Bun Tin Beans

Bun Tin Beans

We are back from our holiday in England! A grand time was had by all, spending time with friends and family, enjoying events such as picnicking, BBQ food, partying, visiting a fun fair, the seaside and a wildlife park. Food was in abundance – fish and chips, chinese and indian take-away. And Monkey Tea (PG Tips) by the bucket-load. Not to mention the Mr Kiplings, spare Easter Eggs and HobNobs! Oh and a Tesco Finest New York Cheese Cake, and scones with jam, strawberries and cream!  Good job I lost 5lbs in the run up to this trip! <scrubs off all the progress from the Scaredy-Cat-Challenge weight loss chart>

Now we are back home to Germany and it’s time to get back into my “eat like a thin person” attitude!

Seeing as it is Muffin Tin Monday AND part of Bento Summer School’s week 1 homework, I thought I would offer a version of cutely presented typically British food,  link to Muffin Tin Mom’s Monday collection, and try out my new Silicone Cupcake cases, which are from Asda, one of my favourite brit supermarkets. By the way, where I come from, we call it a “bun tray” or a “bun tin”. Buns are cupcakes, fairy cakes or muffins. Not to be confused with a “sticky bun” which generally means a cream cake, such as a “vanilla slice”, “cream doughnut finger” or an “elephant’s foot”.

For this Muffin Tin Meal, I filled the silicon bun cases with baked beans in tomato sauce, some soft boiled eggs and mini toasted “soldiers” for dipping. I shared this with my baby boy, and he seemed to enjoy it as much as I did!

I have a lot of catching up to do with my blog subscriptions reading, comments and tweeting, but I have added a couple of new Giveaways to the Bento Contests Page – Let me know if there are any others!

A big Thank You to everyone who sent in a link for the British Themed Bento Event! It was lovely to see the wonderful edible adaptations of all kinds of things British-related! 😀

Do you know anyone who would like to receive a Bento E-greeting card? You can now send them one! Try out this dinky link from bravenet.com

Peacock Bento

Peacock Bento

Peacock Bento

We had a fantastic day out at “Wildtierpark Poing” in Munich (a wild animal park) on Wednesday! peacockWe were able to stroke some rabbits and guinea pigs, and feed antelope, goats, ponies and donkeys! We also saw some huge bears. There were random peacocks wandering around the picnic area as well as chickens and ducks.

Here is a bento that I made inspired by the beauty of the magnificent bird, the peacock! I also wanted to try out the sealed sandwich idea that Lia from Bentolicious blogged about.

Just Bento CookBook
just bento cookbook
Taiyaki maker
taiyaki maker
Chokotto Rice Cooker ~ Compact Cooking
Chokotto Rice Cooker ~ Compact Cooking
Penguin Gummy Candy Maker
Penguin Gummy Candy Maker

I don’t have a bread mold / sandwich shaper (apart from the toastie maker) but after rummaging through my plastics box which is mostly full of old baby bottles and lids, I thought I would try using a large teat ring and a smaller one, that seemed to nest inside each other quite well. I made some chocolate spread sandwiches from brown bread and pressed the larger ring onto it to get my first circle, then I turned it over and used the smaller ring to seal the sandwich. I was pretty impressed because they came out quite neat and tidy considering the improvised tools for the job!

These are the teat rings from the old baby bottles that I used to make the pressed sandwich with sealed edges.

rings for sealed sandwich shaperrings for sealed sandwich

And then I put coloured cheese peacock decorations on and carved the same design into a red apple. You don’t get a zoomed out photo today seeing as this was only a snack experiment bento and there isn’t really much else in it apart from some cucumber slices, but someone has been messing about with my fridge settings and the cucumber was frozen solid so it does not look how it is meant to, and I don’t have any other salad or fruits to do much bentoing with. But I’m a big believer in making do with what you have got, so here it is!

The rest of the bread offcuts went into a bread and butter pudding, which I am told was delicious, but I didn’t try it seeing as I am trying not to have any empty calories. 😀 I have lost 4lbs so far since I started doing my daily exercise and watching my portion sizes, using the weight loss tips on this blog post and I have proudly marked it on my progress chart on my wall! only 22lbs more to go! 😀

I recently placed a couple of orders with Cake Balls UK to have a box of Gluten Free coffee and walnut cake balls and a bag of chocolate and orange cake balls sent to my relatives in the UK as birthday gifts. As agreed the balls were sent out for delivery before the recipient’s birthday and I’m told they are really delicious and came packaged really neatly too. PippaD from A Mother’s Ramblings recommended Cake Balls on her blog and that’s where I got the idea, so thanks Pippa, and thanks Anna from Cake Balls UK for delivering the fantastic birthday gifts! You have my recommendation too!

You can follow Anna from Cake Balls Uk, Pippa from A Mother’s Ramblings and Lia from Bentolicious on Twitter and their Blogs.

I have never placed a bento items order before, I still consider myself a beginner seeing as I only started making bento in January 2010, and I have never bought any “proper” bento tools, preferring to try to make the best use of what I already have such as cookie cutters for shaping rice or cutting cheese or vegetables, craft punches for the nori seaweed and my craft needle pen for cutting the cheese. There are definitely some basic items that I would suggest could be bought as a bento starter bundle if you don’t already have any tools for making your bento. And I am very tempted to order them myself very soon too! The items I think would be the most useful are the nori face punches, the egg moulds, the  onigiri presses, the flower shaped vegetable cutters and the the decorative food picks.

Have fun and happy bento-ing!

Monstered Egg Bento with Chicken Fried Rice

monster egg and chicken fried rice bentoToday’s bento is a monster type creature made from a “dressed egg” or “egg mimosa” with green beans for the eyes and legs and arms, and an apple body on a grated carrot background, with chicken fried rice, peas, broccoli, cucumber and garlic on a food pick.

The rice was left over from when I made these chicken skewers earlier this evening. I got the idea for these chicken skewers from justbento.com

curry ketchup chicken skewers

curry ketchup chicken skewers

I thought the ones on there looked really tasty and as it happens, I had got my chicken out of the freezer this morning just like the Flylady told me to do, so by the time I got my inspiration for what to do with it, it was pretty simple! I didn’t have any of the ingredients from the recipe apart from the chicken though (LOL), so I used spicy curry ketchup to marinate them in for a couple of hours before dipping them in some sesame seeds and sizzling them on their skewers in the frying pan!

Today I took part in my fellow Flybaby DianeDenmark’s Scaredy Cat Challenge! Weeding the patio! Not something I have ever attempted before, but I thought I would be brave and jump in, especially seeing I was prepared for anything, already being dressed to my lace-up shoes and timer AND already having complete the Weekly Home Blessing! (Go me!) I set my timer for 15 mins, spent 5 mins testing different pieces of cutlery and found out a long handled latte spoon works better than a butter knife for digging out the moss, grass and plantains! When the timer beeped I did another 10 minutes of weeding and then spent the last 5 mins sweeping up. I was really surprised what a difference 30 mins made! Here are the before and after pics!

patio before

patio before

patio after

patio after

Below are the current Top 25 Bento Boxes!

Japan Society Bento Battle Entry

Bento Battle Entry

Bento Battle Entry

Today’s bento is my entry for the Japan Society Virtual Bento Box Battle.

This bento creation pays homage to Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Kodanji IV as a Ghost, 1851 from

Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters:  The Arthur R. Miller Collection

Click here to see the original, and scroll along to the 5th one. Hopefully you will recognise which one I was trying to do!

This “ghost” is made from pressed rice, (onigiri) with nori detail, on a bed of rice and cucumber, and I put a blob of red pepper puree for the wound on his neck!

I used a carrot baran divider and the other side features pan-fried chicken, broccoli, grapes, apple slices and mini orange segments.

You still have time to enter the Virtual bento battle, as the deadline is the 31st March, so get your rice cookers out, get your bento chopping, cutting and moulding tools out and go for it! Not only will you have lots of fun in your kitchen, but you will also be making a healthy meal for you or your loved ones, and you may even be able to win one of the top 3 prizes!

To see the entry guidelines and how to enter the Japan Society Virtual Bento Box Battle, click here!

My bento friends have entered this competition too, with these entries, please check them out, they are all fantastic!

My Bentolicious: http://www.mybentolicious.com/2010/03/bentolicious-077.html

Bentozen http://bentozen.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/woman-in-a-hilltop-teahouse-bento/

Susan Yuen http://susanyuen.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/octopus-games-bento-58/

Mothering Corner http://motheringcorner.com/2010/03/25/mickey-and-minnie-meet-the-noppon-brothers/

Adventures in bentomaking http://www.aibento.net/2010/03/26/easter-somen-salad-bento/

Tuna Pasta Bento

Tuna Pasta Bento

Tuna Pasta Bento

Here is our Sunday Evening food! How I made the Tuna Pasta Bento – I cooked some tricolore Pasta Bows. Then I got some Tuna out of a can and mixed it with some mayonnaise. Then chopped up a bit of carrot that was lying around from lunchtime, and sliced some pickled gherkins. I molded the Tuna Fish into a patty and then just put some sliced carrots for the ears and some sliced gherkins scattered around and place a couple of the orangey red bows for decoration. Air the hair / bonnet is a cheese slice cut to shape.

Chocolate bejeweled muffins

Chocolate bejeweled muffins

The Chocolate bejeweled muffins are made using the classic be-ro recipe for Madeira cake, just because it’s so easy – 3 eggs, 5oz sugar, 5oz marg and 8oz flour but I poured some cocoa powder in it to turn the mixture chocolatety. And then once they were baked, I let them cool and put chocolate frosting on (normal icing sugar, water and cocoa powder) and then topped them with Dr Oetker cake toppings, the chocolate version.

My toddler helped to bake the Muffins too :o)