|Just Bento CookBook
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||Penguin Gummy Candy Maker
Sometimes it is difficult to get inspired to make a bento, especially if you have limited ingredients. You don’t have to have many fancy foodstuffs or lots of time to be able to turn a normal boring sandwich into a decorative delight if you have some coloured cheese sheets prepared before hand.
To make the coloured cheese slices:
I recommend Gouda because it is a nice texture and flavour, and seems to absorb the colour well, and is nice and elastic-y and non-stick, without being too soft or too hard.
If you will only need a small amount of coloured cheese, you can use one slice and spread the colours on each quarter of the cheese. This is also a good way to get some of the colour to overlap slightly, which can be an interesting effect if you cut the cheese shapes out going over the join. You can experiment and see what colours or shades you can get. Tip: Red + Yellow = Orange, Blue + Yellow = Green, Red + Blue = Purple. I only have the 4 colours of food colouring so I did 4 sections. I have to wear latex free gloves when handling food, NOT because I’m a hygiene freak (even though I am!) but because of an allergic reaction when food comes into contact with my skin. Great hobby for me to pick eh?! LOL
So using a clean finger you spread the food colouring on the cheese, and rub it in. The food colouring I am using is washable and does not stain your fingers or gloves, but I don’t think it comes out of clothes. In the past I have used bits of boiled egg white or another piece of cheese to do the spreading of the colour, just use a chunk of it like a paintbrush. You could probably try a clean paintbrush, I haven’t but I think it would work just as well. You’re more likely to have a finger or cheese scrap to hand.
Then it will look all messy and wet. Don’t worry! Just put the piece of cheese on a flat tray or plate and cover with cling film. Then put it in the fridge to dry off and for the colours to absorb. You can do this at night and it will be ready in the morning. If you are impatient you can blot it dry with some tissue.
When you are ready to use the cheese, it will be a lot more manageable and a lot less messy, and will be a pleasure to cut into whatever shape your heart desires. My best tip is to use a needle or a needle pen that you an get from a craft shop in the “pergamano” section. You turn the cheese over and cut the shapes on the back,so remember cut out the mirror image!
If you know you will need a larger amount of coloured cheese, you can of course colour bigger pieces of cheese, and store them in cling film until you need them. I am a big believer in not wasting food, so all the scraps and off cuts get saved and made into “rainbow” cheese toasties!
Then you can arrange your new shapes onto a sandwich or cold rice (not hot unless you want the cheese to melt LOL!) add some salad andcrunchy snacks and voila! A decorative lunch!
And a close up