Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kids Eat Right With NATUREL - Bento Workshop

 As a working mother of 3 children (aged 10, 7 and 3) I am always faced with a challenge when preparing meals at home. I need to ensure that what I prepare first and foremost would “look” appetizing in their eyes but of course contains all the nutrition required by growing up children and well balanced, and not to mention does not take forever to prepare.

When I got the invite to attend a NATUREL Bento workshop at Bayan Indah with the knowledge that there would also be a Consultant Dietician who would be discussing Eating Right Meals for Kids I was estatic. Firstly, it would not be my first experience at Bayan Indah and cooking “with” Rohani Jelani (read: learning to cook with RJ). I attended a bread making workshop at her lovely home about 4 years ago, and fell head over heals in love with her whole house, especially the kitchen and pantry.  Therefore, an opportunity to join a cooking workshop at her place, I would be crazy to say no, wouldn’t I?  Secondly, it’s a BENTO workshop, bearing in mind I had no clue whatsoever what BENTO is, apart from a tray like boxy meal that I have come across in food courts at the mall. I’m guessing something Japanese! I like Japanese cuisine, so yeah sure why not. Finally, since there will be a discussion thrown in about ensuring cooking the right meals for kids I was ready to have a wonderful learning experience last Tuesday… and learned I did (with loads of fun and goodies brought home)!

The lovely  Indra and  Rohani Jelani with us the early birds:  yours truly and Pat (of

I was the first blogger to arrive, hi!hi! That’s enthusiasm for you… plus I also checked out the location of Bayan Indah 2 weekends earlier to ensure that I would not get lost on that day! Since I was early, I had a good look around at Bayan Indah, after 4 years, a lot has been done to the place, I even managed to say hi to RJ beforehand and to declare to her I’m a returning fan to find out from herself  the major upgrades that has happened to Bayan Indah since I was last there. So, the kitchen just got bigger and jaw dropping better, and the pantry just left me speechless!!! She has also turned what was previously her living quarters upstairs into a B&B (as she modestly put it), but it’s a resort standard for your information!!! Right, for those who are not familiar with RJ, she is a food consultant & founder of the Bayan Indah Culinary Retreat. She has been writing recipes for publication for over 20 years. After graduating from the London Cordon Bleu Cookery School in the mid-eighties, she worked in commercial kitchens as a pastry cook before pursuing a career in journalism, cooking for and styling the food pages for a leading English language women’s magazine. Now, RJ provides recipe consultation and food styling services to food companies, restaurants and magazines.

This Bento workshop is a product of RJ’s collaboration with NATUREL, where she has designed some creative but simple (read: simple yet divine J) recipes to provide solution for mothers to help children eat right through a healthy and balanced meal.  NATUREL Blend Cooking Oil is a blend of canola and sunflower seed oils. It contains Omega 3 and Omega 6 which are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) that cannot be produced in the body and must be obtained from food. EFA is essential for normal growth in children, and in aiding regular cardiovascular and neurological function. The food prepared using NATUREL oils (NATUREL Cooking oil, NATUREL Olive Oil and NATUREL margarine) do not lose its taste and texture even when kept refrigerated for a few days. This makes it ideal to help mothers (like me) to prepare hassle-free meals.

Before we started the hands on cooking session, there was a 30 minutes interactive presentation by Indra Balaratnam, a consultant Dietician who touched on “ Healthy Eating Habits, Meals and the right portion sizes for kids”. Indra currently runs her own dietetic practice, based in Kuala Lumpur which she started 10 years ago. She specializes in dietary counseling to patients on how to improve their diets to better manage their chronic diseases and she also undertakes special projects consulting multinational food companies, industrial caterers and private schools on nutrition quality and menu planning. Indra stressed on the importance of good nutrition for kids which are :
1) for energy 
2) for physical growth and 
3) for mental development .

Essentially mothers like me should ensure our children also have a balanced diet (in the right portion sizes) that consists of a variety of different food from the 5 food groups as presented in the The Malaysian Food Guide Pyramid as shown here in order to get the most vitamins and minerals.

NATUREL worked with Rohani Jelani and Indra to come up with wonderfully simple yet divine recipes NATUREL-ly using NATUREL cooking oil that we had a chance to prepare during the workshop. The recipes that we tried were Baked Doughnuts, Prawn & Spring Onion Omelette with Rice Cakes, Rainbow Cake and Pasta bows with chicken and tofu patties.

Rohani briefing us on the recipe that we will be working on before
we started our culinary experience in her kitchen.

This is her lovely open plan kitchen, only a portion of it.
You must try one of her cooking lessons at Bayan Indah one day.

My Workstation - all manners of kitchen gadget and essentials to work with.

NATUREL cooking oil and NATUREL Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Our key ingredients for our meal preparation.

I am preparing the prawns for my Prawns and Spring Onions Omelette – Bento Style.

My cooking partner Shasha – preparing the batter for Baked Doughnuts.

Rohani giving us tips and tricks to preparing our recipes.

This is the way you prepare the omelette – slow and easy.

The omelette is then place on a bamboo (sushi-making) mat, to roll the omelette in.
Let the omelette cool before cutting into slices. 

Leave the omelette to cool before cutting into slices.

Like so...

My NATUREL Bento done!

Shasha’s finished doughnuts… yummy!

Even though, each person prepares one dish, we all get to take home
some dish prepared by others.
All neatly BENTO-ed in these lovely Rubbermaid food containers.

Group picture at the end of the cooking session.

NATUREL-ly I had a divine time at the workshop learning lots of new things, getting new ideas about meal preparation for my children and not to mention making new blogger friends. Bringing home a huge goody bag was of course a welcomed bonus – NATUREL-ly!


Marlini Ismail said...

I love the kitchen Eti! Its such a big space and well arranged!! Would love to have one in mine!

diyana said...

i wish i could learn how to make that egg... i got pasta... which i already mastered! chewahhhh... hahahahaha,,,,

ShaSha said...

Eti..pasai pa muka i pun cam donut gak erk..? Hahaha..

Eti said...

Shasha... tak pa laaa, sama gebu! :-)

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