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

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

I am very excited to be able to show you the cover of my next book - Cheesecakes - which is being published by Ryland Peters and Small in spring next year.  It is available to preorder on Amazon already!  Gregg Wallace, Masterchef Judge Extrodinaire has given a lovely quote which is on the back of the cover “In my opinion, there is no greater cheesecake expert than Hannah.  It was the first thing she ever cooked for me on Masterchef and she continues to bring me one as a present whenever we meet.  Save to say, I love the girl and I love her cheesecakes.”  Can you believe he wrote something so nice!!!!  Anyway I really do love this book A LOT!  The pictures are just stunning inside and I can't wait to receive my first copy!
Look at all this food!  This was the aftermath of the first photo shoot for my Aga cookery book last week.  The photos were taken in my kitchen with my Aga getting a central role.  Mike Cooper the photographer was fantastic and very patient and by the end of the day we had managed 15 photographs which is pretty good going, plus some lovely incidental shots of chickens and dishes going in and out of the Aga.  After Mike had left, I packed all the cake into the car and took it up into the village for everyone to try which went down very well as you can imagine.  I then curled up and slept very deelpy as I was so tired!!!!   My favourite recipe is the ginger brulees (seen here in the pretty cream teacup) - the photo we took looked lovely!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Last night was harvest supper in my village - roast beef and yorkshire puddings (so delicious) and apple pies.  Luckily my Mum was super kind and made my apple pies for me as I am in the midst of 3 books at the moment (eeekkk) - I am just finishing editing my Cheesecake book, next week is the photo shoot of my Aga book at my cottage (I am so excited about this although a little scared!!!) and Ryland Peters and Small have very kindly just asked me to write a sequal to the Gluten Free Baker with lots of lovely savoury baking recipes - yippee!  A sequal - I am THRILLED!!!  Anyway, back to last night - this was the ENORMOUS harvest basket I won in the auction - £9 for all these vegetables.  Actually the only reason I wanted this particular basket was for the bundles of corn which were nestled in it.  I thought they might come in handy for the photoshoot next week!!! But the apples, onions, rosehips and potatoes were an added bonus.  Not sure about the 4 marrows that were in the basket though - I hate marrow!!!!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

This morning I played birthday fairy and delivered these cupcakes to my friend Lucy's school without her knowing!  I am not sure the caretaker will be too pleased at the happy birthday sprinkles that I covered the desk and carpet with.  The cupcakes are gluten free pecan and coconut with hints of cinnamon and orange with a creamcheese frosting.  The little house on top has a birthday candle in it and I used some very pretty white picket fence cake wrappers.  I accept that it is quite twee and totally kitsch but I am hoping Lucy will like it!  Tonight I am delivering another cake to Joshua as it is his birthday today as well - what a lot of birthdays this week!  I was very busy baking last night as you can imagine xxx

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

 On Saturday I went to the Grandsden Show - what fun we had!  There was so much to see and do and definitely something for everyone.  Some many cute animals (am wondering if I could have an Alpaca or Sheep in my garden to keep the grass down!)  In the produce show there were giant marrows, seriously long parsnips and even bags of wheat and barley.  Amazing!



Friday, 21 September 2012

 These are my latest embroideries back from the framers - a nice Christmassy Santa (although personally I think he looks a bit like one of the 3 Kings) with lots of pretty gold beads and a picture for my friend Maren's Norfolk seaside holiday cottage (I think I may have to stitch this one for myself at some point as I do think it is quite pretty)!  Feeling slightly festive now and looking forward to Christmas xxx

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

My lovely Muffy cat - just relaxing all weekend on the sofa (is it me or does she have the most ENORMOUS paws?).  Sadly I was not relaxing with her as I was working on my Aga book retesting the few last recipes - including these pumpkin muffins - what a bright orange colour they are and they tasted yummy!  I am glad to report that the book is now submitted - hurrah and yippee!!!!  So very happy and can now relax a little (although the proofs of my cheesecake book are arriving on Friday - no rest for the wicked - am very excitied to see all the pictures for the first time!)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Just had a nice interview on the radio with Elliott Webb this afternoon taking all things honey as part of National Honey month and gave a speak preview of one of the recipes from my new Cheesecake book (out next spring with Ryland Peters and Small) for Salty Honey Cheesecake.  You have to trust me on this one (I know it sounds an odd combination) - it is yummy and one of my favourite recipes in the book.  It is inspited by Four and Twenty Blackbirds - a delicious pie shop in Brooklyn where my brother lives - all they sell is pies, including their famous salty honey pie!  All this talk of honey reminds me that I would love to keep bees....I have so many books on bee keeping that it is high time I bought some hives of my own!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Can you spot the difference?  The lego model of the stadium in John Lewis at Stratford almost looked like the real thing.  You have got to love Lego!!!  Below is Mum (looking very patriotic) with C3PO and a Dalek - both made of lego - can you imagine how long they would have taken to make!!!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Last night I was lucky enough to have a ticket to the Paralympics closing ceremony.  What a night!!!!  Mum and I had one of the most amazing days of our lives.  To say it was EPIC would be an understatement and it was such an honour to see all the amazing Athletes.  I can't tell you enough how brilliantly organised the whole thing was.   It is a night I will remember forever!  Here are a few photos but they really don't do it justice.  It is incredible to think that each little colour dot represents a person as we all had a light paddle on our seats - the effect was incredible.  They even burnt a crop circle into the sports field!!!!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A 6am visitor to my garden - who stopped to admire the bunting!

Friday, 7 September 2012

I thought I would share these delightful pictures of my niece Hunter with you - isn't she growning up fast.  It is good to see that despite living in New York she is being taught the traditional English values of the importance of a good cup of tea!  In November I am finally going to meet her properly (Skype is brilliant but not quite as good as an in person cuddle) so I am really looking forward to my trip.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A few weeks ago, I spent a lovely evening with Kathy Brown learning how to properly crystalise edible flowers.  Before learning Kathy's tricks mine never looked very dainty and always had clumps of sugar on where I dipped the petals into the caster sugar (dipping was where I was going wrong I now know).  So here is what I learnt - whisk an egg white until light and foamy.  Using a clean fine paint brush, coat the petals in a thin layer of egg white, painting both the front and back of the flower.  Hold the flower in one hand and sprinkle a light dusting of caster sugar onto the flower using your finger tips at a height of about 20cm above the flower so that the coating is very fine.  Leave somewhere warm to dry overnight (on top of my Aga was ideal) on a silicon mat or a sheet of greaseproof paper.  I was so proud of the pretty results.  We used the sugar flowers as decorations on our desserts that evening.  Thanks Kathy for teaching me so well xxxx

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Two new books of mine are now available to buy - Cake Pops and Doughnuts - both came out in the same week which was amazing for me!  They were such nice projects to work on and I hope you lovely blog readers approve xxx

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

My poor neglected blog and blog readers.  I am so ashamed not to have posted in such a long while.  My excuse is a new laptop and ipad, neither of which seem to want to work with Blogger, so I have had to revert to my old laptop to be able to log in.  Not ideal when I have so little free time!  Anyway - I have very nearly finished my next book - Sweet Things from the Aga which Absolute Press (an imprint of Bloomsbury) are kindly publishing for me. Here are my two favourite "tastebuds" Joshua and Rosie, tasting the giant sweet and salty pretzels from the book - you will be pleased to know they got the thumbs up!  I am just finishing the final write up now and introduction and then will be moving on to another nice project - will be able to hopefully tell you about that very soon.  This year is flying by in a whirl of recipe writing and baking!  Christmas will be here before I know it!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

This was our lovely beach hut in Wells last week - you can just see my Mum reading on the balcony!  It was so quaint and a really good thing that we had somewhere to shelter from this endless rain.  Luckily the sun shined a lot as well and I was able to make a sandcastle and sunbathe a little.  More photos to follow!

In the meantime I have some exciting news about a new book that I have just started working on.  It is called "Sweet Things from the Aga" and will be published by Absolute Press/Bloomsbury next Summer.  The recipe list is very lovely (if I say so myself) with lots of new and delicious ideas and very excitingly the photos for the book are to be shot in my cottage!!!   I now have the perfect excuse to buy lots more cake stands and pretty plates - so that I can use them in the photos of course!