Kyoto Dreaming Japanese Dinner: Seaweed Salad, Chopstick Holders, Miso Eggplant & Fabric Clouds

Last week I shared some of the table styling from our Kyoto Dreaming Japanese Dinner at Bligh St. Bistro in the form of Shibori dyed table runners. Even though I’m always hungry for fabric and table styling I think it’s about time I shared some actual food from this special dinner.
 
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Japanese Seaweed Salad
Serves 4
 
•1 butter lettuce
•1 frisee lettuce
•1 cup wasabi salad leaves
•2 Tbsp Wakame seaweed, rehydrated in cold water and dried with a paper towel
•250g heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
•1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
•Small bunch chamomile leaves
•4 Nasturtium flowers
•4 Tbsp pickled ginger, thinly sliced into matchsticks
•1 tsp sesame seeds
 
Arrange lettuce leaves & wasabi salad greens on plate
Place seaweed, tomatoes & avocado on top
Garnish with camomile leaves, nasturtium flowers, pickled ginger & sesame seeds
Dress with Japanese Salad dressing just before serving
 
Japanese Salad Dressing
 
•2 small shallots
•1/2 tsp ginger, grated
•2 tsp mirin
•2 tsp Japanese black vinegar (Uchibori Ringosan Kurozu)
•1 tsp white soy sauce (Shiro shoyu)
•1/2 tsp sesame oil
•4 tsp grapeseed oil
•2 tsp cooking sake
•12 red grapes
 
Place all ingredients in a food processor & Blend until smooth
Strain liquid with a fine sieve, using the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as you can from the shallots and grapes
 
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Every time we host a dinner we have a little token on the table which people can take home with them to remember the meal they shared at Bligh St. Bistro. I made personalised chopstick holders out of matchboxes for the Kyoto Dreaming Japanese dinner. I’m a bit obsessed with chopstick holders and it seemed like a logical thing to do at the time. If you’d like to make some Japanese chopstick holder placecards of your own (something you never realised you’d been waiting your whole life to try) then all you will need is the following:
 
•A couple of empty matchboxes
•paper to line the inside of the box
•fabric to cover the outside of the matchbox.
•PVA glue
 
Cut a strip of fabric the width of the matchbox and long enough to go round the outside. Glue this with pva to the matchbox and trim away any overhang carefully with scissors.
Cut out the paper lining of the box and write the names in the centre before folding up the sides and glueing the lining into the box
Lastly cut a rectangle of fabric to cover both ends of the box and attach this with pva to each end.
 
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Here’s the end result on the table…
 
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One of my favourite Japanese dishes is miso eggplant so I’m a big fan of this recipe from Signor Pot. It’s not as sugary as most miso eggplants I’ve tried and really allows for the flavour of the eggplant to shine though.
 
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Grilled Miso Eggplant
Serves 4
 
•2 Medium eggplants
•1 Tbsp salt for salting eggplant
•Olive oil for brushing
•1 Tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
•1 Tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted
• Miso Glaze*
•2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
 
Pre-heat oven to 190°C
Halve eggplants lengthwise and score the flesh in a criss cross pattern
Salt eggplants and leave for 30 minutes to draw out moisture and bitterness
Wipe flesh of eggplants with a disposable towel to soak up moisture and excess salt
Brush the flesh of the eggplants with olive oil and place cut side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper
Place in the oven for 20 minutes until soft (there should be some browning on the flesh)
Turn the eggplants over and cook for a further 10 minutes
Remove the eggplants from the oven and brush cut side liberally with miso glaze
Place in the oven for a final 10 minutes (be careful not to burn the paste)
Remove from oven and sprinkle over sesame seeds and shallots
 
*Miso Glaze
 
•4 Tbsp mirin
•4 Tbsp cooking sake
•2 1/2 Tbsp caster sugar
•4 Tbsp red miso paste
•3 Tbsp almond butter (100% almond)
•2 Tbsp of dashi (Optional)
 
Bring mirin and sake to the boil on medium heat. Allow to boil for 2 minutes to burn off some of the alcohol
Reduce to low heat. Add sugar and miso and stir until smooth
Add almond paste and continue stirring until smooth
If the glaze is too thick add a little bit of dashi to loosen it (don’t add too much dashi, you want to end up with a thick but spreadable glaze)
 
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And for those who need a last little fix of crafty table goodness check out this little clip on how to make fabric clouds to hang from the ceiling. I mean you can’t be dreaming without your head in the clouds right?
 

 
xxBlighStBistro

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