Miso making in the house! by Kevin Powell

We're really lucky to have the amazing Junko Hamilton back in Ireland for a few week this March. We just got informed yesterday that Junko has a free day on Wednesday the 25th for a very limited number of people to come over and make some miso with Junko in the apartment here in Temple Bar. We've worked with Junko on a few projects and events and she is easily one of the most knowledgable people in Ireland on Japanese food. We're delighted to have here about for a little while longer and she'll be sorely missed when she returns to Kyoto in a few weeks!

Arrival is 5pm, you can either hold a space with ourselves by emailing: hello@gruelguerrilla.com or through Junko if you have any questions on the finer points of the evening by emailing her: junkohamilton@gmail.com


Here's what you need to do! Come along with 60€, an apron, a small towel and a glass/ceramic/enamel jar over 3 litres (preferably widemouthed) and we'll even knock together a light meal for after the workshop.


MANATSU|真夏 by gruelguerilla

Photo by Susie Kealy. Last weekend was our Japanese pop-up in Temple Bar Gallery & Studios. It went very well thanks to all our wonderful collaborators and helpers.

Photo by Susie Kealy

Thirteen courses of beautiful food in a venue without a kitchen is no mean feat. Junko and I worked solidly for two days beforehand on prep for the Saturday night; Pete and Kevin made four kilos of ramen on the Friday for Saturday brunch; the amazing ladies of Hunt & Gather had the room looking amazing, Orlaith sourced us some essential bits and pieces such as the bowls, cups and plates as well as organised the tables and made sure everything ran smoothly on the night; Yann was there brewing delicious Japanese teas; Rincy and Susie were on hand to take photographs. For us is was an incredibly intense event. It was one of those projects where the enormity of the challenge doesn't really hit you until you're right in the middle of it. We all certainly learned a lot.

In this project we able to try a lot of interesting things which will be incorporated in future pop-ups. Kevin and Pete had fun with the brunch, though we all agree that as tasty as ramen is, making and keeping large quantities of the stuff is a challenge all by itself. Photo by Rincy K Unfortunately the weather worked against us, especially for Sunday's brunch which was a pity because Sunday's food was a lot of fun and really tasty. Fear not though, a similar menu on the cards for another future event.

The atmosphere at the supper was great. Whoever thought a concrete space could be so cosy. The H&G girls opted for a bare, wabi-sabi aesthetic leaving the heavy wooden tables and the candle-light to warm the room and took zen gardens as inspiration for their hanging garden centre piece. I called the event 'Manatsu', which means 'midsummer' but the weather felt a bit more mid-October as guests filtered in to the gallery.

Photo by RIncy Koshy

It was easy to forget the weather though as one came in to the beautiful recital by musicans Philip Horan and Junshi Murakami. We were incredibly pleased to have them with us for the evening. If you have an opportunity to hear their performances around Dublin definitely do not pass it up!



As for the food, we were very proud to present the fantastic ingredients from our

Photo by Rincy Koshy

favourite suppliers in this way. It's difficult to pick favourites but we have to always praise Goatsbridge trout which arrived to us glossy and fresh and smelling of nothing. This we cured in kombu, a technique that originates from Junko's hometown of Kyoto, where fresh fish from the sea was slightly beyond their reach so the fish would be cured to transport it to the city through the mountains. This we paired with a lime jelly made with Agar or kanten as it's known in Japan. Originally I tried a vietnamese corriander jelly but the flavour wasn't quite what was needed so at the last moment we opted for the lime. Which to me was a pity because lime is a compromise already, standing in for the ubiquitous Japanese fruit Yuzu which is extremely tricky to get on this side of the world but is utterly fantastic. If we were to do this again I'd hope to find a more local alternative. It looked great on Orlaith's invisible plates though (and incidentely slightly heartbreaking to plate up in our dim corner)!

We were also very happy with our smoked eringi mushrooms, straight from Ballyhoura

Photo by Rincy Koshy

Mountain Mushrooms looking gorgeous, which were then smoked in hay and paired with a fresh pesto made with Irish-grown shiso. Another thing that was striking and unexpected was the tomato jelly. First of the season tomatoes chopped and strained for the juice which was then mixed

Photo by Susie Kealy

with kanten and a little sugar to and let set was amazing. It's unusal here in Dublin to play up the sweetness of a tomato to the point where it's a dessert. However, if there was ever a time to do it, it's now as the sweet new tomatoes arrive. The taste was fantastic. It was super refreshing and balanced by the sourness of the gooseberry sauce. This got us thinking about fabulous tomatoes and what we could do with them. If you too are a lover of tomatoes, check out our News of the Curd July supper but for now we will leave you this recipe to try:

Tomato Jelly (Japanese Style)

- 400ml of tomato juice from raw, fresh tomatoes.

- 1 tsp of agar-agar powder (or you can experiment with carragheen if you're feeling lucky, you won't get that sliceable texture though).

- 2 tsp of honey or to taste.

Chop tomatoes finely and strain through fine mesh such as a muslin cloth or clean tea towel to get near transparent rose-coloured liquid. You can squeeze it a bit but don't be too enthusiastic because you don't want the pulp to get through. Meanwhile, disolve your agar-agar in a little hot water and add honey. Finally combine both liquids and pour into a moulds of your choosing. Leave cool and then leave to set in fridge.

Serves: 2

Photo by Rincy Koshy

In all it was a fun event. The gallery was a great space to have and it was great to work with some of our favourite people again. Look out for more big events from us towards the end of the summer!

Photo by Susie Kealy

Full gallery available to view on our Facebook page.


brunchmanSo, we are running our first big collaboration of the summer! Our Gruel Guerilla arm has teamed up with the super talented Junko Hamililton of Ichiju Sansai, Dee and Sinead of Hunt & Gather and Orlaith of Making Space bring you a very special pop up restaurant in the atrium of Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. On July 5th and 6th, we'll open our doors to 100 diners who will be presented with a 13 course contemporary Japanese meal created using Irish ingredients. From wonderful Goatbridge trout cured in a classic Kyoto style recipe, to slow cooked pork belly from Ed Hick. The night is poised to make you embrace summer in all it's glory.

There will be different drink pairings with most courses and some amazing teas to taste too. Along with out evening festivities we also be running a pop up brunch in the afternoon of both days. Tickets are €70 for the meal and included performances, food and drink for the evening.

We look forward to welcoming you!

To get tickets go here: CLICK




2014feb12 Ok, first of all. Ducks! Amazing work by Robin as always! We're staying on our theme of mixing Japanese with some of our more regular western end of things! We've been playing with noodles over the previous few weeks with a plan of releasing something very cool through the Gruel Guerilla, so keep your eyes peeled! It's the usual deal..

....pop me a mail if you want to come along! Look forward to seeing you here!


jan222014 We are at it again, our second supper of the year. This week it's a collaboration between myself and Robin! I'm really looking forward to it, we'll hopefully have our own batch of nukazuke up and running and be able to make a very interesting pickle salad. We'll once again be making Robin's amazing homemade soba noodles, this time adding beet puree into the mix! We are lending the idea of matcha salt from our good friend Junko Hamilton who also hosts some amazing suppers in her home. She also teaches Japanese Cookery!

We'll be picking up some amazing veg from Jenny McNally which will leave to some great pickles and some exciting Irish Kimchi! We are toying with the idea of lowering the number of people we have to our events, so there's a possibility there might only be 8 spots available on Wednesdays. We are liking the more relaxed, chatty meals! But we shall see!


For the moment if you are interested in coming along put us an email to: supper@newsofthecurd.com


See ya here!

Supper Wednesday 25th September by Robin

supper092513 Hello. I came back from Oslo and now present another Japanese-style menu. They seem to be popular. Understandbly. Japanese food is delicious. I originally was going to go all warm and Autumnal but with this warm weather, it's become sort of a last hurrah to Summer.

This one will be all Irish ingredients as usual: Beetroot Okonomiyaki, Hiyashi Chuka Ramen, Tonjiru and Plum Pudding dessert! All usual proceedings to attend. See you there hopefully!

Japanese Supper Wednesday June 26th {a menu} by Robin

japanesemenu Due to popular demand and curiosity, allow me give you a little preview of some of the amazing food Robin will be serving tomorrow! From the top down we have Sardines from Ireland served with a dipping sauce made with David Llwellyn's sweet cherries, Elderflowers from Nun's Island in Galway, given to use by Jess from Kai Restaurant, Pak Choi from McNally Family Farm, Miso soup with mushrooms from Irish Shiitake, Rice with broadbeans from Healy's Organics Delights (grown on the farm in Ireland) Fennel from McNallys with Irish wakame with a elderflower vinegar dressing, kimpira carrots also from Dennis Healy's farm and Buttermilk from McNallys and Cherries from David to finish it off!


It's true Irish treat with the special twist that Robin brings to News of the Curd! Because of some cancellations we di have a few spots left and would love for as many people as possible to enjoy this! We hope to see you here!

Homemade Miso by Robin

miso2Most of my cooking knowledge that I picked up when I started to cook was from my Japanese host family that I stayed with when I first visited Japan in 2007. Japanese home cooking is a different experience to what we see in the restaurants here. It's simple, healthy and satisfying even in small amounts. A normal Japanese meal is roughly 'ichi-ju, san-sai': one soup, three sides. Generally, the soup is a miso soup, and a properly made miso soup is a real pleasure. I came to appreciate this on that visit to Japan and maintained my love of miso since, so a few weeks ago I was very excited to attend a day course on making miso hosted by Junko Hamilton at her lovely home in Blackrock. Miso soup is by far the most common use of miso paste but it is used in salad dressings,and in many other Japanese dishes. I think there's a lot of parallels between cheese here and miso in Japan: there are many, many kinds and variations and the making of it is shrouded in a veil of mysticism. Despite being an essential item, not a lot of Japanese people even know how to make miso paste. Over here in Ireland we don't get much sense of the variety of miso products available, though some companies like Clearspring do stock rice miso and barley miso alongside red and white. I really love miso in any form so I was  very excited to take part in this course. Like cheese making, miso requires a small investment of equipment and the essential ingredient: Koji. Koji is fermentation culture that is at the heart of many quintessentially Japanese ingredients such as sake and soy sauce. You can read a little more about it here.

DSC_1759 DSC_1760

Besides Koji, we needed salt, good quality soy beans, slow-cooked soft overnight and steamed rice. This was inoculated with Koji for several hours at a consistent humidity to make rice-koji. Rice is only one option as a medium for Koji. Junko-san explained that where she comes from in the Kansai region white miso with a much higher concentration of Koji was made. This makes the miso mature faster, taking perhaps a month, where our rice-koji miso will take six. Having a medium like rice is handy though over here where koji isn't so easily obtained. You can buy it in powdered form in Japan which travels successfully.

DSC_1770 DSC_1784 DSC_1785 First we had to mince our soybeans, then pound them into paste with Junko's Japanese pestle and mortar. Next, in the wooden dish (same as what is used to make sushi rice) the salt and rice-koji is mixed in with the beans and eventually shaped into balls which are then pressed into a sterilised container, making sure there is no air trapped within, this is covered with a weight of salt and that was it!


The whole process was very relaxing and satisfying. Once we had finished Junko-san laid out a simple and tasty vegetarian Japanese meal: Rice & miso soup (made with the last of her previous batch of home-made miso) along with kinpira renkon (lotus root), beans simmered with root vegetables and seaweed and kimchi. It was incredibly filling and satisfying. This was followed with a matcha milk pudding and hojicha – a tea made with the stalks of green tea leaves, roasted. It has a round, nutty taste and contains no caffeine. Junko-san told us that where she comes from, the Kyoto area, it's hojicha that is most commonly drank everyday rather than more famous green teas like sencha.


This was a fantastic learning experience in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. I hope to see more of Junko-san; she has a lot to teach about food and Japanese culture around eating and drinking. I'm very thankful to Junko-san and my fellow participants for a very pleasant day!

Junko-san will be hosting another day course on the 27th of April from 10:30-2:00. This will be a demonstration introducing Japanese cooking techniques and followed with a Japanese style lunch for all participants. It will be an introduction to the principles of Japanese cooking and more details can be seen here. For details contact junkohamilton@gmail.com.

*photos taken by Lolo Demoitie.

Tamp & Stitch Thursday Suppers March 28th by Kevin

tampnight2 Here we go again! An Izakaya at Tamp & Stitch. Here's the plan!

We have 1 table with 12 seats! On this table there is a set menu with 6 courses and a few other things! Upon entry you get a wonderful Japanese Beer and some bar snacks! There's also 2 miso soups and few other bits with the supper.

Also! There is a table for 5 and a bar that sit 4! From 7pm till 10pm you can book a seat for an hour! You'll be able to grab beers and some tapas style food from our menu!

Lots of interest in this night so get in early!

うどんスペシャル | Udon Special | Friday February 15th by Kevin

supper150212 Here it is! Our very anticipated third Japanese Supper! We are going to be making homemade noodles for this, so it'll be extra tasty. We are really excited to have Ballyhoura Mushrooms to make this with too. The spots are going pretty quickly..

so get in soon! all the usual ways of contacting are excepted! See ya here!


Japanese Style Supper at Cha by Kevin

Well this Friday I've been set an amazing task by Robin to make a Japanese Style supper! I am excited. The menu looks amazing. Robin has also designed one of the greatest posters yet. I'm looking forward to making this and I feel like it'll be an awesome success....

All the usual stuff applies, we are in Joy of Cha on Essex St, it's €25 a head and it includes everything. We feel it's more of a beer and sake night, but if you feel like wine then that's cool too. The corkage is €5 for a bottle of wine or for every 4 bottles of beer. It'll be a feast, you'll be well fed and we'll even ply you with a bit of warm saké at the end! Hope to see you there! There's 16 spots open!