What better way to catch up on Master Chef gossip than to spend the afternoon with Hannah over at her wonderful cottage. The Brown and Cowie team descended on poor Hannah on Sunday afternoon having starved ourselves in expectation!
Hannah was completely bamboozled by Cowie trying to park Mum's car as she shot backwards and forwards like a child on a swing... only to then park the car neatly by Hannah's garrage. I arrived with Mum and Dad bearing a few goodies of our own. Rococo do some lovely mushroom shaped chocolates on Marylebone High Street that make really nice pressies. Or at least I like going into their shop and trying things out. But I always come out with the same thing! Must be my fascination with mushrooms!
Hannah showed us her hens which she's had to keep couped up because an evil fox destroyed her last lot of cluckers. They are incredibly lively girls. All pecking away at their porrige and seeds. I imagine there can be few happier chickens than those that are lucky enough to live with Hannah. They're great layers apparently.
We were greeted in Hannah's kitchen by the most friendly, comforting smell in the world. Baking. That sweet smell of being at home. Of cookies. Of naughty roulades. Of suger and sinful deserts. Hannah and her lovely friend Maren from Germany had enjoyed themselves by cooking up an absolute feast.
The star of the show and by far the most unusual cake was a poppie seed cake made with curd with a star shapes instead of lattice. They were soft, squidgy and unusual in a way that made you keep nibbling to see if you could closer to working out what made them taste so good! Mum and Hannah started dreaming up ways to grow poppies commercially without being arrested for opium related crimes! If the guys in Afganistan can get away with it I'm sure Mum and Hannah can!
Dad was then given a huge slice of roulade that oozed cream and plum compote. The sharpness of the plums was sensational when combined with the cinamon icing sugar! Hannah is so clever with her flavours. Everything exudes flair and creativity... not to mention edible glitter!
I have fallen in love with Hannah's peanut and chocolate cookies. Craggy little chaps with enough illicit temptation inside them to have had them banned by Oliver Cromwell back in his time! I've taken a few back to work and they were wolfed down by Oli who claims they are a miracle cure for migraines! Quick Hannah... call Pfizer immediately!
Mum and Hannah both have an unhealhy obsession with violets. Mum even managed to get them into our tagine on Saturday. And she turned up with violet ice cubes for Hannah! It's a little bit lost on me, but Hannah's chocolate cup cakes with violet icing looked divine.
But the star of the show for me were these incredibly dainty lemon cup cakes with rose icing. I doubt anyone will ever see a prettier cup cake! Or at least not until Hannah opens the world's best tea rooms!
Hannah also made some very dainty cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches with the crusts neatly trimmed off which brought back fond memories for Dad of his childhood. I wolfed down my welsh rarebit crumpet and have resolved to make them myself soon. They are brilliant. And give you just the savoury kick you need when enjoying so much sugar.
We had the most wonderful time with Hannah and can't wait to repay the invitation. Hannah, thank you so much for an unforgettable afternoon!
Love from the Browns and two very chirpy Cowie girls.