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Friday bentos are always best — they herald the weekend! Instead of eating it at work (as planned) I got to enjoy bento #105 during the bloggiesta. How convenient! No need to get up and make lunch; I could just dig in whenever I got hungry. And it wasn’t just any lunch… Today’s bento was completely Indonesian: my all-time fav food style!!! :)

(Yes, I’m pretty jealous at Novroz, who gets to eat it EVERY day ;)

Indo food is great for bento because it can be eaten at room temperature.

Indo Bento (#105), 11-06-2010If the picture makes your eyes hurt — click on it to go to a more ‘restful’ view

Top tier

  • pak choi with bundle garlic, red chili pepper and leek, stir-fried in sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger syrup; topped with sesame seeds
  • perkedèl djagoeng (corn fritters or maïskoekjes in Dutch) with a spicy soy sauce dip (recipe below)
  • icicle radish
  • tempeh gurih (snack tempeh)

Bottom tier

  • telor boemboe Bali (Balinese style egg)
  • nasi goreng (fried rice)
  • thinly sliced gherkin playing atjar
  • yellow bell pepper, quickly fried in sesame oil

All on a bed of lettuce.

I had some leftover corn kernels so I was dying to try a new recipe for perkedèl djagoeng (which in contemporary spelling would probably be ‘jagung‘). I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect recipe, but hadn’t made any for a long time. This one’s great! I want to try some more recipes but I’ll share this one now (slightly adapted). It’s one of the best so far!

Perkedèl djagoeng (recipe)

Makes 8-6 corn fritters.

Ingredients

  • 150 gr (= half a can) corn kernels
  • 1 tbs chopped onion (I used shallot)
  • 1 piece of garlic (I used bundle garlic), chopped
  • 2 roasted kemirie nuts; chopped (can be substituted by macadamias but those are less tasty)
  • salt ’n pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tbs all-purpose flour (I used 2 and a half tbs)
  • 1 tbs chopped leek
  • 1 tbs chopped celery
  • neutral-tasting oil (I used arachid = peanut oil)

Sauce

  • sweet ketjap manis
  • salty soy sauce (ketjap asin, shoyu)
  • sambal variety you like (I used sambal badjak)
  • optional: some more finely chopped celery

Preparation

  1. Thoroughly drain the corn.
  2. Mash onion, garlic, kemiries, salt and pepper together in a mortar to create a boemboe (pulp). If you don’t have a mortar you can also chop them up real fine or use a food processor.
  3. Mash the corn in a food processor. The original recipe tells you to grate it, but I guess that’s something you’d do with a corn cob. I’m not sure about you but I want to keep my fingers ;)
  4. Whisk the egg.
  5. Mix everything together: boemboe mixture, mashed corn, egg, flour, leek and celery.
  6. Heat the oil and bake the corn fritters; approx. a spoon of batter each.
  7. Combine all sauce ingredients into a dip.

I’m afraid the source of this recipe is unknown: it’s a photocopy of a page in an old library book, but I’m guessing it originates from a Bep Vuyk Indonesian cookbook.

– – – – –
CSA & organic: pak choi, chili pepper, bundle garlic, leek, radishes, onions, lettuce
Organic: egg
About 12.5 ww propoints in bento #105
– – – – –

Why don’t you join Beth Fish’s weekend cooking with a food-related post?

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Bento #104, 02-06-2010

Left & right tier: asparagus on a bed of lettuce, boiled egg with cilantro and wasabi sesame, salt.
Middle tier: inarizushi, spicy Tao Kae Noi (crispy seaweed) and soy sauce.
On the side: milk chocolate with hazelnut.
Drinks (not shown): light Orangina with pulp, tab water.

Bento #104 came along on the 3rd stage of our long term hike through the green heart of Holland (Groene Hartpad).

Wlfr and I walked for 14 km from Zoetermeer to Hazerswoude. To get there we took autobus 206 along the N206, on Tuesday (0)206… We noticed this when we were still in the bus and we were ‘kind of’ relieved to ascertain that it was 13:36 and not 12:06 or 2:06. Not that we are superstitious or anything… ;) It just was REALLY weird. At first I even thought that the day’s bento for 2 (!) was #103… (you can do the math yourself). Fortunately I was mistaken; Betuwe Bento was my 103rd. Phew!

I was surprised to hear wlfr remark that the eggs looked so ‘even’, because I had been experimenting with a new way of boiling eggs. I guess it had passed the test! Freezing tofu puffs hadn’t though; that was no success and I won’t be doing it again.

Along the road in Zoetermeer

Anyway, we had great day with amazing weather and the hike was fabulous. Part of it had seemed monotonous looking at the map in advance, but it turned out to be a wonderful ‘mini survival track’ in a water bird reserve. And we wouldn’t let one killer curlew scare us away ;)

Today’s bento is a mix of several Asian dishes. Yes, Gnoe likes her Asian foodies :)

Upper tier

  • Indian egg-tomato curry (one of our all-time favourites!)
  • Japanese edamame
  • Indonesian nasi goreng
  • gherkin fox
  • cucumber
  • two types of parsley
  • on a bed of lettuce

Lower tier

  • Indonesian emping
  • raspberries and red currants
  • yoghurt coated apricot
  • carrots
  • basil
  • and another fox

Selamat makan!

HoningstickYesterday I was home late after an appointment for work in Amsterdam and visiting a friend with a new baby, so I went to bed immediately without making preparations for my bento. Consequently I found it difficult to get out of bed this morning ;) So bento #62 was made in a hurry — I even forgot to photograph my honey stick.
What would we do without mobile phones? ;)

Bento #62 contained:

  • gingerbread
  • cashews with herbes de Provence
  • raspberries
  • edamame with sea salt
  • smurrie-egg (egg with curry, tomato, paprika and parsley)
  • bed of lettuce
  • honey on the side (gingerbread topping)

Edamame is really easy to prepare, especially frozen ones — and there are no (or hardly any) fresh beans available in Holland. So check out the freezer of your local Asian store.

  1. Bring water to a boil; for fast cooking I use my water cooker and then pour the boiling water in a small pan.
  2. Add a little salt (this can be omitted because of stage 5).
  3. Put in the edamame and boil for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Drain and cool down quickly by pouring over cold water (or throw the beans in cold water).
  5. Sprinkle thoroughly with freshly ground sea salt.

Yes, I know too much salt is unhealthy, but I normally don’t use it a lot and I eat pretty healthy anyway, so I don’t worry about my salty edamame. The salt on your lips is so good when you suck the beans out of their pods… Sounds yummy? ;)

Each time I have to choose again between putting whole beans in my bento or shelling them. Without their pods they (obviously) take less room and they are nice & shiny. But.. they dry out quickly as well so considering taste it is better to leave them unpeeled until the moment of consumption.

I’m not superstitious and I don’t believe Friday the 13th means bad luck. Hey, on Fridays it’s almost W.E.E.K.E.N.D.! But Monday the 13th… Yaiks, that’s something else indeed! I don’t like Mondays… And now both July and August bring us that black day :(

Today I hoped to balance things out a bit by bringing bento #61 to work: 6 + 1 = lucky number 7! :)

First tier:

  • bed of romaine lettuce
  • pesto egg with sundried tomato
  • carrot
  • hot pepper (from the balcony) with houmous
  • slice of cucumber
  • cauliflower florets
  • black olives
  • pine nuts

I also added some walnut after making the picture.

Second tier:

  • mexican nut mix (‘pepita mix‘)
  • carrot sticks
  • seedless grapes
  • pasta salad (corn, hot pepper, (fresh & sundried) tomato, pine nuts, pesto, basil, red tofu)

This bento really helped me get through my busy day! :)

Of course macaroni rigate is a bit too large for a real pasta salad but I am not small-minded when it comes to using leftovers!

BTW: did you spot the 3 song titles in this post??? Answers behind the cut :)

I had a nice crunchy summer salad for lunch today!

Bento #58 contained:

Lower tier

  • summer fruit (cherries & raspberries)
  • scrambled eggs with tomato and shallot (this sweet type of onion fits the egg dish really well)
  • homemade tzatziki
  • whole-wheat croutons and chermoula dressing both for the summer salad

Upper tier

  • Romaine leaves
  • homegrown bean sprouts
  • radishes
  • tomato
  • basil

A perfect bento to start the week with! And to end the month, since I’ll be working at home tomorrow.

The tzatziki came out really well so fortunately there was no need for Gnoe’s tips against garlic breath ;)

The chermoula dressing was a diluted version of our freshly made coriander chermoula for the Moroccan carrot soup we ate this weekend. I promise to post all recipes some other day :)

Time flies when you’re having fun! Last Tuesday it was two years ago, on June 16th 2007, that I made my first real bento! I brought a lunch for two on a 16 km hike, in my first actual bento box. Of course I decided to use this blue usagi sakura box for my anniversary bento (#54) as well!

I like to think that the dots behind the white cherry blossoms (sakura) are full moons, since in Japanese culture rabbits (usagi) are often depicted with these mochi-tsuki. I still love this bento box a lot, but I use it less than my favourite flower lunchbox because that one’s smaller. Anyway, I’m getting distracted ;)

Upper tier:

  • sakura muscat white chocolate
  • 3 sesame-soy rice crackers
  • 3 yoghurt coated (dried) apricots
  • 3 mini plum tomatoes
  • basil
  • radish
  • pistachios
  • mix of roasted black & white sesame with a bit of walnut and nori to go on the spinach (in the other tier)

Lower tier:

  • quickly stirfried spinach with spring onion, kikkoman soy sauce and sake, topped with walnut and nori
  • (more radishes
  • scrambled egg with tomato and basil

Scrambled eggs with tomato is my favourite egg dish since childhood :) But it was all REALLY good!

ICHI, NI, SAN, SHI — on to year no.3 (&4)! :)

Bento #51 was not only a good beginning of the next fifty (on the way to 100!), but also a great start of the week :)

I’ve been getting questions about preparation time. Well, this bento to me a relaxed 12 minutes in the morning! Could have been quicker if I had been in a hurry! :) Of course I’m only counting throwing in the quiche, not baking it LOL. I also had the steamed green beans ready to go and I cleaned my yellow tomatoes, radishes and a carrot the night before. Nothing I couldn’t have done in a sec this morning :)

Gnoe’s tip: did you know that steaming vegetables is so much quicker and healthier when you do it in the microwave? Do follow instructions though (LOL). It sounds obvious but I know a lot of people who don’t use the microwave for cooking veggies.

Well, I’ve already mentioned some of my bento’s content but here’s the complete list:

  • yellow grape tomatoes
  • strawberries
  • red salad leaves
  • spinach pie with blue cheese, leeks, pinenuts and black sesame seeds
  • some cranberries
  • walnut and hazelnuts
  • carrot hiding under green beans
  • garden cress
  • radishes
  • basil
  • and… mini rhubarb-raspberry crumble!

As you can see I tried to do something creative with the radishes :-o I had hoped the carefully peeled skin would ‘flower’ after I had put the veggies in some ice water but… it failed ;) And yes, that experiment took place within the before mentioned 12 minutes! ;)

Well, guess what we had for dinner yesterday… Gado-gado! Since my first — and very succesful — attempt to grow my own bean sprouts (taugeh) we have to think of recipes to use it all. LOL Gado-gado is an all-time favourite and had to go on the menu. It’s a salad of either raw or blanched vegetables, served with peanut sauce as a dressing and emping and (dried) fried onions as toppings. Fried tofu and boiled egg are essential ingredients as well. Can’t get any easier, can it? :)

Our meal was (of course) delicious and I had made enough to put some in bento #50. Yay, a real feast! Unfortunately we were out of fried onions and ate all the emping at dinner :\ In my bento I took a Japanese sesame-soy rice cracker instead; not the same — I knoooow — but something crunchy to bite anyway ;)

For those of you who’ve never heard of emping: it’s a type of krupuk (or kroepoek, as we say) that is made of melinjo nuts. No shrimp, so it’s a good alternative for vegetarians like me :) It seems you have to love it or to hate it (it has a bit of a bitter taste) but I really can’t understand that anyone wouldn’t like it! :\

About my jubilee bento. Gado-gado is a great bento filler because it should be eaten at room temperature. The veggies are either blanched or raw so it’s easy to use leftovers ;) Of course it can be nice to have a hot peanut sauce with it, but roomtemp or cold is fine. So what do you see in my bento?

Top tier (which is actually the bottom tier :\ )

  • Japanese grape sweet (Anpanman mix fruit hard candy)
  • 3 stars of dried apricot & wild berries snack
  • mix of cashews and dried cranberries
  • Apricot & wild berries fruit snacksesame-soy rice cracker
  • container with peanut sauce
  • strips of fried tofu for the gado-gado
  • homegrown mustard cress
  • little radish stars

The bottom tier contains a mix of the following

  • red leaf salad (raw)
  • white cabbage (blanched by pouring some hot water over it)
  • bean sprouts (raw, but can be poured over with some hot water as well)
  • cucumber (raw)
  • carrots (blanched)
  • green beans and haricots verts (blanched)
  • slices of boiled egg (obviously)
  • more radish stars
  • radishes with gherkin stars

I’ll post a more precise recipe of gado-gado sometime soon… (oh, me and my promises..! :\ )

Tonight we will be having more Indonesian food with taugeh on the menu: loempia (spring rolls) and lalab taugé! Spring rolls and mushroom soup as a matter of fact, because I ran out of bean sprouts! :-o

I’m afraid the recipes are in Dutch (one of them is really Flemish, to be exact ;)

Het halve Turks brood rende hard weg :\ toen ik als zondagse lunch een pizzaboterham wilde maken (een van mijn all time favourite foods, daarover zal ik nog eens een blogje schrijven), dus heb ik mijn toevlucht gezocht tot andere restjes in de koelkast die op moesten. En zo kwam ik tot een heerlijke zondagse lunch: mosterdsoep met tuinkers, geroosterde witte boterhammen en frittata van gebakken aardappel, prei en boerenkaas met gerookt paprikapoeder. Yummy, dat smaakte prima :) En weer een hoop ruimte gecreëerd in de koelkast. Nu ga ik gauw nieuwe tuinkers zaaien.

tuinkers

Maar ik voel me toch geroepen ook nog even wat melden over mijn hamsterrace... Ik heb mijzelf uitgedaagd iedere maand minstens 2 dingen te gebruiken uit mijn voorraad Unidentified Cooking Objects en andere producten die de status van ‘reserve’ nooit te boven schijnen te komen. Dat ging prima in maart: ik gebruikte 7 producten en maakte er zelfs 3 echt op.

En nu lijk ik lui achterover te zijn gaan hangen… Want in april ben ik niet zo braaf geweest! En nee, mijn voorsprong van maart mag ik niet voor deze maand meetellen ;) Dus heb ik mezelf nog maar eens bij de kladden gegrepen: gisteren at ik gesnipperde nori (zeewier) in mijn noodles en komende week staat er couscous op het programma met ratatouille en (gedroogde) kikkererwten. Dat zijn dan toch de vereiste 2 ingrediënten (1 1/2?) maar zo is het wel heel makkelijk en daarmee ben ik dus niet tevreden..! Gelukkig is de week/maand nog niet om :) Welk ‘kliekje’ uit mijn voorraden zal ik nog eens uit de kast trekken?

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