A day in my garden


Wow, I’ve spent 4 hours digging and sorting out my garden today and I’m pooped. It’s been the most beautiful spring day and it would have been a sin not to get out there and get all the jobs done I’ve needed to do for ages. My proudest moment was emptying my compost bin and finding rich dark homemade compost to dig into my raised beds,how sad am I?! Never thought I could produce the stuff even after 2 years of putting all possible kitchen waste on there. A few mistakes would be avocado skin that I don’t think would rot down in 20 years never mind 2 and not crushing some of my eggshells to help them break down quicker. On the good side though, I’ve re- filled 3 raised beds, 4 large pots and 4 large bags with the stuff and saved a fortune whilst doing my bit for the environment !!

Xmas at the dawsons!!


Up early to package some great orders for Christmas gifts and taking some small ‘ thankyou’s’ to all my lovely friends and customers for their support this year. I can’t wait to finish dressing the house,but made a small start today!

Christmas macarons


Just experimenting with Christmas themed macarons ready for the Xmas market I’m doing on Sunday. It’s at Four Oaks Direct nursery in Lower Withington Cheshire, somewhere I’ve never been to but heard lots about. My lovely daughter is coming with me(she’s only 9!) to help out?! The men are off to the city/united derby so it’s up to us girls. I am preparing sample hampers to take orders from and taking vouchers to sell there for macaron lessons which are becoming more and more popular . Best get back in the kitchen making the yummy Xmas fillings:- brandy butter, chestnut, chocolate orange, baileys etc.

Macaron lessons.

At last, time to sit down and write about the amazing people I have met over the last few weeks whilst passing on some of my hints and tips when making macarons.
I have been slowly building up this side of the business after getting so many requests from keen amateur bakers who just couldn’t crack the pesky macaron!
At nearly every food fair and market I was being asked for tips as to where people were going wrong and also asked if I would give lessons so I thought I would give it a go.
My new kitchen is ideal as its not in the house( with the pesky kids!) and has 2 ovens and lots of space for demonstrating, and I have found it a joy meeting like minded bakers.
Timing can be tricky as the students macarons have to dry before we bake them but by stopping for tea and a chat when they are piped and learning about the fillings at the same time it seems to work out perfectly.
Everyone goes home with some of their own macarons and also some of mine, and a little information sheet to use at home.
I have wondered about putting together a little pack containing a pre- measured single quantity of the ingredients as everyone who comes seems to want to rush home and try them again just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke the results they got with me!
I will ask for feedback on that one as it may put the cost up a little ( at the moment I charge £30 per person or £50 for 2) it seems better when a couple of friends come together as a one to one can be quite intense!!!!
These lovely ladies came a few weeks ago and achieved perfect macarons much to all our delight!




The Cheshire Food Festival

An amazing,tiring,wet,muddy,weekend is how I would describe the last 2 days at Walton Hall in Cheshire! I met lots of really knowledgable people who obviously love their food,and also getting direct feedback about my products is essential to further developing the brand and the business.
It was an event I had never attended or exhibited at before and so all very new and exciting ! I managed to bake about 500 acceptable macarons and the grade 2 ones went into my rocky road bars so no wastage. The new ovens are proving temperamental and so sending me a little mental I have to say. I need to let them bed in and get used to them but so busy at the moment it makes the process quite frustrating. My Kitchen layout and facilities are brilliant and I’m able to work in a much more efficient and speedy way so I’m really pleased from that point of view but just got to sort the ovens and the drying racks for the trays of macarons.
Nearly there!!!!

Just to prove I do wash up by hand as cant afford a dishwasher just yet in the work kitchen!

Update on the new kitchen

Right, update on the new work space as we are home from holidays and I haven’t cooked a macaron now for nearly 4 weeks!!!
I am delighted with all the building work that was done whilst I was away but I am frustrated I can’t get into my new premises and get started. I have decided to have under floor heating and a tiled floor and upstand to make cleaning the room easy and efficient ( and to keep my feet warm in winter!).
So, just got to wait now for the very busy,and very good,tiler to get the job done and will then be ready in just a few days to get cooking in there.
Looking at the cost of commercial ovens I may have to buy 2 domestic single ovens to begin with and then upgrade when I have saved up again. I have managed so far without borrowing any money, the banks aren’t lending anyway. The whole business as been set up from personal savings,bartering and calling in favours from my amazing friends and family and I am keen to continue as long as possible in that way. If I can set up and make it work during a recession like this one then perhaps that’s a good omen.

The job so far!
And the views I will have soon when I’m in there!


My kitchen in kefalonia

Well, that was certainly an interesting evening of food,fun and friends!
Having decided to stay in and cook last night for ourselves,our friends from home and from fiscardo to use up some delicious prawns, I settled on my menu very easily. Our Greek guest brought local cheese pies for starters and an amazing coconut for desert so I only had to do main courses.
We had a prawn,mint and pea risotto , spaghetti carbonara for the children and a bacon,tomato and feta pasta sauce I bake in the oven. Well that was the idea…
The fuses kept blowing everytime I put the oven on as well as the hob, so after the 4th time I realised that’s why meals take so long to do over here!
Plan B- cook each item one at a time, drink lots of white wine in between and just chill…
First course,melon,Parma ham,roasted peppers,local bread,tatziki,olives,salami.
Second course,spaghetti carbonara,garlic bread
Third course,tomato,onion and basil salad, tomato and feta baked spaghetti
Fourth course(?)risotto with prawns,peas local mint
Fifth (????)course coconut cake with local ice cream
It really wasn’t as large a meal as it sounds but it took about 4 hours from start to finish!!!!!
It was a truly Greek evening with the children swimming in the sea below our apartment whilst we admired the amazing yachts moored in the harbour of fiscardo.
Great times to savour
Going home tomorrow but I tiny bit of me is quite excited as will be the first time I will have seen my new kitchen space.

Itv now repeating theres no taste like home!

Just had a text from a friend to say I’m on the television!!
They are repeating there’s no taste like home with gino d’acampo the programme that basically got me back into the kitchen on a professional level.
I still can’t watch it, I feel really embarrassed , I don’t know why as I thoroughly enjoyed doing it but looking at yourself on screen is really strange.
I have started my business and done so many things since then and today I am preparing for my sons 21st birthday party catering for 45/50 people and no doubt a few macarons will appear!
Unfortunately the weather looks rubbish so will be putting the party tents up and hoping no more rain falls.

What to take to market??

Just sat trying to decide what to make for the market stall on Saturday. I like to have a good mixture and had the best 2 days trading yet last weekend. There was a lot more stock than usual and a good mixture of sweet/savoury and also some higher value products which customers seem to be quite prepared to pay for. It’s about confidence I think, and my sons both think I need to charge more!! It’s a fine line between underpricing and not making enough profit to make it worth it and pricing yourself quite literally out of the market! On a general market stall people seem to have a set spending limit and when we do the specialist food markets that doesn’t seem to apply. If you sell to real “foodies” there seems to be an appreciation of the artisan/ handmade aspect of the products and I am seeing more and more of this at both types of markets. Thankfully people are looking at buying more locally and quality rather than quantity which is what market shopping is all about!
A new macaron I made last week sold out really quickly and think I will have to be making more kitty’s this week as well as the fresh seasonal fruit patisseries.




Macaron lessons.

Had a lovely time on Saturday teaching two lovely young ladies how to make macarons. They were my first paying customers(a gift from dad) and I was quite nervous as to how it would go. It was brilliant and I hope they enjoyed learning as much as I enjoyed teaching. I often get asked specific questions when I do specialist food fairs but to teach the process from start to finish was very different. I think anyone of any skill level could achieve great results , the macarons made on Saturday were fabulous – they took away about 10 complete and a few more to finish off at home. The lesson was 2 hours long and seemed just right- I was lucky the shells dried in time to cook them and we could fill some of their own not just mine.


Lulu Macaron - Born to Bake