Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Contadina and Nigella Lawson

In my home, the kitchen is the focus of the energy most of the time. The sizzling sound of the heated pan, the smell of chopped herbs, the visual delight of plating a finished dish... everything just stimulates the senses and encourages creativity.

Like all home-cooks, cooking is a great form of relaxation for me. It makes me feel good knowing that what I am doing serves as nourishment for the people I love very much. In the same manner, my family's appreciation of what I cook nurtures me emotionally, as well.

When I got an invite earlier this month for an exclusive lunch with Nigella Lawson as she introduced Contadina to the Philippine market, it was a dream come true!

Nigella Lawson reflects the Contadina woman through her food philosophy. 
Contadina is Italian for “woman of the fields”, very particular and discriminating about 
the quality of ingredients she uses for the home-cooked meals she lovingly prepares.

The renowned food writer, cookbook author and TV personality is a home-cook like me, and we share the same food philosophy: we both agree that using the best ingredients is important because it makes a big difference in the taste of the final dish.

Nigella, who has sold over 10 million copies of her cookbooks worldwide, learned her ways in the kitchen through experiencing the world around her. "I am not a chef”, she said, “I am not even a trained or professional cook. My qualification is as an eater.”

, a range of premium products known for its authentic Mediterranean heritage is the latest addition to Del Monte Philippines’ portfolio.

Contadina is perfect for culinary enthusiasts who bring passion into their cooking - those who understand that the rich and authentic medley of flavours can only come from the finest ingredients.

The quality that Contadina brings lies in its ingredients’ origins — olive oils made with Hojiblanca olives, handpicked from the groves of Andalucia, Spain, canned tomatoes made with sweet, luscious Roma Tomatoes from the fields of California, pasta made with 100% Canadian Durum Wheat Semolina known for its fine texture and creamy color straight from the western prairie provinces of Canada, and pasta sauces using authentic Grana Padano cheese and Italian herbs creating a very fresh and flavourful taste that can only be expected from a true Italian-made sauce.

After our sumptuous lunch, we were made to do a kitchen challenge, to recreate one of the dishes from Nigella's cookbook, and add a twist to it. I was in the team of Daphne Osena-Paez. We called ourselves the Team Homecooks, because almost all of us were just homecooks.

We made this Chicken Cacciatore. We browned the chicken in rosemary-infused olive oil for added flavor.

Here's Nigella in our station. When Daphne introduced herself as "just a homecook," Nigella was quick to point out that there's no such thing as "just a homecook." She adds, “I think it’s very important to be able to trust your own instinct, and cook in a way that pleases you, whatever you say!”

Great news for all cooking enthusiasts that Contadina will be available in the local market starting October 7! In the meantime, my pantry is overflowing with all the Contadina loot I brought home from the media launch, and my family is the happy recipient of my cooking.

As a home-cook, I get a lot of leftovers which I makeover.  I don't have any fancy cooking techniques or any secret ingredient. For the dish below, I had a lot of left-over chicken from the night before, so I just cooked some penne, simmered a can of Contadina tomatoes, snipped some fresh herbs, cubed some mozzarella, mixed everything in a pan and called it dinner.

Like Nigella said. “For my cooking, I have no secret ingredients. I make sure I use the ingredients that are best for me. That’s why I’m proud to be partnering with Contadina."


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