St Ali Masterclass – Madame Truffles, Pasta Classica & Pepe Saya

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I follow St Ali North on Instagram and saw a post about a Truffle Masterclass being held– it was to be hosted in collaboration with Pasta Classica, Pepe Saya and Madame Truffles. Pasta making, Butter making and learning all about truffles were to be covered and Entry was Free – so I decided to RSVP and check it out.

I arrived at St Ali – this was my first time to St Ali North, I have previously been to St Ali in Carlton – and there were quite a few people already present. The fit out was very modern – complete with an array of windows and wooden ledge seating. I can just envision what it would look like during the day – for breakfast and lunch – with the light streaming into the venue and enveloping the entire venue in a positive and relaxed vibe. The masterclass was carried out in the main dining area – situated past the main counter/bar. Chairs were set up in order to sit and enjoy the show.

Before the show you got the chance to enjoy some free canapés – which included a Stuffed mushroom and Sourdough as well as Bread with Truffled butter – both of which were delicious! You also got the chance to chat to “Madame Brussels” and learn as well as ask questions about the wonderful world of truffles. She showed us different truffles from around the country and explained the difference in smell between the truffles that come from the varying states. She also gave out ideas of how you could use truffles in everyday cooking such as topping your breakkie eggs, using them over a linguini mushroom pasta or even mixing it with butter and serving it with some lovely sourdough. Madame Truffles also informed us that they were experimenting with the use of truffles in the sweet world. They had white chocolate and truffle macaroons for sale on this night to purchase and sample. Since the Masterclass , more experiementing has been done and I have seen that they have created Monte Carlos using truffles as well (via their Instagram) – I cannot wait to see what else they experiment and create. You can follow their updates by following their Instagram at madametruffles.

The Masterclass started off with a talk from Madame Truffles enthusiastically telling everyone about the wonderful world of Truffles as well as interesting facts about them – such as it can take up to 10 years to grow truffles and in order to track down and find Truffles they use dogs! Another thing to note about truffles is that the bigger the aroma, the better the truffle and the more expensive the truffle will be. She then passed around different types of truffles for us to smell. Later I learnt that the price of truffles (on that day) was upward of $3.50 per gram! Expensive indeed, but when you taste the unique flavouring you start to understand why. Madame Truffles’ are freshly harvested each weekend and sourced from the very best truffleres in New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and around Victoria. SHOP?

Following on from Madame Truffles – was a hands-on demonstration by Pasta Classica’s Daniel Tonin on the art of making pasta. Tonight the star of the show was the Tortelloni (Tortellini are the smaller size pasta parcels, whilst Tortelloni are the larger variety).
Tonin informs the class that in order to make pasta all you need is two ingredients – 400g Italian “00” flour (or plain flour) and 13 egg yolks (no whites!) – you may also want to add a pinch of salt as your liking for taste. I never knew that making pasta could be so easy! The egg yolks are what give the pasta its colour and flavour.
The technique to create the pasta is to place the flour on a clean bench and make a hole in the centre – here you place the 13 egg yolks. Then using muscle power, knead the mix through. If you rather you can use a Kenwood mixer instead.
Tonin then showed us how the correct way to pass the pasta through a pasta machine in order to get the right thickness of pasta. After this he then shows the class how to make the tortellini shape once we have rolled out our pasta. After each stage in the pasta making process, Tonin passes around the pasta to allow us to touch and feel the texture that it is meant to be – I find this to be very useful as you get a better understanding for when you try and make it at home.
Tonin also gives us a recipe for the filling inside the tortelloni – this filling consists of Potatoes, Pepes’ Butter, Parmesan Cheese, Tallegio Cheese, Thyme, Garlic with Pepper and Salt for taste. We are told that we will be sampling some of Tonin’s handmade pasta later on. Yum!

Next up in the Masterclass is Pepe Saya who takes us through a butter-making demonstration. Saya starts off with giving us back ground into the butter making process. The butter making process commences with the use of sour milk, to this you add the bacteria Lacto Bacilis and let it ferment. The result of this is crème fraiche. If you keep crème fraiche for around 3 weeks and then scrape the mould – the end result will be Buttermilk. Buttermilk is mostly commonly used in pancakes – and it is what gives the pancakes its fluffiness as a result of its reaction with the yeast.

I never realised that it was it was quite an easy process to make butter at home if you wanted to. You can start off by using bought Crème Fraiche from the supermarkets, mixing this in a Kenwood mixer. You will start to see butter forming after a few minutes – this is what is called butter in the popcorn state – as it resembles kernels of popcorn. You will find that Buttermilk is also produced – and this is what the Popcorn State butter will be sitting in. You will need to wash the Buttermilk out with Filtered Cold Water. Once you have the popcorn state butter on its own – you can knead it together and serve it up. You may also want to put some salt in for taste, unless of course you are after unsalted butter.
We then got to taste the butter that Saya had just made – it was creamy and very fresh!

After the formal part was over, we got a chance to mingle and listen to the great voice of Natasha. You can check out her website at www.natashamusic.com.au or follow her on Twitter @natashamusic_, Instagram – natashamusic_
This girl can sing and her voice is amazing! On the night she had only the backing of guitarist Mat Fagan – which allowed her true vocal skills to shine. Definitely go and check out where she will be performing next.

I met some really fun and food loving people and learnt a lot from this Masterclass. Pasta Classica had their products for sale and I bought the Ravioli with Feta, Parsley and Lemon Myrtle. Danny told me a simple way to cook with this pasta is to toss it in some oil and grate zucchini over the top and you have a really great dish. This is what I did and true to his word – it was delicious! The combination of the lemon myrtle was a real highlight and worked fantastically with the sourness of the feta and flavours of parsley. I will definitely be checking out their store to see what other unique and interesting flavours they have. It’s really great to know of a place that makes pasta fresh daily – in a variety of flavours that cater for any dietary requirements.

I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more Masterclasses organised by St Ali in the future and would recommend everyone try this one!

Madame Truffles
Madame Truffles winter shop opens for six week during the peak of the Australian truffle season.

Dates: Thursday 3rd July to Saturday 9th August, 2014.
Days:
Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Time:
9am to 5pm

Location: 17 Yarra Place, South Melbourne
Tel No:
0430 017 480

Website: http://madametruffles.com.au/
Email:
truffles@madametruffles.com.au
Twitter:

Instagram:
madametruffles
______________________________________________________________

Pasta Classica – Retail Store
Location: 352 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
Tel No:9419 2366

Pasta Classica – Factory
Location: Factory 9/ 25 Hocking St, Coburg, VIC
Tel No: 9350 6736

Website: http://www.pastaclassica.com.au/
Email: sales@pastaclassica.com.au
Twitter: pastaclassica
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pasta.Classica
Instagram: dannypasta

Pasta Classica on Urbanspoon

_____________________________________________________________

Pepe Saya

Location: Factory, Unit 4, 3 Wood Street, Tempe, NSW
Tel No: 9559 1113

Phone: 02 9559 1113 (leave Message)
Mobile: 0401 191 896 (Speak to Pepe)
Website: http://www.pepesaya.com.au/
Email: info@pepesaya.com.au
Twitter: pepesaya
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pepesaya
Instagram: pepesaya

_____________________________________________________________

St Ali North
Location: 815 Nicholson St, Carlton North
Tel No: 9380 5455

Website: http://www.stali.com.au/
Twitter: @ST_ALI
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stali
Instagram: stalinorth

St Ali North on Urbanspoon

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The Burger Lounge – Massive Variety of Burgers!!

panda-5-rating5

halal symbolNOTE: Chicken here is HALAL as they use Lilydale Free Range Chicken.

The Burger Lounge is located in Eltham and specialises in gourmet burgers and homemade salads – all of which are made fresh daily! I happened to stumble on this place when I went to a nearby restaurant for a friends birthday dinner, and saw the mass crowds at this place. It being only about a 10 minute drive from me, we decided to check it out. N and I went there on a pleasant Saturday evening and the place was pretty packed, but we managed to score one of the last remaining tables.

The Burger Lounge is long and spacious and has outdoor seats at the front (all of which were taken on this pleasant day =p), there is a massive square shaped communal table at the front and the kitchen sits behind it. The theme is modern, black and wood, and the seats are comfortable. This adds to the lounge feel of the place. You are then greeted by a HUGEEEE menu of which you have to select from. I have never ever seen so much variety for burgers in my life! The venue is a chic joint and the atmosphere is fun and lively, and makes for one of the most stylish hamburgers places I have come across.

Now onto the food. There is a massive selection to pick from, so you need a while before deciding on which burger you want! Their buns are sugar-free sourdough made by La Madre Bakery and they are delivered fresh every day. There is an option for gluten-free buns, as well as fresh iceberg lettuce cup on which the burgers are served for people who are carb conscious. You can select burgers from a selection of  Victorian chemical and hormone free beef and lamb, free range chicken, fish and many vegetarian options.

N picked the Steak Classic Burger on Turkish Bread – 100% Prime Scotch Fillet, BBQ Sauce, Herb Aioli, Caramelised Onions, Lettuce, Sweet Chilli Jam and Tasty Cheese and I picked the Portobello Burger – Whole Portobello Mushroom, Chargrilled Red Capsicum, Crispy Zucchini, Haloumi Cheese, Caramelised Onion, Rocket, Semi Dried Tomato, Garlic & Basil Pesto & Relish.

The burgers come out on a wooden board and were HUGE! I had no idea how to tackle eating it. The thick chips come in a stainless steel cup and were seasoned with rosemary and the right amount of salt, and were crispy – just the way I like them. The bun you could tell was fresh and came out perfectly toasted and was crunchy on the outside yet not too dry on the inside. All of The Burger Lounges’ veggies are roasted in house and were fresh, flavoursome and so vibrant in colour. The mix of all the ingredients together in my burger were scrumptious and the addition of the garlic & basil pesto & relish tied the whole burger together for a very satisfying meal. N enjoyed his burger as well and did say it was one of the best burgers he has had. He said the beef burger was very well-flavoured and the accompanying ingredients of the BBQ sauce and sweet chilli jam enhanced these flavours. The turkish bread was also just as fresh as my bun. Both of these burgers were filling and I struggled to finish mine.

Not only do they have a variety of burgers, but they also do a variety of desserts! They have a selection of macaroons, ice-cream and Petoula’s (which are Albanian Donuts). I was way too full to try any of this out, but they did look (just like with everything else here) fresh and simply delicious! Also worth noting is that their selection of drinks from the fridge is once again massive! They have so many different types of drinks and flavours that I have never seen before (have a look at the top for the pic of the drinks) – that night I ordered a SOHO sparkling Grapefruit juice – and it turns out it was the first night they were selling it and didn’t even have them on their register, so they charged me a cheaper price for it.

I would highly recommend The Burger Lounge for their burgers even if it might not be located centrally – it is well worth the trek out to Eltham. The staff are friendly and the place is modern, funky yet a great place to catch up with friends in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

Rating : 5 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – A massive variety of burgers, salads, chips, ice cream, macaroons and drinks! Check out the menu at http://www.theburgerlounge.com.au/menus.html
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Funky, Casual and Inviting.
Standout Dish: Any of the burgers!
Service: Friendly, Fun and Warm
Online Booking:  No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.theburgerlounge.com.au/index.html
902 Main Road, Eltham
Tel No: 9431 4500

Opening Hours:
Monday to Thursday: 10am to 9pm
Friday & Saturday: 10am to 10pm
Sunday: 10am to 9pm

The Burger Lounge on Urbanspoon