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.
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
I overslept this morning. In such a panicky morning, frozen chicken soboro, sautéed minced chicken, comes in handy.
While Soboro is being defrosted (just in room temperature), quickly make scrambled egg and boil green beans. Once the beans are boiled thinly slice them, place them along with Soboro and egg carefully on top of freshly cooked rice. Voila, it’s done!
Steamed mashed pumpkin also came from my dear freezer.
Menu: Chicken Soboro bento, Steamed mashed pumpkin, Cucumber sticks, Cherry tomato
Tangerine Mikan for dessert
For the past weekend, we went for a short trip out of Tokyo. We came back to our apartment on Sunday evening, resulting in the usual problem of not having enough food in the fridge for our daughter’s bento the next day.
In such circumstances, frozen stock comes in handy. This morning I defrosted bolognese sauce I made the other day and mixed it with macaroni. I put a lot of veggies (e.g. onion, carrot, celery, garlic) in the sauce, so it’s quite nutritious (actually I put them in the blender so that they almost get pasty, and that gives an amazing flavour to the sauce). I had a leftover cucumber and egg in the fridge, so I whipped this up:
The frozen star-shaped steamed carrots made with cookie cutters are also quite handy. I always make them in bulk with my Le Creuset Steamer and store them in the freezer. It’s really a lifesaver on a day like this!
Menu: Macaroni bolognese (steamed carrot slices on top), Cucumber sticks, Boiled egg
Japanese Nashi for dessert (also leftover in the fridge)
Menu: Chicken soboro (frozen) & sliced green beans (leftover) donburi with flower-shaped carrot (frozen), Corn (leftover) omelet, Daikon & cucumber salad (leftover)
Apple mousse (frozen) & mashed sweet potato (frozen) with raisins for dessert
Menu: Wakana rice with jako fish, Mashed pumpkin with soboro, Cherry tomato, Steamed broccoli & cabbage
Strawberries & banana for dessert
Feeling super lazy this morning, I didn’t cook anything except for the rice (which was actually done by the rice cooker). Everything else was either leftover or stock from the freezer, all of which I just whipped up and packed in the bento box.
My daughter said she liked the bento – well, that’s what is the most important, not the effort put in😉