October 29, 2010
I remember watching Japanese animations with my sister when I was small. They weren’t normally broadcasted on tv but we watched recorded tapes my dad borrowed from a friend that could have access to Japanese tv programs.
At that time, satellite and cable Tvs were way out of reality and my parents couldn’t watch any Japanese tv show if not in that way.
So, my sister and I would put the (Sony) Betamax on (wow! Does anyone remember that?) and watch Doraemon, Obake no Q-tarō, Gegege no kitaro (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎) and Sazae-san, among others.
Obake no Q-tarō is originally a manga, made by same creators of Doraemon (Fujiko Fujio). Obake means some sort of “apparition”, can take any form, like a ghost for example.
This bento was actually made in the same day of the “Boos” bentos I posted yesterday. I was thinking about Halloween, boos, ghosts and Q-tarō came to my mind. I think he is so cute and thought he deserved a bento form and a separate post ^_^.
Contents of the bento (originally made to me but eaten by hubs!): rice, tamagoyaki, cherry tomatoes, edamame, steamed romaine broccoli with sesame oil dressing, pan fried MSG free sausages and a cup of cucumber and carrots asazuke. Q-tarō made with rice, turkey ham, nori and cooked carrot.
October 28, 2010
I couldn’t resist to make a Halloween theme bento. I’ve been having so much fun seeing many of my bento friends making them I also decided to give it a go. ^_^
We don’t celebrate Halloween in Finland. At least not officially. The habit came some years ago (maybe because of some “trend”) and it is possible to see some Halloween decorations and costumes being sold at shops.
Anyways, kids asking candies on Oct. 31 is rare. There is an equivalent celebration on the Sunday before Easter, when girls dress like witches and go, door to door, offering their “spell” using decorated flowering shoots of pussy willow. They wish health and prosperity and we shall pay them back with money or candies.
My girls, for some reason, know the existence of Halloween. Every time they see a Jack o´Lantern they inform me it is for the “Haalow weeen” (<trying to write the way they pronounce it ^_^). “And what else we have in Halloween?” “scary things. BOO”
:D. I hope not totally out of the theme, there are “Boos” from the Super Mario game series and Jack o´lanterns.
Contents of the boxes: rice, tamagoyaki, lettuce, steamed romanesco broccoli with sesame oil dressing, MSG-free small sausages (it supposed to look like a candle..), edamame, grapes, cherry tomatoes and a carrot Jack o´. Boo made from rice, nori and turkey ham.
I was so happy when I found the Romanesco broccoli at the market last time! Very lucky .. the same day we watched the TED video of Mr. Benoit Mandelbrot about fractals, in his homage. (Oh yes, we are nerds)
October 21, 2010
Sometime ago I got a nice theme wish for a bento from a very special reader of my blog. According to her mom, she checks my blog everyday and asks “what auntie is making for me today?” ^_^
Celebrating her birthday today, I dedicate this bento to my little niece A ! Feliz aniversário linda da tia! Happy birthday! We can´t be there to party with you, but your cousins are sending huge hugs and kisses from here ＼(^o^)／
Ah.. and the bento she requested.. Baikinman from the Anpanman anime series :D! Baikinman is known as “Meanyman” in English and he is the main antagonist of our hero Anpanman. He is the villain of the Germ World and usually appears with co-partner Dokin-chan ( Pikkusiili´s favorite ) and the Meanspiders. Seems my girls have a tendency for the “evil” ( ehehehe )
Contents of the boxes: lettuce, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, steamed cauliflower, grapes, lettuce roll with cheese and turkey ham, chicken meatballs, mixed rice (and non featured tamagoyaki… I remembered only after taking the pictures #fail ). Baikinman made from rice, nori, turkey ham and cheese. Note the party hat he is wearing, specially for this occasion! :D
Ayu-chan! Foi muito legal você ter vindo visitar as priminhas no verao! Estamos com saudades! Parabéns e um beijo enorme da tia ♡♥♡♥ ♪( ´▽｀)
October 12, 2010
October is the month of Breast Cancer Awareness. The international health campaign aims to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research.
Bentoblog invited me to join the pink bento theme event she is hosting (please visit there and check the other wonderful supporters´ work!). Making a bento in the pink theme or using the pink ribbon is our way to participate and show our awareness too.
Other dear bento-friends are also giving their contribution! If you’re in twitter, look for hashtags #projectpink and #thinkpink.
You can also participate, donating, joining the different events taking place this month and spreading the word about them. Let´s hope this shout out is effective, not only in October but also for the whole years to come.
This bento is dedicated to everyone who has been affected by breast cancer or knows of someone who has been.
(contents of the box: “deconstructed sandwich” with a whole grain loaf, turkey ham, turkey meetvursti – mettwurst, cheese slices, mini plum tomatoes, carrot slices, steamed broccoli, red grapes, salad and basil )
October 7, 2010
It has been a while since I made the last bento and posted about it. I don’t know what´s wrong with me but I am seriously lacking inspiration and motivation. Those are huge problems for someone who enjoys creating stuff… well, anyways.
The selection of vegetables and fruits in the markets are getting smaller and poorer the closest we get to Winter. Yes, I know, I should do with what is available.
Planning the bento, I was thinking it should be something easy to make. Fast and without any fancy colors. *think* *think* *think* … PANDA! ahahah, pandas are black and white, so no fooling around with colors. Just rice and nori :) . And we love pandas. Oh yes!
I used my new two-tier bento boxes that I got as gifts from a sweet bento friend of mine ( thanks ^_^ ). The idea was to offer half of a mandarin to each of my girls in the fruit container, but when I peeled them I found out they were bad :(. Next time then!
Contents of the shallow boxes: rice, furikake, edamame skewers, tamagoyaki (egg omelet ) and tonkatsu strips. Panda made of rice and nori, eye detail with cheese. Tall boxes have cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrot sticks, edamame, apple slices and red grapes.
The apple was given us by my mother-in-law. They came from her neighbor´s garden and were exceptionally sweet. Luonnonvoima ate the most of them and this was the last one…
Pikkusiili didn’t manage to eat the whole meal but Luonnonvoima ate it all and helped her little sister to finnish hers :D.
October 7, 2010
Last weekend my in-laws came for a quick visit. Girls were very excited about the fact they were going to see their grandparents and spend time with them. They live about 440 km from Helsinki and when they come to see us, it is almost a big happening for everyone.
Not only they brought happiness to the girls, they also brought us lots of produce.Those who follow me on twitter might know that my in-laws have a gorgeous vegetable garden which produces the most in summertime. Now it is Autumn and people in Finland are preparing for the cold months to come.
I got potatoes, carrots, swedes/ rutabagas , onions, some of my mother-in-law homemade pickles, a huge winter pumpkin and apples. We keep them in the cold storage downstairs that belongs to same apartment building.
I thought it was a good idea to use the apples as soon as it was possible. Those apples I got are slightly different from the ones you get normally from any supermarket. Finnish apples, most of them are small , very fragrant but also very sour. The sourness reminds me apple vinegar taste, no kidding.
Interesting thing is their flavor gets better when you cook them. Or when you use them in a pie :).
A little something about Finnish pies. The word for pie in Finnish is “piirakka” or “piiras” (and sometimes “torttu” ) and it translates to pie. You can see lots of pies in Finnish cuisine that don’t look the same, neither are made with same technique. It is a fact. You can find pies made of usual butter crust, shortbread crust, sweet bread crust, “pizza” crust, cake-alike crust, rye dough crust. Imagine a dough with a filling and we call it pie. Yep.
The apple pie I made this time is very common during the apple season. The dough reminds a lot a very heavy and rich butter cake in its softness and the filling varies according to what is in season. For example in Spring the same dough is used to make Rhubarb pie and in late Summer, Bilberry pie.
I forgot to mention.. my father-in-law has lactose intolerance and my mother-in-law has gluten intolerance. Because of that, I baked two pies : the first using lactose-free butter and the second, using a different dough recipe with almond meal.
Here follows both:
Omenapiirakka – Apple pie with “cake” dough
Adapted from the recipe that came on the package of my ceramic baking dish ( Kermansavi )
Yield a ∅ 25 cm pie
- 125 g unsalted butter ( I used lactose-free butter )
- 125 g caster sugar
- 125 g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs beaten
- 3-5 apples ( I used 5 small ones. A good substitute would be Granny Smith apples )
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 180 °C. Butter a 25 cm baking dish ( or a tin ) and line base with greaseproof paper. Wash and prepare the apples ( you don’t need to peel them if they are organic like mine ^_^ ).
Sift the flour and baking powder and reserve. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the beaten eggs and the flour mix a little at a time , mixing carefully after each addition.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish. The dough consistency looks like a heavy cake dough ( or a soft cookie one ). Try to spread it in a way it looks like it has borders, like a pie.
Remove seeds from apples and slice them thinly. Lay the slices on top of the batter, overlapping them in circles. Sprinkle the demerara sugar and cinnamon and bake for about 25 min ( check the border with a skewer ).
Serve alone, with vanilla sauce or ice cream :)
Gluteeniton Omenapiirakka – Gluten-free apple pie
Yield a 18 cm x 24 cm rectangular baking dish
- 100 g butter
- 1 dl caster sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 dl potato starch
- 80g almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- zest of half orange
- 4 small apples
- 1tbsp demerara sugar
- 1tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 180 °C. Butter the dish (or tin ). I used the rectangular one because I didn’t have any better available :P . Wash and prepare the apples.
Combine the almond meal, potato starch, zest and baking powder and put aside. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the beaten eggs and the dry ingredients mixture a little at a time , mixing carefully after each addition.
At this point you will think something is wrong. My dough got very liquid but I carried on with the recipe and it ended up perfect!!
Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish.
Remove seeds from apples and slice them thinly. Lay the slices on top of the batter, they will slightly sink in. Sprinkle the demerara sugar and cinnamon and bake for about 20 min ( check the border with a skewer ).
Let it set and cool before serving.
My notes about this recipe:
It is really necessary to leave the pie resting for a moment. Due to the crumbly nature of the dough, the pieces brake apart if you try to cut the pie while it is still warm.
The almond taste was so pleasant I myself enjoyed the pie so much and ate the rest of it after my mom-in-law left ^_^.