It was a nice surprise for me recently when my almost fourteen year old daughter (Big T) told me she would like to start taking bento to school again. She hasn't wanted bento for secondary school for the past two years at all, so this is a big deal for me. So now I have two bento to make again, one for her and one for little t, and I love that! These are the bento I made for the children ready for tomorrow's lunch.
Big T's bento is in the strawberry shaped box and little t's bento is in his favourite green box. Vegan veggie burger, rocket, a ketchup pot, raspberries and blackberries for little t. I saved the little dancing girl fruit forks from some boxes of dates we had at Christmas. I think they probably look a little bit risqué for children's bento, but oh well. Big T has the same but with some extra burger, ciabatta bread and cucumber. Her fruit layer consists of strawberries and grapes since she likes neither raspberries nor blackberries. They will also take in some vegan banana and coconut bread that my mother in law baked (so good).
While I packed tonight's bento boxes I started to consider how my two children's tastes vary slightly, and how their appetites and nutritional requirements differ quite immensely. You can see that I've had to put more food in Big T's box, she's older so that makes sense of course. But some of that food is 'filler' food, with the ciabatta. I don't like using bread in bento to be honest. At least, more often than not I'd rather avoid it. Bread is empty calories (empty, delicious calories...). It also gets boring, and harks back to that school lunch trap of the daily sandwich.
I think I'm going to have to get more creative with filling Big T's appetite requirement now she's asking for bento again. Bread just won't do. More raw vegetables are in order, and probably some quinoa or cous cous.
Poor Big T has been poorly with a kidney infection this week, so I had her home with me yesterday. I made her a nice big plate full of healthful things for her lunch and she wolfed it down.
Not the best presentation of a mezze, I know, but it tasted good. She had cucumber and carrot sticks, peri-peri humous, half an avocado with lemon juice and black pepper, strawberries and some wholmeal crackers with vegan (Toffuti) garlic and chive cream 'cheese'. Yum. I had the same but with some leftover roasted veggies, too.
This past week my lovely neighbour told me to start helping myself to his herb garden (mine is a bit bare to say the least), so I ended up with the most gorgeously scented bunch of rosemary. Whenever I have rosemary and dill in the house at the same time, I go straight to this recipe: Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings by Isa Chandra over at Post Punk Kitchen. I suppose it's not really a summer recipe, but who needs rules? This stew is one of the most satisfying meals I make on regular rotation. The payback you get in flavour and all round goodness is remarkable considering its simplicity in preparation. For about twenty minutes max of chopping veggies and mixing a few dry ingredients together I end up with a meal fit for vegan kings. Here it is served up with ciabatta spread with 'Pure' sunflower margarine.