As promised, I made little falafel patties for today's bento from leftovers. There's something hugely satisfying about creatively using leftovers, I feel. Despite lots of bento ideas piling up in my diary, I ended up doing something that wasn't on my list! As you'll hopefully be able to see, the main dish is in the shape of a snail.
This is what it's made from: Underneath, for the body, is the falafel patty, which I cooked into a sausage shape. The shell is a ball of sushi rice made the way my children love it best. It's cooked and then stirred through with diced cucumber and a little rice vinegar. Yummy. A swirl of tomato adds a snail-shell detail. The antennae are carrot sticks dipped in cream cheese with a bit of detail from a dot of food colouring. The whole creature sits on a bed of shredded lettuce, with a couple of carved radish 'mushrooms', some more tomato and some sliced baby corn. In the dessert layer are some strawberries and grapes with a paper cup of chocolate filled koala bear biscuits.
There is a little history to this one. For all the years that my children and I have walked to and from school we have 'rescued' snails from the footpaths in damp weather. We don't move them very far from their intended trail, but we ensure they aren't underfoot for the next passers by on the walk. Sometimes, if we're on one of our earlier school walks which let us do some nature spotting, we'll even chat to them! Since the children are learning French, we've started referring to them as 'escargot'. Which leads me to explaining the title of this post. On occasion we find just empty shells when we inspect our snail friends. That has led me to question "escargot?" as I pick them up and to conclude "escargone" if there is no-one home. Here is a picture of both the childrens' bentos together. I'm sure they'll get a few smiles!