DIY BENTO PICKS/CUPCAKE TOPPERS AND TUTORIAL #2

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I’m sure you know by now that I love making my own things. I will try my hand at making almost anything but clothing and bento goodies are my favourites.

I have already made a Bento pick tutorial post and a DIY baran tutorial, but it’s about time I did another DIY bento pick tutorial.

This time I got the amazing idea to use ShrinkyDink (the pack I bought was called Shrinkles) from Licious Lunches

Onto the tutorial

First draw a circle around 2 inches across ( or 6.28″ circumference) and add a 2″ long, 1/2 an inch thick “stick” with a point at the end.

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Then trace this onto the sheets. I managed to get 12 onto one, just slightly smaller than, a4 sheet.
In my set was 6 sheets and cost me £4.95. That’s 72 bento picks for less than £5. Not bad aye!

Cut out the shapes and then draw whatever you want onto the rough side. Or you can cheat like me and trace 🙂

When you’re happy with the designs put them smooth side down in a baking tray lined with foil and put into the oven.
I put mine at the bottom of the oven and left for around 4/5 minutes but times may vary.

Once they have laid flat (or as flat as possible) remove them quickly from the oven, lift out the foil and place a heavy book on top of the picks to flatten them out and stop them from curling while cooling.

Et voila.

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Mine came out with the circle being about the size of a 20p piece.

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Guest Post: The Refashionista Bento

Today’s guest post is written by my friend Sheri who shares one of my other passions, sewing! Take it away Sheri 🙂

Hallo from Berlin fellow Bento Fans! I’m Sheri, the Refashionista behind the Blog Awesome Sauce & Asshattery and I am thrilled to be sharing my very first bento attempt with you. As I’m a definite sewing geek I was more than a wee bit surprised when Keith proposed this fab’ guest posting opportunity but having spent 6 lovely years in Tokyo (yet having never made a bento) I figured I simply had to give it a whirl…enjoy!

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As I’m a Refashionista a clothing-themed bento was spot on (& super fun to create)!

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My quirky little upcycled bento box contains: a shirt & skirt spicy chicken salad onigiri complete with homemade furikake, Korean-style chicken strips, stir fried sesame garlic veggies & a bouquet of fresh carrot & bell pepper slices
…wait a minute…an upcycled bento box?
Yep, you read that correctly…as I had never made a bento before I was sorely lacking any kind of cool bento gear, so, being a clever little Refashionista, I created my own out of some bits I had lurking about the house. Here’s the quick how-to:

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1. Grab a standard sized (30x45cm) bamboo or heavy fabric placemat, coordinating paint, two (12x6cm) pieces of wood or thick cardboard & a glue gun.
2. Paint the wood (or cardboard) to match the placemat.
3. Lay the placemat flat. On each side measure 10cm from one end to the center & stick on your wood blocks using the hot glue gun.

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4. Apply glue to the ends of the wood & carefully fold the placemat up onto your blocks. The end of your placemat should overlap the top of the wood, simply stick it down with a dab of glue.
5. Repeat the above step to attach the placemat to the back of the wood blocks.
6. Add a simple closure by tying a bead to the front of the lid & a loop to the front of the box.

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That’s it! Go line your fancy new bento box with some plastic wrap & load it up with your delicious lunch! *A bamboo placemat combined with wood block sides is surprisingly sturdy!
A huge domo arigatou gozaimashita to Keith for suggesting I try my hand at creating a Bento! I’m definitely hooked & shall be investing in some proper gear soon!
On a side note: This weekend (Friday August 30 – Sunday September 1/2013) I’m offering absolutely free downloads of my second refashioning tutorial book, Confessions of a Refashionista: Bewitched Bedsheets! Further info & your local Amazon download link can be found here: http://awesomesauceasshattery.com/confessions-of-a-refashionista/

Wow! Now I have to admit I’m blown away!
For a first time bento this is amazing! And the fact Sheri made her own bento, lets just say I’ll be having a go at that!! Thank you Sheri!

DIY Nerdy Bento Baran + Tutorial

I bought some silicone keyboard covers a few weeks back for this project but completely forgot/ have been too busy to start the project.

So today I sat down and made some geeky baran, and I even made a tutorial video that I will include below 🙂

The silicone keyboard covers were about £1.50 each. I bought 1 black and 1 green.

After about ten minutes I had turned said keyboard covers into the coolest little baran! Et voila!

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I can’t wait to use them in a bento! 🙂

Anyway here is the tutorial video:

(Sorry for my voice, I have a really sore throat >.< )

For more DIY Baran click here 🙂

* make sure any silicone you will be using with food is good safe!

DIY Anko and Dorayaki Recipes

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Yesterday I posted about some homemade Dorayaki and I promised I’d post the recipe so here it is 🙂

Anko

What you will need:

•Azuki Beans
•Sugar
•Water

What to do

1. Measure out your azuki beans ( I used 150 grams and ended up with a lot of anko! )

2. Measure out the same weight in sugar ( I used icing sugar, for no reason other than i had boxes of icing sugar that need using. It didn’t impact the taste or texture of the anko.)

3. Soak your azuki beans over night in three times their volume of water.

4. After 24 hours fill a saucepan with the azuki beans and enough water to cover them, bring to the boil.

5. Once the water is boiling, drain the azuki beans and rinse with cold water. Repeat again. This removes the bitter taste.

6. Now place beans back in the pan, put on lid and cover with just enough water to cover beans, cook on a gentle simmer for about an hour or until the beans can be easily crushed with your fingers. (Don’t burn yourself!)

7. Drain the beans.

8. If you want smooth, jam like anko now is the time to add the beans to a blender. Slowly add water to the beans in the blender until you have a slightly watery paste ( it will thicken up after the next few stages.) If you don’t want jam like anko jump to the next step.

9. Add the paste/beans back to the pan, put on a low heat and add your sugar one third at a time while continually mixing.

10. You will eventually end up with a sweet paste that can be stored in the fridge for about 2/3 days or frozen in portions.

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Anko goes great in Dorayaki, ice cream and most other deserts 🙂

Dorayaki pancakes

What you will need:

• 1 cup Cake flour ( I used self raising because that’s all I had and the pancakes ended up being a little too thick.)

• 2/3 cup of sugar.

• 3 tablespoons water.

• 2 large / 3 medium eggs.

• 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder ( leave out if you use self raisin flour.)

• Vegetable oil for frying.

• Frying pan or griddle.

What to do:

1. Put the eggs into a mixing bowl and give a quick mix to blend the yolk and whites.

2. Add the sugar slowly while stirring to incorporate into the eggs.

3. If using baking soda mix into water and add to the egg mixture.

4. Sift flour into egg mixture and mix til there are no lumps. ( Be careful not to overmix! )

5. Cover bowl with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for half an hour.

6. After half an hour, heat up your pan ( or griddle), add a small amount of oil and using kitchen tongs and a paper towel spread the oil and remove excess.

7. Add mixture to the pan as you would normal pancakes until your desires width is achieved. ( Dorayaki pancakes are normally 4/5 inches in diameter.)

8. When small bubbles appear in the batter flip over. Once both sides are evenly browned put onto a plate and continue until all of the batter is used.

9. Take a pancake and place a teaspoon ( or more if you’re adventurous) of anko in the centre. Place another pancake on top and press the edges together to seal.

Tada Dorayaki!!

Here are my CuteZCute Dorayaki 🙂

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DIY CuteZCute Dorayaki and Review

As some of you will know, tesco started selling Dorayaki. As it was a new product ( and not well known to most Brits) it started at a half price of 75p, but now it has gone up to £1.50 for one!!

I may be addicted to them but I refuse to pay that much for one.

So I decided to make my own, but I didn’t want the standard round Dorayaki. I wanted cute Dorayaki, and what better way to make things cute than with the CuteZCute bento cutter ( it’s so good at making things cute it even has the word twice in its name!!!).

Here are my Dorayaki ( check back tomorrow for the “recipe” )

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Cute right?!

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Here’s one in half to show the anko, apparently blending the anko makes it purple :/ .

Onto the review!

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This is one of my favourite bento tools. What makes the CuteZCute a winner in my eyes is how easy it is to use! There is no need to get up hours earlier to plan, it takes only a minute or two to prepare the sandwich and cut it. The CuteZCute also negates the need for tweezers as there is no fiddly bits of nori to try and piece together.

If you want a tool that makes bento-ing easy and fast while still having choice, the set includes the panda, frog, cat and pig cutter which also act as stamps, I would highly recommend the CuteZCute.

Cost: 5/5

Available on Amazon for just under $10 ( just over £6) this has to be one of the best investments if you make bento, bake cookies or love making your children’s food fun.

For just over £6 you get one “shape” cutter, four face cutters and a tool to remote the cut outs. That’s a lot of bento goodies for little money!
( If you buy cake decorating tools you’ll know how cheap this. But by no means is it cheaply made!)

Size: 5/5

This set is perfectly sized for cookies, bento and anything else your imagination can come up with!
It will fit snugly in most places and comes in it’s own little box that can be used to keep it neat and tidy.

Ease Of Use: 5/5

All that I can say to this is ” Are cookie cutters hard to use?” If you can use cookie cutters you can use this! ( although the CuteZCute will provide substantially better cookies 😀 )

Style: 5/5

With four “face” cutters this cutter should be able to please most people. The cutter includes a pig, cat, frog and a panda face. But the possibilities don’t end there, I’ve seen people create all sorts including cute octopuses!

Pros:
• Extremely affordable but not cheaply made.
• Four face cutters.
• Easy to use.
• Very versatile.
• BEST TOOL EVER!!!!

Cons:
• Not really a con but it would be awesome if more face cutters could be made 🙂

Disclaimer
I received the product to review but no cash was exchanged, my review is my honest opinion and has not been swayed by the company or anyone else.

DIY Bento Baran (Updated)

UPDATE

I bought some silicon coasters from eBay, I received four for £1.50 with free delivery. They come in multiple colours and I received pink, brown, lime green ( looks yellow to me) and a darker green.

Here is how they look when cut into baran 🙂

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I have a habit of wanting something for a while, deciding I don’t want to pay the price/ like the style and then figure I’ll make it myself.

Some of you may remember I did a post about how to make your own bento picks. See, I could just buy a pack of picks but nope, I have to try my hand at making them 🙂

Anyway I had my eye on some Baran ( pieces of silicon used to separate food) but I didn’t want to pay £4+ for four small pieces. I figured that baran is generally made of silicon so in theory I could make my own out of some silicon baking sheets.

One large sheet cost £2.50 with delivery and here is what I’ve made so far:

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I still have way over half the sheet left!

All you would need to make these yourself is some silicon baking sheets, sharp scissors, some optional paper punches and some creativity!

Let me know if you make some, I’d love to see them!!

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I made some more baran 🙂

Some of it didn’t work out as I’d planers as I started to rush it, whoops!
But here it is:

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Homemade salmon furikake tutorial

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Here it is!
My homemade, frugal furikake. I checked on eBay and the cheapest pot of furikake was about £5/£6 with delivery, this cost £2.56. I was slightly worried as I’m not a huge fan of salmon and recently I have gone off nori too but I have to admit this tastes pretty good!!

Now for the tutorial!!

What you need:
salmon ( I used smoked salmon trimmings, 90p from Tesco for 120g)
sesame seeds ( I used half a cup but I would suggest a slightly smaller amount)
Nori seaweed ( You only need half a sheet!)

What to do:
• Put the salmon in a nonstick pan and pour in half a cup of water, put on medium heat with the lid on until salmon is cooked and water has evaporated. ( you can use mirin etc for more flavour )
• Once cooked remove salmon from heat and begin flaking with forks/chopsticks/hands. Put the pan back onto the heat and cook until the flakes are as dry as you’d like, being careful not to burn. ( dryer flakes will keep longer ) Put salmon into a bowl or similar container.
• Wipe pan dry and pour in half a cup ( less may be better) of sesame seeds, cook on low heat until fragrant and slightly browned. Pour into container with salmon.
• Take half a sheet of nori and cut into 1 inch strips, lay all strips on top of each other and cut into very think strips, you can give a quick dry fry in the pan with some spices for more flavour.
• Now mix all ingredients in a bowl and store in an airtight container. Should keep for at least a week with dryer flakes keeping for longer sometimes upto two weeks.

I hope you enjoy and please let me know if you make a batch and maybe share a picture too!