jona: (bunnies incognito)
Ladies and gentlemen, bunnies and cats,

After stalking the UPS delivery man like... a very obsessive stalker, I got my new rice cooker!

Completely unphotogenic and unnecessary pictures of a rice cooker under the cut. )

As for the bentoing itself, the main new recipe I tried out was making potato oyaki. I made a new batch of soboro as filling and then it's basically fried mashed potatoes. They're very tasty, though this was a case where 'making a big batch' didn't actually save me much time, and it kind of ate half a Saturday.

Pics and stuff. )

This week, the bentoing got a bit thrown for a loop due to a) one Akanishi Jin and b) my heating malfunctioning, and while I'm not terribly upset about the former and the latter thankfully got fixed within a few hours, it did sort of suck up my organisation energy for the day. I'll see what I can hustle up tomorrow, I do need one or two more vegetable staples for next week...


PS: I owe some comments and stuff. I'm not ignoring, just haven't had a lot of brain last week. Will catch up! (And also at some point post about something not bentos, I promise!)
jona: a nomming panda (panda - nom)
Short and low-picture version: bentoing still!

I started last Monday with a soboro bento.

Cut for gallery. )

I am still very happy with the bentos and pretty much look forward to them every morning. It's also nice that I now have enough of a stock that apart from the rice, I really do manage to make a bento without cooking anything in the morning at all if I don't fancy getting fancy.

In whack. )

Now, let me tell you about RICE.

Last week was also when I realised that my rice cooker is really crappy. I kept wondering why my rice kept coming out slimy. And then I thought, okay, I am a lazy panda and was never a big friend of washing my rice, so I started...washing my rice. And then washing it some more. Solo was making fun of me because I'd go 'sorry, have to go wash my rice' and then was gone for half an hour. And yet it still came out slimy.

So then I experimented with boiling the rice in a pot, and lo and behold, while it wasn't perfect Japanese restaurant rice, it was perfectly fine, unslimy rice!

Okay, so. I looked at proper Japanese rice cookers. Decided I wasn't that insane yet. Experimented with making rice in the pot in the mornings before work. Which worked okay except here I get screwed by my kitchen set-up: I have a very old hand-me-down stove, which has only one really good and fast plate that is suitable for doing anything that can burn (only plate that cools down fast) in a hurry (only plate that heats up fast). And when I cooked the rice on that plate in a small pot, the pot always boiled over a little and the whole place reeked of burning stuff, because the bubbly rice foam stuff would hit the plate. And when I cooked the rice in a bigger pot, so that stuff wouldn't dribble on the hot plate, the fact that it was a one-person rice portion made the rice burn / not get soft in time for the water to evaporate in that big pot.

Nnnghghahahr.

So, um. Yesterday I folded, and have now ordered a real Japanese rice cooker. The kind where next I'll probably have to call my home insurance so they can adjust for the dramatically risen value of my household appliances. T____T

(But am now tracking the delivery quite obsessively because I am very much looking forward to having it. ^^)
jona: a nomming panda (panda - nom)
The bento experiment continues and has so far not broken down yet!

Last weekend I made a few more different things, four varieties of veggies for the week and two more meat types for the freezer.

-- carrot kinpira, which was nice and easy though I don't think I love sesame oil as much as I should
-- sweet simmered shiitake mushrooms, which had been MISSING FROM MY LIFE #nom
-- boiled pumpkin, which is super-easy and tasty. With the type of pumpkin I could buy, though, I had to boil it a bit longer than was ideal for the inner parts for the skin to become edible.
-- sweet potato, an excellent easy addition. However, a protip from me: when you stand there and wonder 'why on earth does this recipe give me enough to go in bentos for a month, not a week?' you might want to re-check the recipe, where you will find that it asked for 80g of sweet potato, not 800g. *cough* (I ate a lot of sweet potato last week.)
-- miso chicken and teriyaki chicken for new meat types. This was a little tricky because Germany doesn't really go for de-boned chicken thighs, you just get the whole thing, bones and all. Then you can either stand there and sweat and try to peel the meat off the bone while still raw (did that once in 2003; never again), or you can cook it and then peel it off. I tried two different routes: I marinated the teriyaki chicken thighs, fried them the next day, then peeled off the meat and fried the bits in the marinade too. I microwaved two legs for the miso chicken, then peeled off the microwaved meat and marinated that in the miso marinade. Both ways produced tasty results, but were an unholy mess, never mind the time it took to do everything in two stages. Plus the bits got very bitty indeed.

The bento line-up:

Bentooooo. )

~~~

In other weeaboo news, I passed the JLPT N4. \o/

Score, because I'm too lazy to type it up. )

I was admittedly reasonably sure I'd passed, but whether I'd passed okay enough to feel like trying the N3 in July, I had no idea, and was becoming increasingly concerned about that.

When I first saw my score, I wasn't really sure what to make of it, mostly because I'd done surprisingly well on the listening (despite that exercise that asked about THE SHAPE THE CUCUMBERS AND CARROTS ARE CUT IN), but lost quite a few points on vocab/reading/grammar. On the other hand, reading was definitely the hardest, so it wouldn't surprise me too much if that's where I lost the majority of points. I also didn't think it was that good a score, but compared to at least previous years' statistics my 155 points seem to be actually pretty good!

So, anyway, I don't think this means I'll have an easy time with N3, but at least I feel like it won't be totally silly and a waste of money (apart from the general waste of money that is a test that I don't really need) to try for it in July. :D
jona: (GKS - bigin)
This is not my Yamapi post.

Though it's kind of related, because it kind of is the reason why there is no Yamapi post yet.

Last Sunday, I started the Bento Project. Well, that makes it sound much grander than it was supposed to be, but basically, I love bentos, and I love saving money, and what with the recent shopping spree in Japan, I decided I was going to try if taking bentos to the office might be a sustainable effort or if the whole being-organised-early-in-the-morning angle would kill the project dead in a week.

[livejournal.com profile] ina is kind of my bento sensei in a lot of ways, and the stuff she said about frying and folding eggs in the morning was something I wasn't sure I'd be able to do. And the various bento sites including justbento.com recommend taking it easy and keep saying 'you don't have to start with a big cooking marathon!!' And I took a look at 'bento week plans' and the thought of frying eggs in the morning and trying to squeeze everything into a box and my schedule and... decided to have a big cooking marathon.

Hence there was no Yamapi report, because I spent last Sunday when I finally had some time cooking stuff for about four hours and then also defrosting my freezer, which was in no way bento-project-ready.

I made my first test bento on that Sunday, and finally sat down to eat it around 5 pm.

With illustrations that look rather same-y. )

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the paranoid android

December 2015

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