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Steam Wagon

One Scottish girl's attempts at bento lunches for work. (And probably other random stuff, depending.)

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August 20th, 2006

It's a me - Mariobento!

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Steam Wagon


So, a multitude of factors conspired to get me back into the bento mood - all the talk of themed bentos, my upcoming trip (more later) and making my own cookie cutter (and subsequent comments).

From top left, clockwise!
  • Cheese, carrot and cucumber in various shapes and forms.  The cheese was bought sliced - which was useful later.
  • Baby plum tomatoes - generally I get the little rounder baby tomatos, and I can't say I can tell the difference, really :)
  • Veggie sausage and cheese divider.  Good old veggie sausage.
  • Grapes!  Now, if you've seen my bento's before, you'll know that they generally don't have a built in sweet section.  This is unusual for me.
  • Marshmallow fruity-coconut mushrooms!  Very appropriate, I thought.  They're tasty, but unfortunately I've never found veggie marshmallows - so gelatine makes a reluctant appearance here.
  • Mario level!  Rice with nori background.  Cucumber pipe with a plum tomato fire plant spitting a carrot and cheese fireball!  Veggie sausage floor, with a cucumber and tomato Koopa.  Veggie sausage destroyable bricks (I finger painted them with soy to make them brown instead of sausage pink) and a cheese and nori special block :D
  • Edamame and good old faithful veggie dumplings.  I don't think I even burned them, this time!  I know - shock horror.  Fish-bottle of soy, dollop of squeezy mustard and tomato sauce/ketchup.
Now - I'm not actually going to work tomorrow, as I've got the next fortnight off to go to Japan!  (I've never been - so this is extreme excitement on my part).  So!  On such short notice (I go Tuesday) - does anyone have any 'Must Sees' for Tokyo or Kyoto?  Oh - I'm going to the Ghibli Museum(!!) too.  Eyes will be peeled for Steampunk and Bento goodness.  I doubt it'll be too hard to find!

July 9th, 2006

Hello everyone.  As I was a bit concerned about spamming this community with every little thing I did to do with Steampunk, I thought I'd better make my own blog.

Brass Goggles Steampunk Page

While there's only approx 9 posts so far, I've got a bit of a backlog of things to write up, so that should increase in the next few days.  It will contain more Steampunk film reviews, updates on my Steampunk projects and ideas, photographs and images of a Steampunk nature, and my crowning glory - Steampunk interviews.  The wonderful Crabfu was gracious enough to be my first interviewee, and he's answered five Steampunk and steampowered questions :)

I hope you'll pop over there, and make a few comments to make the place feel lived in.  I hope you don't mind my ramblings there either.  I do apologise for the look of the page in IE6, but I'm afraid the css just goes a bit insane.  Firefox and IE7 handle it nicely, though.  Many thanks.

July 3rd, 2006

All the cows are standing up :)

It's one of those old wives tales, that if cows are standing up in the fields, then it'll be a nice day - if they're lying down, poor weather approaches (rain, usually).  Well, mine are standing up - and if today's weather was anything to go by, then they're doing a good job forecasting for me.


From the top left, clockwise, while rubbing my tummy and patting my head.
  • Edamame.  Tried to pack as many as possible in, and sprinkled with some funky posh sea salt.  I've read about kosher salt, but every supermarket I've gone into here in the UK doesn't have it.  So it's Maldons sea salt.
  • Dollop of salmon paste, should be nice on a little slice of cucumber :D
  • Speak of the devil, and he will appear - cucumber doing some Sterling work as a divider.  Good job, cucumber - carry on.
  • Rocket salad, tomato wedges and veggie dumplings.  I almost didn't burn these ones!  Yay! *sighs*
  • Some more sneaky cucumber.  Honestly, you turn your back for just a second...
  • Cornichons (not sure if that's spelled correctly).  Bought them in a jar, pickled.  Gherkin, pepper, olive, pimento and onion on a stick.  Quite nice, but rather hot/peppery.  Got some secret dijon-mustardnaise hiding underneath those.
  • Green rice!  Just a bit of food colouring, and some of the more brown furikake rice seasoning to make a field for my cows.  The cows are nori seaweed and potato paper (the potato paper ones are triple layered - that stuff just goes transparent when faced with moisture!).  Got a little cucumber tree, with some tomato fruit on it!  (Makes sense, really - tomato being a fruit and all.)
No dessert-y thing planned, but maybe I can find something at lunchtime.  For those interested yesterdays yoghurt with hazelnut pieces was nice, but the clear winner is still the fudge one.  Oh, and I finished embroidering another cog.  :)

This one's getting a 6 from me.  Maybe a 6.5 depending on how nice the rocket is :)

July 2nd, 2006

Went down the pasta route this time, and then got a bit carried away with invention involving asparagus and ham.

Recognise anything?  Tomatoes, right?  Well, read on for the rest!  (Including my bonkers little creation at the back there).

Starting at the tomatoes, and working our way anticlockwise!  (For a change).
  • Baby organic tomatoes.  I bought the organic ones, because you get fewer of them in a punnet - I really can't eat enough before they go off.  Sad.
  • Tricolor pasta!  It's got some balsamic dressing, some mayonnaise, a few chunks of lemon-pepper quorn (pretend chicken) and a few olives - because they're ace.  Sprinkled with sesame seed salad seasoning for added posh ;)
  • Ah now - mysterious rolled up thingies.  Inspiration hit, and I cooked some asparagus, cut up some slices of cheese and rolled those up in semicirlces of quorn pretend-slicedham.  Grilled them to melt the cheese and whammo - insta-new-thing.  Not sure if this has been done before, but if not - I shall name thee... "Asparacheesols"  Catchy, isn't it.  Well, ok, maybe not.  They're lying on wedges of cucumber alternately for a bit of variety.
  • Cheese-cucumber-cheese-cucumber-cheese.  These will be handy for dipping into...
  • Nacho cheese dip, and Whack-a-Mole Eh?
  • And last, but certainly not least - more lentil porridge.  It was SO tasty last time, that I had to make some more.  This has pretend bacon-sprinkles on it.  They're little soy chunks, apparently.
Not visible in this picture (because I forgot to take it out of the fridge) is a hazelnut yoghurt in the same style as the fudge one.  Never tried it before, but it sounds nice.

And, in completely unrelated news, I've started to embroider.  You can see my first attempt at the back there - I've done a cog on a pillowcase!  The pillowcase was just a test piece of fabric, but it's surprisingly easy to do.  The plan is, to do several cogs as detail on a skirt that I've bought from Tesco.  Funny thing, embroidery really does seem like a pastime that people should do together as a social thing - it's very easy to talk and 'broider at the same time - unlike say TV or reading a book.  Shame I know noone as bonkers as me around here that'd 'broider ;)

June 29th, 2006

Adventures With Veggies.

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Hmm, well now - this is a weird-veggie bento - at least for little-conservative-with-her-veggies me.  I also seemed to have lost all ability to take photies.  I do apologise for the nasty blur.
 Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

From left to right!
  • Mmmmmmm veggie sausage.  I'm running low and will probably need to go to the local Holland and Barrett this weekend.  They must think I'm insane coming to the counter with arms full of frozen sausage.
  • Roule cheese.  Oh yes - return of the soft herbed cheese.  It'll be nice to dip the...
  • Battered fish fingers.  I had intended to buy the Captain Birdseye mini-fishfingers, but Tesco was out of them.  So I got battered ones instead (as opposed to the usual breadcrumbed ones).
  • Pimento stuffed olives :D  I know I shouldn't eat them like sweeties, but they're nice.  I like the metallic tang they have to them.
  • Mushroom and okra noodles, in a soy and mushroom sauce.  I've never eaten okra before - chopping them was weeeird!  Now I know what they mean by mucalicious.
  • Asparagus tips - microwaved and with butter on them.  No idea what they'll be like come bento-eating time.  Nice I hope!
  • Little slice of pickled beetroot.  Usually I avoid this stuff (bf loves it) but I was really hurting for red, see what colour coordination will drive a girl to do!?
  • Fudge flavour yogurt.  And I've only just realised I've been spelling "Yogurt" wrongly all this time.  Thanks Tesco!
This has got to be a poor 3.5/10.  The colours are dull, the variety is alright (and points for weird veg adventures), but there's no cute to be found anywhere!  Though, for future reference, those olives look a lot like cartoon frogs eyes...

June 28th, 2006

Sticks, Dips and Beasties!

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Hungry Hungry Catterpillar!  So this is a dip and stick based bento, with a little catterpillar ready to munch on all of these veggies! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

  • This little cucumber and carrot catterpillar is lying on furikike'ed rice and walking along with his nori feet on a red carpet of pickled red cabbage.
  • Cucumber fences keep him safely away from the tomato, cucumber and red cabbage salad in the top corner - though on second thoughts, maybe trying to keep a catterpillar out using cucumber wasn't the brightest of ideas.  Munch munch munch.
  • Yellow goop!  This is the insides of approx 206 catterpillars that were in my gard... oh who am I kidding!  Ok ok - it's lentils, boiled down to a mush :D  Added some veggie stock.  This stuff tastes MUCH better than the pease pudding - I could eat it with a spoon!  (And often do, in lentil-soup form).
  • Carrot sticks, cheese sticks and tomato wedges.  These shall be my ammuninition in the coming battle against...
  • The Scourge of the Cucumber Dip Cups!  *ooh, ahh*  In right, guacamole (whack a mole eh?).  In middle, nacho cheese dip.  In left, spicy salsa.  They're just chunks of cucumber hollowed out (barring a thin base) with a teaspoon - I put a circle of nori on the bottom to 'seal' them.  Don't ask me why, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I'd like to thank my two new best friends:
Cucumber - you've been such a supportive friend, and creative too.  I couldn't have done it without you.
Pickled Red Cabbage - I'd needed more colour in my life, and then you came along.  Some say you're sour, but you'll always be there for me, thanks.
I'm going to give this a 5/10 again - I like the dip cups (personally) but the little catterpillar could do with a cute-makeover.  Maybe next time :)

June 27th, 2006

Cog-tastic Bento!

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Steam Wagon
So, I like cogs.  I like clockwork things and steam and things with rivets on them and constructed of brass.  I even decorated a guitar to be as 'steampunk' as I could manage - but it's hard to eat in a steampunk manner.  This is my first attempt to combine two of my interests - cogs and bento. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

As you can see, the result was 'so-so'.  But there are a few hidden gems of peculiararity, so if you're sitting comfortably, I'll begin...

Clockwise!
  • Pease Pudding.  No, you read that right.  It's a very odd substance that you buy in a small can made of yellow split peas, spices etc.  I'd never tried it before, and I can only describe it as a cross between bland-lentil-soup and mashed potato.  The worst thing I can say about it is that it's bland - that's also the best thing I can say about it.  Anyway - decided it was too bland, and added some garlic puree, sprinkled some nori and in a fit of madness, dusted with jerk seasoning.  Maybe I'll die, maybe I won't.
  • The remaining veggie-sausage cogs.  I made too many!  (Well, you can't really have too many cogs.)
  • Microwave steamed veggies - peas, carrots and sweetcorn.  Now, confession time - I don't like sweetcorn, but I'm teaching myself to like it because everything has sweetcorn in it!  It wore me down like Chinese water torture (or Bon Jovi).
  • Green eggs :)  Just little omlette rolls (with a little mushroom ketchup) and some green food colouring.  Bonkers colour - brain wants it to taste different!
  • Carrots.  Mmm.
  • French Roule cheese.  Herbed soft cheese - lovely stuff, but I'm too scared to look at the nutricional information.  I think I'd have a heart attack.
  • Organic cheese barrier.  Really handy those - so many uses, and I love edible dividers.
  • Rice, fukikake (the 'brown' one), some nori cogs, veggie sausage cogs and non-veggie smoked sausage cogs (with nori holes).  It's funny - to start with, the two sausage colours were almost identical, but as the air reaches them they're changing colour.
  • A new type of yoghurt and honey.  After the less than stellar result (the yoghurt was weird) I thought I'd try another brand.  Hello Sainsbury's.
And there you have it.  I think, were I to rate this bento (and maybe I'll start doing so) I'd rate it 5/10.  Interesting use of weird ingredients, but decorative aspect is a bit wonky.

How would you rate it?  (Or my previous ones?)  Out of ten - go on, I can take it ;)

June 23rd, 2006

I was a FOOL to attempt it!

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Please, do NOT attempt this at home!

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*takes a long, deep breath*  Oh, the stress of prescision nori placement.  Tomorrow may well just be a pot noodle and a bag of crisps!  (Well, not really, but yeesh, that took effort.)

But enough of that - I give you - Annette the Cow!
  • Rice with furikake, boiled egg yolk sun with carrot sunbeams, nori hills and luscious green chive grass.
  • Boiled egg white and potato paper cow (Annette), with nori markings, chewing on some more nori grass.  Note to others - egg INSTANTLY disintigrates potato paper.  Do not attempt unless you enjoy tearing hair out!  *sighs*  (Still, dang cute - I mean, how could I hate a face like that, eh?)
  • Carrot and cucumber slices.
  • Some of that red lettuce-stuff - I got a bag of salad and I liked the look of the red leaves.  That's mushroom chunks there in it, the white blocks.
  • Organic cheese twigs with stupidly pretty baby tomato wedges and chive sprinkles.  Honestly, my mum would faint if she saw me being this healthy!  Please, no-one tell her!  I'd never live it down.
And, much to my shame, I will be 'cheating' on this bento (no - not like that!).  I took so much space with the cow scene, and didn't notice what I was doing with the pretty veg layer, that I completely forgot to add some of the bento contents!  So, in another container I will have:
  • The remains of the egg.  It's just not designed for craftwork, eggs.  I mean really - you'd have thought the chickens would have thought of that and started laying nice cubic ones for me...
  • Lemon-pepper quorn chunks.  Quorn is a UK based pretend-meat.  Made from mushroom protien, Quorn is ace stuff - but I've not tried the ready-to-eat lemon-pepper chunks before, they're chicken style.
  • More mushroom!  I only used a little bit and well... Ok, I admit it - I have a mushroom addiction.  They're just so soft and savoury and weird and, well you get the idea.  Gotta eat em all!
  • A couple more tomatoes.
That should do me!  Whew.  I'd like to dedicate (blame? ;)) this bento on Kaoko_cow.  The inspiration is plain :)

June 21st, 2006

Accidentally Mexican...

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Steam Wagon
So - what do you do when you've left the house without your bento kit (nori, rice, bento box - everything!) and you're staying over at someone elses for the night?

You go all improv-bento!

Accidentally Mexican Bento

A trip to the trusty local Tesco supermarket at lunchtime yeilded two clickfresh Tesco containers and food galore.  It was Mexican food for dinner, and leftovers served me well...

In left:
  • Tomato-Pepper tortilla strips - almost one whole tortilla chopped into little paper-like strips.
  • Iceberg lettuce - why don't they sell salad in smaller bags?  I really can't get through 99p worth of salad in the time it takes it to go off.  *sighs*
  • One, single, scary slice of jalapeno pepper.  It sits there and mocks my cowardice, coming between me and the cooling taste of lettuce.  There will be a showdown.
In right:
  • Guacamole!  Odd word, keeps reminding me of that game whack a mole.
  • Cheese barrier - little organic cheese portions that I've sliced in half, and then into little 'planks' to shore up my Mexican river.  Tastes a bit like mozzarella.
  • Veggie mince with fajita spice mix - this is lovely moist veggie-mince, not like some of the TVP you get that's so dry and crumbly.  Got little tortilla and lettuce hearts on it!
  • Spicy refried beans - these I'll be careful with, as they're borderline too spicy for me :)  I'm such a weakling.
And in the top:
  • Greek yoghurt with honey.  I saw someone else had a bento with greek yoghurt and honey, so I thought I'd try it - and lo and behold, Tesco does it in a little carton/tub.  Looks nice, never tried it before.
So - quite a departure from the traditional bento, but I'm counting it as one anyway :D  Ok, jalapeno - there's only room in this tummy for one of us....

June 18th, 2006

Hasty Bento!

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Quick bento!
Eek!  Had no time, and no preparations.  (Well, to my usual standards anyway). 

  • Mini-burgers!  With squeezy mustard on for added yellow.
  • Baby tomatos on a base of japanese pickles.  I'm now out of tomatoes and pickles.  Surely this is a code-red situation.  It cannot get any worse, surely...
  • Rice with pink sprinkles, and a nest of nori and potato paper with little edamame eggs!  Careful - they might hatch into Edamamlings!
  • Tuna and mayonaise - I was really hurting for ideas, but I have these tiny little tins of tuna.  Oh - as a note - tried wasabi tuna and it almost blew my nose off my face.  Will be more careful in future.
  • Garlic fried mushrooms with tomato sauce (ketchup).  Mmmm, two of my favourite things - garlic and mushrooms.
  • Edamame to finish - it's always a terrible struggle to not break down, snatch up the edamame and scramble off to a corner somewhere to eat them all like a kid with stolen sweeties!  Too tasty, edamame.
This time you can see the lid of the bento - it's lovely Totoro.  Don't you just wish you were cute little Mei sleeping on a big soft Totoro tummy?
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