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!
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