Monday, 28 March 2011

Bento - Low fat hummus, falafel, cherry tomatoes ♥

Snack box - Herb & garlic pita bread ♥

Also strawberry soya milk & an apple pie nakd bar ♥♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

Inspired by the beautiful Lebanese food I had whilst in Paris (but on a major budget!)

(I'm not sure what half that stuff is, but it was delicious! I was so sick during my visit, and the food was so light on my stomach and felt so nutritious. It was wonderful!)

I really want to buy a vegan/vegetarian Lebanese cookbook so I can make those cute pastry-things and some delicious salads ♥

Mmm this bento was yummy, and also the cheapest I've ever made! It was such a struggle to wait until lunch time to eat it. It could have done with more fruit & veg (but the nakd bar does contain two portions of fruit - and tastes sooo good. I seriously love these things so much). I've got the same for the rest of the week so I'm happy ♥

Rating ~ 5 out of 5 ♥

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Bento - Mango and watermelon ♥

Snack box - Granola, cashews and brazil nuts ♥

Plus carrots and strawberry soya milk ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

I haven't been keeping up with anyone's blogs recently : ( I'm sorry, I'm just so busy with college : ( I'm gonna try and be a little more active on here : )

It's spring, and I wanted something light and healthy (not to mention quick to throw together). There are loads of bunnies out and I wanted to celebrate that with some yummy organic carrots. It's not very fancy or interesting, but it kept me full and tasted alright ♥

Rating ~ 3 out of 5 ♥

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Top Layer - Tamagoyaki, edamame beans, Hello Kitty shaped boiled egg, soya sauce ♥

Bottom Layer - Cucumber sushi rolls ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

I'm not very good at making sushi, but I will keep practicing. It might not be pretty but it's very tasty : ) This is the first time I've made tamagoyaki in my new tamagoyaki pan for a bento! It's delicious : ) ♥

Rating ~ 4.5 out of 5 ♥

Monday, 14 March 2011

This week I'm donating my lunch money to the Japan Tsunami Appeal, and so I am trying to put together bento out of ingredients I already have : )

Bento - Soba noodles, edamame beans, mixed greens, soya sauce and sesame oil dressing ♥

Snack box - Pomegranate seeds

& a banana ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

Soba noodles and edamame beans are lovely, but I'm getting bored : ( I miss rice balls, I just wish I had the time : ( Maybe it's worth me investing in a rice cooker? Or at least trying out a different dressing : )

Rating ~ 2.5 out of 5 ♥

Friday, 11 March 2011

Bento - Cha soba with mixed baby leaves, edamame beans, cherry tomatoes, carrot flowers, black sesame seeds, soya sauce ♥

Snack box - Sliced plum, Thai mango, pomegranate seeds ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

Chai soba works better than rice : ) plus so much quicker to prepare. Lovely and refreshing on a bright Spring day ♥

Rating ~ 4.5 out of 5 ♥

Monday, 7 March 2011

Bento - Jasmine rice, mixed baby leaves, edamame beans, cherry tomatoes, carrot flowers ♥

Snack box - Sliced plums, Thai mango, pomegranate seeds ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

I'm back : ) I had a lovely time in Paris, but I got super sick while I was there : ( So this week I want to try to be extra healthy : ) Salad and rice is a bit uninspiring, but it was still tasty : ) I could have done a stir-fry, but I just wanted everything as simple and raw as possible. My lunch was finished off with an ultra cute carton of strawberry soya milk ♥

Rating ~ 4 out of 5 ♥

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Sorry for the lack of updates! I've been on half term for nearly two weeks, and then next week I'm off to Paris ♥ So no bento : ( but hopefully lots of pics of all delicious French cakes I will be eating : )

I got a new bento box today, isn't it cute? I can't wait to get back to college, so I can start filling it with coconut rice, daifuku, strawberries~♥

Have any of you guys ever been to Paris? Do you have any recommendations of cute places to eat? ♥

Monday, 14 February 2011

Top layer - Soba noodles with nori, edamame beans, spring onions and sesame seeds, with soy sauce and sesame oil ♥

Bottom layer - Melon slices ♥

Snack box - Homemade ichigo daifuku, grapes, a strawberry ♥

And a nashi pear ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

I'm trying to make my lunches as quick to prepare as possible as I'm so busy these days : ( I miss rice, but unless you have a rice cooker noodles are definitely the way to go if you want something quick. The ichigo daifuku were delicious, but when I went to eat the second one there was a spider stuck to it :O ew, ew, eww how did that happen? I was not happy, and neither was the spider.

I do wish I would be a little more creative with my presentation : ( I want more colour in there! I wish I had cute little left overs to pop in my bento : (

And, of course, Amy drew a face on my pear! : )

Rating ~ 4 out of 5 ♥

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Mochi recipe ♥

Inspired by Lynne’s post on Happy Hearts Mochi, I tried again at making mochi, this time combining a few of the recipes I have read and just making the rest up. And they turned out beautifully! Squishy pillows of heaven ♥ I’m so glad I’ve got a recipe that works for me now : )

Ingredients ♥

1 cup mochiko
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence (or pandan/almond/coconut/whatever you fancy essence)
Extra mochiko/corn flour/potato starch for dusting
Filling of your choice (I used peanut butter this time, but you can also use whole strawberries, red bean paste, mung bean paste, coconut, chocolate spread etc)

Method ♥

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium sized microwavable bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Scrape down the sides, and cover the bowl loosely with cling film.

Pop into the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir the mochi well, and then cover again.

Microwave for 1 minute. If it sinks when taken out and has a thoroughly mochi-like consistently, you're there. If not, stir again and microwave for 30 seconds more.

Prepare a chopping board by covering it liberally with mochiko/corn flour/potato starch (I used mochiko). Leave the mochi mixture to cool down for a few minutes, and then scrape it onto the board. Sprinkle mochiko over the top of the mochi, and on your hands, and flatten it to about ½ inch thick.

Cover a knife with more mochiko, and cut the mochi into equal pieces. Spoon a little bit of your filling into the centre of each piece, then wrap the mochi around, pinching it to seal. Roll the mochi into balls, covering with more mochiko if needed (you can also use desiccated coconut if you wish).

Enjoy! ♥

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Top layer - Cha soba, carrot flowers, strips of cucumber, edamame beans, sesame seeds ♥

Bottom layer - Blueberries and grapes ♥

Snack box - Raspberry muffins and grapes ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

Pretty much the same as yesterday : ) I still can't get over how much I love soba noodles. I unfortunately cannot say the same about blueberries, yuck (maybe because they're out of season?). The days are getting lighter and I can't wait to start cooking loads of spring-inspired food ♥

Rating ~ 3.7 out of 5 ♥

Monday, 7 February 2011

Top layer - Cha soba (green tea buckwheat noodles) with edamame beans and carrot flowers ♥

Bottom layer - Grapes and blueberries ♥

Snack box - Raspberry muffins, grapes ♥

A nashi pear : )

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

I wanted to bake some cranberry muffins, but I couldn't get hold of any : ( but raspberries are tasty too : )

I love, love, love, love cha soba! Definitely a new bento staple : ) I want to try ume soba too but they were all sold out : ( Soba noodles are definitely the way to go as it get warmer ♥ I want to get a cute airtight container so I can bring some dipping broth with me so they're not so plain, though : ( Even if they were a bit bland, they were still amazingly tasty, plus they are cheap, quick to prepare and a lovely colour : )

My friend Amy likes to draw faces on my fruit. She's awesome ♥

Rating ~ 4.2 out of 5 ♥

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Last bento of the week :D

Top layer - Noodles with carrots, sesame seeds, sweet Japanese omelette strips, and umeboshi dressing ♥ Edamame beans on the side : )

Bottom layer - Dragon fruit, brazil nuts ♥

Snack box - Lavender shortbread ♥

And a nashi pear ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

No photos of the main because it was soooo boring. The umeboshi dressing was interesting though : ) This lunch really had everything you ever need in life.. Edamame beans, sweet omelette, little biscuits shaped like teapots.. ♥

And check out my cool new Lilo & Stitch bento bag! It's perfect for when you don't have much food to bring in : ) Awww, Stitch, you're so cute ♥

Rating ~ 3.5 out of 5!!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

✿Lavender Shortbread✿

I have no lessons on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so I have no bento to offer you : ( So, instead, let’s have a recipe! ♥

Lavender Shortbread~♥

Spring is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with these super cute cookies cut into sweet spring shapes? Here I’ve got bunnies, butterflies and tea pots ♥ Flowers, cats, teacups etc would be lovely too ✿

Recipe ♥

115g plain flour
75g butter, cubed
65g lavender sugar (I got mine from Waitrose)
½ tsp vanilla extract
2tsp milk (not really a traditional ingredient, but it makes them ever so yummy and chewy)

Pre-heat your oven to 180c.

Rub the flour and butter together with your fingers, and then add the sugar, vanilla and milk. Combine well. Place on a floured surface, and roll out to a thickness of about ½ an inch. Cut into desired shape, place on a baking tray covered in parchment, then prick well with a fork or cocktail stick.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until a light golden colour ♥

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Top layer - Edamame beans, rice stuffed tofu puffs ♥

Bottom layer - Cubes of dragon fruit, grapes, kiwi ♥

Snack box - Mung bean daifuku, various sweets ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

My lunch for my day out in London ♥ (although it is pretty much exactly the same as my last lunch) ♥ I made two lots of all this, one for me and one for a friend, and we munched together after a lovely time perusing the Tate Modern ♥

My new bento stuff has arrived ♫ I got a cute strawberry snack box, some food picks, Hello Kitty food dividers, and a Lilo & Stitch bento bag ♫ I'm going to have to make another order again soon, because the lids of my Hello Kitty sauce bottles keep on exploding :' (

Anyhow, I loved this lunch ♥ and so did my friend. Edamame beans are my life ♥

Rating ~ 4.7 out of 5 ♥

Monday, 31 January 2011

Top layer - Edamame beans, sushi rice stuffed tofu puffs, cucumber strips with a sprinkle of dried chili flakes. Soy sauce : )

Bottom layer - Purple rice mochi with a mung bean filling, grapes, dragon fruit ♥

Not pictured - A cranberry and banana muffin, nashi pear ♥

~ ♥ ~ &hearts ~

My favourite lunch so far! I really want some inari sushi, but I couldn't find the tofu wrappers at my local asian supermarket. So instead I got some tofu puffs, turned them inside out, filled them with sushi rice and fried them until golden ♥ Not the same, but still delicious! Today was also the first time I've ever had edamame beans, and they are so tasty and addictive! ♥

The mung bean mochi was so good too (but what mochi isn't? ♥). I've had dragon fruit many times before, but this one had a really overpowering rose flavour ♥ I wish I could have thought of a way to arrange it a bit prettier, though : (

I just want to eat this again and again and again ♥

Rating ~ 4.5 out of 5 ♥

Saturday, 29 January 2011

I’ve just completed my first week of bento making! I set out to make bento that were cheap, healthy, tasty and quick, but unfortunately so far I’ve only really managed the first two. But never mind, it is only my first week : ) I need to get the focus back on to the food I like to eat, and get some more variety in there : )

One of the hardest things for me about putting my bento together was the amount of time it took for some of them! I really don’t have much free time on college evenings so I’ve got to start planning ahead and making anything that will keep for a few days at the weekend. Making a pot of curry that I can freeze and use as I need it would be a good idea, or I’ve been really craving some cranberry muffins, which can be just whipped up on a lazy Sunday afternoon and then eaten all week.

I bought way, way waaay too much food for one week’s worth of lunches. And I ended up eating the same fruit and veg every day, which was so boring. I need to buy more varieties in smaller packs. Although fruit salad is delicious, it gets dull really quickly. I need to find other ways of getting fruit into my lunch box (strawberry daifuku, fruit muffins, and fruit juice... Even just arranging it differently, on food picks, cut into hearts etc. A slightly different selection every day would be good too).

I’ve ordered a few more bento goodies, including a cute strawberry snack box. I have a really rushed breakfast at around 6am and by mid morning I’m always starving, so now I can pack something to help me through until lunch time : ) I think I’m going to end up spending waaay too much money on this ♥

Most of all I want to work on my presentation : ) I know that elaborate kyaraben are out of the question right now, but I still want my bento to be cute ♥ Hello Kitty rice balls, more flowers made out of fruit and vegetables, colourful mochi, strawberries, miniature fruit ~&hearts : ) I’ve ordered some food picks, and I want to get some cute nori punches soon as well : ) I’ve got such a long bento wish list, it’s ridiculous (I can’t help it if everything is so cute) : )~~♥

Last bento of the week : )

Top layer – Basmati rice with sesame seeds, cherry tomatoes in a heart shaped container ♥

Bottom Layer – Papaya and melon (again!) ♥

Panda tub – Stir-fried egg, broccoli and carrot : )

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

I’m so bored of eating the same food every day now! I never want to see broccoli again in my life. Lunch was tasty and filling enough, I just want a bit more variety : ) ~♥

Rating ~ 2 out of 5 ♥

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Today I made mochi for the first time ♥

Mochi is a traditional Japanese cake made out of glutionous rice. It can be used to make lots of other desserts (and sometimes savoury items) such as daifuku (can be applied to any mochi with a sweet filling, like red been paste, or even a whole strawbeery (ichigo daifuku)), mochi ice cream (ice cream covered in mochi) and ‘moffles’, mochi waffles ♥

I got the recipe from Vegan Yum Yum but used Earl Grey Vanilla instead of plain water ♥ and rolled my mochi in cornflour, icing sugar, and coconut. It was so easy to make and I don’t think it took more than half an hour. Plus they’re cheaper, healthier and tastier than the pre-packaged mochi I buy from my local Asian supermarket : )

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Top layer – Pasta with home made pesto, cherry tomatoes, little bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar ♥

Bottom layer – Melon flowers, grapes ♥

Freshy baked bread ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

I made lunch for a friend as well today ♥ There’s something so peaceful about baking bread for one of your friends : ) I didn’t have as much basil to put in the pesto as I would have liked, but it was still yummy. I am starting to get bored of eating all this savoury food though (I would just eat sweets all day every day if I could). Making the loaf of bread did remind me how much I love baking, especially for my friends, so I’m going to try and do that more often ♥

Rating ~ 2.5 out of 5 ♥

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Top layer - Basmati rice with black sesame seeds, accompanied by egg, broccoli and carrot stir fried in sweet chili sauce ♥

Bottom layer – Papaya chunks, melon flowers and whole grapes ♥

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

This was so quick to throw together but really tasty! ♥ I cheated a bit with the sauce for the stir-fry, I just mixed together some store-bought sweet chili sauce, a splash of light soy sauce and some chili flakes, but it still worked out well : ) I’m sure by the end of the week I will be so sick of eating the same vegetables though : ) ♥

Rating ~ 3 out of 5 ♥

Monday, 24 January 2011

My first bento of the new college term ♥

Top layer – Hello Kitty molded free range egg, avocado maki, blanched broccoli, carrot flowers, cherry tomatoes, 2 x containers of soy sauce ♥

Bottom Layer – Papaya chunks, melon flowers, sliced grapes ♥ sprinkled with coconut and slithered almonds : )

~ ♥ ~ ♥ ~

Okay, I had two goes at making the avocado maki, and both were complete failures. I had a lot of trouble measuring the right amount of water for such a tiny amount of rice (and it does seem like a bit of waste if you’re just going to make one tiny serving of sushi or one rice ball. I might start making enough rice for two or three then passing them amongst my friends, since I know they don’t keep well?). Since I could only salvage two tiny rolls, I spent the day feeling very hungry : (

The Hello Kitty egg received a mixed reaction of awe and disgust from my friends (okay, mostly disgust). The vegetables could have done with a bit more than just soy sauce (stir fry next time?), but it wasn’t so bad : ) The fruit salad was delicious, my favourite part of the meal ♥

Rating ~ 2 out of 5 ♥

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Mission statement ♥

I love food. I love cooking it, I love eating it, I love just looking at it. But, as a busy and broke full-time student, finding the time and the money to eat well everyday is a huge challenge. For me, just managing to put together a sandwich to bring to class seems to be a struggle, and day after day I either go hungry or give in to the processed junk food of the college canteen (not cheap, not healthy, and certainly not delicious). For a while I’ve cast longing looks at the nutritionally balanced and oh-so kawaii bento boxes from far-away Japan, but I’ve always thought they were far too time-consuming and expensive for me! I admired them from a distance, and tried to move on with my life.

But then, one Christmas morning, I unwrapped a gift from my boyfriend to find a Hello Kitty bento box, with a matching bag, followed by an assortment of cute accessories to get me started in bento making. I had all the supplies I needed to get me going, and to adapt the art of bento making to my personal taste and situation.

And so, I have begun this blog. I want to try and show everyone that creating cute and colourful lunches doesn’t have to take hours, and that getting a few portions of fruit and veg in there doesn’t mean you have to live off carrot sticks. But also, just because you want something nutritious for lunch doesn’t mean giving up cupcakes forever. It’s all about balance, and just enjoying food ♥