Waiting at the departure lounge at Heathrow Airport, London, I picked up a free cooking magazine called olive! that is published by the BBC. Flipping through it, came across a very tantalizing picture of fish with soba noodles and edamame. Well, inspiration for one of my lunches one day.
Remembering that I had bought some somen noodles and edamame beans before I left for UK, I decided to give this a whirl. I substitute the salmon for mackerel since that is what we have at hand in the fridge. I had the 5-energy somen noodle from an organic shop (looking for reduce salt noodles isn’t easy) and also inspired (again) by another picture.
I could only squeeze in 4 of the noodles in here. It doesn’t look a lot, I know, but I think it was ok. And it will be filling enough for me. I put them into small quaint silicon cups.
The last somen noodle, I put into a small container and put it in the fish. The fish was poached with miso paste, lemon juice and cracked black peppercorn. I actually pounded the peppercorn using a pestle and mortar. Marinated it for about 10-15 min and then poached it. The edamame beans were boiled until cook. To be honest, I think that they are still partially cooked but it shouldn’t be a problem eating them.
According to the recipe link, this should be under 500 calories. It may actually be less because my fish and noodle portion wasn’t as big so I hope that it’s not over the 500 calories. Also, there’s reduced salt here as I didn’t used as much miso paste.
Anyway, I really loved the magazine olive! and the concept of Eat In, Eat Out, Eat Away. Plus, the fact that they publish out the actual calories and nutritional information for each recipe (well, nearly all), is definitely interesting. And the fact that there is a face-off between Gordon Ramsay and a reader on their meals, it sure is interesting.
Just got back last night from London and sent back home by Davin. Trip pictures will go up when I have time to put them up!
Anyway, here is tomorrow’s bento meal. This is bento #7.
Most of the food were prepared by my Granny because I was too tired to do anything except for a few things. So I packed up leftovers.
To the left is a seed-rice mix that was packed in silicon cups. To the right is a veggie mix of the traditional Hakka dish known as lui cha. It’s a stirfry combination of onions, cangkuk manis, long beans, bean sprouts and tauhu mixed with some grounded herbs which I have yet to check with Granny what’s inside it. This entire veggie mix was then poured into a pot of hot Chinese tea. I put the tauhu and grounded peanuts on the right side of the dish.
On the top left is poached fish with tumeric, ginger, garlic and shallots. Half a piece of a mackerel steak. To the left is pak choy, a form of Chinese cabbage that was stir-fried with garlic. And the bottom is button mushrooms that were poached in rosemary and oregano.
This is bento #7 and now back to trying to lose weight. I put on 3 kg from my UK trip and now have to lose it all.
The one thing I realised about the various bento recipes and pictures out there, is the high usage of forbidden ingredients in the low sodium diet i.e. cheese, ham, processed food. Plus, a lot of the Japanese bento recipes are currently using a lot of sugar in their meals.
I kinda cheated on using ham for tomorrow’s meal but have to seriously cut back on it. Same goes for the sugar. I have to see whether there are some alternatives or other more traditional Japanese-type of recipes that may help. Then, see if it can be combined with the usual Chinese home-cooking that my Granny does.
Although, I’m still trying to top the 5-7 servings of grains and veggies. Am rethinking how to deal with breakfast and slowly cut out milk from the diet. Not exactly that easy.
Ok, so the no-salt diet is not exactly that easy when one is in a different house. I’m now in Miri for a week and finally managed to have a lunch where I can make my own lunch. So here is a simple lunch that I normally eat during work and would have prepared the night before. Although this time, I made this during the day itself.
Hmm…preparation was easy. The multi-grain mix was the one that needed to be pre-soak an hour before as well as the frozen fish. The fish, I put them into water to defrost and in an hour, it was compeltely defrosted.
So, the finish food looks like this :
Carbo : 2 spoons of multigrain mix
Protein : Fish cook with garlic and tomyam
Veggies : Stir Fried Sweet peas + Oyster Mushrooms with Garlic
The multigrain was a pre-mix grain mixture I got from a supermarket that was imported by Taiwan. I think the name of the manufacturer was Sungrass Farms or something like that. It was pre-soak in water for an hour and cook in a pot until soft and most of the water has dried up. It’s a bit grey because of the black glutinous rice in it. It doesn’t taste too bad but I guess it helps that I cut down a lot of salt.
I love sweet peas. It’s great to eat and not so dried up. The oyster mushroom also helps because it doesn’t smell too strongly. Then again, the garlic helped a lot too. The garlic was chopped into small bits and stir-fried in a teaspoon of olive oil until it was slight browned and fragnant. Then I put the sweetpeas in and about 10 seconds later, the mushroom. Add in about 1/4 cup of water, a dash of pepper and about 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar for taste.
One thing I didn’t check was for leftover lemongrass and I think there was none. Anyway, have cut some garlic slices and totally forgot to put in some shallots. I rub about 1/2 teaspoon of tomyam paste on the fish. I put some water into a frying pan and poached the garlic + 1/2 teaspoon of the tomyam paste. Then added in more water and brought it quickly to a boil before I added the fish. Then I covered the pan and every few minutes, turned the fish so that it gets cook. I top up the water when it got too low. It turn out pretty nice and the fish tasted like it was steamed. The only problem was that I underestimated the salt content in that one teaspoon of tomyam paste so it ended up too salty. So, next time, it’s going to be 1/4 teaspoon of tomyam paste. I didn’t finish the fish and kept half for the next day.
So, this is a really nice meal. But, I now have to exercise hard because I’m heading out for dinner with parents to have crab and a favourite prawn dish that I can never get it done right in Kuching. Gulp!
One thing about writing a food blog is the irony of health problems that suffices later in life. Knowing that I haven’t been eating as healthily as I should have, nor exercising as much as I should have, the day finally came when I got hit by a big whammy.
Just after Chap Goh Mei, on 13 Feb 2009, I got diagnosed with stage II hypertension (151/108) at the age of 31 years old. It came at a time when I had just made some promises to my mother that I would finally make the decision to try to lose weight again. I suppose one could say that God has perfect timing, not to mention the perfect situation that will finally make me stick to my diet which is my health.
On 13 Feb 2009, I weighed in at about 105 kg. After taking a check of my food intake and putting in some exercise with the added pinch of a bad flu for a week, I now weight 98 kg. A drop of 7kg in about 7-8 weeks. Not bad for a girl who is now eating salt-free food.
So, this blog will undergo a change just as life changes as time goes by. I started this blog with the goal to tease my sister and my mum in the US. Now, it’s going to be a blog of my cooking experiments with no salt with Granny looking on like a sports commentator.
I still have a long way to go in the journey of weight loss but it’s getting there. Plus, I never knew that so many people were so concerned about heart problems until I told them that I had one.
Ah well. Let’s see how it goes.
A few lessons learnt about the food I’ve packed for today.
Apple + Mandarin Oranges + Yogurt
Bad. Too much fibre in the drink and I think I had some seeds floating around. Going to put in more effort in removing the skin and all. Plus, do a more thorough check of the seeds as well. I thought I took everything out but guess looks are deceiving. Also, use only one orange and not two, else the taste is overwhelming.
Surprisingly, it came out very sweet after settling for a day. Raisins and balsamic vinegar had soak in really well overnight. For a moment though, I thought it was going to be very bland and tasteless like the ones I made before (I didn’t cut the grapes up).
Again, another suprise. The ginger gave the chicken as really really nice taste and the onions that had caramelized, gave it a bit of a sweetish flavour. And, because it was lightly pan-fried, tasted pretty good, considering that I didn’t add in any other filling in.
Tomorrow to-do list :
Morning – Goto an Organic Food Shop and see what unsweetened dried fruits that they have (and hopefully doesn’t cost a bomb)
Afternoon – Head on down to Boulevard Hypermarket with Granny to have a looksee there.
Need to make a shopping list…