I cook with music and it must be there from the moment I draw my knife. I normally keep my mini hi-fi tuned to our local station Class 95FM with non-stop love songs from the 80s and 90s. These are songs with the power to arouse my emotions and awaken all my senses to create the right aroma, taste, texture and color for my dish with love.
Along with music, tasting a glass of wine when I am cooking increases the sensation to elevate the whole process to a different level. It keeps my momentum going when I need to take short breaks while waiting for the fragrance of the garlic to infuse into the olive oil or when my marinara sauce is simmering away with fresh basil, onions, garlic and Italian canned tomatoes.
Something that adds to the happiness is to appreciate all the ingredients in front of me. I give huge respect to the farmers who had put in hard work to plant, rear and cultivate all the beautiful produce that are able to help me create my dish. No ingredients are to be taken for granted. Every grain of rice, every dash of black pepper is precious and should be treated with great value.
When you cook with passion and love, people can taste it.
I’m so glad to have explored making fresh pesto sauce (Click here for the recipe). Once you have it in your fridge, you can create any dish you can come up with. This time, I blend it with pan fried chicken fillet.
Chicken fillet, cut into bite size
Prepare pesto paste by adding extra virgin olive oil to create a smooth sauce.
Here’s a tip when using stainless steel pan for frying. After heating up pan with olive oil, sprinkle some salt before putting in chicken fillet. This will help to avoid meat sticking onto pan while frying. Fry fillet for three minutes on each side and add black pepper.
Off heat and stir in pesto sauce. Garnish with chopped cherry tomatoes and serve immediately.
I know this is one of the most basic recipes but this particular dish is special to me. Finally, after seven weeks, I get to use my fresh basil that I have planted from seed and this is not even the first actual harvest yet. Due to the lack of planting space along my small corridor in Singapore, I took the pain to remove these sprouts from my overcrowded pot to make way for those lucky ones which were left to blossom on.
Half an onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 can of Italian tomato
Heat up olive oil in a pot with onions and garlic. The fragrance from the onion and garlic will infuse into the oil when heated up together. Add salt to avoid onions from burning. Sautee till onion turns translucent. Add black pepper, tomatoes and basil. Simmer for 30mins.
Cook pasta to al dente and drain away water. Add in enough sauce and stir to cover pasta. Serve immediately with extra sauce and parmigiano cheese.