As I write this, mums all across Ayagawa will be busy at work preparing impressive bentos (packed lunches) for tomorrow's school sports day. And out of all the events that sports day entails, this is perhaps the most competitive. This is where the women proudly display their prowess in the kitchen, producing artistically arranged boxes of goodies to catch the eye of the family sitting beside them. I wasn't going to buy into it. I was perfectly happy to do an English-style picnic with sandwiches, crisps, fruit and cake... but then K phoned his mum this morning to ask her if she wanted to join us, and so I had to up my game somewhat. The menu now stands at:
onigiri (rice balls), three different flavours
sticky chicken drumsticks
sausages in various animal shapes
spicy tiffin eggs (recipe follows)
edamame (boiled soy beans)
sweet potato sticks in syrup
fruit salad (apple, nashi, kiwi, orange, banana)
various crackers, crisps and snacks
I am breaking one of the rules, I refuse to prepare all of this on the morning of the event as we need to be out of the house by 7.30am and so most of it is already done. I'm just not that dedicated. I must say, I am most proud of the tiffin eggs! I wanted to make something vegetarian for me to enjoy and the recipe for these leaped of the BBC Good Food page at me just begging to be made! It's a bit like a scotch egg, only without the meat and it's baked instead of fried.
Spicy Tiffin Eggs
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
250g carrots, grated or very finely chopped
2 heaped tablespoons of curry paste (your favourite, I used Patak's Coriander and Cumin)
200g bread crumbs
75g pine kernels, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons flour
Boil 6 of the eggs for 5 minutes, then cool them in cold water and peel. Fry the onion for a few minutes, add the carrot and fry gently for 10 minutes. Add the curry paste, cook for a couple more minutes, then stir in the bread crumbs and allow to cool. Beat the remaining egg and add t0 with the carrot mixture. Divide the mixture into 6 balls and flatten them with your hand. One by one, roll the eggs in the flour, then wrap them in the flattened discs, squeezing the mixture around the egg until completely covered. Roll the balls in the chopped pine kernels and put on a baking sheet. Bake at 190c for 15 - 20 minutes.
They smell amazing.
10 hours ago