I did try harder, as I promised last week, but I still only came away with two bento boxes this week. I’m proud that I’ve managed at least one a week so far, though. I think the trouble is that I’m not setting aside a prep day through the week to get things organised and frozen, if necessary, so that I can have a variety of food for my lunches without having to put a lot of time in every night. That can be my next goal, but for now here are this week’s two pretty bento boxes:
Bento 29, on the left, had carrot slices and non-specific melon shapes in the top deck, tomato flowers and asparagus spears in the middle and smoked salmon and cucumber flowers in the bottom deck. I am so pleased with these cucumber flowers, they came out exactly as I wanted them to. Unfortunately I only got three perfect ones from a fairly big chunk of cucumber; I make them by cutting tiny wedges out of the cucumber with the point of a knife, running from top to bottom, and what happens is that the ones at the top are spot on because I can see what I’m doing, and the ones at the bottom are a big mess because the knife has slid further through the cucumber. I just need to practise more; maybe I’ll do a post on them? I’m not convinced that I’m really explaining myself properly at all. Anyway, I think they’re very cute, and you’re also left with these very fine slivers of cucumber that can be used decoratively elsewhere in the bento (or eaten on the spot, if you prefer).
Bento 30 has more asparagus (I’m on such an asparagus kick these days, and weird smelling pee be damned) and cucumber slices, some garlicky pork ribs with carrot flowers and sparkly melon chunks in the bottom tier. Sparkly melon chunks is not a nice phrase, there’s no poetry to it at all. I’m leaving it in though because or some reason it triggers the snigger response… ‘Oi! Who’re you callin sparkly melon chunks?’. The ribs were marinated in dark soy, crushed garlic and ground ginger for a couple of hours, then baked until the edges were absolutely cremated – oops! The meat was still good though, I think what was really happening was the some marrow was creeping out of the bones and being incinerated while the meat cooked. Creeping marrow. Nobody needs that. Here is my interpretation of that phrase.
Apart from the creeping marrow issue, the ribs were really nice, though I was accused of behaving like a hamster at the lunch table as I gnawed my way round each one. Personally, I think it’s important to get every last scrap of meat if you’re eating ribs, surely it’s part of any satisfying rib experience? Along with the (usually unjustified) Fear that you have rib sauce all up the side of your face, down your arms and in at least one ear. The ear may or may not be yours. I decorated the ribs with some slightly wonky carrot flowers and the tiny slices of carrot that come out in order to make the flowers. There is something really pleasing to me about this combination of an arc of flowers and then two or three thin lines alongside them. I think there’s a certain elegance about it, though it doesn’t really translate to the page. I fear that this is not helped by the spectre of the creeping marrow above.
The sparkly melon was born of a happy coincidence; I had just finished off decorating a cake with some lovely bronze glitter, and then I started in on making my lunch for the next day. I was working in a somewhat haphazard way, and as such found myself only putting the glitter away as I was half way through putting together the bento. The melon segments (not chunks) were there on the counter, and as I put the bronze glitter back my eye happened on the white disco dust glitter in my decorating box. Something a bit silly but a bit wonderful happened in my brain and before I knew it I’d doused the melon in shiny glitter. I absolutely love the effect of it, the slightly hypnotic effect of glitter that leaves you moving your head slowly from side to side to catch all the different colours combined with the refreshing taste of honeydew melon is an unlikely but definite winner. Sadly glitter never translates that well unless you’ve applied it with a ladle, but you can see a hint of it here and there.
Sparkly melon chunks. Haaa…