Meeting Nigella in Person + A Twist on A Classic Recipe

Last week, I received an invitation to attend a press launch. I knew this was no ordinary press event when I found out that no less than Nigella Lawson herself, aka the Domestic Goddess, was the guest speaker!

The international food personality, cookbook author (10 books to her name with over 10 million copies worldwide) and TV celebrity was in Manila to launch Del Monte’s premium line of food products, Contadina. 


Being one of her many legions of fans here in the Philippines, I grabbed this opportunity and went to the venue, Enderun Tent, to see the queen of home cooking herself!

And I wasn’t disappointed. She was really as pretty and warm as I imagined her to be!

CONTADINA WITH NIGELLA LAWSONShe talked about how she enjoyed trying different kinds of Filipino dishes. She remembers our calamansi, adobo, menudo and our humble sinigang with much fondness. She says of our sinigang, “I do love sour, and the sinigang I have to say — I could have had a bucket full of it! It was wonderful!”

CONTADINA WITH NIGELLA LAWSONBut more than her big persona as a celebrity, what I really love about her is her relaxed and inspired style of cooking. She does not like anything too fancy, complicated or pretentious. She just loves to cook everything simply, and with love!


Right after Nigella’s little talk on stage, guests were led to the other side of the Enderun Tent, and there we were divided into 3 teams. I joined the team of Stephanie Zubiri as she showed me how to cook one of Nigella’s recipes : Penne alla Norma using Contadina products, no less!


And of course I couldn’t leave this event without personally meeting Nigella herself…

CONTADINA WITH NIGELLA LAWSONSo here’s my 3 minutes of fame with her… Yes, I did muster enough courage and went up on stage to have some alone time and chat with her! 🙂

So I left that day feeling inspired by this short meeting with the Domestic Goddess herself. And as soon as I got home, I went inside our kitchen and cooked!

I am now sharing with you my very simple and easy-to-follow recipe of the classic (and everyone’s favorite) Spaghetti Bolognese. I added my own take to this tried and tested recipe and incorporated a few other ingredients to add boldness in taste and flavor.

Because just like what Nigella said…it’s not about us following her recipes to the exact letter, it’s how we actually make the recipes our own!

Spaghetti Bolognese alla Grazia
*Grazia is my name “Grace” in Italian*

dscf7701Ingredients :
Contadina pure olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped onions
1/2 kilo ground beef
1 piece carrot, cubed
1 can Contadina diced tomatoes
Ricotta cheese, 3 to 4 tbsp (*for a creamier consistency)
Fresh rosemary and parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 box Contadina spaghetti pasta
Fresh basil leaves
Feta cheese, about 50 grams, crumbled (*this will add that nice, unique tangy flavor and this is a good change — from the usual parmesan cheese on top of your spaghetti!)
Optional : chili flakes
Procedure :

  1. Heat the Contadina Olive oil. Saute garlic and onions till softened.
  2. Add the ground beef to the pan, stir frequently, breaking any lumps to make sure that meat is cooked through. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or till brown (no longer pink).
  3.  Add the cubed carrots next. Then, add the Contadina Diced Tomatoes and ricotta cheese. Mix all the ingredients well.
  4.  Add fresh rosemary and parsley. Cover and simmer for a good 5-7 minutes, until sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. While simmering the sauce, cook the Contadina spaghetti until al dente in boiling salted water.
  6. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain, and place in individual bowls or plates. Scoop your bolognese sauce on top of your pasta, add fresh basil leaves and crumbled feta cheese on top.
  7. Then serve with a big smile on your face! 🙂 Believe me, your kids can tell if you cooked this with love!

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The Spoiled Mummy