I am sure if I ever had the time to trace back through my ancestry I would find that I had German roots. As my friend from Hamburg Maren will testify, I feel a natural affinity with Germany and love everything German. When I was studying German at school I went on lots of German exchanges to stay with families in a bid to improve my language skills. My overriding memory of my stays with the Hammel family is the delicious food cooked by Suzannah's mum - my favourite dish was pineapple sauerkraut which until this weekend I have not eaten since. This is my own version with bacon and a fragrant hint of star anise - served with large slices of spiced roast pork - it evoked so many memories of my trips to Germany and was just as good as I remember. It is about as good a comfort food as you will ever get! Don't be put off by the fact that it is cabbage - this is really a white version of our braised red cabbage with lovely sweet and sour tones.
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
3 slices smoked back bacon, rind removed and cut into small strips
400g jar sauerkraut (available in most supermarkets)
2 star anise
227g tin of pineapple rings in juice, reserve the juice.
100ml sweet sherry
salt and pepper to season
In a large saucepan, gently fry the onion and bacon in the oil and butter until the onions are soft and translucent and the bacon is cooked through. Add the sauerkraut and star anise and cook for a further 5 minutes so that the cabbage absorbs the flavour of the bacon and onion. Chop the pineapple into small pieces and add to the pan together with the juice, sherry and 250ml of water. Simmer over a gentle heat for 30 minutes, season with salt and pepper and then serve with roast pork or sausages.
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