short trip to Paris for our New Year’s holiday to visit our friends & relatives. We took Thalys, the express train service that runs through Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Two and a half hours after we left Aachen, a small German city bordering the Dutch city where my mother-in-law lives, we safely arrived at busy Gare de Nord.

This time we took a nice Airbnb in an area called Wagram, not too far from Champs-Élysées. It was our first time staying at an Airbnb, and in spite of some reservations we had about the apartment, it was a good choice with great location and ample space for the three of us.

On the New Year’s eve, my best friend and her partner invited us to their lovely home for a special dinner. As is always the case in Paris, we started a pre-celebration at 7:00PM and opened a champagne, munching on foie gras and smoked salmon, which seems to be THE things to eat on the New Year’s eve in France.

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Foie gras and smoked salmon, the must haves on the New Year’s eve

For dinner, Chef F made this delicious chicken filet with foie gras sauce. And the mashed potato… mmm I can still taste this creamy, sweet mash only a French person can make…  I’m pretty sure he used generous amount of butter, but maybe it’s better not to find out exactly how much… The sautéed mushroom was nutty and hearty, which was a perfect combination with the chicken and mash. Chef F served the same dish sans the foie gras sauce for their son and our daughter, on a small red kids table. Our daughter absolutely loved it, especially the mash. At the age of five she already knows the divinity of the French cooking.

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Chicken filet with foie gras sauce, with amazingly creamy tasty mashed potato & fried (morel?) mushrooms

By the time we finished the dinner, the four of us finished two bottles of champagne and a magnum red bottle. Embarrassingly enough, I fell asleep before the countdown began. I managed to wake up when they started counting 10, but could hardly open my eyes and collapsed on their cozy sofa hugging their cute little doggy (she was so soft and warm). At 1:00AM we decided to call the night, and we took an Uber home.

On the New Year’s Day, without fail, our daughter jumped on to our bed at 8 o’clock. Dragging ourselves out of bed, we took a hot shower, got dressed and went out. We found out that Centre Pompidou would be open so headed that way. As soon as we got out of the nearest Metro station to the museum, it started pouring, and of course our daughter jumped in to a large puddle. Lucky us… As such we went to a crêperie close by, most likely one of the worst tourist traps you could find in the centre of Paris… We had the crêpe as our early lunch, as we were still quite full from the evening before. Later that evening, Chef F cleverly cooked us some simple pasta to give our stomach some rest.

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Crêpe avec Nutella

On our last evening in Paris, to return the favour to our host, I cooked some Japanese meal with local ingredients. I loved shopping in a local supermarket and get inspired by all the unfamiliar ingredients. I could easily live in Paris and create locally adopted Japanese dishes… well, in my dreams. For the meal this time though, I stuck with the basics and made ginger pork and hamburg steak with Tokyo rice (that’s how my daughter calls the Japanese sticky rice). I realised, if I have soy sauce at hand, I can improvise many Japanese dishes even without (the very important) dashi broth. Of course it wouldn’t be perfect, but close enough. I used white wine where I needed to use Japanese sake, and honey and/or sugar for mirin. The result? Empty plates at the end of the meal.

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Grocery shopping at a local supermarket. Nice trolly for little kids.

Ginger pork, Hamburg steak with my mum's special sauce, Boiled green Moroccan beans, Fried Aubergine, Iceberg Salad, Tokyo Rice

Ginger pork, Hamburg steak with my mum’s special sauce, Boiled green Moroccan beans, Fried Aubergine, Iceberg Salad, Tokyo Rice

Cooking at their kitchen made me feel at ease. All of a sudden Paris became less overpowering, as if something has planted a seed somewhere deep in my mind that one day we could possibly start our life here.

Well, that would certainly be added to my bucket list.