B’s kaiseki dinner

ark shell clam with miso dressing

It is B’s 30th today and we will be heading to Tom Aikens tonight to celebrate. As a pre-birthday treat I cooked him a 11-course kaiseki dinner last night that took an entire day of prep and left me totally shattered. But he did love it, so it I guess it was worth the hard work! A kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese banquet meal composed of small dishes prepared in various ways – simmered, steamed, deep-fried, sashimi, grilled, etc) On hindsight 11 courses was probably a tad excessive – we were really struggling by the time we hit the 8th course and B needed a half hour snooze before dessert – although I personally think that was down to the champagne (a lovely Cuvee Caudalie from De Souza – creamy with biscuity notes) rather than the food!

I concocted a yuzu shiso mojito to kick off the meal and was really pleased with the result – it was very refreshing, more subtle than a traditional mojito and the acidity made it a perfect aperitif. If you want to have a go: muddle 4-5 shiso leaves with 1 tbsp demerara (or similar) sugar, add 2 tbsp yuzu juice (you can find this bottled in Japanese grocery stores or you can just substitute with lime juice) and 50ml golden rum (we like Mahiki), then top up with ice and club soda.

For the meal itself the recipes were taken/adapted from 2 cookbooks – Shizuo Tsuji’s Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art (a fantastic reference for Japanese cuisine, with a wealth of information on ingredients, techniques, utensils, presentation, food history and even table etiquette) and Shunju, new Japanese Cuisine by Takashi Sugimoto and Marcia Iwatate (a beautiful book with recipes divided into seasons, the only downside of this book is that many of the ingredients it features are impossible to get out of Japan). B’s favourite dish was the Ark Shell Clam with white miso dressing (shown in the pic at the top of this post), although he did say he was torn as he also really enjoyed the egg-tofu, vinegared crab, clear soup and sea bass salad.

Below is the complete menu together with a few pictures. I would normally do a write-up on each dish but due to the rather lengthy menu and the fact that I need to head out for dinner shortly I think I’ll keep this entry short and sweet! Of course if you fancy trying any of the dishes just give me a shout and I’ll put up the recipe.

ZENSAI (appetizer)
Ama Ebi no Tamago-dofu
Egg “Tofu” with Sweet Shrimp

SUNOMONO (vinegared salad)
Vinegared Crab

AEMONO (dressed salad)
Ark Shell Clam with Miso Dressing

SUIMONO (clear soup)
Ebi Suimono
Clear Soup with Shrimp

SASHIMI (fresh, raw fish)
Suzuki no Kaisen Salada
Sea Bass Salad

NIMONO (simmered dish)
Kinoko no Shunju-fu Marine
Assorted Mushrooms and Lotus Root
Daikon Fukume-ni
Drenched Daikon

YAKIMONO (grilled dish)
Uzura no Kinoko Zume
Quail stuffed with Mushrooms and Gingko Nuts

MUSHIMONO (steamed dish)
Sake no Oyako-mushi
“Parent and Child” (Steamed Salmon and Roe)

AGEMONO (deep-fried dish)
Nasu Hasami-age
Deep-Fried Stuffed Aubergine

OKASHI (sweet dish)
Matcha Syrup on Vanilla Icecream

egg tofu with ama ebi

vinegared crab

stuffed aubergine

salmon "parent and child"

~ by gourmettraveller on August 14, 2009.

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