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

Friday, 18 March 2011

Today I can give you a quick sneak peak of my lovely Gluten Free book - The Gluten Free Baker - which is just about to go to print! I am so, so thrilled with the wonderful pictures that Megan, Joss and William have taken and I really hope that this will give people suffering from Coeliac disease some nice new recipes to try! It is a book that I am very proud of - achieving puff pastry and bagels that work without gluten was no mean feat I can tell you - I am sure Heston would be proud of my lower bagels into a jug of boiling water on a spoon technic! Out in August 2011 and available to pre order on Amazon now - plug plug!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

For the last few weeks my life has been taken over by Milkshakes - one of life's greatest pleasures. What a hardship it has been (not!) It is the topic of my next book (The Milkshake bar) and I don't need to tell you how excited I am to be working on this project. Lots of lovely thick shakes, thin shakes, fruit cocktail juices and ice cream floats! Last weekend I made 32 drinks - by Sunday evening we were all feeling just a little sick! The problem with a good milkshake is that you think you will just take one sip to taste but somehow one sip becomes three and before you know it the glass is empty! I dread to think how much ice cream and milk we consumed. Luckily I had some helpful milkshake tasters on hand - Sacha (pictured here with a mango lassi - it is his recipe and he was very proud!) tasted every single one (that is true dedication to your wife!) and our other neighbours tried lots too - including baby Josef who was keen to try the watermelon cooler! I have one milkshake left to test - a doughnut milkshake - and the recipes to write up and then the book is finished - out new spring published by lovely Ryland Peters and Small, hurrah!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

I suppose this tale could start something along the lines of "you can't consider yourself to be a cake decorator until you have made a compost site cake" except that would probably leave me in a category of one as I can't imagine that there is much call for cakes in the shape of compost sites! Jason was however delighted with his cake - what a beaming smile. The "compost" was crushed oreo cookies and even had aeration pipes made with liquorish tubes and litter netting. It was a far cry from my usual pretty flowery feathered cakes but fun to decorate all the same!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

I recently spent a lovely afternoon with budding young cook, Kate. She is only 8 and yet is such a good cook that I am sure she could give some of the Masterchef contestants a run for their money. Kate bake two cakes (with a very tiny bit of help from me) - a cute teddy bear cake that she iced and decorated all by herself - don't you just adore the little necklace with the ladybird locket in the centre and the cute iced paws. We also made her dad a birthday cake. Kate was very good and planned out the design of the top of the cake by laying the decorations out on a plate before she put them on the top of the cake - John Torode would have been so proud of her. I held the icing bag and she piped all the green grass on top of the cake herself. What a lot of work for little hands! The cake looked very lovely when it was finished. Her Dad has since reported that Kate decided to cook again last week but this time took her planning to a new level designing her presentation layout for the dish (Haddock Mornay) on the computer! I was seriously impressed! Everything was plated up perfectly and everyone was ready to tuck in when Kate said she had forgotten the last detail - she then sprinkled a little edible glitter over the fish for extra decoration - a girl after my own heart - you can never have too much edible glitter, even with fish! Well done Kate for your wonderful cooking!