Friday, October 24, 2008

Away for camp!

Leaving for camp today and will be back next Tuesday. Check the You Tube funny videos I've linked for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chicken Katsu Donburi

Today's lunch, the evergreen chicken katsu donburi! #3 loves this dish and has it for dinner at least once a week. I find it too dry so I served today's meal with a bowl of soup and some baby bok choy.

A close up of the chicken katsu donburi with a drizzle of Bulldog sauce.

The Recipe:

Chicken Katsu Donburi

Chicken breast meat
Pepper and salt
Katakuriko (potato flour)
Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1. Pound the chicken with a meat mallet.
2. Dust pounded chicken with salt and pepper.
3. Prepare 3 plates to contain the panko, beaten egg and katakuriko.
4. Prepare a frying pan with some oil for frying.
5. Dip the marinated chicken first into the katakuriko and coat well, then dip into the beaten egg and finally into the panko.
6. Fry till brown and allow the oil to drip dry into some kitchen paper.
7. Slice accordingly and top with Tonkatsu sauce (tastes like Worcestershire sauce) a.k.a Bulldog sauce.
8. Top it into a bowl of steaming hot rice and viola you get a Donburi!

Bob apetite or should I say Itadakimasu! LOL!

The original recipe is called Tonkatsu which uses pork fillets. I've used chicken fillets as an alternative here.

Other related Donburi posts: Tri-color Donburi
Salmon steak Donburi

BENTO #146

I had fun putting together this morning's Bento! I reminiscence my childhood days when my parents used to take holidays with their best friends and families to Penang, Cameron Highlands and Port Dickson.

All these memories came back just because I remembered how one of the 'aunties' made the world's best egg and meat patties. This 'aunty', a friend of my mum was in charge of the kitchen while the rest of the friends and her spouse would be busy playing 'Mahjong'. Us kids (about 9 - 15 years old) were allocated chores during meal times and spent the rest of the day by the beach or gallivanting around nearby haunts.

Honestly, I detested meal time chores because I had to help in the cooking and cleaning up. But then again, all that experience has now become a skilled asset. For many years we holidayed together and my dad being a Government employee (those days called 'servants') had access to booking holiday bungalows owned by his employers.

The bungalows were well furnished and the kitchens were awesome. We looked forward to every holiday in the year because we always had a blast! Just imagine three families in two bungalows with about ten hyperactive and mischievous kids! If we weren't delegated chores, I think our faces would not have been visible until bedtime.

In the early years, I learnt to wash and clean and subsequently, my buddy Lisa and I could dish out breakfast and decent lunch meals by the time we were 15 years old! At that time, we thought that it was a HUGE MISTAKE to show off our culinary skills because after that she and I were put in charge of a whole week of breakfasts'.

Looking back, it was the best time of our lives and Lisa's mum was a great cook and every time we would cajole her into making her egg and meat patties. We were eventually taught to make them but some how ours never quite made the mark. Now the egg and meat patties seem quite ordinary and simple to make, yet, then, it was the most delicious and favorite dish of all time!

So, this morning when I made the egg and meat (the chicken soboro from yesterday's lunch) patties all these wonderful memories of our kiddy experiences in the kitchen came flooding back. The funny thing is, I now remember more of our kitchen experiment successes and failures than the vague 'adventures' we had by the beach and from sight seeing.

It's left me with a very happy feeling and a thought that, perhaps I should contact those 'surviving aunties' who once labored in the kitchens during our youthful holidays dishing out hot, delicious favorites to satisfy a group of boisterous youths!

This morning's Bento

In the left Bento box are some grapes and a mixed salad mixed with salad sauce and Parmesan cheese.

In the right Bento box is a wedge of cheese and the egg and meat patties! *dreams on*

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tri-color Donburi (Sanshoku Donburi)

Being a naturally lazy cook, having to cook an extra meal for lunch is not a very exciting thought! I normally avoid cooking lunch and manage to churn out dinner a few times a week in between eating out.

Since #2 insists on eating lunch at home, I have to cook. #2 doesn't like to eat fried rice unless it's Salmon and garlic fried rice so I have to resort to Donburi meals.

This afternoon, we had Tri-color Donburi, in Japanese - Sanshoku Donburi.

A delicious lunch of egg and chicken soboro and boiled lady fingers.

The recipe:

Tri-color Donburi (Sanshoku Donburi)

Steam 1 cup of rice

150 g ground chicken
A squeeze of ginger juice
1 1/2 tbs of soy sauce
2 tsp each of sugar and sake

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt

6 lady fingers or French beans

1. Mix ground chicken with ginger juice, soy sauce, sugar and sake.
2. Cook in a saucepan over medium heat until almost dry. Be careful of heat, do not scorch meat.
3. Mix the eggs with sugar and salt.
4. Cook in another saucepan over medium low fire. Stir egg mixture with four chopsticks to achieve fine crumbles.
5. Boil lady fingers or French beans in salted water till done.
6. When done, slice them diagonally.
7. Place the steaming hot rice in a serving bowl and arrange the chicken, egg and lady fingers.

Bon apetite!

Have you ever seen lady fingers this color? I was quite intrigued and bought some home to try. The seller claim to be from Janda Baik and selling organic vegetables. He said that once the lady fingers are cooked, they turn green!

True enough, if you look at the second picture from the top, it shows the cooked lady fingers in 'light green', the darker green ones are the original green lady fingers pictured below.

Original - green lady fingers.

Other Donburi recipe: Salmon Steak Donburi

BENTO #145

After a very hectic weekend, it's back to Bento-ing again! We're off to camp again this weekend and there's loads of planning and packing to do.

This morning was something light and a quick fix because I've been asked to cook lunch so that there is less downtime involved in our 'long lunches' outside. Usually I enjoy long lunches with my kids after school but it's exam period and #2 says she doesn't want to eat out! "Wastes less time" she says.

Today's Bento box on the left are rambutans de-seeded and filled with cherry tomatoes. In the right box is a tub of beef bolognese sauce to be eaten with the French beans and endamame beans.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Results for Handbag Planet contest!

There were 3 Malaysians out of 24 who won free handbags from Handbag Planet. Were you one of them?

Quickly check this out!

BENTO #144

I've been really busy lately, I foresee much more upcoming activities and deadlines to meet. End of the year is always a very busy time for me. I'm sorry if I've not been responding efficiently to your comments. I'm trying hard to post something daily but sometimes it just seems so impossible. I'm not giving up yet!

My daily Bento posts really depends on whether #2 goes to school. She's been on official study leave the last one week.

Today is Friday and usually, she has fish for Fridays! In the left Bento box is some cut Kiwi and Strawberries and two individually packed Japanese rice cracker.

In the right Bento box is some canned herb Salmon on a bed of Broccoli and Alfalfa sprouts. (a delicious combination!).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

BENTO #143

Hubs and I was away for an assignment yesterday to Seremban. We left in the morning and was to be scheduled back by night fall. Luckily #1 just finished her exams and she was off College thus she could fetch #3 back from school.

While running through the day's schedule with #1 and #2, I sheepishly proposed that they could either cook their own dinner or go over to my friend's house to eat.

Funny how they responded with such enthusiasm and glee at the prospect of having to cook their own dinner. They both started to plan their menu and I was involved in a conversation somewhat like this:

#1: I'll cook the spaghetti!
#2: I'll roast a chicken!
#1: Yeah! And you make your Caesar's salad too.
#2: So mum, how to roast the chicken ah?
Mum: You rub the chicken with pepper and salt, add butter, rosemary and lemon juice and roast it!
#2: Oh! Okay.
Mum: You sure you don't want to go over to Aunty T's house for dinner?
#1: Ah....see first.
Mum: Okay then, I'm off.

In the afternoon there was a barrage of phone calls querying for ingredients, methods, where food items were stocked and what was available in the refrigerator. I had taken half a chicken out of the freezer for them to roast and assumed that they would just simply follow my methods of cooking.

How was I to know that they were a little more inspired by this 'little adventure' to try out some varied recipes from my cook books and downloaded the roast chicken recipe.

Hubs and I had dinner in Seremban and when we were setting out to leave for home, #1 called to say that they had kept some dinner for us. I was looking forward to trying 'their' dinner.

When we got home, close to 10.30p.m. the food was on the dining table and #1 was waiting for us. The other two girls was in bed already. I opened the food covers and tried the roast chicken. Oh my goodness!! The roast chicken was absolutely delicious! Didn't taste like mine at all! #1 told me that they used the same ingredients as I did and added balsamic vinegar and it tasted awesome! I went on to taste the Fettuccine with fresh tomato sauce. The Fettuccine was a little under done but had a lovely aroma of garlic, basil and fresh tomatoes minus the salt and pepper!

"Oh! That's what was missing said #1, salt and pepper wasn't in the recipe". My jaw drops and we had a good laugh.

She then took the Caesar's salad out from the fridge and it was delicious. #2 has always been able to make a 'killer salad'! Hubs and I was quite surprised and certainly proud at the turn out of their 'experimental cooking'. From what I heard from #1, they had a great time trying to figure out the various herbs and cooking methods and I'm very happy to see that they are able to work together and enjoy it as well!

Fettuccine with fresh tomato sauce.

Last night's dinner - home made by #1 & #2!
Clockwise from top: Fettuccine with fresh tomato sauce, Apple juice with apple cubes,
Caesar's salad, fried nuggets for #3 and roasted rosemary balsamic chicken!

I've not packed a Bento for one week already. When I got back late last night, all I thought of was my bed and I knocked off at 11.30p.m. which was pretty early by my standards. Obviously there was no planning of this morning's Bento, but I did purposely leave some of their dinner for this morning.

In the left box is the Fettuccine with fresh tomato sauce topped with last bit of the delicious roast chicken. I sliced some cucumbers and carrots for vegetables.

In the right box is a mixture of strawberries, grapes, kiwi and orange for fruits.

edited this post with pictures taken from #1.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Everything you need to know about MISO!

Image downloaded from Google image

This is a very educational article on MISO. There is information about the various types of Miso and it's uses, it's storage and cooking methods. There are even some simple recipes.


Related articles: Did you know? (MISO)

Win a free handbag from Handbag Planet!

I've been so busy the last week even though I've not been required to pack Bentos! #2 is officially on study leave from school because of the PMR examinations.

Currently #1 is having her exams and #3 started her final year end exams today. #2 only goes back to school on Thursday. Normally exams are not a big thing in this household but this time round we're also planning and organizing my mum's 80th birthday so it's a little chaotic!

My two elder girls are a great help and are involved in planning the guests list, invitation cards, the menu, entertainment, the birthday cake and a whole load of customary guidelines to follow. Even #3 is excited because she gets to belt out a popular ABBA number from the latest movie favorite Mamma Mia.

Thus, when H sent me an e-mail for a chance to win a free handbag from Handbag Planet, I was surprised and at the same time delighted! Thank you H! All I had to do was to provide my name and e-mail address. Cool!
When I entered for a chance at the competition, I was randomly assigned this particular model. Handbag Planet allows the participant to select a different design bag but I didn't exercise that option because I like this one very much. Simple, classic lines - suits me perfectly!

There are no strings attached and it's a great opportunity for you to get a free handbag!! Why don't you treat yourself for a chance to win a handbag? You never know!! Good luck!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

BENTO #142

This morning's Bento was "Lui Cha" left overs again! #2 absolutely loves "Lui Cha" - this is the last batch and she's asked me to cook some more! I think I'll give it a pass for the time being because she's been eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and still lovin it). This is a meal which you either love or detest - in her case it's love at first 'bite'!

In today's Bento box are slices of orange, a bed of alfalfa sprouts doused with some salad cream dressing and some Turkey chunks.

This is the balance "Lui Cha" ingredients of rice, French beans, pickled veggies (Choy Poh), Long beans and peanuts.

A friend passed some free tickets to us for the Westphalian Chamber Youth Orchestra and the Young Westphalian Baroque Ensemble performing tonight at the Securities Commission. Acclaimed to produce some delightful sounds, I'm looking forward to listening to them!

Monday, October 6, 2008

This is NOT Bento!

I had another "Lui Cha" party over the weekend. This time the "Lui Cha" stock was even more delicious because I had this brain wave to use "Ikan billis stock" instead of plain old hot water!

My guests were raving about the entire meal and even the critique among them complimented on the the marked improvement of the soup and asked for the recipe. As it is in it's original form using hot water, the soup was good but with the flavored stock, the soup was richer and sweeter!

I had this for my lunch today. No Bento either because #2 didn't go to school today.

In the bottom of the bowl is some garlic rice topped with a mixture of vegetables, peanuts and pickled vegetables. Visually pretty and a deliciously healthy meal mixed together! Yummy!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

BENTO #141 - Can't wait to come back!

Been spending some time with the kids but been missing bento-ing too!!!

We're busy preparing another 'Lui Cha' party for lunch tomorrow so it's 'cut, cut, cut and cut'. There is about 13 or 14 types of vegetables plus taufoo, pickled vegetables and nuts in total.

Luckily I managed to get extra help and the girls are busy with other plans. Instead to preparing the 'standard' lunch, I made them Bento's!

These are the three Bento's I made for them. It's quite obvious which one belongs to the youngest girl!

A closer look at #1's Bento. Macaroni and tuna melt topped with Parmesan cheese. A mixed salad with Thousand Island dressing, some orange slices, carrot and kyuri sticks and a California roll.

#2 got the same content in a different Bento box.

#3 had an extra "Special-order hand roll" (hers only has Sakura denbu and Kewpie mayo).

Easy peasy Bentos!


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