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Don’t you think today’s office lunch looks really cheerful?! :D

Flowery Fall Bento #197

First tier
Red Batavia lettuce, French onion, cucumber and radish flowers finished off with African Peper Mix, salt, yuzu powder and nori cutting. Nooo, I did not do that by hand. ;) Oven-roasted butternut squash with coriander seeds in the cup, and a tiny tomato from the balcony.

Second tier
Seitan stroganoff and minty leek bulgur with a fresh mint blossom.

Third tier
The fruit tier: kiwi, red grapefruit, orange and home-grown yellow raspberries with a bundle of mint.

On the side
Dressing for the raw vegetables and more proteins: a soy caramel dessert.

A little of the fresh mint went into the bulgur, the rest I used for a cup of herbal tea. :)

This bento mostly consists of leftovers: the seitan, grains and pumpkin were all on the menu the past few days. The citrus wedges I put aside yesterday when I was having a bowl of fruit. So you see: it really doesn’t have to be a lot of work!

Now, maybe you’re wondering what happens to the cut-off pieces of crudités — I know I used to when I was a beginning bentoïst! But there are several solutions.

  • In this case they’re hidden beneath the flowers. :)
  • You can snack on them while compiling your bento.
  • They can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated until evening or the next day, when you can throw them in a salad, soup, tofu scramble, stew or whatever.

Maybe you have an even better idea? Whatever you do: wasting them is not an option. ;)

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Poppy Seed Scone with Rasberry Jelly & Buttermilk Curd

These yummy and easy to make (!) poppy seed scones are a recent discovery. I promised to share the recipe, so here it is!

Dutch readers can look up the original. Note that I used raspberry jelly instead of strawberry; Mr Gnoe and I actually liked that better because of it’s subtle (& less sweet) taste. For this blogpost I made a double batch; you can view the baking process on Flickr.

Please use organic dairy for animal welfare?!

Ingredients for Poppy Seed Scones

Here’s what you need for approx. 18 small scones.

  • 300 gr self-raising flower
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 50 gr butter
  • 100-150 ml buttermilk
  • 1 egg, whisked loose (not two eggs; I made a mistake taking the picture above)
  • 2 tbs poppy seeds
  • (flour)

Preparation

  • Preheat oven at 225 ºC.
  • Mix self-raising flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.
  • Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips to make a crumbly dough.
  • Pour in the whisked egg and part of the buttermilk. Be careful not to make the dough to wet (that’s why you won’t want to pour in all the buttermilk at once) and make sure you leave a little milk for a golden finishing.
  • Add poppyseed.
  • Knead into a smooth (elastic) dough. If it is too wet you can add a bit more self-raising flour.
  • Flatten dough by hand on a floured surface, until about 2 cm thick.
  • Use a small glass our cookie cutter to cut out circles of approx. 4 cm and put these on your baking sheet.
  • Coat with a little buttermilk to give them a golden shine.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes.

The process of baking Poppy Seed Scones

These poppy seed scones can be eaten either cold or lukewarm and they make great picnic food, bento stuffing, or an addition to your breakfast, lunch or high tea. Serve with mascarpone or clotted cream and jam.

Another one of Gnoe’s tips
Now what to do with the rest of that whole liter of buttermilk? Yes, of course I could drink it, but I do not particularly like buttermilk :\ So I made curd out of it by hanging it in a (clean) moist tea towel from the kitchen cupboard for 8-12 hours.

Buttermilk curd is a bit thicker than quark and much more creamy. Yesh, I like :) The best part is that you can put the curd on your scones instead of mascarpone or clotted cream. A healthier alternative, although I like to indulge on the bad ones ;)

ENJOY!

Poppy seed scone

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

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

Well, this bento really was an ordinary lunch bento and not meant for tonight, but because of the shooting star, moon behind the tree (houmous container behind mint) and peppermint planet, it made me think of summer nights. Especially together with my new dark furoshiki, as you can see on Flickr. Now I keep hearing ABBA’s song Summer Night City in my head with a different chorus line… who’s to say they are not subtitling the song Summer Night BENTO in this Japanese broadcast? :P

Left tier: apple, radish, container of houmous, a few pistachios, mint for tea, my very last special babybel from France (emmental), bruschettas and a peppermint candy for the end of the day.

Right tier: fresh field peas á la Provence (in tomato sauce with herbes de Provence, zucchini, shalot, leek and garlic), green beans (hiding behind grass divider), radishes, yellow cherry tomatoes, lettuce, parsley and… tsukemono of turnips (meiknol).

Making tsukemono (pickles) is a Japanese way to preserve food so you usually do that some time before you want to eat it. It is a side dish with totally different texture (bite) and flavour from the rest of your meal. When I say “Japanese ginger pickles” you’ll probably all know what I mean ;)

The mixture I used to make my turnip pickles contained rice vinegar, mirin (rice wine for cooking), a bit of lemon juice and some cayenne pepper because we’re out of shichimi powder. But before I mixed the dressing with the turnip I extracted water from the vegetables by coating them with salt en putting them in a colander for about 15 minutes. Next time I’ll really need to use less salt! After wiping the slices dry and mixing them with the dressing, I put the tsukemono in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight.

As you might have noticed by now, quite a bit of pre-preparation time went into this bento! Thankfully the field peas are a leftover from diner so the work had been done yesterday. It did take me some time because not only were the peas fresh and had to be taken out of their pods, we also never have any pre-composed herb mixtures. So I made the herbes de Provence myself.

tijmAnd here’s another one of Gnoe’s tips! First I dried some thyme in the microwave. You just have to put the fresh herbs (without the woody parts) evenly between two layers of kitchen paper, about 3 minutes on 600 Wt. You know that they’re ready when they are crunchy to the touch. That’s all :)

Ingredients of herbes de Provence:

  • 4 parts of thyme
  • 4 parts of oregano (since we were out of marjoram)
  • 4 parts of savory (bonenkruid in Dutch)
  • 2 parts of rosemary
  • 2 parts of basil
  • 1 part of sage (salie)
  • 1 part of tarragon (dragon)

You could also add fennel, chervil and — preferably — lavender if you have some, but I didn’t want to make my mixture too outrageous ;)

Summer Night Bento… for those of you who can’t get ABBA out of their heads either: here’s another cool version of the song in Wembley Stadium (1979). Enjoy :)

Here’s the recipe for the tzatziki that I took in bento #58. I’ts really easy to make and tastes great. A fresh dish that will make you think of vacation on any summer day!

dilleIngredients

  • 1 organic cucumber
  • salt
  • 3,5 dl Greek yoghurt
    (I like it full-cream)
  • 1 piece of garlic
    (2 if you wish)
  • 2 table spoons of olive oil (extra virgine)
  • pepper
  • 2 table spoons of fresh dill (finely cut); see Gnoe’s tip for cutting herbs below!

Preparation
Wash and roughly grate the cucumber (including the skin). Because you’re not peeling the cuke, it’s really best to use organic! Put in a colander, sprinkle with salt en put a weight on it for half an hour. I often use a saucer and small pan filled with water to weigh something down.

In the meantime crush the garlic. Mix yoghurt with garlic, olive oil, dill and pepper to taste (blend by mixing). When the cucumber is ready it can be added to the mixture.

You can make tzatziki a while in advance if it’s kept refrigerated.

Use
Use as a starter or side dish with salad and black olives (think mezze!), as vegetable dip, for a picnic or buffet — you can even put it on your sandwhich, but it will get soggy ;) I like to serve it with Turkish pide bread.

To give you an idea of the quantity: it’s about 4 servings as entree.

Gnoe’s tip for cutting herbs
An easy way to cut dill (or parsley) is putting the leaves in a cup and snip-snap with your kitchen scissors! You can’t use this method for all herbs though; e.g. basil leaves should be torn to allow their fragrances to appear.

Last but not least: I like the smoothness of a tzatziki that’s low on garlic but some people might want to use 2 pieces of garlic :-o In that case, remember my post with natural tips against garlic smell ;)

Burn Notice

Ik ben van het zeldzame slag ‘gericht tv-kijker’: ik kijk alleen wat ik écht wil zien en dan meestal ook nog op mijn eigen tijd ;) Daarvoor heb je dan
wel een harddiskrecorder en een VPRO-gids nodig (of vooruit, een online tv-gids mag ook ;)

Zulk kijkgedrag heeft als voordeel dat je series niet met spanning een week hoeft te wachten op het vervolg, maar dat je lekker aflevering na aflevering kunt kijken :) Zo geniet ik sinds vorige week van de serie Burn Notice, die dinsdagavonds om ca. 22 uur wordt uitgezonden op RTL5. Morgen zijn ze daar al bij nummer 11 en ik ben ongeveer halverwege. De eerste 3 episodes moest ik even besluiten of het de moeite van het opnemen waard was — ik laat The Culture Show ervoor schieten (nou ja, ik neem dan vrijdagnacht de uncut-versie op) — maar eenmaal gewend vind ik het errug lollig!

Ik citeer ff uit de Wikipedia-pagina:

De serie draait om Michael Westen, die al jarenlang een succesvolle spion is in dienst van Amerika. Dan krijgt hij op een dag een bericht met de tekst ‘You got Burned’, wat inhoud dat hij en zogenaamde “Burn Notice” heeft ontvangen en dus feitelijk is ontslagen. Voor Westen is dat [..] een ernstige situatie. Als een spion wordt ontslagen, dan heeft hij opeens geen geld, credit, werkhistorie of enig ander middel om te laten zien wie hij is.

Michael Westen wordt gespeeld door Jeffrey Donovan, die ik onlangs in Clint Eastwoods Changeling voor het eerst zag. Ik vind het een beetje een gladjanus, maar de hele serie is ‘slick‘ gefilmd dus dat lijkt een goeie keuze ;)

Burn Notice dus. Het zijn een beetje flutverhaaltjes die soms je intelligentie onderschatten, maar leuk(st)e van de serie vind ik dat-ie inhaakt op allerlei Amerikaanse tv-series uit mijn jeugd. Zoals:

  • Miami Vice: Burn Notice speelt in Miami en je ziet telkens shots van scheurende speedboten of flanerende vrouwen in bikini’s; bovendien lijkt Sam, de enige ‘vriend’ die Michael nog bij de FBI heeft, op collega Switek van Crocket & Tubbs uit Miami Vice
  • Dallas: het liefje van Sam wordt gespeeld door Audrey Landers, oftewel Afton uit Dallas (nauwelijks veranderd overigens, dus daar is een hoop aan gesleuteld…)
  • The A-Team: er wordt flink gefröbeld met mobiele telefoons, duct-tape en andere huis-tuin-en-keuken gadgets; bovendien verricht Michael veel ‘vriendendiensten’, net als Hannibal, Face, B.A. en Murdock
  • Magnum, P.I.: ook Magnum hielp vooral vrienden (van vrienden) als ik het mij goed herinner; daarnaast heeft Michael net als Tom Selleck een karakteristiek lachje dat vaak close-up in beeld wordt gebracht — en had Magnum niet net zo’n voice-over?
  • Cagney & Lacey: Michaels moeder (belangrijke bijrol) wordt gespeeld door Sharon Gless a.k.a. Cagney
  • Charlie’s Angels: Michaels toeverlaat Fiona is een soort schietgrage Angel
  • Knight Rider: snelle (zwarte) auto ;) en dat is natuurlijk ook een link met Miami Vice en Magnum, alleen waren dat resp. witte en rode bolides (vrouwen letten op de kleur, niet op het merk — behalve Elsje natuurlijk ;)
  • Hill Street Blues: Fiona riep Michael laatst na wat leek op iets waarmee ‘the chief’ in Hill Street Blues zijn agenten op pad stuurde: (“and remember, be careful out there” — of zoiets, ik hoor graag de juiste quote!)

Wie ontdekt meer??? Het lijkt me dat dit het topje van de ijsberg moet zijn! Waarvan kennen we bijvoorbeeld het tussendoor stilzetten van beelden, en de introductie van personages met typemachine-letters? Ook dat komt me razend bekend voor…

ETA: vanwege extreme spam op dit bericht is de commentaarmogelijkheid hier uitgeschakeld.

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