On Sunday March 25th we had a very special — BIG — picnic bento to celebrate spring with our friends. Like every year, we held our own Hanami Matsuri (cherry blossom feast) in the Amsterdamse Bos sakura garden. Unfortunately the Japanese cherry trees were only just starting to bloom, but there hasn’t been a better spring day afterwards so we were lucky anyway!
First of all I had to bake ‘something cherry’. Browsing brought me to a Martha Stewart recipe for vegan chocolate cupcakes with a cherry frosting, tried by BakedBree (substituting raspberry vinegar for plain and using cherries from a jar as fresh are not in season). Bree and her omni friends were quite positive so the choice was easily made!
At the risk of sounding immodest: don’t you think they look awesome?? :) And yes, they were nice as well.. but I don’t think I’ll make them again. I didn’t much care for the buttery topping and you can’t really have the cupcakes without.
Here’s the rest of what we brought to the picnic.
Up front is my sakura box loaded with tofu puffs or inarizushi (a recipe from The Vegetarian Table: Japan cookbook by Victoria Wise), onigiri rice balls filled with umeboshi (pickled plum) and chickpea-wasabi mixture, rolled in respectively plum furikake and nori seaweed.
Both tiers of my yellow Circle bento box are filled with raspberries; behind that stands a small bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce. There’s an oval tier with Japanese style coated peanuts (the other two contain more sushi), a can of wasabi peas (which we didn’t eat) and white chocolate Mikado “Pocky’s” that are not vegan but a leftover from my life as a vegetarian that I wanted to get rid of. ;)
For drinks: plum wine, sake and lots of hot water for a choice of sakura hoija tea, plum vert, sencha, gyokuro asahi and genmaicha.
Dôh, of course we overdid it. But it’s o-hanami only once a year, so who cares? ;)
And if you thought that would be all… There’s more! Because our friends are foodies too. :D They contributed their own yummy goodies, like vegan apple pie, dolmas, dorayakis (sweet red bean paste pancakes) and cheese cookies for the non-vegans among us, cucumber and more nibbles. We think alike because additional batches of inarizushi and onigiri (with cucumber and plum filling) were brought to the party.
Here’s a picture of our belly-pleasing banquet…
Are you getting hungry yet? ;)
Next up is my Bihun Bento!
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