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, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas One and All. I hope that you are all having a very festive day with friends, family and loved ones. The snow has caused a few problems for us over the last few weeks in the UK - Sadly my brother should be here with us today with his wife Amy and they are stuck in New York as their flight was cancelled due to the snow - we miss them very very much. Secondly we have had no internet for nearly two weeks - naughty snow. It is such a relief to be at my Mums and online again! Anyway, despite my brother not being here we have had a lovely morning - lots of chocolate and our traditional bacon sandwiches and bucks fizz. I must have been good this year as Santa bought me lots of lovely presents. I have just given my Mum her Christmas present - a 12 days of Christmas sampler although I have given her so many samplers already that there very little wall space left in her house! I must remember this next year! This is a long thin one which I stitched in 3 weeks (a record stitching session as I had very little time with all the gluten free baking - I have never ever stitched so much so fast!) I think I may have to stitch one for myself next! Hope you all have a very special day and stay warm xxxx

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Some people collect shoes, my weakness is Christmas tree decorations - not quite sure that I have my priorities right! Having bought our decoration boxes down from the loft, I realise that I have enough to decorate at least three large trees. Sadly I am restricted to one so it is always difficult to pick my favourites. I know I really shouldn't buy any more but each decoration was bought somewhere special and reminds me of a holiday or a friend. Here are a few of my favourites - from Suffolk and Hamburg in case you want to know where they came from - see I honestly do remember each one! Tomorrow I am off to the Christmas Market in Hamburg (mulled wine and chestnuts here I come). Maren if you are reading this - please don't let me buy any more decorations!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I love the run up to Christmas - no more so than opening an advert calender every morning in December. This year as a treat for surviving the Good Food Shows I bought myself a gnome advert calender. I have filled it up with presents for Sacha to open every day (not quite sure that this was what I had in mind when I bought it - I think I was hoping it would be filled up for me - hey ho!) He is just so cute and festive with little parcels in each pocket - I think I will miss him when it is time to pack the decorations away! Did I ever mention that my brother used to work as an elf in lapland? That's another story!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Oh blog.... it has been a while! With all the ice and snow, hibernation has been the only option. It has been so cold that we have not one but two patchwork quilts on our bed and the electric blanket is cranked up to max. Brrrrrrrr - I hope you are not feeling as chilly as we are - the frosty picture was taken just now in the garden - this is how cold it is here!! Last week we had a much needed short holiday to Bath - lovely Christmas markets and yummy food (although I failed to pursuade Sacha that going to the roof top spa would be enjoyable - I guess as it is open air and it was snowing he probably had a point). I have just four gluten free recipes left to do (what a relief it will be when it is finished) and this weekend was our niece Serena's birthday. Every year she only has one request - a strawberry cake, even though strawberries are not in season in December! Far be it for me to deny a request - so yesterday I made a victoria sponge with wild strawberry jam and strawberry tartlets filled with creme patissiere and brushed with a peach and lemon glaze. All very simple but served on a cake stand together they looked quite pretty. It seemed slightly strange to be serving these alongside more seasonal mince pies but everyone enjoyed them all the same!