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
Last night I realised there was a pack of frozen sword fish filets in the freezer that I stored a couple of weeks ago. I decided to use it for my daughter’s bento in the morning, so I moved it to the fridge drawer so that it’ll get defrosted overnight.
In the morning I simmered the filets in the leftover noodle dip sauce (I added sugar to thicken it).
My freezer is getting empty. I’d better drag my husband out to visit a supermarket in the weekend!
Menu: Simmered sword fish, Simmered pumpkin, Spinach omelet, Steamed broccoli, Steamed carrot, Rice
Apple mousse & raisins with a sprinkle of cinnamon for dessert
Earlier last week I strained my back, possibly due to overstretching at yoga class, or just overworking on my translation assignment in the same sitting position for hours. It’s been haunting me for the past week. Does anyone here have good tips on how to get rid of the pain in your back?
With or without pain, bento making continues. I generally enjoy cooking bento for my daughter, but at times, especially now with the sharp pain in my back, I wish there was an alternative. I wonder if they (her school) judge me if I just put store bought bento in her backpack… In Japan we have unspoken rules everywhere, and where homemade bento is required such as at her kindergarten, it just has to be homemade bento no matter how simple it is. Also, I’m so used to making bento with different ingredients and colours I don’t know how to make them simpler and not let my daughter down too much at the same time.
Ah, the joy of bento making!
16/Nov/17 – Onigiri
17/Nov/17 – Stirfried-tofu (my daughter ate only 1/3 of it, saying she didn’t care for it much. What a disappointment!)
20/Nov/17 – Sword fish & lotus roots
21/Nov/17 – Penne amatriciana
24/Nov/17 – Chicken soboro & scrambles egg
28/Nov/17 – Sausage
Menu: Simmered sword fish, Broccoli Omelet, Boiled green beans, Cucumber sticks, Steamed carrot, Rice
Tangerine mikan for dessert
Menu: Simmered sword fish, Omelet, Boiled okra, Cherry tomato, Chopped boiled spinach mixed in rice
Kyoho grapes for dessert
I love the simmered sword fish my mum used to make (actually, I believe she still does, but haven’t come across it for a very long time). I remember my mum pouring the sauce over the fish in the pan on the stove so that the sauce gets covered evenly, and taking out the fish carefully onto a plate once done. Now I kind of copy her method when I cook this, which I was never been properly taught, but it always turns out pretty much the same. It’s not a complex dish, but it always makes me happy when it does.
Menu: Simmered sword fish, Steamed pumpkin, Steamed cabbage & daikon slices, Cucumber sticks, Rice
Grapes for dessert
I cheated and microwaved cabbage & daikon. Somehow it makes me feel a bit guilty to cook veggies in the microwave, but it can’t beat to save some precious time in the morning.
Menu: Kajiki sword fish nimono, Boiled green beans, Sliced cucumber salad, Cherry tomato, Rice with scrambled egg on top
After having a super busy weekend participating in a “kimono” presentation show with my daughter this past Sunday, I was looking forward to going back to our normal routine and having a good, fresh kickstart of a week. But the life usually doesn’t turn around the way you plan – our daughter woke up super grumpy, presumably because of fatigue and hunger, and it so happens that it’s very gloomy outside with thick layers of grey crowds this morning.
We’ll never mind, I’ll treat myself another cup of coffee before starting to work today.
Have a good week!