St. Ali is a brand we all love and know and so when they invited The Modern Connoisseur via Brunch Addict to attend their masterclass we couldn’t say no! The theme of the night was ‘fish’ and we were going to different learn ways to prepare salmon as well as how to fillet snapper ourselves!
We started the evening enjoying beautiful cream friache from Pepe Saya and Zeally Bay Bread. Pepe Saya butter, we learnt, is made from single origin creams that come from Allansford Victoria and Picton New South Wales. The creams aren’t mixed together but go through a four week process of first ripening, followed by fermentation and ageing before it is hand washed, packaged and sent to the market. The end result? A gorgeously soft, full-of- flavour butter.
Zeally Bay Bread of course needs no introduction, with its incredibly delicious sourdough made fresh in Torquay. It’s unique flavour profile results in a sour bread where you can almost taste the yogurt used in it. The family owned bakery is the first ever bakery to become fully certified organic, sourcing certified ingredients such as olive oil, dried fruit, rolled golden linseed and nuts directly from Victorian farmers. Now that’s eco-conscious!
Another company present at the masterclass was Spade & Barrow, a company that buys the entire paddock (the good, the bad and the wonky) as opposed to only taking only the good fruit and vegetables as the big guns do (aka Coles and Woolsworth). They directly sell the produce to cafes and restaurants for use within their daily menu. There’s of course nothing wrong with the produce itself – they’re just not of the uniform shape or size that we’re use to seeing in the supermarket. Here at the Modern Connoisseur we think that this concept is brilliant – after all, who cares if a wonky carrot was used to create the filling of that delicious pie?
We were then treated to some delicious starters – lambs brains crumbed and deep fried on a bed of aioli and salmon treated in different ways. The first method was cured, using a 70% salt to 30% sugar curing mix. They then add different flavours to the mix such as juniper and lemon. The second method was wet brining and boy did it smell beautiful! The wet brine contained water, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest, bay leaf and thyme. Gorgeous!
Head chef Andy Gale then showed us novices how to fillet fish, starting with a giant salmon and then switching gears to something more manageable – snapper. Taking turns one at time, a handful of us gave it a good go.
The filleted pieces were then used to make our next dish!
Finally, we had a beautiful ox heart salad and I can honestly say that it tasted like lamb with a slightly more gamey texture. It was delicious!
What we really appreciated coming out of the St Ali masterclass was just how many great companies there were within Australia that support organic produce that is fully utilised to maintain ecological sustainability.