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Tackling my back(b)log with a double bento post.
Sunny Gado-Gado Bento #155
I left summer in style with a Sunny Gado-Gado Bento. It was a lousy summertime — the more reason to brighten up my working days with a colourful lunch!
Gado-gado is eaten at room temperature so it’s perfect for bento, as I’ve shared before. I bring it every once in a while; easy, ’cause it’s made quickly steamed or cooked veggies. My only condition is that I have some leftover peanut sauce. :)
In this case there’s purple potato, cauliflower, green beans, carrots and baked plain tofu. I like to have something sour with it, hence the gherkin slices pushed aside in the corner. A cute curly chili pepper harvested from my balcony is resting on a dollop of compulsory peanut sauce.
Salad vegetables are corn on the cob, yellow bell pepper, red and orange cherry tomatoes & lettuce. More peanut sauce in the little container and homemade sambal bawang in a small holder of The Body Shop. I’ve almost ran out of my shallot sambal and got a huge harvest of peppers so I plan on making some more sambal upcoming weekend. Yay!
The SnackTaxi bag contains emping and cassava krupuk. Oh I felt like such a lucky grrl on September 1st! I just looooooove Indonesian food. :)
Fall Picnic Bento #156
The first bento of fall came along for a picnic in the park on a suddenly gorgeous autumn day (September 25th). Still, the flavours of this snack-for-two are obviously earthier in accordance with the season. It’s quite the carbo-bento!
Radishes with skordaliá (Greek garlic-potato dip) from the Ecofabulous cookbook I borrowed from the library, on a bed of lettuce.
Sundried-tomato hummus for the rosemary & thyme crackers on the side, pesto and cucumber slices to dip, a few pieces of apple.
The skordaliá was nice but a bit weird as well. It had a gooey texture and tasted VERY strongly of garlic. That did go well with the radishes but I had much left and I threw it away (which I don’t like to do) so I’m not sure whether I’ll make this again. Could be that I did something wrong though, because I didn’t make the full recipe. One should never gamble with ingredients. ;)
Anyway, it was a yummy picnic and I got to bring it in my new carrier bag that I really like! Do you?
AAARGH. I had totally missed that October was going to be VeganMoFo: the Vegan Month of Food, a month-long blogging event revolving around animal-free eating!
Well, maybe it’s better I’m not officially participating since I would never be able to post daily, but I can still join in the fun ;)
Starting off with a short one: a picture of my current fall fruit loot. It’s just apples and pears, but what a variety!
This weekend I’ll be cooking St. Remy pears into some lovely dessert and make apple sauce of the Bramley Seedling cooking apples. I wish I had an excuse to bake apple pie though! ;P
Part of the apple sauce will probably end up in some vegan baking anyway, as it is often used as egg-replacer.
All of the fruit is organic and came from my two local CSA distributors. The eating pears are Conference and Doyenne de Comice (which I like best). Accompanied by star apples, Ingrid Marie apples and two quince. I’m looking for recipes for the latter, because I have never eaten this fruit before and have no idea what to do with it! Your recommendations will be HIGHLY appreciated :)
Thanks to Eating with the Rabbits for reminding me of VeganMoFo.
We’re halfway December and the end of our CSA season is nearing. Next week’s bag will be The Last!
Amelishof organic vegetables week 48, 2010
- corn salad
- red beet (waiting for me to make Nigel Slater’s red beet cake…)
Amelishof organic vegetables week 49, 2010
- brussels sprouts (on the stalk, just for fun!)
- corn lettuce
- onions (red & white)
- Elstar apples
Amelishof organic vegetables week 50, 2010
WOW, what a mega bag of vegetables we got today! Remember the Invasion of the Broad-Leaved Endive Heads? This time there were even more! It makes a nice green background for the rest of the veggies ;) And Ringo totally went for it… Crazy cat :)
- carrots (not washed, so they’ll keep longer)
- root parsley (on the left of my pile of carrots, hiding behind the…)
- kabocha pumpkin!
- cooking pears
- Jerusalem artichoke
I’m not planning our menus and we’ve been eating out, visiting relatives et cetera so next to this HUGE new batch we still have some veggies of the previous weeks to use up: beetroot — but like I said; I’ve got great plans for that ;) — parsnip, kohlrabi, leek and 1 small pie pumpkin. Maybe I would be wise start planning again ;)
Say, Elsje: if you see anything you’d like to use for our 24 mini-marathon dinner next Friday, just give a shout!
When making bentos I always try to stick to the ‘rainbow rule’: to use at least five different colours. Not only is this appealing to the eye, it has health benefits too! Their looks tell you something about the essential nutritients these foods contain. Of course I’m talking about plants and fungi, not artificial colouring ;)
Now I know this is not a bento post ;) Just look at the nice colours in my CSA vegetable bags from the past two weeks!
Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 46, 2010
- Corn salad (green)
- Beets (purple/red)
- Bok choi (green)
- Carrots (orange)
- Cilantro (green)
- Tomatoes (red)
Amelishof organic CSA vegetables week 47, 2010
- ‘Slobber Cabbage’ (yellow, white, green)
- Raddichio (red)
- Romanesco (green)
- Lettuce (green)
- Parsley (green)
- Red Belle de Boskoop apples (Rode van Boskoop; white, yellow)
- Spring onions (green, white)
About colours and their nutritional compounds
- Red: anti-oxidants and lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin C.
- Blue & purple: anti-oxidants (anthocyanins). Those in grapes and olives might be one of the reasons red wine is thought to lower the risk of heart attack.
- Green: carotenoids; leafy greens are high in dietary fibre and excellent sources of potassium, magnesium and folate (B-vitamins).
Quote from Wikipedia: “People consuming diets rich in carotenoids from natural foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are healthier and have lower mortality from a number of chronic illnesses.“
(A. T. Diplock1, J.-L. Charleux, G. Crozier-Willi, F. J. Kok, C. Rice-Evans, M. Roberfroid, W. Stahl, J. Vina-Ribes. Functional food science and defence against reactive oxidative species, British Journal of Nutrition 1998, 80, Suppl. 1, S77–S112)
- Yellow and orange: beta-carotene, potassium and vitamins C, A & B2; yellow fruits are rich in the mineral potassium, orange food provides zinc and selenium.
- White (tan & brown): anthoxanthins (flavonoids which exhibit antioxidant properties). White produce such as garlic and onions contain allicin (which may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure). White fruit and vegetables contain nutrients that help provide powerful immune-boosting activity and are good sources of the mineral potassium too.
Note: I’m no expert on nutrition and I’ve used several sources on the Internet to compile this list, so it might contain errors and is probably not complete.
Today’s bento is completely vegan. Delicious and wholesome; my usual hunger attack around four o’clock went by without any tummy grumbling — and no snacking at all ;)
Mediterranean chickpea salad with shallots, pine-nuts, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and black olive topping on a bed of red Batavia lettuce; mini plum tomatoes and gherkin.
Stir-fried cabbages & leek with peanut sauce & celery, mandarin wedges and cucumber-mint flower.
Elstar apple dressed with lemon juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
The garbanzos, pine-nuts and peanut sauce in this bento provided me with plenty of proteins :)
Local & organic: apple, leek, celery, Savoy & white cabbage, lettuce, shallots
Organic: cucumber, peanut butter, mint, cilantro, chickpeas, olives, garlic
After all those read-a-thon updates on Graasland it’s about high time I posted my latest bentos. And what better motivation than to find a mail from Hapa Bento telling me I had won the September B.O.M.B. challenge?!
*blush* I am so honoured!
Bento #116 served as dinner on my train journey to an evening about ‘Foodies, Foodporn & Foodblogs’ in The Hague on Wednesday September 22nd. That day it was mid-autumn and the Chinese were celebrating their Moon Festival. On Thursday the 23rd there would be a full moon — the brightest and most beautiful moon of the year according to Japanese people!
Watching the full September moon is a special celebration in Japan, called Tsukimi (moon-viewing), tsuki being moon. It’s about honouring the moon and being thankful for the harvest. So, what could be more fun than to take an early Tsukimi Bento to the food event?
That meant I had to use seasonal produce (which is traditionally offered to the moon) and use ‘pampas grass’ for decoration. My organic CSA veggie bag came in handy! I really wanted to bring traditional foods, but no way I was having another attempt at making dango! I tried that on my first Holland Hanami (cherry blossom viewing, the spring counterpart of Tsukimi) and it made us gag! #fail
Thankfully I had recently bought some green tea mochi. But what am I doing, starting with dessert?
- Buckwheat soba noodles (traditional) with leftover stir-fry of Swiss chard, silver onions, leek, carrot, corn kernels and chili pepper (all seasonal vegetables), braised in the soaking liquid of dried mushrooms.
- Large shiitake mushroom (‘dark side of the moon’).
- Slice of corn cob (‘full moon’).
- Potato patty (no traditional sweet potato but hey, close enough).
- Red pepper rabbits (tradition).
- Fennel green ‘pampas grass’ for decoration, plastic sushi grass and flat leaf parsley for baran (dividers).
- Slice of braised carrot, mini gherkins and pickled silver onions.
- All on a bed of lettuce.
Background tier (which can be seen more clearly in another picture)
- Edamame (traditional).
- Apple – first local harvest!
- Dried fruit: apricot & mango.
- Green tea mochi (traditional).
- Dollop of ketchup for potato patty.
But there’s more to it…
I didn’t get round to writing this blogpost because I wanted to tell you more of the thoughts behind bento #116.
In the Chinese Moon Fest round forms symbolize unity, completeness, togetherness. It reminds me of the circle of life, autumn being the season in which ‘the fruits’ get harvested. Of course the moon is round too. So I’ve used a lot of round foods in my round tsukimi bento :) Mix & match is what I say! ;) A lot of Chinese heritage became Japanese culture as well. Hey, I’m an European making bento, so what are we talking about anyway?
It’s interesting to know that the box that I used for this train bento is even officially called Tsukimi. The depiction of a moon-watching rabbit can be found in many Japanese decorations. All around the world people see things in the moon; here in Holland it’s a face and we’re calling it the Man of the Moon. Ancient Chinese saw a hare or rabbit pounding herbs for elixir, the Japanese believed it was pounding rice to make mochi. Making mochi is called mochitsuki (餅つき), which sounds similar to the word for full moon: mochitzuki (望月)!
Both moon and rabbit symbolize a long life. That probably originates from the Chinese life elixir myth — and the way rabbits know how to ensure eternal life through their offspring ;)
But there’s also a Buddhist story associated with this all, the story of Jade Rabbit. On a day of Uposatha — Buddhist Sabbath — an old man asked for food from a monkey, an otter, a jackal and a rabbit. The monkey collected fruits and offered them to the old man, the otter brought him a fish and the jackal a lizard. The rabbit didn’t have anything to bring, because the herbs constituting his food weren’t good for humans.
Then the rabbit decided to offer his own body and jumped into fire. Surprisingly his body did not burn, because the old man was the deity Sakra. And for people to remember the rabbit’s sacrifice, the old man drew the rabbit’s image over the moon.
If you look at Google images of ‘tsukimi rabbit‘ you’ll see the cutest rabbit-shaped sweets… I wish I could have had some! Still, I had so much fun making & eating this thematic bento! It’s wonderful it was awarded with a B.O.M.B. badge :)
Home-grown: red hot chilli peppers
Local & organic: Swiss chard, leek, carrots, corn, lettuce, potato, parsley, fennel, apple
Organic: sōmen, shiitake mushroom, egg, paprika, ketchup
Fifteen minutes is not enough to start a new book in the 24 hour Readathon. So I’m taking a sneak preview on the End of the Event Meme questions by copying those of last April! The weather is unusually great here so as soon as the readathon finishes at 1400 hrs, I want to go outside and enjoy it! Exercise!
- Which hour was most daunting for you?
Hour 15 (5am in the morning here). I threw in the towel and went to sleep for a few hours. I could have read on but decided not to make myself go grumpy ;)
- Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Haven’t read it this readathon, but I’d like to recommend Trespass by Valerie Martin.
- Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
- What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
Everything went particularly well, didn’t it? For me, I’m glad I made it easy for myself this time by picking books in my native language.
- How many books did you read?
Four. Or actually 3 and my complete backlog of entries in the Pillow Book read-along.
- What were the names of the books you read?
The Following Story by Cees Nooteboom (buddy-read), The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon, Adèle and the Beast & Monsters All! from the series Les Avontures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec by Tardi.
- Which book did you enjoy most?
The Following Story by Cees Nooteboom. I hadn’t expected to like this much! And I feel really accomplished by having caught up in the Pillow Book, since we’re only a few weeks from the end of the read-along. But most of all, I’m *so* happy that the readathon helped me out of my reading slump of the last weeks! Yay!
- Which did you enjoy least?
Nothing really; I really enjoyed everything I’ve read!
- If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I wasn’t a cheerleader but I’m very grateful to those who were! Kudos to all, not just the cheerleaders but everyone behind the scenes!
- How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
This was my 3rd 24 hour read-a-thon, can’t you tell I’m addicted? ;) So yes, I would like to participate again in April, although I’ve noticed the spring RaT is harder than the one in fall! Even though the days are longer then…
I’ve spent 8 hours and 40 minutes actually reading (counting really strictly). Double that for the time I could be found in the bloggosphere and on twitter — all readathon related!
So, have you all enjoyed it as much as I did? What did you like best?
Have a nice Sunday!
We’re in the last hour of the readathon (already? ;) and I’ve finished 2 graphic novels since my hour 20 status update: Adèle and the Beast (Isabelle en het beest) & Monsters All! (Allemaal monsters!) from the series Les Avontures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec (De avonturen van Isabelle Avondrood) by Jacques Tardi. They were re-reads but it was at least 20 years ago that I first had my eyes on them, so I had mostly forgotten what the stories were about. In this post you’ll find a preview of the drawings and our IRL (in real life) reproductions.
The Museum of Natural History plays an important role in the first volume I mentioned, Adèle and the Beast, and I’ve been wanting to visit the museum ever since I was studying Museology (almost 20 years ago). The weird thing is: every time I’m in Paris something prevents me from going there! Last month it was closed on the day we had picked (bad planning, I know) and postponing it to another day didn’t fit with our schedule. Sigh.
Currently reading: time to choose the last book of my readathon stack!
Total of time read: 8 hrs 40 mins
Total amount of pages read: 250 pages (nice round figure!)
Books finished: 4 books (The Following Story by Cees Nooteboom, caught up with Sei Shonagon’s The Pillow Book read-along, Adèle and the Beast (Adèle et le bête) & Monsters All! (Tous des monstres!) from the series Les Avontures Extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec by Tardi)
Mini-challenges participated in: 11 (Since last update: mini-challenge about character pictures)