Leo’s travel journal

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#4 Kuih Talam

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Kuih Talam

Been getting inspiration to reconnect with the Peranakan family heritage (Penang Peranakan to be exact), this is the first of the many traditional food items that we are famous for.

Kuih talam is essentially a dessert made from green pea, tapioca and rice flours. There are two distinct layers visible; the sweet green layer (which should be approximately 3/5 thickness of the entire thing) which is flavoured and scented by the juice from the pulverised leaves of the screwpine plant. The screwpine plant is an essential ingredient in Peranakan cuisine and can be found once upon a time, in the gardens of any respectable Peranakan family abode. The texture of this layer should be slightly firm, yet yielding to the bite.

The white layer is is slightly different in terms of taste and texture. It is made from a combination of thick coconut milk, salt and a mixture of the above flours.

This dessert is made in large round trays, hence its name. It is present in all major celebrations (birth, marriage, birthdays, anniversaries).

The combination of salty and sweet, rich and refreshing makes this, like all other Peranakan dishes, a challenge for the maker to achieve the balance of flavours and textures; a highly sought-after skill in Peranakan cuisine.

Written by Leo

19 May 2011 at 19:20

Posted in Food, Leo kan kook!

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#3 Mushroom omelette

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Once upon a time, yours truly had a job that enabled him time in the morning to prepare breakfast at a leisurely pace.

This was one of the results; fresh button mushrooms sauteed with a hint of chopped fresh thyme leaves, with a nice mix of farm fresh eggs and a splash of double cream.

Oh, how I long for those times again…

Written by Leo

21 April 2011 at 9:49

Posted in Food, Leo kan kook!

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#2 Lasagna al forno

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One of my favourite Italian pasta dishes, lasagna is an ensemble of textures – the smooth creamy salsa di besciamella (bechamel sauce), al dente pasta sheets, and fullness of ragu Bolognese.

For this lasagna, I utilised fresh pasta sheets (pasta fresca) made by my brother with spinach (hence the green colour) and paired it with a ragu made with a combination of beef and poultry liver cooked quite dry (a typical Bolognese style ragu).

Generous amounts of freshly grated pecorino romano helped accentuate the overall experience and bring more body and “umami” to the entire thing.

I prefer using pecorino romano instead of parmigiano reggiano for my pasta as it is more robust and complements the tomato flavours very well.

Result – sublime.

Written by Leo

20 April 2011 at 18:20

#1 Leo kan kook!

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Being rather drained of inspiration, I’ve decided to start a series of pictures of food related stuff I have made over the years.

And yes, Leo can really cook!

Here’s the first, and frankly, one of my favourites.

This is a photograph of me slicing some button mushrooms with one of my favourite knives, the Victorinox Fibrox 8″ Chef’s Knife.

This knife was one of the four knives that came together with the four cooking kits during my time in hotel school.

Twelve years on, I’ve given three of them away, and the remaining one is still going strong.

The Victorinox knife is one of two knives (the other being the WMF Spitzenklasse 8″ full tang knife) that I use frequently in my kitchen, mainly for cutting vegetables and fruits.

Knives that I use are limited in length by the space I have available in the kitchen (and unfortunately the kitchen is rather small, or rather, I have many appliances taking up counter space).

Written by Leo

19 April 2011 at 10:45