After our week away in Padstow, we had the luxury of a few days pottering at home before returning to work. Macaron time!! The thing I love about macarons is that although they are fiddly little blighters to get right, once you have a good batch you can freeze them. The ugly ones get eaten by us :) I had a peaceful morning to myself, listening to the radio, jigging round the kitchen and whipping up a batch of these beauties.

The recipe came (as always) from the fabby "Mad About Macarons" book by Jill Colonna and the shells are filled with her tutti fruiti filling. I used half strawberries and half blackberries and they are very, very delicious. By the time I got round to transferring them from fridge to freezer - half had been eaten. Ooops.

I used a tiny quantity of powdered red food colouring and it gave just the right pinky hue above. The powdered colourings are pricey but I've found them more reliable in terms of colour and stability of bake. (Did I mention these are tricky?!) I have had to play around with my cooker settings and now find 18 mins at 140 degrees fan is perfect each time but that's just MY oven. I really recommend testing a piped macaron on each corner of a baking tray in your oven before you commit the whole batch. It's a good idea to sacrifice a practice batch to test at various (ascending) temperatures. Start low and work up in 10 degree intervals. After they've been in for 10 mins check them every 2 minutes to see if they're properly baked and lift easily from the parchment. You might hit lucky early in your experiments. I think I had about 6 attempts before I got the right temperature and bake time. But once you've got it - you never need to do the experiment again! Until you get a new cooker...

Kitchen play time is lovely but I was missing the sunshine and warmth outside, (we were warmer than Barcelona the weather forecasters told us) so I sat outside with a coffee, a macaron and a piece of sewing I'm getting ready to enter into our local village show. I only need to finish a short piece of binding on a small quilt which has taken me 2 years to complete. I started it, fell out of love with it, hid it away, rediscovered it, did some crazy free motion quilting on it and now I love it again! I'll show you when it's finished :)