Flower Bento #89

After a completely bentoless week – and a whole week without reading a decent book for that matter – November was closed with bento #89: Mediterranean Flower Bento.

Top tier:
Sweet & spicy couscous salad with zucchini, carrot, red pepper and spring onion, caper flower with cranberry heart, tiny plum tomatoes and goat’s cheese stars.

Bottom tier:
Yellow fruits yogurt, endive and corn salad, plum tomato and Fair Trade Basil-Mango splash for dressing on the side.

Homegrown: red pepper.
CSA (& organic): endive, corn salad, carrot.
Organic: yogurt, couscous, spring onion, cranberry.

I know the furoshiki underneath has plaits but I haven’t figured out yet how to safely iron rayon… I’ve messed up a brand new furoshiki in the past, so I am reluctant to give it another try – especially with this one made by Ichiro Tsuruta. I think it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Although this bento doesn’t contain anything Japanese I am submitting this post to the November Hello Japan! mini challenge about food. The bento lunchbox is a Japanese concept and I am giving it a global twist. A bit like the Japanese did with yoshoku: making new Japanese dishes out of Western food.

But I am disappointed with what I have to offer :( I had lots of inspiration for this month’s mission, but I ran out of luck (& time)! To begin with, just before this mission came up I tried my hand at some tempting matcha muffins (made with powdered green tea). Of course I had to make the red bean paste filling myself as well, even though I had never even tasted the stuff before. Because I had some matcha powder and red beans waiting on the shelf, this recipe fitted my personal ‘hamster challenge‘ in which I need to clean out my kitchen cupboards and pantry. Well, that doesn’t really work when you also buy an emergency can of red bean paste, does it ;) But to make a long story short: these muffins were a complete #FAIL and I meant to write a post about the lessons learnt. But I didn’t get to it yet – too little time!

Finished dango on their bamboo skewersI wonder if I should refrain from baking things that I have never eaten before… For my first time ‘hanami’ (watching cherry blossoms here in The Netherlands) I made some dango. It looked good, but it was awful! Like eating a huge ball of bubble gum that you cannot swallow – now I remember why I could relate so much to the funny cat story eating mochi in I Am a Cat! I later learned there also exists sweetened rice flour, so maybe I got the wrong type. Rice flour is now one of those things-of-no-use in my cupboard that are part of my hamster challenge. Any suggestions?

Another plan for Hello Japan! was to finally get some of those recommended Japanese fishies with red bean paste filling from Charley Happy, the sushi stall on the Friday market. Normally I don’t get to visit the market because I am at work, but I took a day off and made sure I was in town for the goodies. What a horrible discovery that the shop wasn’t there! Another #FAIL. Was it because of the stormy weather? Is the Dutch-Japanese couple hibernating? I certainly hope the financial crisis didn’t get to them?!

At least one idea for the challenge was partly a succes: the book about Japanese food carving that I fancied arrived about 10 days ago. But I didn’t have time yet to try any of the tricks. Neither did I get to check out Hasekura, a Japanese restaurant in Utrecht that Maaike liked, nor the new sushibar in the Lange Koestraat. And I even didn’t get to make some origami sushi :( Well, you can do that yourself if you follow origamaster22’s instructions for tuna nigiri, nigiri egg roll or prawn nigiri on YouTube. And if you’re not the paper art type, you could try making sushi from lego or clay.

So much to do, so little time.