Rolled Pork with Cabbage & Obento [お弁当 • 肉の野菜巻き]

Bento_Nikumaki

I just realized that there is not many post about bento (lunchbox) on my blog, although I need to prepare bento at least three times in a week during school term. In Japan, bento can be found in all convenient stores and supermarkets, but hubby prefers homemade version. Homemade bentos coming with surprises as it contains something different from the store-bought version which is quite standardized and expectable. Of course, homemade version is prepared with love but not always his favorite food though, I am trying to get (tricking) him to eat wider variety of vegetables.

最近才发觉“我的厨房”里就只有那几个便当而已,可我一直都有在做便当。 上课期间,一个星期至少有三天是便当日。在日本,便当到处都可以买得到似乎每家便利店和超市都有卖可是老爷偏喜欢住家饭。住家便当是比市贩的多了点惊喜因为市贩的菜式都千篇一律,但这也不代表我每次都会准备他喜欢的菜式。便当,是让老爷尝试(骗他吃)不同蔬菜的机会!

Bento day = busy morning. Hence, bento dishes are something easy to prepare and easy to eat. Usually, I will plan what to cook the night before and cook the main dish first thing in the morning. Meanwhile, I will prepare breakfast. While they are having breakfast I will get other dishes (if any) done and the bento packed. It is a requirement for students to bring tea to school it means I have more jobs in the morning with three water (tea) bottles to be filled.
便当日=忙碌的早晨。因此,便当的菜式都是一些方便吃的简易料理。平常临睡前我都会想想冰箱里有什么材料可以煮,第二天一早先开始煮主菜同时为家人准备早餐。当他们在吃早餐时我就把其他菜式和便当准备好。这里的学校都要求学生带茶去学校,每天都要泡茶和准备三个茶壶。我的半个早上都是这样匆匆忙忙的过的,真正可以坐下慢慢的吃早餐是把弟弟送去幼稚园后。

In this post, I will share the rolled pork with vegetable recipe only. For the tamago-yaki (rolled omelet) recipe, please check out my previous post "Tamago-yaki with Okra" with I made for another bento. The red colour stuff are mini tomato and preserved radish, beans on toothpick is edamame, and halved umeboshi on the rice.

Bento_Nikumaki_1


Ingredients (makes 2):
a: 2 leaves Chinese cabbage
    Sugar
    Salt

b: 6 slices pork belly (20cm x 5cm)
    Salt
    Pepper

c: Sesame salad dressing for serving (optional)

Methods:

  1. Bring a pot of water (just enough to boil the Chinese cabbage) to a boil,  add pinch of sugar and salt. Blanch Chinese cabbage, remove from pot and rinse to cool it down. Squeeze out excess water then roll each leaf up (10-12 cm in length).   
  2. Line 3 slices of pork together, sprinkle with salt and pepper then place a roll of Chinese cabbage over it and roll it up. 
  3. Heat a non-stick pan, grease with tinny bit of oil then arrange in rolled pork. Seal side down.
  4. Cook on low-medium heat until whole surface is browned nicely and well cooked.
  5. Remove from pan, cut into serving size and serve warm.

Feel free to check out the collection of obento on my facebook page.

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Homemade Croutons [烤面包丁和剪刀石头布]

crouton 

Making croutons is a great way to turn stale bread into delicious snack. Yes, snack. When I made this, it was meant for caesar salad toppings but both my young and old boys had it as snack, a big container was gone before the salad was ready. Luckily, I saved a small amount for salad.

烤面包丁,消化掉快过期或刚过期的面包的好方法。在我家它是零食哦,香香脆脆的家里的少爷老爷们都喜欢。原本烤来当凯撒沙拉的佐料,结果沙拉还没做好一大罐的面包丁就被馋嘴爷们啃完了。幸好我有偷偷的留了一些,知子莫若母也。


Croutons is easy to make at home with any ingredients available in the pantry, I used butter but feel free to use olive oil or vegetable oil spray. Also, seasoning can be substituted with spices preferred such as garlic or onion powder, chopped herbs, and so on.  All you need is to cut the bread, coat it with seasonings, and bake. 

烤面包丁其实很简单,随意。我用了牛油/黄油但你可以把它换成较健康的橄榄油或菜油,用喷雾油的话还可以减少油的用量。至于调味料就依个人的口味,如蒜粉和大葱粉等。简简单单的三个步骤:切,拌和烤。烤着的时候香味弥漫着整个厨房,那是幸福的味道。

Ingredients:
6 slices white bread (1 cm in thickness), diced
1 tbsp ranch dressing
2 tbsp melted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 130ºC.
  2. Mix together ranch dressing and melted butter in a bowl. 
  3. Put diced bread into a clean plastic bag, drizzle (2) over bread and sprinkle salt and pepper. Gently, shake the bag to coat the bread with seasonings evenly.
  4. Line a baking tray with cooking sheet or aluminum foil, spread bread in single layer.  
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, toss the croutons (for even colour) and bake for additional 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, leave it in the oven with oven door ajar for 10 minutes.  
  6. Cool completely, store in an airtight container. 

*   *   *   *   *

Next, sharing with you guys a game that my boys love to play in the park. A game to kill times with no prior preparation required. Paper, scissors, rock, the winning party get to climb up one step and the person reaches the top first win.

 接下来跟大家分享我家小孩到公园必玩的游戏,不需要预备什么玩具只要有梯级就可以玩了。两人来个“剪刀,石头,布”,赢的人可上一梯级先到顶端的人就是赢家了。大朋友,小朋友,或爸妈情子也来玩看看哦!

剪刀石头布

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Pickled Cucumber with Konbucya [きゅうり昆布茶の浅漬け]

Pickle_KyuriKonbucya_2

Summer is time for growing vegetables that can be turned into pickles. Well, at least I have that in my mind when deciding what to plant in my little garden. Hence, I am sort of doing experiments on pickling cucumbers at this moment. I played with the seasoning, the size of cucumber and the duration of pickling. The easiest, and well-accepted pickle recipe is this konbuchya pickle. Pickles made with konbucya is rich in unique umami from konbu, flavorful and easy to make. This time, I make my pickle with sliced cucumber but if you prefer chunky type, go ahead with it. 

Konbucya [昆布茶] is a mixture made with main ingredients ground konbu and salt. Obviously, it does not contain any tea component as its name suggested but Japanese drink it as tea. It is also and important seasoning in Japanese cooking,  rich in konbu umani and easy to use. Bear in mind that, konbucya is NOT kombucha drink! They are not the same thing. I have asked a few friends of mine here and none of them seems to know about kombucha drink.

Pickle_KyuriKonbucya_1

Ingredients:
2 kyuri (Japanese cucumber), about 200 g
2-3 dried chili (small), cut into rings
1/2 tsp konbu-cya
1 tsp sugar
1-2 tsp rice vinegar

Method:
  1. Wash cucumbers, cut 5mm slices and dry it under the hot sun for 1to 2 hours to dehydrate it. With this step, there is no need to soak it with salt solution to remove excess liquid from the cucumber.
  2. Put cucumber into a zip-lock bag, add in all other ingredients and mix well.
  3. Seal the bag, squeeze all air out if possible then keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Transfer to serving plate and serve it as appetizer.

Pickle_KyuriKonbucya_3

Notes:
  1. Don't worry, dehydrated cucumber will turn crispy after soaking with vinegar, super crisp. 
  2. If konbu-cya is not available, you can replace it with the konbu for making dashi and salt. Cut konbu about 5 cm of konbu into strips, and add about 1/2 tsp of salt. And, the pickle should be kept in the refrigerator overnight for the flavor (konbu) to release.
  3. For chunky pickle, the pickling time will be longer the specified in this recipe. 

* * * * * * * * * *

Next, I wanna share a look-alike photo. This tree is outside my boy's primary school, and it looks like this during spring. When my boy saw it for the first time (after it trimmed), he was very excited that he spotted an animal. Do you see it too?

Look alike?

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