Tag Archives: tomato

Kindergarten bento – Easy tomato sauce penne (Thursday, 24/May/18)

Despite my continuous effort on cooking healthy yet time consuming Japanese dishes on a daily basis for our daughter, if we ask her what her favorite food is, she always instantly answers, ‘pasta!’.

For busy morning, I place halved 8- 10 cherry tomatoes, a small can of tuna, little bit of chopped onion in a medium sized frying pan, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper & oregano to taste, and just let it cook with the lid on while pasta is being boiled in a separate pot. I usually add a small ladleful of pasta water when the sauce gets a bit dry. Drain the pasta once it’s ready, and toss it in the sauce and mix them well.

As simple as it may be, this pasta is quite tasty.

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Kindergarten bento – Accident (Thursday, 13/Apr/17)

Menu: Steamed pumpkin & chicken soboro, Omelet, Tomato, Boiled okra, Wakana rice with shirasu (baby sardine) on too
Grapes & strawberry for dessert

My daily bento making resumed this morning for the new Japanese school year. I got up early, set the rice cooker, made omelet, took out other ingredients from the fridge I had prepared the night before, packed them nicely, got dressed while the rice was being cooked, packed rice, all nice and neat in the bento box, right on time, and everything was going perfectly.

I was about to sit down at the breakfast table when I heard this “pshhhh” sound. My husband opened the new can of Illy coffee with which he makes his espresso every morning. By the way, this Italian brand does great coffee with excellent flavour, and we both love it. It comes in this vacuumed packed, beautiful aluminum cannister. Anyway, looking over the kitchen counter to see if there’s anything I should take with me to the dining table, I noticed there was a spray of black pepper-like powder all over the place, including our daughter’s bento. Looking at each other’s faces in horror, we realised my husband’s coffee spilled out of the can with the air pressure and landed all over on the food. Oh…

My husband told me this had never ever happened before. Yeah sure, but how about the bento? I wanted to scream but held back… (got whiny instead). He then innocently told me to just wash it off and wipe a little. Yeah right. How can you wash omelet or rice or soboro pumpkin with water… How convenient if you can do that! To my dismay, I had to repack everything. As for the omelet I chopped off the top part (hence shorter than the original), for the shirasu rice I scraped off the top and added the leftover (thank goodness I still had some left next to the rice cooker not on the kitchen counter), and for the soboro pumpkin I had to put them in a separate bowl, carefully remove the ones with most coffee on them and put the rest back (I’m pretty sure some coffee was still hiding inside but at that point I couldn’t care less).

Voila, here is my daughter’s repacked bento for the first day of this school year’s bento making. I’d say it’s a great start!

* We love Illy coffee and recommend it to anyone who likes espresso. Just do not open the new can next to your food 😉

Kindergarten bento – We love pasta (24/Feb/17)

Menu: Farfalle with aubergine & tuna in tomato sauce, Baba ham kyuri, Mashed pumpkin with boiled egg

Apple mousse & mashed sweet potato for dessert. Dash of cinnamon on top

When I was growing up, my mum never packed pasta for lunch. Maybe sandwich if not rice, but never ever pasta in my recollection. In fact my mum hardly ever cooked pasta as it wasn’t as popular and widespread as it is now. As far as pasta is concerned, I remember my mum’s macaroni salad (i.e. macaroni mixed with sliced cucumber, carrot and ham, seasoned with mayonnaise) and Spaghetti Napolitan (i.e. spaghetti with bacon, green pepper and onion, seasoned with tomato ketchup – no idea why it’s called Napolitan though).  That’s about it.

I remember going to this brand new, rather posh cafe/restaurant with my mum and sister in our neighbourhood in the suburban city of Gumma (where I grew up), ordering some pasta with very exotic names such as “Spaghetti Monte Mare (combination of mushroom & seafood)” or “Spaghetti Basilico (prepared with Japanese shiso herb instead of real basil because basil just didn’t exist at that time in Japan).” Considering how limited the options used to be for Italian dishes, it is incredible how authentic Italian cuisine has become over the years in this country.

About ten years ago I lived in Italy for over a year, and I fell in love with Italian pasta. I actually lived on it during my stay there. And now I cook pasta all the the time since I often get this craving for it. My daughter, being fed by me on a daily basis, loves pasta as well. When I ask her what her favorite food is, she always answers, “PASTA!,”not rice. Being Japanese, I feel somehow neglected by my own daughter, but the good food is universal, and so is the content of my daughter’s bento.