30 Jun Miso Workshop
If you’ve ever had a Wild Goat Events picnic, you’ll know we have a bit of a penchant for food – especially when it’s something we’ve not tried our hand at before. So, when we heard about the miso-making workshop at Byron Bay Luxury Guesthouse 28 Degrees, we jumped at the chance to book.
You’ve probably heard of miso soup, but a quick run-down if you haven’t got a clue what miso itself is: in easy terms, it’s a fermented soybean paste. Our teacher for the day, Hiromi, went into a bit more detail, explaining all the bits and pieces which make up the base for one of our favourite Japanese staples. (Adam Liaw gives a very good explanation here.]
Then, the bowls came out, and we began to play.
As we measured and mixed and marvelled at the arm workout (seriously, this is better than weight training), Hiromi told us a few things about Japanese cuisine – backed up by Debbie, our hostess and owner of 28 Degrees, who spent her early years growing up in Japan. Traditional Japanese food is gorgeously healthy, and purely macrobiotic. Each dish focuses on physical, spiritual and planetary health, using organic local ingredients in season to create wholesome feasts. Five elements correlate to each season, and tied to each are foods to enhance parts of the body. Winter, the water element, encourages foods which are all about warmth and strengthening the body for renewed energy come spring – something we could all use, don’t you agree?
Once we’d kneaded our soybeans, chickpeas and rice into a smooth paste (some more smooth than others), we pressed the mix into air-tight jars and covered it with layers of cling wrap. Debbie, an old hand at miso making, showed us how she stored the miso while it fermented – in a dark drawer, covered with cling wrap, with a water-filled jar sitting on top to get as much air out as possible before popping a lid on her jar.
For lunch, Hiromi pulled out all the stops: a tasting plate of flavours, colours and cooking methods, all macrobiotic and oh-so Japanese. We tried some miso soup made with Hiromi’s own miso paste, fermenting for five years, seasoned with onions and cabbage. Everyone marvelled over the grilled eggplant with miso and walnut butter. The deep-fried taro, swedes and parsnips with black tahini drizzled on top was also sublime. We were even treated to a spot of dessert: black sesame mousse, made raw with a real depth of flavour.
Byron treated us to its trademark sunshine, so finishing the class outside on the deck at 28 Degrees, cups of green tea in hand, was perfect – chatting about this and that as we savoured Hiromi’s food left us wonderfully satisfied without the heaviness you often find after a lump of steak or bowl of fries. It was, we decided, a Saturday well-spent.
Brown rice with adzuki beans
Homemade miso soup with cabbage and onions
Daikon taro cakes
Mizuna, radish and hijiki salad with wasabi plum dressing
Grilled eggplant with miso and walnut butter
Deep-fried taro, swedes and parsnips with black tahini
Black sesame mousse
Book your honeymoon or proposal getaway at 28 Degrees, a luxury guesthouse in gorgeous Byron Bay.