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A simple bento accessory I would like to have is a packet of grass dividers. Dividers are used to prevent different bento dishes from mixing too much. You can cut these strips of plastic grass in the right size. I have only two that came out of Japanese takeaway meals — and I seem to rather cherish then use them LOL. Grass dividers come in all sorts of colours but I prefer them ‘natural‘, i.e. plain green. They are really not expensive, but… adding shipment & handling from Japan or the US, the price suddenly goes up quickly :(

Now I’m keeping my fingers crossed because friends of elm@ are visiting Japan (hi Katie & Anita!) and maybe, just maybe they’ll have a chance to buy me some… That would be great! :) Then again, they’re really busy shopping for Lolita clothes etc. so it might be that they won’t have a penny erm.. yen left! I’ll just have to wait and see ;) But hey, the anticipation is exciting as well!

Anybody else going to Tokyo soon??? ;)


Net als vorig jaar ga ik komende zondag naar de Japanmarkt in Leiden. Voor het Sieboldhuis op het Rapenburg staan kraampjes en her en der vinden activiteiten plaats. Eerst is er picknick in het Stadspark, dus dat is een goed excuus om wat bento’s mee te nemen! Een van de kookgrrls mailde me net een pastasalade recept waarvoor ik alle ingrediënten toevallig al in huis heb, dus die gaat sowieso op het menu :) Leuk om onze vrienden mee te verrassen! Wel jammer dat mijn picknickbentobox na hanami in het Amsterdamse Bos is gesneuveld :(

Vorig jaar was het best wel koud en winderig (dat valt op de foto’s te zien), en de markt zelf viel me ook wat tegen. Toch heb ik toen leuke dingen gescoord: het matchapoeder waar ik al zo lang naar op zoek was (voor matchacake), lekkere first flush senchathee (in blik), een bijzonder theeblikje in herfstkleuren, mooie kaarten van de Paul van Riel fototentoonstelling in het Sieboldhuis en een boekenlegger met Japanse dame. Met andere woorden: ik heb best wel weer zin om te gaan! Helemaal omdat de weersverwachting top is en het programma door 400 jaar Japans-Nederlandse handelsbetrekkingen uitgebreider is dan vorig jaar. Een leuke invulling van eerste pinksterdag :) Waarmee zal ik nu weer thuiskomen?

More pudding plans: not only do I plan to make some mini semolina and custard pudding to take in my bento, I would also love to try some minty jell-o!

Menthe á l’eau is probably my all-time favourite summer drink so I bought 3 (!) cans of sirop de menthe in France during our holiday. And I have some agar agar past expiring date, so… it seems like a fun adventure :) Especially because I’ve challenged myself to use 2 products out of my pantry each month — and I mean stuff that seems to have gotten stuck in there! LOL

Agar agar is a gelatinous substance that can be used by vegetarians because it’s derived from seaweed, not animals (like gelatin). But you have to learn how to use it because it’s got a higher acidity level that prevents you from just substituting plain gelatin — what most recipes dictate — by agar. My first attempt to make port wine jelly (on blue stilton toast) failed, and then the agar sort of got ‘lost’ in my cupboard ;)

Stay posted to see how my mint jelly turns out. But don’t keep quiet if you’ve got any tips!

I just heard that my favourite author David Mitchell is writing the libretto for a memorial opera to be premiered in Enschede on May 13th 2010.

On that day it will be 10 years ago (already!) that a fireworks storage facility exploded in the middle of a residential area. The disaster has (of course) been burnt into our collective memory, known as the vuurwerkramp. You can ask anybody where (s)he was when it happened and they’ll tell you. The JFKennedy effect.

The opera, called Wake, is composed by Klaas de Vries and will be performed by — this is getting even better! — the Nationale Reisopera, led by conductor Reinbert de Leeuw! I’ve been to two fabulous performances of this company: The Turn of the Screw (a story by Henry James) and The Mikado (by Gilbert & Sullivan).

It’s terrible to feel so positively thrilled about something that’s supposed to remember a tragic event. But I can’t help myself! If there’s only one thing I can get or even do next year — THIS IS IT.

Maybe it’s a small consolation that something as special and exciting like this is being done in memory of what happened. Although I should add that the story line is quite universal: the lives of 18 ordinary people in an apartment building (in an unidentified city), change dramatically after a disastrous event.

Sounds like a David Mitchell book alright ;) Especially when you know it will be presented in a mix of opera, mystery play, moving images and literary fiction. Yay! Can I go now, please? A year is a long time to wait, even if it’s for something this good. Did you know that Mitchell’s new novel is said to be published by Random House in spring 2010 as well?? Erm, I guess I should correct my earlier assertion that I have only wish for one thing next year… :\ Anyway, I’ll just have to be very patient for now :(

Oh wait, did anyone ask where I was at the moment of the explosion..? Visiting relatives in Toronto, Canada. And it was my brother-in-law who told me (in the kitchen area). There you have it: a past, present and future post in one ;)

Not only do I have future plans about what to put in my bento, like all bento-ers I also have a wishlist of bento goodies!

On top of my list — since day 1 of bento-ing — are small sauce containers. Because I couldn’t find any store bought containers that were small enough for my bento boxes, I have been using the ones you get with take-away food. That’s not ideal because you are not supposed to reuse them :\ So they break easily.

Of course there are a lot of bottles and boxes to be bought for this purpose, but I’m afraid I often find them too childish… Hey, I like kawaii stuff, but I’m not 12 anymore ;) Two of the few I do like you can find at Adventures in Bentomaking. Look closely at the pictures to spot a simple blue bottle and a cute orange & blue jewel-like container.

I’ll let you know soon what other accessories I would like to have..!

I guess all bento-ers have future plans for foodies to put in their bento. I know I do ;) As a reminder to myself — but also to inspire other people — I’ll be posting them as Bento musings: what to pack ’n stash.

I do try to be original: recipes by others will be linked. And of course suggestions are always welcome! :)

pudding supplies

So here’s my first ‘note to self’: next time I am going to cook semolina pudding, I plan to make a few small ones in my mini muffin mould. Seems like a great thing to put in my bento! Especially when I add a container of raspberry sauce… *drewl* :P

Or maybe I’ll be making custard pudding first, you never know ;)

Is there anybody clever out there who can tell me if these desserts can be freezed??? :-o


Wat leuk dat er in het culturele veld zoveel aandacht wordt besteed aan 400 jaar Japans-Nederlandse betrekkingen :) Zo ben ik erg benieuwd naar de tentoonstelling Silk Stories Taishi Kimono (1900-1940) in de Kunsthal. En ik zou ook graag een workshop 0bentō van Yumiko Kunimori volgen, maar ik vrees dat er geen vegetarische variant is :( Which reminds me… volgend weekend gaan we hanami vieren bij de kersenbloesem in het Amsterdamse bos! Haal de bentoboxen maar vast uit de kast :))

Maar dat uitje vergeet ik niet dus daarvoor is deze ‘note to self’-post niet nodig. Nee, behalve de Japanse kleding uit het begin van vorige eeuw wil ik nog meer interessante historie bekijken. En exposities zijn altijd voorbij voordat ik er erg in heb… Dus hier een lijstje met data om mezelf te helpen herinneren!

  • ✔ 10-05-2009: De exotische mens in Teylers Museum
  • Liefde! Kunst! Passie! Kunstenaarsechtparen in het Gemeentemuseum Den Haag t/m 1 juni
  • Silk Stories Taishi Kimono in de Kunsthal t/m 21 juni
  • Tiffany Girls in het Singer Museum t/m 30 augustus
    Op basis van een aantal betrouwbare ervaringen heb ik besloten dat ik niet naar de Tiffany tentoonstelling hoef ;)

Waar een blog al niet goed voor is ;) Want wat was nou toch die laatste tentoonstelling die ik van plan was te bezoeken???

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!


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