Tag Archives: hamburg steak

Kindergarten bento – Where happiness lies (16/Apr/18)

What makes me happy about making bento is making my daughter happy. This morning she came up to the kitchen counter, stretched herself up and looked over at what was prepared for her for the day, and said “Wow!” with a huge smile on her face in the most genuine manner.

This – is worth more than anything.

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.

Kindergarten bento – Hamburg steak again (6/Nov/17)

I felt lazy in the morning and just defrosted the hamburg steak I made the other day. I usually eat the same thing for lunch at home as my daughter to see how it tastes like. It worked just fine.

Menu: Hamburg steak (defrosted), Spinach omelet, Boiled green beans, Rice with furikake sprinkle, Steamed carrot

Apple bunnies & kiwi fruit for dessert

Kindergarten bento – Tofu hamburg steak (17/Jun/16)

Menu: Tofu hamburg steak, potato/carrot/cucumber egg salad, broccoli and furikake on rice

Apple wedges for dessert 
Today’s main is tofu hamburg steak. Hamburg steak is a Western influenced Japanese dish which is one of the most popular dishes for children. It is based on tartar steak often eaten in a German city of Hamburg (apparently), and the mane is obviously derived from it. It is like meatloaf made of minced beef/pork (or mixed) but pan-fried instead of baked in the oven, and usually comes in oval shape. 

I made this dish the evening before for our dinner. I used the mixed beef & pork mince, put a bit of leftover tofu in the pâté for more volume and lower calories, along with chopped onion (fried until golden), beaten raw egg (to hold all the ingredients together) and salt & pepper to taste. You can’t really taste the tofu because the flavour of the meat is much stronger, but you can definitely feel it in its texture that is much lighter and airy. 

For the sauce, in the same pan as the steak, I poured in a table spoon of soysauce and maple syrup, and a bit of water (otherwise it’d become pasty) and bring to boil and thicken a bit. I’d put some herb next time, maybe chopped parsley.