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

Saturday, 29 September 2007

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!


Vida said...

Hannah, why didn't you pop in, you were so close? Maybe next time, would love to meet you one day, in your country or mine... Vida x

Anonymous said...

Hi Hannah - we have just viewed the final episode of MasterChef here in New Zealand - congratulations on all you achieved on the show! I thought the tasks this year were so hard and you were all brilliant. I have just browsed/read through your blog and the amount of amazing cooking you do just exhausts me. I am challenged to make a birthday cake for my 2 year old grandson and you whip things up in minutes... well done you!

Lynda, New Zealand

Joanna said...

How lovely, Hannah, so looking forward to this. I visited Bali in the mid 1970s, when no-one in Britain had heard of it (or thought you meant a small town in Italy!), and - like everyone - fell in love with it. I ate fruit, fish, and rather delicious curries ... but I don't remember any of the details of that cookery, so I'm really looking forward to hearing all about it. I'm even going to dig out my old photos!


PS very clever of you to keep on blogging while you were away, so that none of us would miss you!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Hannah, how fabulous! I can't wait to read about all that you cooked over there. These photos are stunning! Welcome home.

Zuri said...

Hannah! Here in South Africa we have just seen the last episode of this year's Masterchef (on Friday 28th Sept.) I didn't miss a single episode and was very irritated at the editing!! The programme should have been an hour long, and after reading Ben's blog I realised how much was left out of the edited programmes!!!

My nerves were regularly shattered. I SOOO identified with you all, and towards the end when there were just the 3 of you I thought I shouldn't watch, as it was like a thriller-horror movie!!

At night when I woke, I imagined myself with an array of ingredients from which I had to produce a plate of great food -- in 40 minutes!!! How DID you guys do that?

Were you ever told beforehand what ingredients you were getting? I thought they should give you at least a while to think!!

The very end was nerve-racking. When you had to cook for all those VIP's I cracked up along with you. I will never understand how you managed those delicate pastries ...

I wish you'd tell more about your feelings, emotions, and what happened behind the scenes -- or is it somewhere on your blog? I might have missed that.

As John said after a dessert you made: GOOD on you, Hannah!!

I'll look in again!

Marie said...

Oh you are so sneaky Hannah! How wonderful though that you got to go on a lovely holiday and relax and still learn some new skills! I am really looking foward to seeing some of your new recipes and seeing what you have learned!

Rita said...

Well done Hannah.... that is for taking a break! :) I envy all the watermelon sorbet you ate! When I lived in Holland I ate lots of Indonesian food - some of it is very yummy! Looking forward to the recipes.