Sunday, 26 September 2010

2010 Japan Art Festival

The Japan Art Festival moved from 'faraway' Richmond to Central London, which suits me fine, because it's a lot easier to get to.

I had a go at Origami ( Paperfolding ) ( go on ! ask me what a valley fold is ! )  took a  Calligraphy lesson ( I can draw the kanji for tree !) .

My favourite lesson of the day was the Bento cooking lesson though , given by Atsuko and Masami from Atsuko's Kitchen. Their lessons are always a lot of fun and you get to eat the food you prepare afterwards.

Hello everybody! We're going to make Bento !

The ingredients : steamed corn, chicken teriyaki,cooked egg, grilled broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, edamame, ham and cheese, beans in a freshly made sesame sauce and ofcourse Japanese rice, freshly cooked.
Bento isn't just some rice and a few vegetables and meat, fish or chicken you chuck together.

For it to be a balanced meal , you should have half rice, half other ingredients : some meat or chicken or fish and vegetables.

The ingredients should be yellow, red, green , black , white, brown . They should be fresh and preferably in season , for the highest nutritional value.

A good Bento should contain a boiled, a steamed, a grilled, a fried and a marinaded ingredient to keep it interesting to eat. Some raw vegetable is good too.

Cool down the cooked foods well before closing the box : slowly cooling food will give germs plenty of time to multiply. Don't use watery or soupy dishes for the same reason.

Keeping it cooled is very important , since it's usually prepared in the morning ( to save time , you can cook some of the dishes the day before ) and you will be eating it at noon.

Because the food is cool when you eat it,the flavour will be less than when you eat it  warm or hot, so slightly increase the amount of spice or herbs used.
Presentation is important too : just like us Belgians :)  , Japanese eat with their eyes first and arranging the food is just as important as cooking it right.

The ingredients : steamed corn, chicken teriyaki, boiled egg, grilled broccoli, raw lettuce, tomatoes, edamame, ham and cheese, boiled beans in a freshly made sesame sauce and of course Japanese steamed rice, freshly cooked.

The right ingredients are important : Masami showing the mirin ( sweet sake ) that was used for the sesame sauce

The sauce is made like this :
  • 1 Tablespoon of white roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of mirin
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of soy sauce
If you don’t have pre-roasted sesame seeds, roast the seeds briefly in a small dry frying pan.
Then grind the seeds in a large suribachi (Japanese mortar) for five minutes till the sesame oil comes out and it turns into a paste. Add the sugar and crush some more. Add the mirin and soy sauce and mix.

Here we mixed the sauce with the cooked beans.
Bento Box 1 : the 'purple' rice has a mixture of dried red shiso mixed through it.
It all looks so tasty : doesn't it make you hungry?

Bento box 2 : the little rolls are made by putting a square slice of cheese on a square slice of ham , roll them up , cut in half and keep together with a cute cocktail stick. Kawaii !

Bento box 3 : Actually one of these 3 boxes was made by me : can YOU guess which one ? :)
I had a lot of fun making my bento and even more fun eating it. In fact , I immediately signed up for another lesson on the next day :) Double fun !

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