Guest Post : Carrot Butterfly

Today’s guest post is written by one of my BBF (Bento Bloggers and Friends) friends.

She’s a lovely lady called Grace and she’s also from the UK! Yay UK bento makers!!

Take it away Grace 🙂

Hi, I’m Grace from Eats Amazing, and I’m delighted to feature as a guest poster on the Oh! Bento Blog today! I’m going to share a tutorial for one of my favourite edible decorations in this post; a carrot butterfly, which can be used as a cute little embellishment for a bento, or any other food. Be warned, this isn’t quite as easy as it looks, and may take several attempts to get right; I’m happy to admit that the first one I made took me 5 attempts!

All you need for this is a decent sized carrot and a sharp knife.

Start by cleaning and peeling the carrot, then trim one side so that it is flat. Cut a triangular groove into the carrot opposite the flat side, as shown below.

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Lay the flat side of the carrot on the chopping board, then cut into the carrot as if you are cutting a thin slice, but do not go all the way through.

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Make another cut next to it to slice the whole thing off. You should be left with a double slice which is joined at the bottom.

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Make two cuts all the way through your piece of carrot as shown below.

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Cut a small triangle from the other side as shown.

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Now comes the tricky part! Open out the butterfly ‘wings’ and bend up the the bottom of the antennae section until you can pop it between the wings. This should hold them open. This step is where it usually went wrong for me, so good luck!

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If you aren’t going to use the butterfly straight away, put it gently into a glass of cold water and pop it in the fridge. This will keep it fresh and also help to stiffen it up a little. When using my butterfly, I mounted it on a piece of cucumber to hold it more securely. You can do this by cutting a slit into the cucumber and gently pushing the bottom of the butterfly into it

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Here is the finished butterfly before it went into the lunchbox. You can use this in any way you can think of; it doesn’t have to be put in cucumber. You could also try using radish instead of carrot for the butterfly.

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I’d love Keith to give this a go, so here’s a little challenge for you Keith; upon your return I want to see a bento featuring a carrot or radish butterfly!

Thanks for letting me take over the blog for the day, I’ve loved being here!

Grace

Well I’ve got to say I love a challenge!! I’ll make sure to practise when I get back!! Hope I don’t let you down!!

Did you know there is a valley in Turkey called Butterfly Valley!

Don’t forget to check out Grace’s amazing blog by clicking the button below!

Keith

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Black+Blum Thermo Pot Review and “Donburi” Bento Recipe

I was recently sent a Black+Blum Thermopot to review by Find Me A Gift.

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This is a great item perfect for soup, stews or Donburi style lunches.

Cost: 3/5

At around £30 this lunch pot can be seen as quite expensive and if you want a truly versatile lunch box this, sadly may not be it. If however you eat a lot of soups, stews etc and want a lunch pot that will keep your food warm for upto 6 hours this is the lunch box for you!
While it is somewhat pricier than some lunch boxes this lunch pot makes up for it on style, nifty features and the ability to keep food warm. Something a sandwich box wouldn’t be able to do!

Size: 5/5
Although a somewhat smaller than some bento boxes at around 500ml, when you consider it will mainly contain soup etc that is more than enough!

Ease Of Use: 5/5

Due to the style of the Thermopot you don’t really need to do any forward planning regarding how you will arrange the food. If you want a pretty, decorated lunch box I’d look elsewhere. If you want warm, homemade stew this is perfect.

Style: 5/5
If there is one thing every Black+Blum item has more than enough of it is style. The sleek metal body combined with the charming cork lid makes this a quirky yet stylish item.
Add to it the beautifully shaped spoon ( never thought you’d hear a spoon called beautiful huh?) that attaches with magnets and you have a lunch pot that is sure to turn heads!

Pros:
• Stylish and sleek.
• Keeps food warm for upto 6 hours.
• Hard wearing and leakproof.

Cons:
• The price may be inhibitive to some people but you definitely get what you pay for!

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As always I made a lunch in the Thermopot to test for ease of use.

I decided on a Donburi style lunch containing plain rice, vegetables, bacon, fried egg and a delicious sauce.

It is neigh impossible to take one photo to show of the lunch due to the deep nature of the lunchpot, so I will add them to the steps of the recipe.

What you will need:
• 240ml cooked rice.
• 120ml bacon.
• 160ml chopped vegetables.
• 1 small egg.
• Brown sauce.
• Oxo cube / Gravy granules.
• Water.

Steps
1. Prepare and cook rice.
2. While rice is cooking give the bacon a quick fry until cooked through but before crispy.
3. If using fresh vegetables cut into very small pieces. If using frozen chopped vegetables measure out and set aside.
4. Measure 100ml of boiled water, add an oxo cube or a tea spoon of gravy granules and 2 teaspoons of brown sauce. ( This sauce is extremely rich so you may want to add a smaller quantity of brown sauce and gravy granules/ oxo.)
5. Cut bacon into smaller pieces, add to a sauce pan, turn on high heat storing for a few seconds before adding vegetables. Stir for a minute or two before adding the sauce. Put on the pan lid, lower heat to low and leave to simmer until the sauce has reduced but not completely evaporated.
6. While the sauce is reducing fry an egg. While the egg is frying use a spatula to press the edges inward to make the egg small enough to fit into the container.

To assemble

1. Divide rice into three equal portions, place one portion into the container.
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2. Divide the bacon mix into three portions. Layer one portion on top of the rice.
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3. Continue layering so you have rice, bacon mix, rice etc. Once you have used up the rice and bacon mix place the egg on top.
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4. If there is any sauce left in the pan drizzle on top of the egg.
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I’d like to say sorry for the extremely poor images. Due to the shape of the lunchpot and the weird light ( and need for the flash in one photo) it was very difficult to get a nice image.

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.

How to make Tsukemono (Instant Pickles)

One of my favourite side dishes, for bento and other meals too, is tsukemono or instant pickles. This is not the kind of pickle you spread in sandwiches with meat but the sort akin to pickled eggs but with vegetables.

Below are two methods in which Tsukemono can be made

Press-less method

This tutorial uses a cucumber for demonstration purposes but you can use almost any vegetable using the same principles.

Step 1:

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Cut lengthwise through the centre of the cucumber, the cut should be 2 inch deep per person. So for 3 people the cut should be 6 inch deep.

Step 2:

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Cut the cucumber into thin rounds, the cut through the middle makes the cucumber into crescents.

Step 3:

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Using about 1/4 teaspoon of salt per 2 inch, massage the cucumber with the salt until limp.

Step 4:

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Put into a freezer bag and shake up the cucumber to make sure the cucumber is evenly coated in salt. Now put the freezer bag in the fridge and leave for at least 15 minutes. Instant vegetables taste best if left overnight.

Pressed Method

Follow previous method but instead of putting the pickles in the fridge in a freezer bag you can use a press to further extract more liquid making the pickles better.

You can purchase Japanese pickle presses online but they can be quite expensive, a great alternative if you only want to make small batches is the Eddington’s Egg Cuber.

You simply put the pickles in the body of the Egg Cuber and screw on the lid pressing the pickles and releasing it’s own pickling liquid.

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Then put the Egg Cubers in a bowl/tub and put in the fridge.

TIP!!

The salty juice left from the instant pickles makes a great tangy salad dressing!

Oh!Bento tutorial magazine project goes live!

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As some of you know, I am hoping to publish a bento tutorial magazine.

I want the magazine to be highly interactive and feature what the readers want as well as their work.

I have set up a kickstarter page so please check it out, let me know what you think and please spread the news 🙂

The more people see this the higher the chance of there being the first bento magazine in English that you can control what is inside!

Here is my kickstarter page.

Thankyou 🙂

Pokemon bento, how to: radish Pokeballs

After viewing my pokemon bento a few people have asked how I made the Pokeballs. So I thought I’d make a little tutorial so everyone can have a go!

They’re really easy to make and taste great!

What you will need

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• Radishes ( I usually only make 2 or 3 )
• Nori seaweed
• A sharp knife
• Scissors
• A little sauce ( tomato, brown, mayonnaise etc )

Step 1

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Score a line around the centre of the radish to separate the top and bottom of the “pokeball”

Step 2

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Start “scraping” the layer of red off of the bottom of the “pokeball”. Don’t cut the flesh off as it will change the shape. Scraping takes the red skin off to reveal the white while keeping a spherical shape.

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Step 3

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Cut out long, thin strips from the seaweed and some small circles slightly wider than the strips.

Step 4

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Using a little sauce stick the nori strip onto the pokeball around the line you scored and then stick the circle onto the middle.

You now have some delicious little Pokeballs for your pokemon bento!

Oh!Bento Tutorial Magazine?

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While laid in bed thinking about my favourite hobby I came to the realisation that there may be a way to move my current obsession forward.

A magazine

I want to write a bento tutorial magazine in the same vein as the many ” how to knit” or ” how to bake cakes” magazines out there.

As bento box lunches are still pretty much unknown in the UK I think this could be a great way to introduce it into more people’s lives.

I would want the magazine to include many ” how to’s”, reviews, where to purchase bento goods etc and even free gifts with each issue to help build up people’s bento gear.

I’d love to hear people’s opinions on whether they think this could work, if they would be interested etc.

Also I am thinking the best way to get funding for this project may be crowdfunding, what do you think?

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Bento video tutorial?

Hello everyone 🙂

I really want to make a mini-series on YouTube, basically I want the series to be a few episodes on bento: how to.

Do you think there is a need for bento tutorials? I was thinking of showing things like:

* how to make tamagoyaki in a round pan.
* how to use egg moulds.
* how to make DIY bento tools and accessories.

What are your opinions and is there anything you’d like to see?

Thankyou