Monday, 7 January 2013

Further adventures in bento-making

My plans for tomorrow's packed lunches involved both of us having cucumber and tomato salad, with chopped-up ham slices and home-made dressing. We both love it, it goes nicely in our two clip-top lunch boxes, it's healthy, and it's reasonably inexpensive and quick to assemble. Slight problem tonight, though - one of the clip-top boxes has gone missing! I'd put the salad into one of my bento boxes, but they are sadly not liquid-proof. So, Himself has a lovely salad and I have a nibbly bento.

The salad recipe isn't really a recipe. It's a comfort food for me, slightly modified to work for both of our tastes. I grew up in Bulgaria, where cucumbers and tomatoes are a staple of every single salad that doesn't involve cabbage. The most basic form involves chopped up cucumbers and tomatoes, dressed with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. That's it. And I love it. Our modified version is below.

Cucumber and tomato salad for two
- 1 large cucumber
- 1 pack of baby, cherry, or grape tomatoes
- sliced deli ham (I used the packs of 7 slices from Sainsbury's, which come in an assortment of flavours)
- olive oil
- whichever of my vinegar collection sounds tasty on the day, usually balsamic or white wine
- salt
- pepper
- pomegranate molasses

Chop up the first three ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Divide into two liquid-proof lunch boxes. Add a slosh of olive oil and vinegar to each box. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a wee bit of pom molasses over. Put the lid on. Shake vigorously to toss the ingredients and blend the dressing. Stick it in the fridge overnight and don't forget to take it to work in the morning!

The ham replaces the more traditional crumbly white cheese in providing protein, since I don't eat cheese. And the molasses just adds a hint of extra flavour, not that it really needs it. This is all about simple, basic flavour.

For my lunch, I went scavenging in the fridge and my lunch cupboard. Came up with this:
 A sliced yellow pepper and two sliced pickled cucumbers in the larger compartment. A dollop of peanut butter, some of the leftover cherry tomatoes from Spouse's salad, some unsalted cashews, and a small handful of goji berry mix (more goodness from Sainsbury's - it's goji berries, sultanas, raisins, and dried cranberries, all unsweetened) in the smaller compartment. In the flat top compartment are a few slices of my chocolate orange from Christmas. I've got some plain cream crackers that I keep in my desk at work that I'll have with the peanut butter.

Here's the box (which I got from Paperchase of all places) all closed up:

And just in case anyone's interested, this is my lunch and tea cupboard. Lunch boxes and shelf stable foods on the bottom shelf, including the remains of the afore-mentioned chocolate orange, plus my kitchen timer, various bento accessories, and the sugar bowl. The middle shelf is all of our teas, herbal infusions and the drinking chocolate. High use stuff in the cannisters at the front, everything else filed behind. And the top shelf holds my fancy teapot collection and the cups for green tea. We drink a lot of tea.

No comments: