When I say exotic, I mean new to me. Some of you will undoubtedly chuckle at my wide eyed food innocence. I went to Waitrose today and picked up lots of quality gear; much of it is for the pizzas the G man and I are making tonight, and then some was for use in future bentos, or just to try some new things. Here are the most interesting items from my shopping basket:
Up the top are wee bags of prepped veg – I got one mini sprouts and two tenderstem broccoli. They’re not exotic but very handy in little bags like that, so there you are. Not as cheap as just buying the veg and preparing it yourself, but sometimes I don’t mind paying for convenience. Sharon fruit and kumquat are fruits I’ve never tried before; I’ve seen sharon fruit (or persimmon) in a lot of bento related recipes lately, so I picked some up. I haven’t tried it yet, will do some more research on what’s best to do with it before I slice into one of them. The kumquats looked a perfect size for putting in the corner of a lunchbox, but I tried one of them when I got in and found it a bit too bitter to be very enjoyable, so I’ll have to think of something to do with them; perhaps I’ll candy them. Or maybe I could slice them up and mix with other things to balance out the bitterness. Something to think about another day.
The smoked tofu was the thing I was most interested to try – it has almonds and sesame seeds mixed through it, too. It tastes like if someone made a hotdog out of wholegrain bread; yes, it is unusual, but I like it. The initial taste and texture is hotdog or smoked sausage, but that gives way to nuttiness and chewiness, which is where the bread comparison comes in.
I think it’ll be a nice filling addition to my lunches, either cubed or maybe in a sauce, with a side of rice.
I had gone to the shops without eating, so when I got back in I was starving and put together a bowl of noodles for myself using the tofu and some veg. I also used three slices of the spicy pickled garlic I made, expecting that to be enough to give lots of flavour, but it turns out that a lot of the spiciness of the garlic is down to it being raw. I’m encouraged by that, I had thought the garlic might be unusable because it was too spicy, so it’s good the know that cooking it takes away the extreme flavour. To make my lunch, I cooked half a block of fine egg noodles then drained and sprinkled with sesame oil, to stop them clumping or sticking. In the same pot, I cooked the pickled garlic slices along with some courgette slices and frozen spring onion rounds, in a drop of rapeseed oil. After a couple of minutes I added some slices of romano pepper, some cubes of smoked tofu and the noodles, then stirred through with a good splash of light soy. I garnished with sesame seeds to finish.
Now, off to plan tomorrow’s bento!