CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

The Boho Baker - the blogger who is passionate about baking and Lancashire

PUBLISHED: 09:21 16 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:21 16 January 2018

Boho Baker, Debby Donnelly-Addison

Boho Baker, Debby Donnelly-Addison

Archant

Our new columnist, Debby Donnelly-Addison is determined to fly the flag for produce from the county, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Boho Baker, Debby Donnelly-AddisonBoho Baker, Debby Donnelly-Addison

Baker Debby Donnelly-Addison can pinpoint the exact moment she fell in love with baking – her sixth birthday.

‘It was this cottage birthday cake my mum made,’ recalled Debby. ‘I was obsessed with it and it was the most wonderful thing I’d ever seen. I’d really wanted it because of the cottages I’d seen near our house in Ormskirk, these beautiful little houses I adored.

‘The cake was everything I’d ever dreamed of. Mum has added all of these gorgeous little touches, little plastic birds that you’d think are horrible now but I loved. She used Shredded Wheat for the thatched roof. My mum has always been amazing at injecting that little bit of extra magic into everything she does. She tells me to add little touches into my designs and they make them perfect.’

Debby spent hours making and baking food with her mum, Susan, brother and sister, during her childhood in Ormskirk. Despite having three “fussy eaters”, the way her mum cooks – and her ability to make something out of nothing – has always been something that’s inspired Debby.

‘My mum made us all separate meals. It’s the kind of thing people on Mumsnet would have a field day with,’ joked Debby. ‘This meant mealtimes were anything but relaxing. They were hell. But it also gave us such a good introduction to cooking.

‘My mum learned from my grandma who made the most of all ingredients and leftovers because money was tight. That’s been passed on to me now. It’s ingrained in me. My mum is a simple cook but she’s amazing.’

Cooking and baking is something that’s followed the 34-year-old throughout her life. It’s also been something that has been therapeutic for her in tough times. Debby used to work as a family lawyer, commuting from Lancashire to Telford in Shropshire every day. Baking was her way to relax after a long day.

It also brought her back to health after she was diagnosed with a bone marrow condition that meant months in hospital.

‘I thought it was working in a stressful career,’ said Debby. ‘I was having massive bouts of memory loss and was feeling really tired. I thought I was depressed. It turns out I was really poorly.

‘I was admitted to hospital with septicaemia. I was really paranoid and thought the doctors were out to get me. I was taking pictures of them all and then I checked myself out. My GP came around to my house because my life was at risk. Then they discovered the problem with my bone marrow. I cut out all processed food and I started to feel better.

‘Baking was something I did when I was still feeling poorly. It was something I loved doing. I also had to make changes to my life and cut out everything that drained me. I’d spent my time fighting for other people as a lawyer but it was time to fight for myself and for my health.’

Once Debby was feeling stronger she turned her hobby into a career and launched cake business Vanilla Nova in 2011 in Southport. The business, which she runs with husband Dave, has gone from strength to strength, dominating the wedding cake industry. Her sugarcraft has become renowned and they are considered a go-to place for their divine designs.

But Debby was looking for an outlet that represented her lifestyle. Early in 2017, she launched Instagram page, The Boho Baker, promoting the recipes she loved to create as well as producing excellent dishes made with good quality, local foods. Her profile took off in a big way, proving demand was there for the wholesome recipes she develops.

‘I was doing yoga and being a lot more conscious about my food,’ said Debby, who has also become a recipe developer for Booths. ‘I started to live my life in a more conscious way which is what turned me onto what food I had nearby, rather than going to a supermarket.

‘I couldn’t understand when there was such good stuff available right here that people still bothered going to a supermarket. Amazing strawberries are grown just down the road but people were still buying the ones bought in from Spain. It didn’t make sense to me.’

The Boho Baker business also gave her a way to promote the local produce she loves to a wider audience. In her recipes she likes to have a “hero” of the dish - a meal that relies on one superb ingredient she has found from a producer in Lancashire.

Debby, who is currently writing a cookery book set for release this spring, is determined to change habits and encourage more people to consider the food they have on their doorstep as well as celebrate the stories behind the producers, farmers and retailers.

‘Lots of places have fantastic produce but there is nothing like the people in Lancashire,’ said Debby, who does cookery demonstrations for Booths as well as events internationally. ‘There are all these fantastic stories and histories behind them, whether it is a farmer whose family has worked the land for more than 100 years or characters who are passionate about what they do.

‘But to me it’s also about being accessible. I want anyone to feel they can give my recipes a try. They are very manageable and I always give hints and tips. I love edible flowers and I can guarantee everyone has a flower in their garden that would taste great in a dish. I would like to make more people aware of what can be achieved and it doesn’t have to be complicated.’

www.vanillanovacakes.com

www.instagram.com/thebohobaker

Related articles

More from Food & Drink

The seeds of an organic food co-operative built on Quaker principles were first sewn almost 20 years ago. Now, Growing with Grace is flourishing

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Take a bite from the county with a dining experience with a difference

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Michelin judges have put Lancashire and the Lakes firmly on the UK’s map of culinary excellence, writes Roger Borrell

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

Modern Portuguese flavours and fabulous wine give you every reason to visit Canto at Ancoats

Read more
Manchester Restaurants
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

William Firth crafts high end products that help food and drink companies make their products shine.

Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Calyx founder Raphael Ogunrinde is drinking in the success of his Burnley business, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

BBQ doesn’t just have to be for the summer. Expert Richard Holden shares his advice on how to cook outdoors in all seasons

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

The Spice Club attracts diners in their droves. And it all started in a front room in Whitefield. Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Asian Food
Friday, October 19, 2018

Talented chef Spencer Burge has driven Bertram’s Restaurant in Burnley to success

Read more
Thursday, October 18, 2018

Oli Martin is a head chef that has transformed the kitchens at Hipping Hall. Emma Mayoh finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is among the owners of Tast, a new restaurant helping King Street’s ambitions to join the gastronomic Premier League.

Read more
Manchester Restaurants Spanish Food
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

When is a pub not a pub? When it’s the Freemasons at Wiswell, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The winners of the 2018 Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony at Ribby Hall Village.

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The winner of the Tearoom/Café of the Year category announced

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search