Tonight’s MasterChef contestant Hannah Gregory from Suffolk tells us what she’s cooking at home during lockdown
- Credit: BBC
MasterChef contestant Hannah Gregory from Bury St Edmunds is back on our TV screens tonight as she pushes her cooking to the limit to try and win a place in the semi-finals.
The 33-year-old is on BBC One at 9pm during the ‘Knockout’ stage where she must impress judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace to progress through the competition and earn the chance to experience the pressure of a professional kitchen.
MORE: ‘Nothing short of genius’: Suffolk MasterChef contestant Hannah makes quarter finalsHannah, a creative producer for music festivals, is working from home during the coronavirus lockdown having finished the filming for MasterChef last year.
She told us what she’s been cooking in her own kitchen, where she’s been buying her ingredients from and how now is the time to be “a bit brave” over what we buy and how we cook it.
She said: “I think like everyone I have been trying to use things in store cupboards that I know I can make last this has included making jars of pesto and tapenades which can be used to spruce up grilled meat and fish, stirred through pasta or just slathered on bread. If jarred properly they last for ages!
“Any slightly past it fruit and veg is getting made into smoothies or soups and we seem to have a never-ending supply of banana bread and sweet potato muffins at the moment.
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“I have been making loads of fresh pasta because it freezes so well and yields so much for next to nothing. If you can get you hands on a bag of pasta flour and some eggs you have 10 meals worth for a couple of pounds.”
Other ideas from Hannah’s home kitchen include stocking up on cuts of meat such as brisket, which is relatively cheap and can then be brined and slow cooked to make salt beef or corned beef which lasts for a long time.
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And to get her sugar fix she has even been making her own sweets - dates stuffed with peanut butter, rolled in melted dark chocolate and sea salt and then left to set in the fridge.
She added: “My suggestion would be if you see something in the shops that you wouldn’t normally buy, get it.
“We now have the gift of time to learn new recipes, experiment with new ingredients and release our inner chef! I am not a massive mussels fan but I saw a kilo for sale for £4 so I grabbed them and cooked them up in a cider and tarragon sauce and they were delicious!
“I think during this time we need to think outside the box and not be scared to try new things. Just because certain things aren’t available to us, doesn’t mean the dish we had planned has to go out the window, we just need to look at substituting ingredients - what’s the worse that could happen?”
MORE: ‘You can be whoever you want to be’ – Suffolk MasterChef contestant Hannah inspires others with chronic fatigueHannah, who has a Waitrose supermarket on her doorstep, said she was following guidelines by only doing one big shop as week, but added it was also important to support smaller businesses.
“The supermarkets can probably survive this, but they won’t. I’m trying to use them between the supermarket shop.
“I go to Wooster’s Bakery [in Bury St Edmunds] for my bread and I always go to Lavenham Butchers [in Lavenham] for my meat and I use online fishmonger the Fish Society for all my fish.”
She has also been ordering coffee direct through Butterworth & Son, which roasts everything inhouse in Bury St Edmunds, and Heritage Wines has been keeping her stocked up with “amazing” British wines.
Hannah said she had been “glued” to MasterChef and is taking inspiration from the other contestants.
She added: “I have just really spent the last two weeks cooking everything I possibly can. I’m basically just really refining my menu so when this is all over I can come back with a bang and cook people delicious food and I’m trying to get the courage to do some live cooking on Instagram.”
Hannah, who is launching supper clubs in the Bury St Edmunds area called WanderSups, said she was recently in a cook-off with restaurant critic William Sitwell - who judged some of her food on MasterChef - which saw her wild garlic gnocchi and wild garlic fritters come out top against his wild garlic spaghetti in an Instagram poll.
Her Instagram handle is @WanderSups
•In tonight’s MasterChef episode on BBC One at 9pm Hannah will compete against seven amateur cooks. After the first challenge, three must go home and the remaining five head to Manchester to work in the flagship restaurant of 2015 MasterChef Champion Simon Wood. The best cooks will make it through to the final challenge in Knockout Week and have the chance to become a semi finalist.