Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Friday, 3 August 2007

I have a foodie confession to make. Until a few weeks ago I had never seen a globe artichoke growing. Although I cook with them and know what they look like, I had no idea of how they grew, imagining that they probably grew like cabbages at ground level. In retrospect, given that they are a member of the thistle family, this was a little daft. They actually grow on really tall plants about 6ft high! On my way home yesterday I spotted a sign for home grown artichokes and stopped to buy their last two.
I was shown on a cookery course in Puglia how to prepare them and since then I have enjoyed using them in fresh pasta sauces. They are not half as difficult to prepare as they look. You simply peel off the bottom dark green leaves with a sharp knife, cutting with the knife behind each leaf, which will leave the bulb intact and when you get to the paler yellow leaves you cut across the top of the artichoke. I have to say that it is not the easiest of things to explain in words and it was only when someone showed me that I finally understood. There are some lovely recipes on http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2006/10/artichokes-overcoming-the-fear/ and I am looking forward to trying one of the recipes with the two I bought yesterday!


Anonymous said...

I remember how stunned I was when I first saw a pineapple growing. My Singaporean colleagues thought such wonderment was hilarious... until I realised they had never seen apples grow.


Anonymous said...

Haha for some reason I too had the notion that they grew from the ground - much like cabbages. Thank you for the enlightenment Hannah!

PS: There's a couple of little errors in today's blog; I'm an editor by trade - so I can't help but notice! (I annoy everyone with this finicky habit).

Squishy said...

Hi Chick,
After watching the Master Chef Goes Large series, I must say, you are an extremely talented girl. You did so well. That amazing desert that looked like a masterpiece artwork was brilliant. Your passion is undeniable. I am in awe of how well you pulled that off. You really are a very talented young lady and I admire your gift greatly. I don't think I would have been able to do what you did. I really felt for you when you were sick and you could not cook for the tv crew.

In my eyes you are the winner. If I could do as half as well as you did in the series I would be extremely proud of myself.

I hope that one day you achieve the dream for yourself and your mum.

Cheers Amelita

Marie said...

I love artichokes. I know they are a bit of a faff to prepare, but my oh my the end result is well worth it! I have to agree with Squishy with her sentiments regarding the Masterchef program. I was really wishing as I watched that you would win the program myself! You are so brave to enter the competition in the first place. I have longed to do it myself, but lack the courage necessary! Good on you!

Hannah said...

Apologies to all for the errors in the last post - couldn't believe that there were so many when I read it back! My only excuse is that I am in the middle of moving offices so have very little time at the moment!
Thanks Amelitta for the kind sentiments - really glad that you enjoyed the programme and Marie - you should definitely apply - I knew so little when I started the competition and if I can do it anyone can!