Well I'm back...although you probably never noticed I had gone! First I must say a big thank you to Mike who has very kindly uploaded the posts I wrote before I went on holiday - I didn't want to leave you with nothing to entertain you whilst I was away! Thank you for all your lovely comments which I have just enjoyed reading.
For the last two weeks we have been in Bali on holiday where I have been attending a cookery course (as well as lying by the pool, drinking cocktails and eating watermelon sorbet). It has been amazing - Balinese cooking is so far removed from my style of cooking and I learned a lot! I was expecting it to be very similar to thai food and whilst there are similarities, the flavours are quite different. We were using lots of ingredients I have never come across before, kenchur, candlenuts, jackfruit, snake fruit and salam leaves.
The cookery school was run by Penny - pictured here who is originally from England (and trained at the Savoy) but who now lives and works in Bali at the lovely Alila Manggis Hotel - www.alilahotels.com/manggis (I definitely recommend it!) - what a dream job. She cooks such dreamy food and we have eaten like kings for the last two weeks! My favourite day of cooking took place in huts in the organic garden - set among the rice paddy fields (top picture) - you could not imagine a more perfect place for cooking with the farmers working alongside us in their fields. So if you will permit me, the Country Kitchen will take a trip East this week as I wanted to share with you a few of my new Balinese recipes!
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