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

Monday, 14 February 2011

Many men I know complain that Valentine's day is just a commercial gimmick. Personally I think this is just an excuse for not having to bother buying anything!!!!! The sentiment of showing someone you love them is however a nice thing to do and I admire Valentine's day for that. So lovely blog readers - he is my home made Valentine for you all - a heart gingerbread cottage that I made at the weekend. I used this recipe for the gingerbread - click here - but added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and the zest of an orange. You need to wait for the mixture to cool down before being able to roll it out (it doesn't say this in the recipe but if you try before it is coolish, the dough is way too sticky and you are tempted to add more flour which would make the gingerbread quite dry). To decorate I used 900g royal icing sugar whipped up with 150ml water and 1 tsp vanilla extra and then decorated it with lots of lovely pink sweets. I cut a little triangle in the back house panel at the base and inserted some fairy lights so that when you plug it in the windows light up. The peppermint glass was made with 10 glacier minuts crushed in a blender to a fine dust. Cut out window shapes in the gingerbread before baking and fill with peppermint dust which will become glass like during the baking. It is best to bake on silicon mats so that the glass doesn't stick!With the sheets of gingerbread only taking 12 minutes to cook, you still have time to bake one today! Have fun if you do!


sadie said...

love it! Am totally stealing the fairy light idea when I make my gingerbread houses this year. You've also inspired me to try and make them prettier. Mine are always a little bit 'rushed', let's say!

hope the weekend was a good one.
Happy Valentine's Day

Anonymous said...

Stunning cake - what a lucky man your husband is to have this as his Valentine's present. It is so imaginative and clever - I love it.
I hope you both enjoy it.
Aoife xx

Rita said...

Cute Hannah!

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Hannah what a wonderful idea!!! I wish I had seen this. Maybe I can just do it anyway and declare a sort of Valentine's week. And I love the crushed up mints for windows. So much easier than my usual free forming those caramel ones and praying the royal icing sticks.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Hannah, it's so pretty! Who would have thought of making a Valentine Gingerbread House!

I'm going to give you a run for your money . . . Please feel free to stop by for a visit and some dessert when you have a moment, it's decadent!


Abi said...

Wow, that looks amazing!