Cooking la dolce vita

Cooking la dolce vita

Towngas' bella donna Kaley Leung teaches Italian cookery tips that could help you win a trip to Paris' Le Cordon Bleu culinary school!

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Towngas cooking tutor Kaley Leung (centre) shared Italian cuisine skills with Raoul Montgomery (left) and Dorothy Tsang.
Towngas cooking tutor Kaley Leung (centre) shared Italian cuisine skills with Raoul Montgomery (left) and Dorothy Tsang.
Photos: Jonathan Wong/SCMP
Italian cuisine has had a huge influence on Western culinary arts. For anyone entering Towngas Young Master Chef, you need to know - at the very least - how to get things like pasta right. After all, the winner of the competition will get to learn from the best at Le Cordon Bleu in France.

This week, our junior reporters met Kaley Leung, a highly skilled tutor of Western cuisine at the Towngas Cooking Centre. They learned that fettuccine is easy to cook, but difficult to perfect. Nonetheless, in the caring hands of Kaley, our junior reporters turned flavourless flat noodles into a scrumptious savoury main course with bacon and mushroom cream sauce.


The junior reporters learned the simple steps required to make a delicious, professional-looking pasta dish.

For a long time now, cooking has been my passion, one I have often considered as a possible career. As a child, I was surrounded by many talented chefs, and I believe that being brought up in such close proximity to them boost my determination to further pursue cooking.

In the workshop, Kaley gave us all the ingredients and instructions we needed to create the perfect fettuccine with bacon and mushroom cream sauce. Although I made a few mistakes, I believe that the dish - if not perfect - was more or less a success. The experience was an extremely memorable one, and the dish is definitely one I will replicate in the near future.

Raoul Montgomery

This was my first time cooking Italian food. Before the workshop, I had never cooked pasta before. I used to think it was difficult because there are many complicated steps, and lots of ingredients to be prepared.

But having attended the workshop, I feel completely different. Kaley taught us some easy pasta recipes that can be made in just a few steps. The process, from chopping and cooking raw ingredients to plating up the finished pasta, takes only about 30 minutes. Fettuccine with bacon and mushroom cream sauce is easy to cook, and it's yum. It's definitely a great homemade dish for beginners to try.

But to nail your pasta, it's important to cook it right: starting with not overcooking the pasta. If you do, it becomes soggy.

To make sure the flavour of the sauce is absorbed into the pasta, Kaley says to avoid rinsing the pasta with cold water - even though many people think this is a good idea. Pasta relies on the sticky film on its surface to help trap the flavour. Rinsing it destroys the film, meaning the sauce won't stick, and the pasta will be tasteless.

Dorothy Tsang

Fettuccine with bacon and mushroom cream sauce

Ingredients

120g fettuccine

30g butter

2 rashers bacon

100g white mushroom, sliced

150g fresh shitake mushroom, sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

2 tbsp brandy

5g porcini (soak in 2 tbsp hot water)

100ml cream

salt and crushed black pepper

a little parsley, chopped

a little parmesan cheese, grated


Method

1. Drain the porcini and slice, reserving the liquid.

2. Melt butter in a pan, and saute the bacon. Then add the onion and fry until fragrant. Add sliced mushrooms and fry until dry.

3. Sprinkle in brandy, and cook until alcohol evaporates. Stir in porcini liquid and cream. Cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt, then cook fettuccine until just done. Drain well then stir into the cream sauce.

5. Sprinkle parsley and parmesan on before serving.


Registration for the Towngas Young Master Chef challenge is now open. Irresistible prizes include trips to Le Cordon Bleu in France, a cooking school in Beijing, and cooking classes in Hong Kong's Michelin-starred restaurant Cuisine Cuisine. For more details, click here or go to Young Post's Facebook page.

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