Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bento #105 100410

A box of big pau with two cute teddy bear picks, coupled with some mango slices separated by five pointy Korean strawberries. Since the mango was quite huge, I managed to get a big surface area to do the imprinting using one of my cookie cutters that came with the wording "For You".

Fiddling with the mango, this took a while longer, think about 17 minutes.

Bento #104 100409

One bento post done, so many more to go, here's another one:

Omelette folded into quarter on a bed of lettuce.
To go with it, a container of baked beans.
And then to wrap up this bento, some banana chunks with a light sprinkling of McCormick's Cinnamon Sugar.

Lastly, some fancy picks poked here and there for cosmetic purpose.

I put a cover over each of the small containers to prevent spills since they were wet contents. The sugar gets melted over time, thanks to the moisture from the banana, thus covering it would be ideal.
Think this would be a jiffy bento as well, I give it an estimate of 11 minutes.

Bento #103 100408

Been doing bentos, but haven't posted them, so be prepared for a marathon of postings, that was a word a blogger friend used. Now with these bentos done approximately 3 weeks ago, I would need to really scratch deep into my head to recall what were the contents.

A simple bread onigiri with tomyam seafood filling, adorned with some nature motives using nori cutouts. Idea of the bread balls originate from here.

The left corner pink fluted silicon mould contained the ingredients from ABC soup (onion, carrot, potato and tomato). Named ABC soup because preparing it is as easy as ABC.

The orange fluted silicon mould on the other hand held some cubed mango and nata de coco.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mango Tower Burger

Mango season is ON, so I had been using this favourite sweet fruit of mine in numerous cooking. The latest 'creation' being an attempt to re-create this. Of course, I had forgotten how that tasted like since it had been more than a hundred days ago, so I simply added a dash of sauce here, another spoonful of sauce there and came up with my own mango sauce. I basically used up to 5 different types of bottled sauces which I thought would go along with together, plus some brown sugar and honey to reduce the tartness. End result was very well-received by dh, though he mentioned that mango pairs better with white meat and cited chicken as an example.

Only then did it strike me like "Duh, the one we had at Nando's was poultry, no wonder lah I won't be able to get as close to that taste." It's ok, we all learn from our mistakes, I shall try to do this again, and that shall be with chicken breast.

As usual, I like to play Stack when it comes to DIY burgers at home, the taller the better. I just piled up the different layers to create this burger at a staggering height. Of course I shun the calories piling up as well, but let's stay focused on this burger. The one seen in this picture is shorter by a slice of grilled canned pineapple as I forgot that while preparing mine. So I quickly thawed (yes, I keep my opened can of pineapple rings in the freezer to prolong shelf life) a slice and grill it till dry and slightly charred.

This wholemeal dinner roll was a superb size, it's slightly bigger than the normal dinner roll, but smaller than the ubiquitous burger bun. At first I thought this Mango Tower Burger won't be filling, thus I served it with a side dish of pasta salad. In the end, I had to save the salad for another meal. This whooper of 10 layers, inclusive of the 2 pieces of bun top and bottom was awesome!! Not to mention, eating it was a messy affair as I had to wipe off my lips after each mouthful.

For the record, here's the sauce mix:
1 tsp oil
4 tablespoon Beerenberg's Taka Tala Sauce
2 tablespoon barbeque sauce
2 tablespoon tomato sauce
2 tablespoon chili sauce
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp honey
2 tablespoon water
1 ripe sweet yellow mango (cubed)
Heat up the pan with oil, then add in everything except the mango and bring it to a boil. Add in the mango and stir till evenly mixed then dish up.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bento #102 100408

A bread and fruits bento consisting of a long bun split into half and spread with seafood tuna mixture topped with some crispy dried fish fillet. The dried fish fillet was store-bought, and all I did was just to pop the strips into hot oil and remove them from the oil quickly, lest they burn since they are really thin and small in dimension. Once cooled, this is an addictive snack, much better than the version I did with immitation crabsticks. Learnt this by experimenting as I tasted this being used as a garnish in a dish served by a restaurant.

A 'flower' made up by strawberry halves and a whole strawberry in the middle of the arrangement. Chunks of banana sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, adorned with some foodpicks.
Can't recall how much time this took, but doubt it was long since there wasn't any cooking involved.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bento #101 100406

Tuna Crabstick sandwich which was halved in order to fit into this blue bento box on the right.
The colorful arrangement of fruits were red apple, green apple and chinese pear with their skin intact for the visual appeal.

This was done pretty fast, say about 8 minutes only.

Ivy's Kitchen for Nyonya Cuisine

We wanted to check out Ivy's famous Nasi Lemak, but as luck would have it, it was sold out for the day. Nevermind, this means we would be back!

So we went for their other set meals, and pictured here is the Assam Pedas Fish Set. The assam pedas gravy was awesome with stingray and lady's fingers. The whole concoction was flavourful with the different spices in this bowl of sourish spicy dish that was good to the last drop. It was served with plain steamed white rice with the side dishes of half a hard-boiled egg, fish cracker, anchovies and peanuts plus some mixture of vinegared cucumber pineapple.

With the above option of fish, I went for their Rendang Chicken Set. The thick gravy coating the chicken was delish, though there were not much chicken to savour as hidden beneath were only 2 pieces of chicken. It did look like a whole drumstick to me initially, the way it was arranged in a elongated way. All the side dishes were the same as the Assam Pedas Fish Set, and similarly, we polished everything off this plate as well. Errr..not plate, more like paper because that was how this was served, a piece of brown paper in a wide basket.

We also tried their Assam Hae (tamarind prawns), and this was authentic as well. Pan-fried crispy on the outside, with the prawns marinated in the sourish tamarind, this was literally finger licking good. Pricey for a plate of 4 pieces at RM6 for medium-sized prawns, frankly speaking.

The drinks that came with the set of RM9.90 each, one can opt for the different types of fresh juices on their menu. Each set meal also came with dessert, which was soya bean jelly with canned longan.

All in all, it was a fantastic lunch, and very authentic in terms of nyonya cuisine and not one of those cheaters which uses the word nyonya to lure the customers. We already have in mind what we want for our next visit, talking about being greedy. :)

Bento #100 100406

Can't believe this is my first triple-digit bento, since the very first one here.
It has been more than a year of bento-ing, to be exact, close to 14 months with calculation starting from 7-February-2009 till the date of this bento, 06-April-2010.
So 100 bentos in 426 days, that would work out to be one bento in 4.26 days on average.
Not too good a statistics, I vow to do better this year by being more diligent.
But comparing the virgin attempt to now, bento-ing comes easier, as with everything gets breezier with practice.
Am not going to rest on my laurels, here's a cheer to more bentos to come, promise.

To celebrate and commemmorate this great milestone, I used this chocolate block bento box for it. Chocolate being something sweet to mark this great occassion, isn't that fitting for the day?!? Can you spot the 1-0-0 in this bento? I know the arrangement of the numbers is a bit toggled, but the 3 digits are still there because this bento box is squarish, so I had no choice but to place the hotdog bun (which represented the numero uno) in the middle. The other 2 silicon containers represented the double zero. I admit they were a bit squashed, thus they don't quite look like 0, but well, that's what I had in mind when assembling this bento.

The elongated bun contained Seafood Tuna filling, which was tuna mixed with chopped kani stick. I arranged the colourful cherry tomatoes alternately for the cheery event.
The pink silicon container on the left were chopped lettuce with goma dressing, while the green casing had cubed mangoes on the right.
This bento took me about 11 minutes because of the cutting and chopping of fresh vegetables and fruits involved.
I hope to achieve the two hundredth mark by the end of this year, stay tuned!

Kellogg's Nutri.Grain Cereal Bars

These cereal bars by the name of Nutri.Grain by Kellogg's does taste quite good, the aroma of mixed berry is evident as per the printed words on the packaging box, it is made with real fruit and this being the Mixed Berry variety. The other variants I've seen in the supermarket shelves so far are Strawberry and Strawberry Yoghurt.

Each conV pack contains 2 pieces, and within each box, there would be 6 packs. I usually grab one on those days that I feel like being 'healthy' because dh uses this during his long rides on the road, so in a way, this was meant for him. It is quite easy for his consumption while on the sadle as this is quite soft, making it more palatable than those dry grubs. In a way, this tastes quite like fruit pie with its tutti-fruitti bits and pieces in the filling while being encased in a pie shell made of grains.
Once we finished this box, I would like to try the other varieties but these are not widely available, so I got to be on the lookout for them. This it's about RM11ish, which works out to be RM1 per bar, approximately.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Roasted Garlic Fettucine

Been quite some time since the last pasta intake, so this was what we had for dinner.
Pasta can get ready in the least time possible because while cooking the pasta of choice to al dante, I went about preparing the ingredients for the pasta sauce.

For this dish in particular, it meant getting ready the garlic and different types of mushrooms. Enoki just needed cutting off its base and a quick rinse under tap water to wash, then opening the can of straw mushroom and quarter each of the straw mushroom. The same for button mushroom, also quartered after opening the can. Garlic was removing the skin and slice thinly, and then opening the can of Prego's Mushroom Sauce. Gather all the necessary seasoning, some milk and some whipping cream to dilute the sauce, that's all.

First off, heat up the pan with some evoo (extra virgin olive oil), then 'roast' the garlic till brown on both sides and dish up. In the same pan, add in the diffent types of mushroom and give it a quick stir-fry plus a dash of Maggi's seasoning for aroma and taste. Dish these up as well before pouring the can of Prego's Mushroom Sauce to heat it till boiling point. Switch off the stove and then add a tablespoon each of milk and whipping cream and stir till evenly mixed.

The next step would just be plating the pasta and top it with mushroom sauce, then you can tuck in heartily. Just in case you're observant, the fettucine is green because it's Spinach Fettucine.

Bento #099 100401

I normally pack a bento with scones once a week since I bake a lot of that and freeze them to make life easier. After defrosting, a short time in the ovenette to warm up made them as good as new. Since there were 3 pieces of scones in this bento, I tucked in 2 packs of jam - raspberry jam and marmalade.

Still along the lines of Easter, I made two apple bunnies and their eyes were done with cheese and nori punch-outs. In the middle was a half red apple with lines of skin pared. I decorated the spaces with strips of green apple skin to resemble Easter egg.
This bento was done using close to 20 minutes as I had to be careful and gentle with apple skin.

Manhattan Fish Market's Juru Outlet

This outlet of MFM's is pretty spacious compared to the rest of their branches we had visited so far. What's even better was that there was no smell of grease at this place. This was good news because I for one, dislike the heavy scent of grease clinging onto my clothes and hair.

As we were redeeming a voucher for free Dory Fish and Chip, we decided to go for a side dish and this Deep-fried White Bait was the one we ordered. It was served on a bed of coleslaw. A good choice indeed as the sourness from the coleslaw complemented the crispy salty white bait extremely well. Oh, there were lots of golden raisins in the coleslaw as well.

The different types of sauce and minced garlic to go with the fish and chips.

Bento #098 100330

This being a more elaborate bento, was for lunch.
I cooked enoki fried rice, of which the enoki was cut into small bits. End up not too good a choice because the enoki sweated upon being heat up, and that made the fried rice wet. This might be due to me adding the enoki too early as previously I didn't have this problem. Must remind self to add in enoki last.

The 2 pieces of brown item were home-made fish paste in beancurd skin. Mom bought the fresh fish paste and added other items which included minced meat, then spread this onto beancurd skin. After sealing the edges, this was deep-fried to cook it. She made a lot of these and freeze them for future meals.

To counter the grease from the food items, I load the side with fruits and vegetables. There were chinese pear quarters, starfruit pieces and kyuri slices arranged alternately.

Mango Sago

Though it has been raining, weather is still hot these days so a bowl of dessert to chill would be wonderful. This was done very quickly apart from cooking the tiny sago balls. Once the sago is cooked, rinse it under running tap water in a colander to remove the starch so that it won't all stick together in a big lump. By doing this, you will get loose sago pearls.

Once the sago part is done, the rest of the work is mere resembling. Start with ice cubes, then top with the sago, cubed mangoes and some nata de coco. Add some syrup to taste and adjust the sweetness with some water. There you have it, a bowl of easy dessert for after meal.

Bento #097 100330

This was the nearest I got to making an Easter-themed bento.
The cut-out was using cheese on a slice of luncheon meat, which in turn was resting on a bed of omelette. Some nori punch-outs to make the eyes and nose. As for the ears, I used a cocktail sausage which was halved lengh-wise.

The side dish was some 'easter eggs' made up of red cherry tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes resting on a basket of green lettuce.

I think I spent 15 minutes on this bento as I couldn't decide on how to make the bunny. Blame it on no preparation ahead of time. :)

Cabbage and Mushroom Dish

This is a vegetarian dish that Mom cooked the other day, using only 2 ingredients as the title hinted. First the cabbage and pre-soaked mushrooms were deep-fried separately then only were they stewed together with some water and seasoning till ready, which was when the mushrooms are soft to taste.

Notice the cabbage didn't disintegrate despite such a long cooking time? The trick was to cut the cabbage into wedges, depending on the size of the cabbage, either 6 to 8 would be just nice.

Sometimes we would add gluten puffs but not this round. It was a dish we learnt from my late granny. Despite cooking this with 2 big cabbages, we still finished it in no time. Twas that good!

Bento #096 100329

This bento's sandwich was made using french toast that lends the bread a yellow hue. Of course it also added to the protein intake. Filling was none other than char siew, as I was trying to finish that up.
In the blue container on the lower right corner were the bits and pieces of cherry tomatoes and kyuri with some goma dressing. A dark and light pink foodpicks to decorate the bento.

On the opposite side of the blue container were some brown sugar ma-lai-koh, a type of local steamed cake topped with some melon seeds. My first time purchasing from this stall and they were good, not too sweet but with a heavy scent of molasses.

Colonel's Royal Briyani

KFC is currently having something new, and being the adventurous food souls, we went to try that over the weekend. It was dinner time and the restaurant was packed, which translated to brisk sales and items running out. The particular item was none other than the briyani rice, so no choice but to stretch the hunger pang longer. Trying not to complain as this would mean we get extremely freshly cooked rice.

This Royal Briyani set came with 2 pieces of Kentucky Fried Chicken's Hot & Spicy Chicken and a bowl of soup. Not in the picture was the accompanying drink, which we opted for Ice Lemon Tea by paying a bit extra.

The briyani rice was good, not too wet neither was it too dry. It was flavourful, but on the spicy side. At least now we get another choice of carbo when dining at KFC, their rice certainly tastes much better than the cardboard buns.

Bento #095 100329

From top to bottom:
2 slices of char-siew & kyuri sandwich
A cup of yellow and red cherry tomato halves plus chinese pear cubes.
A piece of Kraft's Cheese Wedge for protein.

Not to mention a lamb and 2 bunnies playing around in the bento!

Nuts over Nutrageous

These Reese's NutRageous chocolate candy bar are absolutely divine. I used to love Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups until this, and there's no turning back simply because this one has chunky whole peanuts which provided a chewy texture whereas the former just melts in your mouth.

So happy that we can find these on our local shores, when couple of years back, I can only rely on friends or colleagues who flew back from The States to bring them in. Reese's, yums!

Bento #094 100328

A scones bento, with a box of Heinz's Strawberry Jam in convenient pack. On the left side were some "flowers" on a bed of chinese pears. The flowers were made using red tomato cherry halves and slices of kyuri with a V-cut to create tulips. The yellow part was starfruit just in case you're wondering.

Can you spot the two rabbits atop the scones?

Udon Jawa

I named this somewhere along the line of Mee Jawa but since I didn't make use of the yellow noodles, I substituted the word with udon instead.
Within this bowl, I used garlic, onion, kani sticks, sausage, enoki, green veg, carrot, tomato puree and of course, some seasonings and water.

I didn't prepare the soup base, but instead stir-fried it with a fair bit of water to make it soupy. Topped with the home-made shallot crisp, this was delicious. Not self-praise, that's for sure.

Bento #093 100328

A morning snack bento that was filled with 2 rows of fruits, namely starfruit slices and chinese pear quarters. On the far right was a piece of rempah udang, which was glutinuous rice filled with spicy dried shrimp sambal in the middle. After being wrapped in banana leaf, this was pan-fried on the outside to bring out the aroma of this environmentally friendly type of "packaging".

2 bunny foodpicks were used to decorate this for Easter period.

MFM's Tea Break Specials

While at the mall the other day, we chanced upon this deal. It's not something new as I've seen it around for some time now. But as always, out of sight, out of mind, so we didn't get to check it out. So happened our timing was good this , we sat down for a cuppa this round. Unbelieveably low price of RM0.95 for a hot cuppa, it is even cheaper than those sold at kopitiam, so who could resist it? Definitely not us!

A cappuccino and a latte, that's what we decided to have and the total bill was slightly more than RM2 because of tax and service charge, still cheaper than coffee shops for 2 drinks.

Of course, we didn't expect much out of this but it didn't disappoint either. Guess it's the same quality as the one they offer at other times for ala carte order.

The other good deals for the same time period, which is 3pm - 6pm on weekdays of Monday to Friday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Evening Walk

After so much of fried food, I went for a walk (read: feeble attempt) to get rid of the excess calories. Weather was cooling for a stroll in the park, that's what prompted me to head out before sunset. And look at what I manage to capture along the way, all from the same garden of a house-owner. More of an extended cemented garden outside the gate of one particular house, and all the plants were either blooming or fruiting.

On the left were the rose apples on the tree, some ripen while some still green. These are the sour type typically used in rojak, different from those bigger sweeter variety which had been genetically altered to produce superior output. Caught a nice white hibiscus in full bloom, so pure!
All these made the walk more interesting and less mundane. Throw in the breeze in the equation as well, absolutely perfect for an evening walk.

Bento #092 100326

2 slices of tomyam tuna sandwiches plus some fruits made up of red cherry tomatoes, yellow cherry tomates and kyuri chunky rings skewered and resting on a bed of canned longans.

I used some zodiac animals food picks for this bento as they are long enough to hold all the 3 colours together. Don't have much choices when it comes to long food picks, this being one from the collection as mostly are of the average length.

Bento #091 100326

Since I bought a large loaf of white sandwich bread to make the deep fried ice cream, the next few bentos would contain sandwiches as I try to finish it up before the expiry date.

Here's one that I used the home roasted char siew with kyuri slices, and they both paired very well. The crunch provided by the japanese cucumber made good partner with the juicy sweet meat, it almost taste like eating bak kwa sandwiches.

For fruits, there were canned longan, pineapple cubes and two strawberries as I tried to clear the fridge with the weekend approaching. A convenient pack of Oreo's soft cake to fill up the gap and that's it for this bento as I inch nearer to the 100th bento.

Deep Fried Ice Cream

Is that a typo, you might ask? Well, none at all, there is indeed such a food item and it's sold at RM3 per piece at selected restaurants. I remember eating it it more than 2 decades ago, and it has recently made a come-back. I'm not a fan of ice-cream, but seeing that it was so easy to do, I can't resist meddling with it.

Off I went to get a small tub of ice cream and a loaf of white bread, just for this very purpose. I was on a mission - deep fried ice cream. Upon reaching home, I set about preparing this because it needs at least 2 hours of deep-freezing. Just nice, get it done during the day so that we can have it as dessert for after dinner.

Take 2 slice of white bread, create an indent with either a glass or saucer to imprint the border onto which you can put the ice cream. Don't be too greedy to heap too much of ice cream, else it will get messy and the bread can't seal well if the ice cream got to the edges of the bread. Plus, the bread might tear because of over-stretching. After this, top with another slice of white bread, and seal the edges with corn-starch solution (corn starch diluted with some water to make it spreadable). As a double protection, I used fork to press the edges, wouldn't want the oil to splatter should the ice cream leaks out, eh.
Into the freezer I kept this till when ready to use. Just heat up the oil and once the oil is hot, pop this in and fry till golden brown on both sides. It is a very quick step, 30 seconds at most and the bread will be in a nice hue. Dish out onto paper towel to soak up a bit of grease, then attack! Indulge in this hot and cold dessert that only deep fried ice cream and bring.
I was quite afraid that the ice cream might be over-melted, but thankfully it turned out ok. Verdict was that this was good, but better to use a vanilla flavoured ice cream because chocolate plus grease, it turned out a tad too overwhelming for us.
Actually I wasn't aware that deep fried ice cream uses white bread slices up until now. I might just try to order this at the shop when I come across it to satisfy my curiosity and to benchmark myself.

Recipe: Home Roasted Char Siew

Got my inspiration from here, plus reassurance from there as well that this is very easy to do, I went to the wet market to get some fresh meat.

I used pork shoulder as advised also, and this is the awesome outcome. Trust me, it's really very simple to do, just mix the marinade, toss the meat of choice in and let them soak for the flavour to infuse. I kept mine "swimming" in the marinate for 24 hours in the chiller, and just remove them 30 minutes before roasting at 200 degree Celcius for 45 minutes, then cranked up the heat to 250 degree Celcius to 'burn' the sugar to get the char.

Simply lovely dish, though I might add a pinch of 5-spice powder the next time I try this. Somehow the sticky feel of char siew was missing from this, and I learnt that I need maltose sugar to get there. I've since bought a jar of maltose sugar, will try this again sooner than expected.

Here's the magic sauce:
250g Sugar (I used 125g of soft brown sugar + 125g white sugar)
150g Oyster Sauce
50g Bean Paste
80ml Light Soya Sauce
2 teaspoon Rice Wine (I used Shao Xing Jiu)
1 teaspoon Dark Soya Sauce + 1 teaspoon Thick Soya Sauce

A close-up shot of the lean cut, dh loves this as he didn't need to evade the fatty ones like those sold commercially.
The above marinate was a lot for the 700g of meat I used, so I saved a bit of that initial thick sauce for basting. I did that unintentionally because at first, the container I selected was too small in capacity to hold everything in, so I thought I could save the marinate to be used for chicken thighs. It turned out that for basting, one is supposed to use this thicker marinate in order for the sauce to stick onto the meat because the marinate in which the meat was soaked in gets diluted overtime. A blessing in disguise indeed.

Stir-fry Tempeh

Tempeh, a fermented soya bean product which we like to add to our rice whenever we visit the Nasi Campur stall. Nasi campur is Malay's equivalent of the Chinese version's of Economy Rice, and funnily though, we frequent Nasi Campur more partly because I can't recreate many of their dishes, with the different types of spices used in their curries and etc. Just like this tempeh dish until recently.

I bought just one pack of it home to test it out, only RM1. After deep-frying, it shrank and I realised I might not have enough for even one serving, in between trying a piece to check for doneness, then another piece as I wasn't sure and then a third. I had to attempt hard not to pop a fourth one, else there won't be much left to stir-fry.

From left to right in clockwise motion, that's how they looked like before ending up in the below dish. My syrup solution was kind of watery when I put in the ready-fried pieces of tempeh, should have waited longer to let the water evaporate more. But still yummy and to tell you how good it was, I went on to purchase 4 new packets the next day.

Leave a teaspoon of oil after emptying the wok of the bulk of oil used to deep-fry the tempeh, then fry some shallots to fragrant the oil. Add in 2 tablespoon of sugar and the same amount of water, then let the sugar crystals melt to get a syrupy solution. Once this has turned slightly thicker, add in the golden tempeh slices to coat them with the sticky sauce. A light splash of kicap manis for colour and this is ready.
This nutty dish is indeed awesome. By the way, when cooking ethnic dishes, I prefer to use their brand of condiments, just like in this instance, I used the Malay brand of Kicap Manis. It is not to be confused with our regular Dark Soya Sauce because this one taste more lemak, or at least that's what its name - Kicap Lemak Manis to be exact.

Marinated Meat

A stripe of pork belly which I marinated with 1.5 cubes of red chinese cheese (nam yee) before deep-frying and cut into slices.

The marvellous piece of nam yee was very flavourful as what I did was to crushed it really fine into a paste-like formation, add a slight drizzle of sesame oil and a pinch of sugar. Ok, maybe 2 pinches of sugar since nam yee is salty. Then with this dark "cream", I frosted the whole piece of pork belly and kept the meat refrigerated overnight for the flavour to seep in.

I just served this simple dish on a bed of shredded lettuce so that the fresh greens can cleanse the palate after the oiliness of this dish. Would likely to recreate this dish by using chicken wings to see how's the result.
p/s: The outcome of my pork belly was darker because my jar of nam yee has been aged (due to neglect).

Glad Rainbow

Parted ways with RM4.90 in exchange for this box of Sandwich Bags that came in 5 different colours, which worked out to be 6 pieces per colour as there were 30 of them as printed. Good to keep sammies from drying out in our himid weather.

Light green, blue, yellow (more like beige to me), orange and my favourite colour, purple! Came with 30 pieces of colourful funky stickers as well to seal the bags with, simply love them to bits.

Can you spot some cool words within each stickers? Some of the messages were funny such as this:
"Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family!" - I didn't know that, so it's good to learn.
And then there's this "Ostriches stick their head in the sand to look for water!" - WOW, another new thing learnt.

Bento #090 100324

Another bento with bread and fruits, that's the easiest and fastest for me.
A slice each of wholemeal and white loaf bread filled with tomyam flavoured tuna spread. I was getting bored with the usual tuna and acted on instinct to add one teaspoonful of tomyam paste to spice it up. Outcome was good, now I can have another variety of tuna, yummy!

With only a few remaining pieces of strawberries left, I tried to stretch them by making a skewer with mangoes. I saved the pointed tips to be inserted into the king lychees for some colour impact. They turned out great both in visual and taste wise.

Lychee Muffins

Made a batch of these fruit-based muffins using Lychee, recipe extracted from March 2010's issue of Food & Travel. The big juicy king lychees gave this a very moist texture, but the aroma of lychee was not evident.

Though they looked nice in this photo, the texture is more kuih like than cake, so to me, I didn't quite like it, so they benefitted the bin. Might be partly due to my over-mixing as the batter initially was very lumpy, so I added in more of the lychee syrup which led to the gluten formation.

Just wanted to record this down, and hopefully I will get round to trying it again to see if I get better Lychee Muffins then. :)

Bento #089 100324

I got nearly a whole week's bento creations to post, and this was a simple one for my lunch last Wednesday. A box of silken tofu on the left lightly steamed to heat it up topped with the balance of mince sauce from Udon Dinner. Both paired very well since one was bland while the other was full of flavour.

On the left were shredded iceberg lettuce with goma dressing sprinkled with some furikake for colour.


It is not the toy, buy yo-yo made out of cloth. I only recently found out from a friend that this thing is called yo-yo when we were both checking out some sewing stuffs at a specialty shop and chanced upon the instant yo-yo maker by Clover. Intrigued by the many different shapes one can do with the different templates such as heart shape, flower shape and of course, the round shape, I was quite tempted to pick one pack up to try my hands on them.

But then, I quickly stopped myself from approaching the cashier. Why, you may ask. Well, I got this "3-minutes of heat" syndrome (translated from mandarin) meaning to say that my interest might only last me the first few initial moments, and after that, I will simply put the new-found toy or whatsoever aside, so I better don't start the cycle. Since I've done the round yo-yo way back as a student for a school project, that time I can't remember being told that it's called a yo-yo, I can easily pick this up again. I can still recall we did a clown with these yo-yos by stringing them up to form the limbs and etc. And for that, we had to sew really really a lot of yo-yos, depending on the length of the limbs we wanted, and you can imagine, they are four limbs, plus bigger sized yo-yos for the body.

Yo-yos are not difficult to do, just use a round template to draw out the circle, then cut and hem to sew along its edges. Once the full-cycle of sewing has been completed, just pull the thread and there you got it, the Yo-yo. Knot the thread and one yo-yo down, another to go. I remembered having quite a lot of fun sewing despite the quantity.

So back to the current moment, I came back home to check with doctor Google on the term yo-yo and found some interesting items done with it. One particular image caught my attention, and that's just what I did, a key-ring. I used the medium-sized of my yo-yos for this as I was playing with the different sizes of templates to test the size of the outcome. The sewn yo-yo would be half the size of the original cloth it was used, meaning the diameter would be halved. For example, I got this 4cm-diameter yo-yo from using a circle with 9.6cm initially, taking into account the hem.

Just use a piece of button to cover up the gathers and a pretty little piece of yo-yo is completed. The possibilities are endless by mix-matching different types of buttons to create the different effects. Now I gotta scount around for some fancy buttons and in different sizes to complement the yo-yos. Seen here was just a plain normal one, but that shall do for now in order for me to complete my Keychain Project.

Using the same piece of cloth, I also made a draw-string pouch for my camera. Also not a difficult thing to do, just slightly more time-consuming because I hand-stitched it. Once the pouch was completed, just use a piece of ribbon through the loop and it can be used immediately.

Happy with my hand-made products (pun intended), what a good start to the second quarter of 2010!