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Little Miss Bento has selected as one of the 10 finalists for Best Cooking Blog category under Singapore Blog Awards 2014.
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2014-07-28

Hello Kitty and Minion Bento ハローキティのキャラ弁・ミニオンのキャラ弁

Which one do you like better? Hello Kitty Bento or Minion Bento? 

I made these two bento earlier for Chef Sharryl of The Audacious Cakery. It is really interesting how we got connected via Instagram. I had actually visited her lovely cakery for a review post, in fact the post was even before we got in touch via Instagram. Amazing how social media works~~

Sharryl wanted a bento for her girl, but to be fair to both her children, she requested for me to make one for her son as well. So we ended with a Hello Kitty bento for her girl and the Minion bento for her boy. Do you like these two bentos? 

As this was meant for children, I tried to keep the sides to favourites such as teriyaki chicken as well as crabstick and ham which were easy on the palatte, with the addition of fruits and vegetables to ensure a complete wholesome meal.

Since it is a public holiday today here in Singapore, decided to post this back log bento that I made last week. 
Ingredients for Hello Kitty character included rice for the head and hands. Seaweed was used for the eyes and whiskers. Crabstick was for the ribbon and thin egg sheet for the nose. 
For Minion - as I wanted the bento to be more child-friendly, I did not use deco furikake to color the rice yellow. Instead, I used egg soboro (diced up scrambled egg omelette, japanese style) and addded to the rice. The jumper and specs were made from seaweed and egg sheet. The eyes were made from rice and seaweed. 

Cheese would have been an easier choice for the eyes, but I didn't want the bento to melt (judging from the hot summer heat now) before reaching the hands of the child. 

Will be back bento-ing tomorrow. Have a wonderful day!

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2014-07-26

[New Store] Chef Yamashita at Tanjong Pagar Plaza

So excited to learn that Chef Yamashita has now opened his own cakery at Tanjong Pagar Plaza! The cakery was officially opened since May earlier this year.

Expect fine and exquisite Japanese cake creations by Chef Masataka Yamashita.

A nicely lit cakery store with wooden deco and furniture. Upon entering, get ready to be wowed by the beautiful display of cakes and pastries. I was impressed that I had problems picking what I wanted to get, cause I wanted all of them!! I ended up with five cakes on my first visit. 
Trained in Tsuji Culinary Institute, a highly respected culinary institute in Osaka, Japan, Chef Yamashita has worked at various patisseries around Japan before starting his own in Nara, which became a huge success. Fast forward 8 years later, Chef Yamashita moved to Singapore where he took charge as the head chef and co-owner of Flor Patisserie. Chef Yamashita then decided to start his namesake cakery to offer a variety of his signature cakes and desserts. Both dine in and takeaways options are available at the cakery.

How can I not be excited to try his cakes!! :D
Being a huge fan of Japanese cakes and desserts, I was really delighted to visit the cakery. Just a stone throw away from Tanjong Pagar MRT station, its centralised location makes it a perfect place to meet both friends and acquaintances for a nice afternoon/early evening cake session. Can't make it during the weekdays? They are open on weekends too.

Quality is very important to Chef, who takes careful considerations to ensure the perfect balance in his creations, in taste, texture and the presentation.

I must say that Chef Yamashita's experience and love for beautiful yummy cakes, sweets and pastries really showed in his creations. In fact, even before I put this blog post together, I have already revisited the cakery to get more of his cakes!

The cakes were fine, elegant and bursting with flavours. I also loved how the cakes were not overly sweet and despite the use of cream, it felt light and delicate in taste. 

Fallen in love with almost everything I tried. I recommend their Luna Wraps (sponge cake wraps), Ichigo (strawberry short cake), Pudding a La Mode (pudding and custard dessert) and Mount Fuji (chocolate and chestnut cake)! Read more below.
Pudding a La Mode $7.20 
Verdict: recommended
Handmade pudding with custard and fresh cream, topping with fresh fruits. This pudding was a winner! A fairly large serving but it was so delicious I ate it all up myself :P The caramelised pudding was really smooth and soft. Beneath that is the custard and fresh cream with some soft cake, paired that with the fresh fruits and you have a winner!
Luna Wraps $5.90 
Verdict: Highly Recommended
Known to be the signature of Chef Yamashita, this is one item not to be missed. Luna Wraps come in assorted flavours. I tried both the Luna Wrap (Banana and Caramel) as well as the Luna Wrap (Matcha). Both of them were superb and worth every cent (and calories :P). My favorite would have to be that of Banana and Caramel. 

Sandwich between soft and fluffy sponge cake is fresh banana, custard, cream and caramel sauce. The combination of flavours and textures really made the mark. Each flavour complementing each other yet at the same time distinct and full of character. 

Filled with green tea cream and adzuki beans (red bean), the matcha flavour was quite good except that the chestnuts felt a tad hard, but I think it was meant to be so - for a juxtaposition of textures. 
Ringo Pie $7.00
Verdict: So-So
Using imported apples from Japan, the base is a rich almond sponge cake. The texture was rather dense, true to its name, it resembled a tart/pie-like dessert. Comparatively to the other cakes, I wouldn't say this was the best. 
Ichigo $6.50 and Choco Ichigo $6.70
Verdict: Recommended
Japanese are well known for their delicious and light strawberry short cakes. I just had to order this to try Chef Yamashita's version of this popular dessert. 

Ichigo was so delicious (my colleagues were literally 'fighting' to finish the cake). Two layers of soft sponge cake with fresh cream and sliced strawberries, this cake will gain lots of fans. The cake was fluffy and the cream was so light on the tongue, matching well with the tangy sweet taste of fresh strawberries. 

For chocolate lovers, the Choco Ichigo is a good option. Don't judge that light brown color of the choco cream, the chocolate flavour was distinct, yet did not overpower the rest of the cake flavours. 

But if given a choice, I prefer Ichigo over Choco Ichigo, as I find the taste less complicated, focusing my palatte on the lovely cake, cream and strawberries.
Mt. Fuji $6.80
Verdict: Recommended
Mont blanc chestnut cream atop chocolate sponge and chestnuts, this elegant cake surprised me in taste. Bursting with chocolate flavours, this cake was made with the perfect amount of sweetness, so you could finish the whole cake easily. The chestnut mont blanc was smooth with a distinct chestnut flavour. The marriage of flavours worked well in this creation. 

If you are a fan of yummy cakes, beautiful pastries and that delicate Japanese style sweets, you have got to visit Chef Yamashita cakery! This is definitely one of the top patisseries in Singapore.
Chef Yamashita
Block 1, Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #02-44, Singapore 082001
Tel: 66049709
Opening hours: Mon to Sat 10am to 630pm | Sun 10am to 4pm
Email: order@chefyamashita.com
Website
Facebook Page
Nearest train station: Tanjong Pagar MRT, exit A

Blog post disclaimer: This was not a sponsored post. I paid for all the cake purchases and all views expressed are my own. 

2014-07-25

Belgium Waffle Recipe Mickey Minnie Bento ベルギーワッフルのレシピ・ミッキーミニーキャラ弁

It has been sometime since I made Belgium Waffles :D

This time I made them into (somewhat) Mickey Minnie Belgium Waffles Bento. haha. I had in mind teddy bear shape but they turned out also looking like Mickey and Minnie, so I decided to keep with this theme for the bento.

The waffles were yummy especially when dipped in chocolate sauce. They are not too sweet, so if you prefer a sweeter and liege style waffles, you can coat the dough slightly with sugar/or belgium pearl sugar (more authentic) before cooking in the waffle pan. 
The bento sides included fruits like kiwi, strawberries and cherry, as well as some edamame beans and Mickey and Minnie theme sausages. 

I took some photos of the recipe process but havent have time to process the photos yet, will update this post soon. 

Belgium Waffles Recipe

*This recipe uses bread maker machine
(if you dont have a bread maker, please refer to this recipe instead)

Ingredients (makes 8 waffles)
150g bread flour sieved
50g unsalted butter 
3g instant dry yeast
35g soft brown sugar or just normal white fine sugar
30g milk
1 medium egg
pinch of salt
a few drops of vanilla essence (optional)

Method
1. Place all the ingredients into the bread pan. If you have a yeast dispenser like the Panasonic Bread Maker I am using, then place the yeast in the dispenser. Set to bread dough mode and knead the dough.
2. When the dough is ready, remove from bread pan, divide into 8 equal balls. 
3. Cover gently with cling wrap to prevent drying of the dough. Let it rest for 10-15 mins. 
4. Roll out each dough balls, then dividing and shapeing into 1 large and 2 smaller balls. 
5. Preheat your waffle maker. 
6. Place the larger bread ball and the 2 smaller bread balls at the diagonal corners. Cook the dough until nicely brown on both sides. 
Note: The recipe is not very sweet. If you prefer a sweeter and liege style waffles, you can coat the waffle dough with belgium pearl sugar (more authentic) or sugar before cooking in the waffle pan. 

Follow my food art and bento creations on my Facebook my page here or my Instagram here. :)

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2014-07-24

Traditional Sweets (Wagashi) Bento 和菓子のキャラ弁

Traditional Sweets (Wagashi) Bento! Can you recognise these well-known traditional Japanese sweets in this bento? They are all character onigiri rice balls :D

(Clockwise from top) They are Hanami Dango (tri-color mochi dumpling balls on stick), Taiyaki (baked sea bream) and Sakura Mochi (cherry blossom glutinous rice dumpling covered with cherry blossom leaf). 
Don't know what the real thing looks like? Here are some photos:
Hanami Dango
Source: Oliveplan
Taiyaki
I made this sometime back, see post here.
Sakura Mochi
Source: Kyotofoodie
I recalled seeing a taiyaki bento some time back made by miyakitchen. And was inspired to create a wagashi theme bento as well. Then I thought, why stop at only making taiyaki? So while I was sketching the bento design last night, I decided on 3 different types of Japanese wagashi for my character bento. 
I shaped the rice freehand using cling wrap to make the wagashi designs. Am quite happy with all 3 of them, especially the sakura mochi, I thought it did  resemble the real thing. 

The side dishes were miso baked salmon, sauteed broccoli, sauteed sweet soy lotus roots with chicken and tofu squares. 
Follow my food art and bento creations on my Facebook my page here or my Instagram here. :)


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2014-07-23

Crab Bento かにさんキャラ弁

 
Crab Bento! I believe this is the first time I made a crab theme bento. Hope you like this!

While I don't know how to cook live crabs (I am afraid to kill them too), I certainly can make a crab bento :D haha

Mr Crab was made from ketchup rice for its body, deep fried pasta sticks for its legs, red sausages for the crab pincers, cheese/ham/seaweed/pasta sticks for its eyes, seaweed for its mouth, egg sheet for the X-mark on its body. 

I was also happy that I could use my deco fish furikake (Japanese rice topping) in this bento, do you see those tiny fishes? They are edible!! :)

The side dishes were sauteed buta-shougayaki with mushrooms, broccoli, lettuce and butter asari clams. I only started eating asari clams (thanks to Japanese food) in the last 1 year or so. Was really happy to find some really fresh airflown ones from meidiya supermarket. I heated some butter and garlic in the pan, and cooked the asari clams, seasoned with dashi, sake and some soy sauce :) yumms~

Today's bento was packed in Magewappa classic bento box from Bento&co

Follow my food art and bento creations on my Facebook my page here or my Instagram here. :)

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2014-07-21

Homemade Udon Noodles (Panasonic Bread Maker) 手作りうどん・HBレシピ

Weekend cooking!! Homemade Udon Noodles using Panasonic Bread Maker SD-P104. I also cooked a yummy light dashi soup to go with the noodles.


I love weekends and preparing homecook dishes for my family. Decided to use the trial set of the Panasonic Bread Maker machine thanks to the Singapore Blog Awards to make my udon noodles - The udon noodles dish was a success and I wanted to share the delicious and so easy recipes to make both the udon noodles and dashi soup with you.


Taking time to cook together is one of the best activities for family bonding, ask your children and partner to help you along in this recipe - be it to prepare the ingredients, noodles, to cooking the soup etc. Get a pair of child friendly knife and your kids can even help to cut their own noodles. It is so wonderful for both adults and children to enjoy their own homemade udon noodles. 
The Panasonic Bread Maker SD-P104 is quite unlike some of the breadmakers on the market. I also used this bread maker earlier to make a super cute sheep bread buns - read post and that bread recipe here

Here is the photo recap from my earlier post, showing the full outer body of the bread maker machine, the special ingredients dispenser and yeast dispenser, and the accessories that included the measuring jar for liquids and a measuring spoon (tablespoon and teaspoon measurements). 

The Panasonic Bread Maker has a total of 13 menu options, that allows one to choose from (1) Bread (2) Rapid Bread (3) Soft Bread (4) French Bread (5) Whole Wheat Bread (6) Rice Bread (7) Rice Flour (8) Pineapple Bread (9) Bread Dough (10) Pizza Dough (11) Dumpling Skin Dough (12) Cake (13) Chocolate. 

As promised, here is the delicious recipe for the homemade udon noodles and the dashi soup.

Japanese Udon Noodles Recipe using Bread Maker

Ingredients for udon noodles (serves 2 pax)
wheat flour 200g
ice water 100ml
salt 6g
corn flour
favorite noodle toppings (e.g seaweed, aburaage tofu skin, kamaboko, egg)

Ingredients for dashi soup (serves 2 pax)

water 1litre
kombu seaweed 12g
bonito flakes (Katsuobushi) 20g
mirin 1.5tbsp
soy sauce 1tsp
sake 1.5tbsp

Method - Making Udon Noodles

(1) Add salt to the ice water and mix well.
(2) Install blade in the bread pan. 
(3) In the bread pan, add in sieved wheat flour, and salted water. 
(3) Put the bread pan into the main body of the bread maker machine. Close the cover. 
(4) Select Menu '9'. Press 'Start'. It will take about 1 hour. 
(During the wait, you can prepare your dashi soup)
(5) When you hear the beep sounds, press 'Stop'
(6) Remove the bread pan from the bread maker machine and take out the udon noodles dough. Check to ensure that the blade is not in the udon dough, remove if necessary. 
(7) Shape the dough into a smooth round ball. Cover and keep in a ziplock bag and let it rest for 2 hours. 
(8) Dust your worktop with corn flour, transfer the udon noodles dough onto your worktop. Dust a little more corn flour on the dough. 
(9) Roll out the dough into a thin rectangular layer. 
(10) Make 2 folds of the layer. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into thin strips of noodles. Dust the cut noodles with corn flour and loosen them to prevent them from sticking together. 
(11) Boil water in a large pot
(12) Cook the noodles for 6-8 mins (depending on how thick your noodles are).
(13) Drain the noodles and rinse under running tap immediately. This is to keep the noodles chewy and prevent overcooking. 
(14) Serve with dashi soup and your favorite noodle toppings. 
Tip: It is good to reboil the dashi soup and serve it with the noodles so that you can enjoy a hot bowl of noodles, since the noodles are cooled down after the rinsing process. 
Note: Over here, I had aburaage tofu pockets, aosa seaweed, seasoned egg, kamaboko fish cake in cute bear characters as well as a side dish of buta-shougayaki (sauteed ginger pork slices). 
Other possible noodle toppings could be wakame seaweed, soft boil egg, spring onions, mushrooms, tempura etc (anything you fancy!). 

Method - Making Dashi Soup
(1) Soak the kombu seaweed for 15-30mins. Cut slits along the sides
(2) Place the kombu seaweed in the pot of water and turn the heat on. When water starts boiling. Turn off the heat and remove the kombu. 
(3) Throw in the bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and boil for 3 mins. Remove the bonito flakes. 
Note: I used dashi soup bags to keep the bonito flakes, this is for easy removal. You can also use a sieve to remove the bonito flakes if you do not have such dashi soup bags. 
(4) Pour in soy sauce, sake and mirin and bring the soup to boil. The dashi soup is now ready. 



The breadmaker is available for sale at: 
Best Denki Ngee Ann, Junction 8, Katong, Court Mega Store, Harvey Norman, Isetan, CK Tangs and Takashimaya.
The retail price is at $329 and above store mentions are subject to stock availability.
Panasonic Singapore 
Official Website
Official Facebook Page

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Bumblebee Quail Egg Pasta Bento ミツバチのキャラ弁

 
Made Bumblebee Quail Egg Pasta Bento today :)

I decided to make a simple character pasta bento this morning as I wanted to catch up on some sleep, heheh. 

Some of you might also remember my piggy quail eggs earlier on. I love using quail eggs in my bento, they are so versatile and can be made into different characters easily. 
The yellow colour of the bumblebee characters was achieved by cooking the peeled hard boil quail eggs in a pot of water with curry powder added. 

The result is a nice warm yellow color, though not as bright and brillant as opposed to food coloring, I think its quite a lovely yellow color for the bumblebee character. The coloring method used was very similar to my bento tutorial for egg molds (see post here) , except that quail eggs were used for this bento. 

The strips and features were cut from seaweed, the antennas were deep fried pasta sticks with corn kernels. I dabbed some ketchup for the cheeks. The little flower headpiece is a furikake chip. oh and... just realised I forgot the wings :P lol

Beneath the bumbleebeem, is pasta tossed in Japanese mushroom sauce and some dashi sauce - yummy! To complete the meal, I packed in some kiwi fruit, lettuce and vegetables. The vegetables - sweet snap peas, green peas and carrots were used to make the flowers and leaves. 
Follow my food art and bento creations on my Facebook my page here or my Instagram here. :)


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