Flamenco Feel Bento

Aubergine bento
Aubergine bento

My DH cooked again. He knows I have 2 favourite dishes of all time (apart from Fish and Chips and Cauliflower Cheese!) ; Iraqi Tapsi and Moroccan Lamb with Prunes. Well, today he made something extraordinary! He made the Iraqi Tapsi with Beef, but it had elements of the flavours of the Moroccan Lamb with Prunes, with a sort of sweet, cinnamonny taste to it, with piquant snatches of hot chili… Totally mouth watering, juicy, aubergines, sumptuously served in a thick, delicious sauce, textured with small bites of tasty beef steak and red onions… What a heavenly meal! And although I tried to be good and only took a very small second helping, I did eat more than my fair share, and as John Cage would say, I will not be disparaged! I realise my efforts to eat low fat, little and often are in vain, but you have to realise a dish like this does NOT come along every day! I am still committed to doing all the other reductions of fat and sugar and portion size, (My Scaredy Cat Challenge!) but it’s the weekend so this can count as the “treat”! And I do not feel guilty – I feel happy!  😀

And of course the leftovers went in the bento box, along with some rice, black olives, cucumber and cherry tomatoes.

The olives made me think of Spain, and you wouldn’t believe the lettuce I got from the supermarket – It was like bringing home a bunch of flowers! A huge, curly, astonishingly beautiful lettuce! I have never, ever in my life been so drawn to a salad vegetable! And I carefully broke off just 1 leaf of it and held it in my hands and saw …

… a flamenco dancer!!

So I made this:

Flamenco Dancer
Flamenco Dancer

With black olives for the hair, a tomato hair flower, cheese arms and face, a cucumber body and of course the lettuce leaf for the dress.

And if you’re looking for a connection between an Iraqi-Moroccan dish and a Spanish Dancer – it’s the word “Flamenco” which is believed to have come from the Arabic word fellahmengu, meaning “fugitive peasant”,  derived from a root meaning “to flee.” The term came into use in the 14th century, and was first applied to the Andalusian Gypsies themselves, who were called either gitanos or flamencos.

You can see the Wikipedia entry about Flamenco here

Ay, ay, ay!

If you are interested in getting into bento making or want to improve or simply try out some new techniques, try this list of tricks, tips and bento tutorials

The Strongest Link Bento

The Weakest Link Bento
The Weakest Link Bento

I made this bento for my DH who wasn’t home for dinner today. I had done well to remember to get chicken out of the freezer this morning but as 5pm approached, I still had not got a clue what to do with it. Luckily, my good Blogger, Twitter and Flylady friend @dianedenmark jumped to my rescue and suggested making chicken dippers, by cutting the chicken into strips, dipping them in egg and then coating with breadcrumbs, frying then putting them in the oven to finish! It sounded easy and tasty so I gave it a go, and ended up with these savoury treats.  A big thank you for the idea Diane, it was a hit with me and the kids and DH has just come home and seen the dippers and they were well received with flattering comments, so although I’d be happy to take all the credit :P, I’ll pass some of the Kudos your way too! 😀

This bento contains 2 onigiri pressed rice balls with nori seaweed hearts, some apple and carrot, and chicken dippers with lettuce.

I was going to call this bento “The weakest link” seeing as I made some carrots  all linking together in a chain and it was the first phrase that sprang to mind, but after thinking about it, “Weakest” sounds a bit negative and today has been a really positive and jolly day, weatherwise, moodwise  and mental health wise! I have kept on top of the housework, did some jobs that I’d been procrastinating on, had a lovely play session with the kids outside in the  sunshine, and even managed to do a little bit of weeding. So this bento deserves to have a more positive, powerful, go-getting name, especially seeing as it was Diane’s idea to make the main ingredient of the bento dish! And she is a very “strong link” to the FlyLady world, and to the realm of Motivation and Creativity! Be sure to check out DianeDenmark’s Blog – Each day there is a theme, such as Pampering, Laughter, Recipes, Crafts, Music, you even get a Scaredy-Cat challenge that you can join in with!

Daffy Duck Lasagne Bento

Lasagne Bento
Lasagne Bento

Today’s bento is leftover home-made Lasagne with a peanut butter sandwich, topped with a cheese character holding a bunch of heart shaped balloons. (for the cheese colouring tutorial, click here). If you look closely, you will see Daffy Duck in the lasagne topping – spooky – I didn’t put him there ! LOL 😀

The apple is the other half of the one I used yesterday to make the ZigZag Apple

You could probably eat the lasagne cold, (I have been pleasantly surprised to find a lot of typically hot foods do actually still taste good cold) but I will lift this piece out and warm it up in the microwave before serving – I just don’t fancy it cold! 😀

Quick Lasagne Recipe:


Bolognaise sauce (Minced beef, 2 tins chopped tomatoes, 1 onion)

Cheesy white sauce (2 tablespoons margarine, 2 tablespoons plain flour, smi-skimmed milk, handful of grated cheese)

Lasagne pasta sheets


Let the lasagne sheets soak in some water

Make the bolognaise sauce by cooking the meat and onions and adding the tomatoes, stir and simmer

Make the cheesy white sauce by melting the marg in a pan and stirring the flour in and keep stirring it the whole time, adding milk very gradually so you don’t get lumps. Add the cheese and keep stirring. Add more milk if you would like the sauce to be runnier.

Put some of the bolognaise meat sauce into a pyrex glass or oven proof dish, then some lasagne sheets, then the cheese sauce, then the bolognaise sauce, pasta, cheese sauce etc, keep repeating until you can finish with a cheese sauce layer then sprinkle a little grated cheese on top. If you have used all the grated cheese up in the sauce (like I did!) you can tear strips/pieces from a cheese slice and arrange these on top. Then bake in the oven for 30 mins and voila! Your own home made lasagne!

Relevant links:

Krista’s Crockpot Lasagne – Made famous on the FlyLady circuit!

DianeDenmark’s Blog – lots of yummy (and well tagged!) meal ideas!

Chicken and Sweetcorn Pancakes

Chicken and Sweetcorn Dropped Scones
Chicken and Sweetcorn Dropped Scones

I made these for dinner this evening but there are a few spare ones which could go in a bento! I got my inspiration for this one from @allingoodfood42 ‘s post on Home Made Easy Loaded Chicken Pancakes

I used a Be-ro recipe for Dropped Scones for the the batter (but omitted the sugar) and put cooked diced chicken seasoned with Chicken Seasoning, and a handful of tinned sweetcorn in to the batter before cooking them in a hot non-stick frying pan.  These were yummy but very filling! You don’t need many of these!