The last few days have been testing. I managed to double book myself for two meetings and my work decided that I would have to fly between the two as I couldn't miss either. Now if you like flying this could be seen of as jet setting. I hate flying and it was my worst nightmare! Flying in a cessner in a rain storm was the most frightening thing I have EVER done. Had I not been so scared, the irony of taking off from Birmingham International in our tiny plane between two easyjet planes would have been quite funny. I will not be double booking meetings again and will certainly not be getting in a cessner again as long as I live - it was like flying in a car with wings.
Anyway, to cheer myself up I went berry picking yesterday evening with my friend Susan. We were worried that there wouldn't be any berries left but they hedgerows were laden down. If you haven't been out picking yet, grab a basket or box and go this weekend. We picked a lovely selection of blackberries, rosehips, crabapples and sloes for gin. Natures free harvest! Having frozen most of the berries to use up over the long winter months, I saved a few to make blackberry and apple muffins for our breakfast this morning.
Preparation time 15 minutes Cooking time 15 – 20 minutes
Makes 10 muffins
250g/9oz self raising flour, sifted
2tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g/3½oz light brown sugar
1 small eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 large handful of blackberries
2tsp ground cinnamon
55g/2oz flaked almonds
2 heaped tbsp natural yogurt
100g/3½oz butter, melted
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C/350°F and place muffin cases in a 12 hole muffin pan. Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir well with a large spoon. Stir in the grated apple, cinnamon and flaked almonds. In a separate bowl whisk together the melted butter, milk and yoghurt. Add the eggs and whisk again. Pour the liquid into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and fold in with a large spoon or spatula. Stir through the blackberries. The batter should be thick and slightly lumpy. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and firm to touch. Leave to cool before serving.
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