I am back from a wonderful few days at Fitzbillies having learnt so much! Tom, Jill, George and Pauline are amazing bakers - here they are busy at work! You know that you have done a good days hard work when it gets to 8am and you have already iced around 200 fondant fancies! It is a good job I am an early morning person - setting off at 5.15am must be classed as dedication to my baking career!! I have managed to inflict my violet passion on Fitzbillies. The unusual oval violet cake below was made by Tom as an experiment in my honour - it tasted delicious! On Saturday I was allowed to play and come up with some new ideas so I made violet éclairs (picture above) - with violet liqueur in the cream and violet icing with small sugar violets as decoration. These were then sold in the shop! When I left there were only two left - a man standing next to me had just bought two and I had to bite my tongue to stop myself telling him how pleased I was that he had bought my eclairs. Anyway, these new eclairs will definitely be added to my baking repertoire - they would be perfect for an afternoon tea, made smaller and paired with rose éclairs! My arms have never ached so much as they did yesterday - it must have been the kneading of dough, stirring large pots of hot fondant icing and lifting the large trays of cakes - thank goodness I didn't drop any of the trays. Thank you Penny, George and everyone at Fitzbillies for another wonderful visit - I will be back soon!
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