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This office lunch bento no. 208 is in African-Eastern style. I used leftovers from dinner I made following recipes from the Cookbook Challenge #1. Remember I said there were a few more recipes I wanted to try from the Modern Moroccan cookbook? Well, this box contains creamy couscous, agave-roasted courgette and home-made harissa. All delicious. :) Especially the couscous was surprisingly good.
The other tier is more… fusion. It holds some gherkin and pickled onions, mixed green salad with lemon olives, grapes, pecans, garden cress, fennel and spring onion. There’s onion bhajee with tamarind sauce in the paper cup (Indian takeaway) and a small piece of veggie dog with tomato ketchup.
Some more seedless grapes on the side.
I haven’t gotten around to blogging much (I’m spending more time away from the computer these days), and I actually had this lunch on the 28th of March. So far, the first bento of April has still to come. :(
We’re eagerly awaiting spring here so we can celebrate o-hanami in the Japanese cherry blossom garden with our traditional picnic — that should make up for a lot of bentos in one go! ;)
Have you made any bentos lately?
On Wednesday I made my first bento in almost two months… I had a movie date in Amsterdam with my friend Loes. We went to a special viewing of the classic 1983 Palm d’Or winner The Ballad of Narayama (Narayama bushikô), a film by Shohei Imamura. Last week was the Dutch première -yes, after 30 years!- and there are only a handful of screenings.
The film tells the story of Orin, a 69 year old woman in a rural hamlet of late-1900s Japan. It’s tradition, or rather law, that inhabitants reaching the age of 70 go to the top of the mountain (Narayama) to commit obasute: death by starvation, to limit the amount of mouths to feed. The eldest son is supposed to carry his mother on his back to her resting place. But Orin is still very strong and healthy…
The Ballad of Narayama is an unusual movie: at the same time pretty much “in your face” as well as burlesque — the latter possibly to soften the hardships of life that are shown. But it’s also something I’ve come across before in Japanese cinema. Isn’t the sometimes caricatural play not reminiscent of kyōgen theatre and kabuki? Anyway, I enjoyed myself regardless of the slow pace. The many images of nature are gorgeous and it’s interesting to witness how life in a poor Japanese country village may have been in another age. I was touched by the way Orin’s son was torn between his unwillingness to let his mom go, and not wanting to shame her by refusing to go along. His difficult journey into the mountains felt like a period of mourning and Orin’s first-born carrying her to her death mirrored the process of her giving birth to him. The cycle of life.
The title of the film refers to a song about Orin’s life stage made up by her grandson in the beginning of the story (wintertime), recurring several times until The End, on the threshold of another winter.
Contemplating this I seem to have a theme going in my life at the moment. My current book is Wild by Cheryl Strayed, relating of her experiences hiking the Pacific Trail Crest (PCT) in her early twenties, a few years after her mother died. I’m totally absorbed in the story and can’t wait to read on.
But first it’s time to get back to the subject of this post. I was travelling to the cinema at dinner time so I’d eaten a hearty lunch earlier that day and made myself a simple dinner bento to have on the train.
From top to bottom
- Aubergine caviar with corn kernels, Italian crackers and walnut spread.
- Lemon macadamia cupcake with lemon frosting (recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), more crackers, dried apricot and baby fig.
- Cucumber salad with mini plum tomatoes, olives, radishes, chives, a cheezy dressing (recipe from Bryanna Clarke) and hemp seeds sprinkled over.
It was GOOOOD! I hope to have more bentos and nights like this. :)
This Weekend Cooking post is a hotchpot of food-related topics that have been left stewing the past weeks. I’m focussing on bentos and swaps.
Bento making has gotten a bit neglected lately; the following, hastily filled boxes are the only lunches I have to share.
Buckwheat Pancake Bento #205
- buckwheat pancakes from Vega Dutchie (which I found too gritty, even more when eaten cold like this)
- Lithuanian dried plum “cake”
- treacle for pancakes in the small container
- carrot-cabbage salad with walnuts
MiL Bento #206
The brown rice with ratatouille in the round blue thermos is a leftover from dinner at my mother-in-law’s the night before. The small lock & lock box contains red cabbage coleslaw with apple, raisins and an orange dressing. Two sandwiches in the butterfly bag and clementines for dessert.
I’ve recently discovered swap-bot. What I don’t like about that other random mail-exchange ‘program’ Postcrossing is that I often put a lot of thought in what I write on a card, but get the shortest messages in return. Also, although I receive awesome postcards every once in a while, many people send free ad cards or touristy multi-views, both of which don’t interest me. On Swap-bot on the other hand there’s themes you can choose — and people that really like to write! A trip down memory lane as I was a fervent penpal when I was young. So thanks to Uniflame for reacquainting me with S-B! :)
Now what does this have to do with food? I hear you think. Well, the first two swaps I joined are food ‘n drink-centered.
Tea For You And Tea For Me, What’s Your Resolution?
For the easy Tea For You And Tea For Me, What’s Your Resolution? trade we had to send three bags of tea to our partner plus a note revealing our resolutions for 2013. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I have things that I’d like to achieve this year concerning my health. So I shared those.
Now the assignment may originally have been quick and easy, it wasn’t as simple as it seemed… My partner Barsook likes green teas — how was I supposed to choose only three??? So I sent her a whole bunch. :)
Myself, I was pampered with five teas in a lovely decorated envelope: pure rooibos red tea, earthy vanilla scented rooibos, Tulsi sweet rose, apricot vanilla crème and jasmine green. But I won’t tell what JessicaLynn1978‘s resolution is!
Lovely Vegan Dinner Recipe Swap
Recipe cards seem to be common in the States, but not here in Holland. I very much like the concept though! So I joined the Lovely Vegan Dinner Recipe Swap in which I had to share a virtual meal via recipes for a starter, main course and dessert. All animal-free. Luckily it was okay to make your own recipe cards as long as they had the standard format of approximately A5. So these are the ones I made for lob.
The recipes that travelled on these are:
- simple leek soup
- Ecofabulous red cabbage with tofu & ontbijtkoek (a kind of gingerbread cake which I included)
- chocolate syrup
Now I got the most AWESOME package from long-time veggie Seaglass! She put a lot of effort in making my parcel extra special — she’s the sweetest!
There’s recipes for:
- vegan ‘blue cheese’ dressing
- potato, sorrel & watercress soup
- quinoa salad with tofu
- tofu with snow peas and lemon lime vinaigrette
- spicy polenta with chili paste
- Lisa’s vegan zucchini carrot muffins
- chocolate upside down pudding cake
I have no idea where to start! :D I guess it won’t be the soup though since I have to find out first where to get sorrel (zuring). Any ideas, Dutchies? Should I just go and pick some in the fields? I’m a little afraid of catching tetanus from dog or fox pee… :\
Seaglass also included some empty recipe cards for me to use and a load mouthwatering vegan candy bars — those are hard to get over here! And a packet of California powdered chili for me to compare to its Dutch counterpart: American recipes containing chili somehow always get too hot; even though I can usually handle heat.
I LOVE the paper Lisa (Seaglass) wrote her letter on: it has a heron! So cute!
That’s it for me now. Do you have some foodie news to share for Weekend Cooking?
A quick share of my most recent bento. It contained leftovers from our “yogi dinner” the previous night: recipes from the cookbook Yogifood1 by Jet Eikelboom and Seth Jansen.
Yogi lentil salad with hazelnuts, parsley, red cabbage, corn lettuce and a maple-balsamic dressing, mini plum tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, and more tomato with almond butter dip from my Lithuanian Foodie Penpal, yogi potato mash with thyme and a sea-buckthorn candy from my visit to Vlieland.
On the side: 2 clementines, santana apple and 3 sandwiches (apple-pear butter & houmous).
Local/CSA: corn lettuce, cabbage, carrot, potato, thyme, apple.
Office lunch on Thursday 13-12-2012.
On Thursday I enjoyed an office lunch with several of the Lithuanian goodies I got from my November Foodie Penpal Vita.
The box up front contains both the kūčiukai and cookie rings (yay, cookies to add carbs to my bento ;) a freeze dried strawberry and candied radishes.
The middle ‘meat & veg’ tier holds some onion-leek-garlic-pepper (yellow & green) stir-fry, slices of Healthy Planet “chicken” fillet, a fresh radish, mini Brussels’ sprouts and a skewer of sliced raja potato and gherkin, all on a bed of corn salad. I also brought a small container of tomato ketchup for the faux meat but forgot to include it in the picture.
Dessert comes last of course: apple & clementine.
I didn’t mean to cross the bento-200 line so silently… Alas, I lacked the time to post numbers 200-202 but plan to make up for that later this month!
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Join us with a food related post in Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking!
I had planned a nice bento in orange colours last week, but unfortunately I had to skip it. But here’s a green one today instead!
Pasta salad with avocado sauce, peas, corn & sun-dried tomatoes, escarole and tiny tomato from the balcony.
Pecans for the salad, courgette fritter, cucumber to dip in spicy houmous, and (Gnoe getting frivolous here ;) gherkin hearts.
On the side
Gingerbread with soy margarine & agave syrup and fruit salad for dessert: apple, satsuma and mango in a lemon-ginger dressing with cinnamon.
I’ve been looking for a good pasta salad recipe and now I’ve found it! I use Chloe Coscarelli’s avocado-pesto sauce, either leftovers of dinner like today, or made afresh. The sun-dried tomatoes are a must but for the rest it’s just what I have at hand. Made it with young broad beans once — ‘t was great!
Bento submitted to What’s for Lunch Wednesday on Bentolunch.net
Don’t you think today’s office lunch looks really cheerful?! :D
Red Batavia lettuce, French onion, cucumber and radish flowers finished off with African Peper Mix, salt, yuzu powder and nori cutting. Nooo, I did not do that by hand. ;) Oven-roasted butternut squash with coriander seeds in the cup, and a tiny tomato from the balcony.
Seitan stroganoff and minty leek bulgur with a fresh mint blossom.
The fruit tier: kiwi, red grapefruit, orange and home-grown yellow raspberries with a bundle of mint.
On the side
Dressing for the raw vegetables and more proteins: a soy caramel dessert.
A little of the fresh mint went into the bulgur, the rest I used for a cup of herbal tea. :)
This bento mostly consists of leftovers: the seitan, grains and pumpkin were all on the menu the past few days. The citrus wedges I put aside yesterday when I was having a bowl of fruit. So you see: it really doesn’t have to be a lot of work!
Now, maybe you’re wondering what happens to the cut-off pieces of crudités — I know I used to when I was a beginning bentoïst! But there are several solutions.
- In this case they’re hidden beneath the flowers. :)
- You can snack on them while compiling your bento.
- They can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated until evening or the next day, when you can throw them in a salad, soup, tofu scramble, stew or whatever.
Maybe you have an even better idea? Whatever you do: wasting them is not an option. ;)
Have you heard of VeganMoFo yet?
It’s October turned into a vegan treasure box!
During the month 500+ bloggers around the world will highlight the wonders of a vegan lifestyle.
My posts will mostly focus on being EXTRAveganza, or ‘vegan on the road’. That’ll include bentos (dôh), travel-friendly recipes and examples of how I fared on our recent holiday in France — my first as a vegan. And then there will be some side-trips. ;)
Are you ready? Here we go!
Tiny Track ‘n Snack Bento (#197)
Yesterday I went hiking with a group of friends. A snack I always bring in situations like this, is a small selection of nuts and dried fruit. That’ll keep me on my feet when I my legs get wobbly – which always happens when I get hungry. Not only aren’t we always sure we’ll be able to buy food on the way, as a vegan I prepare myself for the chance that one can only get a cheese sandwich or a piece of apple pie. ;)
Nuts are packed with unsaturated (= good) fats, protein & fibres, which make you feel satisfied quickly — and it’ll last for a while. In my experience some dried fruits have the same effect.
Now if you’re worried about the calorie intake… You shouldn’t! Nuts are really good for you. Unsaturated fats actually help balance your cholesterol and protect against hart disease. Nuts also contain plenty of vitamins & minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, omega-3, calcium, phosphor, vitamins A, B, E and more. And hey, hiking = burning calories anyway!
Of course not all nuts are good for you, just unroasted and unsalted ones like, for example, almonds, walnuts and cashews. Still, sometimes I bring some of the ‘bad’ ones as well. A grrl can have a treat, can’t she? ;) Yesterday there were a few (salted) rosemary-garlic cashews and cocktail nuts in my little box among more healthy goodies like died cranberries, apricot and apple, candied pineapple, walnuts and Brazil nuts.
Oh, and I almost forgot… I also indulged in some chocolate-covered soy beans! :D Got those in France so I’ll tell you more about those later in a post about Les Vacances de Mme Gnoe! ;)
I hope all this talk didn’t make you go nuts?
This is the first time in my 5 years of bento-ing that I’ve actually heated up an office lunch. One of the tiers anyway. Fall has definitely started so it was comforting to have a warm meal!
Turkish rice with chickpeas, red lentil-cauliflower curry and briami (Greek layered vegetables from the oven). All leftovers from this week’s menu.
Cumin spiced quick bread, dried apple and date, mixed sprouts, lettuce, mini plum tomatoes, corn on the cob and cucumber.
Today we’re saying goodbye to summer, as it’s Autumnal Equinox tomorrow. But it’s also the day I said farewell to my colleagues in the Netherlands Police Museum – which doesn’t actually exist any more either now that it has merged with two other cultural heritage institutions.
This moment in time called for a comfort food bento in fall colours!
Simple coleslaw with avocado dressing and sweet beet salad.
Couscous with chili, white paprika with caper and radish flowers, 2 garlic cashews and flat leaf parsley.
My colleagues gave me a gorgeous bouquet, a lovely self-made card with the sweetest wishes and a gift card for which I’m going to purchase something awesome. Summer may be waning but I feel warm inside!