Bentolicious #165
Today's bento was inspired by Chinese paper cutting and the pattern was copied from one of the Chinese paper cut for year of the Rabbit. Instead of red paper, I used red egg sheet and my X-acto knife to cut the pattern. I couldn't use the same spot as usual to take the picture and this picture was taken in the kitchen, and it came out a little bit dark and I lost the details on the rabbit's body *sigh*. Inside the box : tiny oranges, char siu pork, and stir fry veggies (green beans, yellow beans, carrots).
Today, I feel a lot of better from my cough. Try to eat healthy, drink a lot of water and still avoid to use antibiotic to recover. I'm glad that the kids are healthy, hope they will not catch the same bugs as me. The weather has been crazy from the weekend, like one hour was so hot and the next our was rainy ... it changed every hour. This year, I won't host the Chinese New Year celebration at my house. We haven't decided yet where will be the place to celebrate with the whole family. I think will be either at my parents' house or in a restaurant. I baked some pineapple tarts with my mom and my sister last week, and the tarts were almost gone even before the celebration started :) Hope everyone has a great week ahead!
Tips - Chocolate Painting
Finally, I took the pictures of my chocolate painting to share it with everyone. I am back in Jakarta from Semarang with a bad cough. Felt better 2 days ago and then am downed again. Yesterday was the worst, couldn't stop coughing since morning and had trouble to sleep. My sister and her family are staying in my parents' house until Sunday. I hope I can catch up some rest and sleep during this weekend. I got the idea to do chocolate painting from Wilton YearBook. In the book they use icing sugar to paint, I chose chocolate for painting. I'm not a pro on this. You can see that my outlines still 'struggle' there :) Hope the following pictorial can satisfy some of you that have been emailing me asking about how I do chocolate painting.
(1) Print out the picture on tracing paper, parchment paper, or wax paper.

(2) Cut the chocolate with one hand grasped the handle of the knife and the other hand placed midpoint on the back of the knife (push the knife down). Gradually move the knife across the block of chocolate.

(3) Prepare all the colored chocolates that you want to use.

(4) Melt the chocolates one color at a time with double boiler, microwave, chocolate melting pot or other melting method that you are comfortable with.

(5) For outline, you can use Wilton's round tip number 1 with disposable decorating bag.

(6) Prepare the print out picture. Turn the picture for painting (picture 8).

(7) Make the outline first. Remember not to use the hot melted chocolate right away for the outline because we want the outline stand still instead of going everywhere. Test it on other paper first, if too runny wait for few minutes until the chocolate cooled down a little bit. Leave it to cool down and harden for few minutes before we start fill-in.

(8) For the other chocolate colors to fill in, no need to use Wilton's tip. Just cut away a little bit on the edge of the disposable decorating bag. Don't cut too much, better to make a small cut first and if the chocolate is hard to come out then you can cut more later.

(9) Paint each part with the different colors. Remember to melt the chocolate one at the time because chocolate is easy to get harden. Tooth pick can be used to push the chocolate to the edge (picture 12). To avoid bubble in the chocolate, tap the table few times in between fill in process.

(10) When all parts are already filled with chocolates, cool it down. You don't need to put it on the fridge to cool it down. Just put it on the table at the room temperature for few minutes. Don't worry too much if the chocolate looks wavy or wrinkled, as long as you fill in everything.

(11) Last step, cover the painting with the white chocolate as shown in the picture 16. Let it cool for few minutes. Don't use overheated chocolate if you don't want your work ruined.

(12) Carefully separate the paper from the chocolate. Don't hold the chocolate too long with your hand as it will melt quickly. Move it to a plate, wrap the plate with cling wrap. It won't melt in room temperature.

Bentolicious #164
Happy Monday! I'm still making a Chinese New Year theme for bento. I chose to make a girl with lantern. Lantern is one of the decorations that we often see in houses and shopping centers during the Chinese New Year. So I think this bento is appropriate for welcoming Chinese New Year. Today's bento was pretty simple. I only put sauteed minced pork with potato and scrambled egg on the top of the rice. Added some steamed kabocha slices at the top.
My sister and her family will arrive in Jakarta this afternoon. We are excited to meet them all. Kids have been excited to meet their first cousins. And I can imagine the whole house will be so noisy later.
Tips - Fun Tamagoyaki
It has been so long since my last post for Tips section. And since so many bento friends have been asking me on how I made my tamagoyaki, I decided to take some step-by-step pictures on how I did it. Hope this pictorial can help, although my way is not a perfect one but I have a lot of fun make it this way. Usually I follow Maki's recipe from Just Hungry to make my basic tamagoyaki but you can improvise with different ingredients later.
You don't need to do this if you just wanna make a regular tamagoyaki. I separated the egg yolk and the egg white because I want to show you how to make 2 tones tamagoyaki.
After you put all the ingredients inside the bowl then beat the mixture until even. You don't need to beat the egg white. And if you get a lot of bubbles in your egg mixture like mine, no worries ... as long as you use low heat then tamagoyaki will turn out fine.
If you don't have tamagoyaki pan then you can use your non-stick pan. I use small spatula/turner to roll the egg later, but you can also use chopsticks if you feel comfortable with it.
Brush the pan with a little bit of cooking oil before using it and in-between each layer making.
If we use high heat then the tamagoyaki will burn or you will get a very dry tamagoyaki. So keep in mind, low heat is a must. If you are an expert then you can use medium heat.
You can start pouring some egg mixture into the pan after you heat up the pan. Don't pour too much because it will be hard to roll later.
When you see the top layer like wavy water then you can start roll the egg to the opposite site as shown at the picture below. Don't wait until it is too dry because the first layer is very crucial so you can have a nice and neat center.
Push the egg gently to the first place and start pouring the egg white mixture. Make sure that the egg white mixture is glue well with the egg yolk mixture.
As you can see on the Step 3, I've got 3 bowls which are 2 bowls for egg yolk mixture and 1 bowl of egg white mixture. And if you see the first picture on the top, the center of tamagoyaki is darker than the outside. We have 2 types of chicken egg here. One is called broiler chicken egg and the other is called organic chicken egg. The organic chicken egg is smaller and has a white shell with a dark yellow/orange egg yolk.
Bentolicious #163
The rabbit theme is still hoping around this blog. I made two rabbits popped up from the pea pods log. The rabbits were made of hand molded rice balls, dry yellow somen, nori, jelly balls, and white part of crab stick. Flowers were made of carrot and red part of crab stick. Filled the box with steam rice, strawberries, slice of lemon with chicken karaage, and veggie dumpling. I hope my kids won't ask me to buy rabbit as their pet after this. So far, none of their pets has lasted for more than 3 months. From fish (died), turtles (runaway), hamsters (get bored and gave them to a friend) ... So I don't think if we get any new pet will last long either. They asked me before for a puppy but I never said yes, so they get tired of asking. Perhaps later if they are bigger and are committed to take care the pet then I will say yes.
Bentolicious #162
Chinese New Year will be celebrated on the 3rd of February, 2011. This year will be the year of Rabbit on the Chinese calender. Sooner or later, I should start to make rabbit theme and Chinese New Year bento, so I made this yellow ears rabbit for today's bento. The white rabbit was made of steamed rice molded with hand, decorated with egg, crab stick, nori, and jelly ball. As usual when I molded the rice by hand, I used cling wrap to shape the rice and to get the smooth surface of the rice balls. I needed a contrast for the white rabbit, so I put the fried egg rice on the bottom for the background. Inside the other box : tamagoyaki, sauteed bean sprouts, oven shoyu chicken, mini oranges, and sweetened cherry.

If you notice, I use a lot of the 2-tiers round bento box. It is my favorite. I feel pretty convenience to use it to pack my kids' bento. When I just started my bento making, I bought many bento boxes without considering the size of the box. I was too busy to choose based on the cute picture on the box over the right size box for my kids. Now, I choose carefully. I don't want to buy bento box that is too large or too deep. Too large and too deep, not only it is too much for my kids' lunch portion, but also it is hard to arrange the foods and it looks ugly to photograph LOL :D
Bentolicious #161
Happy New Year to everyone!! 
Kids are back to the school today after a long school break. And I'm back too ... for bento making and blogging. After my long bento break, I need to push myself and get rid all these lazy holiday bugs to make bento again this morning. I made 2 green boys from rice balls, decorated with nori, crab stick and cucumber for the ears. I also put fried prawn ball, Chinese cabbage & yellow paprika stir fry, and mini sausages inside the bento box. The portion was definitely too little for the kids this time. When I picked them up at school, my boy said he was still hungry so they had double portions for the afternoon snack.
If you ask me whether I have made a special plan for my 2011 bento then the answer will be NO. I'm still enjoying my bento making and don't want to make it too pressure for myself. So I'll let it flow day by day and keep sharing it in this blog. My agenda is full for this month with some activities that I decided to join up, my little brother's upcoming wedding in Semarang (1 hour domestic flight from Jakarta), and next week my sister and her family are coming to Jakarta. They will stay in our house for 3 weeks. With the twins, I think I will be quite busy around the house and as their private driver LOL :D So forgive me, if this January will still lack of bento post. I have made some arrangements for school catering this month. So my bento making for January will be on and off. Anyway, it's glad to be back again for bento. I missed a lot of bento posts from all of bento friends, so have to catch up after this post. Wish everyone a great week and happy bento-ing!