Thursday, August 27, 2009

MTM - Muffin Tin Meal

Following in the footsteps of my fellow bloggers, Peony & HK Choo, I decided to make a muffin tin meal for princess one evening. Her dad and I were having curry chicken for dinner so I had to find alternative food for her. Apparently it's the latest trend to serve kids their meals in one of these tins. It has the same philosophy as a bento, and makes meals fun for little kiddos, enticing them to eat up. I am hoping to get my hands on a silicon one. A friend likened it to meals served in the Army. And it fact it does remind me so, of those mess tins used for their meals. I think it's kind of cute, but not something I will do very often, or so I hope. ;)

In this tin, there is Yakult with jelly by the side, fishball miso soup, tamago and cherry tomatoes, organic golden kiwi, plain rice with Cinnamoroll seaweed and chicken bak kwa. She finished everything except some tamago and tomatoes.

It's the first time that I made checkered apple. I found it a little bit tedious although it's beautiful. I tried the rest of the apple to make a rabbit but it didn't turn out well so here I have something which looks like a mouse. She also had prata, flower ham, cherry tomatoes and a steamed cake which I learned from Little Corner of Mine. My version didn't turn out so well but the little girl said it was nice. I felt it tasted too eggy, because during the mixing process, I had no energy to beat the egg into fluffy thickness. I think that was what went wrong. Will try it again another day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Muffin tin meal in a bento?

I love this bento box of mine with 4 little dividers. I usually use it without the compartments but with muffin tin meals being the rage now in the blogosphere, I thought I could incorporate it into my bento. I did a colour co-ordinated set today with yellow being the colour of choice. I think the bento is enlivened with the colourful paper cups, rather than just using the compartments alone, don't you think? I boiled some young corn and cut them into smaller bite-size pieces and put Mama Duck in charge of them. I made cutout strawberry cream cheese sandwiches and got princess to eat two of them up as they couldn't fit into the compartment. :P There are strawberries watched over by Papa Duck, and a little pastry that grandma bought her. I'm not really sure what it is, but there seems to be a little cheese in the middle.

This is what my muffin tin bento meal looks like closed over. I think it's lovely. :)

Soccer bento

This bento came about with the help of the little boy pancake which grandma gave. I got hubby to pick up the lian rong bao from the bao shop near my place and seeing the boy and the white bao gave me the idea of doing a football. The fillers include strawberries, raisins and pretzel fish.

Lately, I've found that she leaves some food behind, whereas before, she would clean out her entire bento. She says she doesn't have time to finish her food. I'm wondering if it's because these days she is in a hurry to go play with her friends. Since she started bringing a trolley bag to school, she has been putting her bento inside it, and I've told her that it messes up my 'work of art' ;P. Her answer was, 'Please don't make anymore nice bentos, just simple ones'. Gosh! Ok, I will try.

Last evening's dinner came about from thinking on the spot. My initial plan was to cook curry chicken with the half chicken that I had. However, at the last minute, I found myself attending the funeral mass of a dear old friend's mum, whom I've known since I was 7. Me and my friend lived in the same neighbourhood growing up. She was in the block beside mine, and we went to the same school and were even classmates. She as well as another friend of ours, M, are the oldest friends I have. We used to go to each others' house to play after school. I remember my growing up years as having lots of time for play, unlike kids these days, it's homework, homework, homework, and computer. We played imaginative games, and our favourite in those days was 'The Famous Five'. We will each 'be' a character from the books and my sis or one of the younger ones would end up as the dog. It was fun breathing life into the books we loved so much. I loved reading a lot, and my dad would take me and sis every weekend to MPH in Stamford Road, and we would be allowed a couple of books each. I 'ran' a little library in my home and loaned books out to friends complete with library cards, date borrowed and date returned. Those were very fun days.

It was indeed a very beautiful funeral mass and everything from the hall, to the church, to the music, to the singing, was perfect. Hubby attended the wake with me the night before, and I was impressed with how lovely and serene the church was. I told him that when I pass on, this is what I want my funeral to be like. I'm very glad that SS & I managed to be there for our old friend. She was very composed throughout, even while her sis was falling apart. I pray for God to give them strength during this difficult time. May you rest in peace, Auntie Jenny, as you prepare to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And I will remember you always.

Coming home from mass, I knew I didn't have the time to prepare curry so I decided to quickly season the chicken with teriyaki marinade, butter some garlic toasts, and dumped some veg in to be roasted. It turned out to be a lovely dinner, hub's kind of dinner. The pasta is extra from what I cooked for the princess, so it went on his plate.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ice-lollies & bentos

Primary 1 - 5 kids were given the day off on Thursday and yesterday due to the Primary 6 kids having their oral exam. Since I had my regular once every 3 months' doctor's appointment, I left princess with grandma as I do not like bringing her to the hospital. There are all sorts of germs and bacteria there so it's better to be safe than sorry. It's an arrangement I've made with mum since the girl was very little. I don't have help at home, so I dump leave her with grandma every time I have an appointment. However, these days, I tend to arrange for it to be after the girl leaves for school. But once in a while, something unexpected comes up, like this holiday which I had no idea of.

We met mum for lunch at Ion, at the B4 foodhall. All the scrumptious Japanese food were calling my name. I saw the takoyaki counter and remembered reading about it in a write-up a few weeks' back, and made a mental note to go back for it. There wasn't a queue at all. However, my mission was to go in search of the wassant which my girl loves. I found the bakery and was told to go back in 10mins. Meanwhile, I went back to the takoyaki counter and guess what???? A queue had formed of say 8 people?! Argh, why didn't I just buy it the first time?? *bangs head* So when my turn came, they had sold out the first batch and I spent 15mins standing in line! Thus, I missed my wassants. When I finally got hold of the tako balls, I went back to get the wassants but guess what?? The batch had sold out! Huh?! It goes that fast???? Apparently it's true. Each time a batch comes out, they just fly off the shelves. The first lot I got was 10. After lunch. I only had 8 left as princess had 2 on the spot. It is THAT addictive! I thought to myself that I ought to get more else there'd be none left by the time we got home. Hahaha. And while I was at it, I decided to buy more, some for my doc, so all in yesterday alone, I bought 25 wassants! Goodness! I saw a lady who balanced at least 40 on her tray. Haha. Just from that little bun alone, the cash register wouldn't stop ringing!

I left them after lunch and the 2 of them wandered around Ion, window-shopping before making their way to The Esplanade where mum had some work to do. She very kindly bought princess the little star silicon ice-tray, and later in the evening, a lovely cosmetic case which princess was eyeing and thinking about the entire afternoon. She was very good though. Grandma offered to buy her both items but she declined at first. She chose the ice-tray. But by the end of the evening, after I met up with them, she decided she wanted the case after all, so she can use it as a pencil case. Reason being 2 of her classmates had the same ones!

We made Ribena ice-lollies this afternoon and she enjoyed them very much. I'm not sure if sis remembers, but when we were young, I used to love to make Milo ice-lollies in ice-trays. I am actually very keen on picking up pushpop-type ice-lolly moulds which KY got. Can't wait to get them. :) For now, we're happy with this star straw one. Love the glitter on the straws.

Poor hubby had to work till 2am today and only had his dinner at that time. On his way home, he stopped by Mac's and he was telling me how crowded it was at that time! Singaporeans sure eat at all times, don't they? As long as an eatery is open 24hrs, you'll be sure to attract a crowd.

Since he only had to go to work at 5.30pm today, I decided to make him a bento so he won't have to starve. In his bento, there is fried rice, samosas, Ikea meatballs, siew mai and tamago. I also gave him a fruit bento of strawberries and plum.

While I was preparing hubby's bento, princess came into the kitchen and asked if I was doing a bento for her. I said no, and that I was doing it for daddy. She said she wanted 1 as well. Thankfully I had baked extra meatballs and steamed extra siew mais. Haha.

We ended up going to a Japanese restaurant for Aunt's birthday dinner, after visiting my grandma. I gave her the choice to eat from the restaurant and told her she just had to eat the stuff in her bento minus the rice. However, she insisted she wanted her bento. So phew, didn't waste my food. :P And she even ate the rice, since she loves sprinkling it with furikake.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Steamed Stuffed Tofu

I posted this item in FB a few weeks ago, and a friend asked for the recipe today. Decided to show her how it's done here. M, please note that the ingredients do not have exact measurements as I estimated the amount of seasoning used.

Ingredients -

Round tofu (without egg)
Minced pork
Spring onion
Fried shallots

Seasoning -

Oyster sauce
white pepper
corn starch
light soy sauce
sesame oil

Method -

1. Cut tofu up into approximately 6-7 portions, not too thin, and arrange on a plate (suitable for steaming). Next, cut out a hole in the middle halfway through each piece of tofu and keep dug-out tofu aside.

2. Season minced pork with light soy sauce, white pepper, sesame oil and corn starch. Add in the dug-out tofu and mix well. Shape them into balls and stuff it back in tofu. Steam tofu on a soft rolling boil, not high heat, if you are using a wok.

3. Mix oyster sauce with water from steamed tofu and pour sauce back over tofu. When ready, sprinkle spring onions & fried shallots before serving. Serve once it's done and eat while it's warm.

The sauce didn't turn out too well this time, if you notice. The actual end result isn't supposed to be this wet. But it was still yummy. I'm still trying hard to get hubby to eat tofu. He doesn't like anything that doesn't have taste, such as tofu and chee cheong fun.

Speaking of chee cheong fun, I made this dish with some ccf which a neighbour picked up for me from the factory that produces it. It was super cheap. One roll cost me only 20cents, thus I got him to buy 10 rolls. He and his wife taught me to fry it this way and I'm in love with it.

Ingredients -

Chee Cheong Fun (cut into smaller pieces)
Dried shrimps (hae bi or xia mi) - soaked then minced
Bean sprouts
crabsticks or meat (optional) - you can even add prawns, fishcake, according to your taste and preference
garlic (minced)
spring onions
fried shallots

Seasoning -

Chilli sauce
light sauce

Method -

1. Fry garlic till fragrant, add minced dried shrimp. Next add bean sprouts. When half cooked, add in chee cheong fun and crabsticks, chilli and light sauce. Stir in beaten egg till cooked and serve warm. Do not forget to garnish with spring onions and shallots before serving. Delish!

Note - Do not overcook chee cheong fun else it will fall apart. It cooks relatively fast so it's a very quick dish to prepare. Great for a simple one-dish lunch.


I was looking for lasagne sheets in the supermarket over the weekend and couldn't find any on the shelves, so I settled for the next best thing, which was cannelloni shells. I can't remember when was the last time I cooked this kind of pasta. It is definitely more than 10 years ago. It's not what I would cook regularly. Even lasagne is seldom served in my home. I think the main problem is the bechamel sauce. I was told that it's easy to make, and I have tried to make it, but it didn't turn out well, so I gave up. However, on this Cannelloni box, there was a recipe for the sauce and that is what I used here. I almost threw out the box till I remembered I hadn't made the sauce, oops, so thankfully managed to scoop it out of the bin before rubbish went on top of it. Phew. Quite happy with the result, and will use it again. Decided to type it out here for future reference.

Bechamel Sauce

Ingredients -

900ml milk (heat it)
50g butter
50g flour (I used all purpose)

Method -

1. Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour, add the hot milk, stirring rapidly with a whisk to prevent lumps forming.

2. When it boils, remove from heat and add nutmeg and salt to taste.

Note - For the filling, I used homemade beef bolognaise sauce (slightly drier version).

To assemble, spread a layer of bechamel on the bottom of a greased baking dish. Stuff cannelloni with the filling, and arrange neatly over sauce. Pour bechamel over and in my case I use mozarella, but originally, it should be Parmagiano Reggiano. Sprinkle cheese over and repeat layer. Bake at 190 deg C for 20mins. Before serving, crush some fresh black pepper over.

The Mickey Mouse bento

I received a message this morning from IM,who shared with me the Hello Kitty bento she made for her girl, using a Hello Kitty sandwich cutter. Having just woken up, a little late today, as I was real lucky the rascal upstairs did not wake me up at 7am. This rarely occurs so I was glad for the extra sleep I got.

I didn't know what to do for Princess' bento, so decided to 'borrow' IM's idea by making a sandwich with my Mickey mould, which is similar to IM's. While digging out the mould from the bottom of the pile of cutters I have, I found Mickey veggy cutters as well, so decided to use them for the blanched carrots and dragonfruit. I'm using my new Stitch picks, so you could call it a Disney-themed bento. Haha.

I wanted something savoury for her today thus I decided to make a ham & cheese sandwich and toasted it in the oven for a bit. I didn't leave it in for too long, else it will be too hard by time she eats it 3 hrs later. I just wanted to heat it enough to melt the cheese.

I bought a box of black cherries yesterday as they were selling it cheap at NTUC. Princess loves them, so they are in the bento today. The cherry tomatoes are cut in half with kyuri in the middle. This idea I 'stole' from HK as I thought they looked really pretty. Unfortunately I only have one colour of cherry tomatoes. It'll look prettier with different-coloured ones.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hello Kitty?

My girl has been bugging for pancakes ever since she spied a new bottle of golden syrup on the kitchen counter. I've, of course, been too lazy, and putting it off each time. Finally when we were at the chiller section of Carrefour yesterday, she saw the buttermilk (and that has been on my phone reminder for weeks now), and she was so happy, that I had no choice but to pick it up... hehe.

So, while tidying out my cabinet this morning, I found my Hello Kitty pancake/egg mould, and decided to make that.

Before -

After -

This chocolate was added at the last minute, literally, just as we were leaving to wait for the school bus, so it turned out really yucky, but the important thing is that there is chocolate on the pancake, no? Who cares if it's ugly? :P

My helper with the HK face. I love this stuff, just heat up and squeeze. :)

Before she left the house, I told her to hold the bento properly and not to put it into her school bag. Today's bento is very shallow and there's lots of space for the fruits and pancake to 'run amok'. I used a Lock 'n' Lock container. I love this one which comes with 4 little compartments which I didn't use today. She was very careful, till, when she was sitting on the bench and started playing with the neighbourhood kids. The next minute, I heard the bag drop and my heart broke into pieces. :(

On a happier note, I received my parcel from CP. Very pleased with the panda, duck picks. :) There's also onigiri wrapper and my much-awaited shoe puncher. :)) Got the Stitch picks as they were on sale.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A quicky bento

Didn't have much inspiration for this one today, so just boiled some pasta, tossed it in some ready pasta sauce and added some mozarella. Also had a pandan mantou with a panda on the head, a plain samosa, some flower biscuits, and fruits. Ooops also, a chocolate treat.

Have a great weekend everyone. :D

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More bentos, some pretty ones, others not so. :P

My inspiration for this bento came from shopping mum. When I saw how she made the little flower girls, I fell in love with the idea and decided to adopt it. I didn't do it immediately of course, because knowing me, I can be a procrastinator at times.

On a bed of macaroni and cheese lays a pretty flower girl (whose face is made from mantou) with a ribbon in her hair. Her rosy cheeks are made from the red part of crabsticks, cut out with straws. Love her eyelashes. It's the first time I'm making those. This Pikachu bento box is a perfect shape and size for this design.

Bakerzin was having a promo on macarons and certain cheesecakes, and it was a great deal at 50% off the normal price, during the month of July. We chanced upon it during one of our visits in mid-July. Couldn't resist picking up a dozen of the macarons. Actually, was thanks to Princess who discovered it. Each time we visit the store, you'll be sure to find her checking out the desserts at the counter before she even sits down to place her order. She saw the sign advertising them and told me about it, so curious me had to check it out as I didn't believe her. Hehe.

In the dessert part of the bento, there is the pistachio macaron, some blueberries for Mr Frog's eyes, using the white of crabsticks for the eye lids, some cherries, and flower biscuits (my all-time favourite childhood snack).

These following bentos have no stories to tell...


Went to dinner one evening with friends, and prepared this for princess' dinner. I love the maki (homemade) wrapped with clingwrap and ribbons to hold the wrappers in place.

A dessert monster (that's what princess is ;P) made with pistachio & sakura-flavoured macarons for eyes, with teeth made of golden kiwi (look at all those cavities hehe), and a kinder bueno nose. Needless to say, she loved her dessert very much, although she didn't notice the bar of chocolate till I pointed it out to her at the very end of her meal (this picture was taken from the top, and it doesn't show, but the choc is blocked from her view by all the coloured paper cups. :)


I made a sausage-wrapped prata and served it with monster crisps. This bento went with us to Godma's house one Saturday after class. We usually have a very late lunch on Saturdays, sometimes as late as 3pm, as her class is right smack during lunch hours. There is an assortment of fruits and a big slice of Cookies & Cream Cheesecake from Bakerzin (this was one of those on offer).

This bento had fried Disney Princess pasta with spam, and chicken corn sticks at the sides. In the dessert portion, there is a mini pandan mantou, some yellow cherry tomatoes, and green apples resting in my very new and favourite bear silicon cup. Love it!

Sausage pratas are my latest favourites to do as you can see.. they are so easy to put together. A sausage boils so quick and easily, and the prata take less than a minute from frozen. All you need is a pan with few drops of oil.

If you notice, the next two bentos are really plain and simply put together. That sums up my mood of doing bentos... zero! It gets tiring thinking of stuff to come up with and there were days when I just lump them all together in a box and send her off to school with it.

Some days, this is all I give her, and some pocket money... ok, go buy some sushi and place them in the box. Hahahhaa!


This bento was made yesterday, after I decided I really need to put more effort into making her nice bentos as I have been rather lazy of late. It so happened that I was checking mothering corner's blog for inspiration, and here comes princess, looking through the array of bentos created by this capable mum, and declares, 'I want her to be my mummy, her bentos are so nice!' A wake-up call! Hehhe. So this mummy better work harder lol. I sort of had an idea what to do, the next thing was to execute it, and presto, here's Miss Mousey with her little mousey friend. I couldn't find a cat divider so I think a friend is much better than a foe. ;)

Today's bento has a thousand-legged worm. Hehe. This was again something that I saw in mothering corner's blog which I liked. I finally have the fork and spoon puncher all the way from PG but haven't really put it to good use. There is fried udon with carrot strips and spam, body made from meatballs, head done with fishball, and apple cake which I just baked yesterday.