Tag Archives: apple mousse

Kindergarten bento – Post holiday (Thursday, 14/Jun/18)

For the first two weeks in June, we took our daughter off from school in order for her to spend time with the Dutch side of her family who were visiting Japan for three weeks. During the break we took a trip to Okinawa, the prefecture comprised of a group of islands in the south west of Japan, which is surrounded by the breathtakingly beautiful East China Sea.

Okinawa was like a paradise to me, not only because of its emerald green beaches and the unique culture reminiscent of Ryukyu Kingdom, but also, frankly and simply, because of the absence of daily chores such as cleaning and cooking.

Our daughter went back to school the day after we came back from our glorious getaway, and so followed my inevitable daily bento making. After being away I needed to be wise for the bento preparation, making the most of the limited ingredients. I used the frozen basil & spinach pesto sauce with macaroni pasta, and for dessert frozen apple mousse & mashed sweet potato combo with raisins, all of which are usually stocked up in my fridge. The rest of them were bought in a convenience store in the neighborhood upon our arrival back to Tokyo.

Kindergarten bento – How many ingredients comparison (29/May, 30/May, 31/May, 1/Jun,4/Jun, 5/Jun)

29/May – 11 ingredients

Simmered cod, rice, edamame, egg with corns, spinach in sesame sauce, cucumber, carrot, apple, banana

30/May – 11 ingredients

Fried chicken (with corn flower), green beans, broccoli, cherry tomato, goma konbu (sesame & kelp), rice, furikake sprinkle (counted as one), apple, strawberry

31/May – 12 ingredients

Bread (count as one), ham, cucumber, scrambled egg, cheese, Dutch appelstroop, peanut butter, blueberry jam, green beans, apple mousse, mashed potato, cinnamon

1/Jun – 10 ingredients

Chicken soboro, chopped komstsuna, rice, sesame, tomato omelet, broccoli, cucumber with bonito flakes, watermelon

4/Jun – 11 ingredients

Nikudon (pork slices, sliced cabbage, rice), broccoli, cherry tomato, tofu omelet (tofu, egg, ao-nori (seaweed) powder), cherry tomato, apple, banana

5/Jun – 11 ingredients

Tortillas (counted as one), ham, cucumber, cheese, Dutch appelstroop, strawberry jam, banana with Nutella (secret, as it’s not allowed at her school), boiled egg, broccoli, watermelon

Wow, I am quite consistent, with mostly 11 ingredients used every day.

Kindergarten bento – Yakitori-don guilt (2/May18)

Is it only me, or maybe anyone who grew up in the same/similar culture as mine, who feel a slight sense of guilt for cooking something too quick and easy? As a good cook in the Japanese society, you are supposed to (or trained to) devote a great deal of time in the kitchen, to make elaborate dishes. In fact, when we visit my parents’ place, my mum hardly ever sits down with us. She spends most of her time cooking in her kitchen, focusing on serving freshly made dishes one after the other, right from the stove. And she does it with great pleasure. She is very proud of it.

I know this is quite the reverse of the modern thinking, and I’m not saying at all that this is how things should be. I hate it, to be forced into the framework of becoming a stereotypical ideal woman, and try hard to push the pressure away always. But on the other hand, this sense of guilt always comes with it. No matter how much I am exposed to the feminism movement, I just cannot change the way I instinctively feel. It is ingrained in my bones, having grown up in the society with high expectations for girls to become a good mum/wife/woman. The society expects it, and your fellow female peers expect it to a certain extent, still in the 21st century.

Well, it takes about three minutes to make this yakitori-don if you already have your rice ready. I bought pre-cut chicken thigh (guilt), don’t even have to marinate it (another guilt), stir-fry it and quickly season at the end. Voila, it’s done (within three minutes). I just boiled egg rather than make omelet (guilt), packed it with unseasoned vegetables (guilt). On top of this, I packed frozen apple mousse and mashed sweet potato from the freezer for dessert (see, I am now officially guilty).

Recipe for the three minute Yakitori donburi:

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • Diced chicken thigh (100g)
  • 1 table spoon of Japanese sake (or white wine)
  • 3/4 table spoon of soy sauce
  • 1 table spoon of mirin (if you don’t have mirin, just a sprinkle of sugar instead, with a bit more sake)

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized frying pan on medium heat, quickly stir-fry the chicken thigh. No oil needed
  2. Once the chicken becomes golden, add the sake until it starts evaporating
  3. Add the soy sauce & mirin and cook it until the sauce thickens – this takes about a minute or so, depending on the heat
  4. Serve it on top of freshly cooked rice with sliced nori seaweed

 

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/smalltokyokitchen/

Kindergarten bento – Toshi-No-Se (15, 18, 19, 20, 22/Dec/17)

In Japan, it is said that “toshi-no-se,” the year-end, is bound to be busy, as everyone starts acting somehow anxious to finish off things prior to the fresh start of the new year. As mentioned before, the new year is a big deal in this country, and we do everything to make sure the new year to be quiet and special. 

This year was no exception for me also, and I was running around like a headless chicken without any time to stop and take a big breath… until we left for our Christmas holidays in the Netherlands to visit my husband’s family. Hesitantly we dropped unfinished errands, hurriedly packed our suitcases, left beautiful & sunny Tokyo, and arrived in the equally beautiful, but quite dark Netherlands yesterday. It is Christmas Eve here in the Netherlands, and things already seemed to have slowed down, and people are starting to relax for the festivity to begin. The sense of rush I was feeling in Japan is nowhere to be seen here. It’s an interesting realisation what a huge difference there is depending on which culture you’re in.

Looking back at the bento photos I didn’t have a chance to upload before our departure, I can vaguely remember how I managed all these bento making during my busy schedule. It’ll resume in the new year, but for now I’m relieved that I won’t have to do it for the next two weeks.

Happy Holidays!

15/Dec/17 – Grilled cod in saikyo-miso

18/Dec/17 – Simmered sword fish

19/Dec/17 – Nikudon-don

20/Dec/17 – Macaroni genovese 

22/Dec/17 – Chicken soboro 

Kindergarten bento – Another busy week (7-10/Nov/17)

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot more translation assignments. It’s a client driven business, so it’s highly due date sensitive. Because of that, I couldn’t post any of the bento pics last week, working my head off to meet the deadline.

I work freelance from home, primarily because I want to be flexible enough to have ample time with my daughter. She’s the only child, and I don’t want to miss a thing and don’t want to regret at a later stage of my life that I should’ve spent more time with her when it’s too late.

Having said that, I also think having a career is very important for one’s life. It is a great part of who you are, and gives you confidence as well as an independent mindset. Doing freelance was the choice I made, so that I can manage to have both.

The downside is I don’t get paid so well. The rate of freelance translation projects is not something you can brag about. But I take pride in doing this job. I hope one day my little girl will look back at this period of her life and remember her happy time she spent with her mummy, who always gazes at her computer, typing and mumbling something weird.

Tuesday 7/Nov – Bi-color bento with grilled salmon flake & scrambled egg

Wednesday 8/Nov – Onigiri for 2 (the school closed before lunch and it was raining outside, so we had a indoor picnic on the living room floor at our apartment)

Thursday 9/Nov – “Omuraisu” Omelet rice bento

Friday 10/Nov – Grilled Spanish mackerel bento

Kindergarten bento – How to cool a bento in summer (10/Jul/17)

The annual heat wave has arrived in Tokyo, with the humidity of what it feels like 120%. Under this condition without any fridge at my daughter’s school, I must take ‘cooling’ her bento into consideration. I usually put the bento box in a plastic bag, along with two ice patches from the freezer. You get these ice patches from any grocery stores in Japan, since the heat is just overbearing for fresh ingredients.Some kids have a more effective thermos bento box or a bento bag with ice patch embedded. My solution is rather primitive, but it seems to be working just fine so far.

Menu: Chicken meatballs, Shredded vegetable salad, Boiled green beans, Rice with goma-shio sprinkles

Apple mousse & mashed sweet potato combo with raisins for dessert

Kindergarten bento – Exploded boiled egg (19/Jan/17)

Menu: Boiled egg (exploded and hence deformed while being boiled), Grilled salmon & boiled chopped spinach mixed in rice, Steamed broccoli, Steamed sweet potato mixed with chicken soboro crumble with dash of olive oil

My daughter’s favorite apple mousse for dessert