Monday morning after a busy, eventful weekend.
There’s nothing else more useful than the frozen “torisoboro“, the chicken crumble, to prepare a quick bento for your little one.
For recipe, click here.
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
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)
Once I packed all the food I had planned to put in my daughter’s bento in the morning, it looked like this (ignore the white circles, that’ll come later).
It made me feel something was still missing, it wasn’t lively enough for a little girl’s lunch box. Usually I put a cherry tomato, but I ran out of it in my fridge. Instead I added two slices of steamed carrot cut out in flower shape (from the freezer), and two cucumber sticks. Look at what a big difference it makes by just adding two colours in the bento box.
If you make bento daily, I highly recommend to stock up this steamed carrot in your freezer. It becomes very handy for an emergency situation like this morning. I use Le Creuset steamer and use cookie cutters to cut out in different shapes.
Menu: Grilled Medai fish, Tofu omelet, Steamed pumpkin, Steamed cabbage mixed with sesame furikake, Steamed carrot, Cucumber sticks, Rice with nori seaweed
Apple for dessert
For almost 10 years, I used a regular cooking pot and a stainless steel strainer for steaming. Our kitchen is small with limited storage space, so I avoided buying any additional cooking equipment with material dimensions (growing up, my mum used to use this gigantic three layered steamer made in aluminum, which I definitely didn’t want in my kitchen).
But a few month ago, I finally decided to buy a steamer that is small enough to fit in our tiny kitchen as well as visually appealing. This steamer from Le Creuset was a perfect choice for us. It can be fitted to my existing Le Creuset Cocotte Ronde (a great wedding gift by my dear friends eight years back), and tucked away nicely in the same manner. As simple as steaming can be, it basically works the same way as my DIY steamer mentioned earlier, but much faster with presumably stronger air pressure due to the better heat circulation in the pot, which can be seen in the amount of steam escaping the lid. Because of this, the differences in the outcome are quite significant; the cooked food results in much richer in taste, nutrition, and colour. It also makes me happier to get to use my Le Creuset more often. Who doesn’t enjoy having this beautiful French pot on your stove while cooking?
Le Creuset Steamer
Coupled with Le Creuset Cocotte Ronde (mine is 22cm)
Large enough to steam a few different veggies at the same time
Set it up like this