The Easter break has started as it often does with a slow constant drizzle. It’s mild but damp and people occasionally walk past the window carrying big umbrellas and kitted out in waterproofs and rucksacks. We live in an area which is very popular with walkers and on days like today I feel a bit sorry for them whilst I’m inside in the warmth. Alfred is curled up in his blanket and I’m here writing. There is a play on radio 4 which suits the weather well, a dull story of admission set in Yorkshire. I always find radio plays more poignant than television, allows your imagination to picture the visuals to match the words.
But since it’s Easter and rabbits always appear this time of year I thought I would show you a picture I did for a friend who asked me for an Easter card. I decided to draw their dog called Fern looking at a rabbit offering her an easter egg. I know this is fantasy as Fern being a lurcher would not be sitting looking kindly at the rabbit, but this is art and you can do what ever you want!
It’s a simple sketch in pencil crayon and ink on brown paper and it worked well on a card. And Fern really is that cute! Keeping with the rabbit theme, a couple of years ago our daughter went to work in Dubai for a year and had her birthday there, so I set about making her a present. She has always loved rabbits, so I made her one with 3 little outfits, a day dress, a nightdress and a ballet dress, which I wrapped individually in tissue. She’s called Verity and is only 4″ tall. Verity went everywhere with Sophie, even to work in her bag!
Verity in her Ballet dress, her whiskers are bits of string with knots on the end and the dress bodice is crocheted.
Sophie was pleased with Verity and still treasures her. But thankfully she’s back home, I missed her too much! Rabbits often seem to come up, whether there in drawings, paintings or one’s I make to accompany my dolls or ones just to cuddle.
This is a linocut my husband did, his first try, I rather like it! He did a pair, but the other one is of doves and I love them both. Lino cutting isn’t something I have had much success with, I would prefer to paint or work in 3 D. But I hope he does some more, as it’s not easy and I think he could really develop his own style quite quickly. This year I did our Christmas card of a hare in the snow in watercolour, they keep popping up don’t they!
Changing the subject a bit, although I’m sure there will be plenty of eating going on over the Easter break, especially chocolate and cake! Yesterday I visited a friend for coffee and took some cake with me. I must say, I was pleased with the way it turned out. It was moist and brimming with flavours and thankfully my friend thought so too. Very easy to make and if you don’t like orange, change it for lemons or even lime, just make sure you think about equivalent quantities to 2 oranges. It’s gluten-free and fat-free, but you can’t tell.
Orange cake with mascarpone and lime topping
Scrub the oranges, put them whole in a saucepan with enough water to cover, put the lid on. Simmer for about 2 hrs until tender. Change the water a couple of times to get rid of bitterness during simmering.
Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4.
Brush the cake tin with a little melted butter. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
Halve the oranges, remove pips and puree the flesh and peel in a blender. Beat the eggs and sugar till pale and light and soft. Combine the baking powder with the ground almonds then fold gently int the eggs. Fold in the oranges.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about an 1 hour. I put a double layer of parchment gently over the top when I place it in the oven as it browns before it cooks otherwise. If after about 45 min it’s brown enough turn your oven down and cook for 10-15 min longer. Check with a skewer inserted in the centre, it should come out clean. But this is a very moist cake and sometimes difficult to tell.
Cool on a wire rack and gently remove paper.
To make the topping mix the sugar with the mascapone, lime rind and juice. Go carefully with the lime juice if you want to spread the topping on the top of the cake, but add it all for a cream consistency.
I hope you enjoy it, and HAPPY EASTER!