Specialists In Lockdown | Luke Macdonald

In our latest instalment of Specialists in Lockdown, we speak to director Luke Macdonald who recently joined us. He’s been battling lockdown with long dog walks in the countryside, watching Philip Moulds ‘Art in Isolation’ and gin!

Luke Macdonald

How are you keeping busy in lockdown?

Learning to live with an invasion of lively university and school aged children who returned to isolate at home as universities and schools closed and learning went on line. This mass home-coming in lockdown was not at all quiet or full of learning, in fact evolved into highly competitive and noisy family gatherings for board games around the kitchen table and a ludicrous murder mystery in fancy dress added some colour to one evening. After building large bonfires from fallen trees left over from winter storms, there was one moment of darkness during the lockdown, when I was caught weeding a flower border, which I am very pleased to say has passed and my activities in the garden safely returned to lawn mowing.


Do you have a favourite self-isolation recipe you can share with us?

Chocolate fridge cake with rum, biscuit and pistachio nuts, which only means one thing - more exercise!

Makes 24 bars 

100g mint-flavoured dark chocolate 

200g dark chocolate 

120g of unsalted butter

100g of golden syrup

1/8g of table salt

100g sultanas or raisins soaked in a drop of rum

170g digestive biscuits 

100g pistachios

Line a 28cm by 18cm baking tray or glass dish with parchment paper and set aside


Put both chocolates, the butter, golden syrup and salt into large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until completely melted and combined 

Add the sultanas or raisins, the biscuits and three-quarters of the pistachios to the chocolate . Using a spatula, combine everything together until the biscuits and nuts are completely coated in chocolate. Transfer to the separate tray , smoothing the top with a spatula so that its flat and even, then sprinkle the remaining pistachios on top. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool then wrap tighlty with cling film. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until completely set. 

Cut into bars - you should get 24. If not serving straight away, store them in an airtight container and serve fridge-cold


What is saving your sanity during lockdown?

Apart from plenty of Gin, long dog walks and cycle rides in the countryside in this wonderful spring weather. Time to read the paper, Country Life and new books, which were Christmas presents that time has just not allowed for. 


Which online exhibition/gallery viewing room or other internet offering has caught your eye?

Art in Isolation YouTube films produced by Philip Mould has been most enjoyable in a very relaxed way, looking at his personal collection of old masters and modern art in the wonderful surroundings of his Gloucestershire home, Duck End. It is a very encouraging series and inspiring for anyone looking to collect paintings from all periods, offering a great deal more understanding of the artists style and paint techniques.


You can contact Luke on lukemacdonald@sworder.co.uk | 01279 817778




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