February 2019

Illustration

I’m delighted to have found a local printer to produce some greetings cards for me. These tea and biscuit themed cards, along with a Painted Lady butterfly printed card are now available from my online shop The Museum Shelves  along with my handmade pop-up/3-D butterfly cards.

In the meantime, I’ve almost finished the illustrations for my ‘Tulips’ pop-up book and am about to start on the calligraphy. Once that’s done, I’ll have time to start making up my ‘British Butterflies’ pop-up book which I collected from the printers in January!

Gardening

I’m often asked to recommend plants for shade. This sweet scented shrub is a great choice being trouble free, evergreen – and scented! Furthermore, these flowers are out at a time of year when their modest floral display isn’t overwhelmed. A single sprig, if brought indoors, will perfume a room wonderfully. Known as sweet-scented box or Christmas box, Sarococca hookeriana looks good throughout the year.

I plant most of my crocus bulbs where they’ll get plenty of sunshine so that the beautiful colouring on the inside of the petals is revealed as the flowers open in the light. However, these ‘Cream Beauty’ bulbs from The Clare Bulb Company happily flower each year in quite considerable shade, their pale colour glowing in the gloom.

Finally, some early flowering irises. Iris reticulata ‘Pauline’ is a bulb, again purchased from the Clare Bulb Company, that produces lovely, dramatic early colour. I first encountered the pale blue versions of these early flowering irises in the gardens of Anglesey Abbey but I particularly liked this dramatic purple version.

Recipes

Hooray, I’ve at last worked out how to set up an index for my recipes – look for it in the menu. I’ll be gradually populating it as I post the recipes in my Blog. This month I’m re-issuing the recipe for Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake as it was one of the recipes requested from my ‘The Art of Baking’ website – and has been described as “the best lemon drizzle cake ever!”. I think it’s perfect for this time of year when citrus flavours work particularly well.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

(makes 8-10 slices)

Ingredients

175g self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150g caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1 large of 1 1⁄2 smaller lemons
125g soft butter or baking margarine
2 medium eggs
1 tsp lemon extract
2 tbsp milk

For the topping

juice of 1 large or 1 1⁄2 smaller lemons
75g granulated sugar

You will need

a 2lb / 900g loaf tin
non-stick liner or butter and greaseproof paper a cocktail stick

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
  • Lightly grease and line the loaf tin or use a non-stick liner.
  • Measure all the cake ingredients into the bowl, sifting the flour and baking powder in together.
  • Beat the mixture with an electric hand mixer for 2 minutes.
  • Turn the mixture into the tin and level the surface.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes until the cake is well risen and springs back when the surface is lightlypressed with a finger.
  • While the cake is baking, mix the topping ingredients together.
  • As soon as the cake is taken out of the oven, deeply prick the top all over with the cocktail stick andspoon the topping evenly over the surface.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

Lemon Drizzle Cake: the sketchbook

Pencil Ingredients by Carol Kearns
These are some of the initial sketches working up to the design that appeared in the March 2015 edition of the EDP Norfolk Magazine. They were for the illustrations in the mocked-up pages Pencil Lemon Juicer by Carol KearnsI submitted with my initial idea for a cake baking feature. Not all the ingredients made it into the final format: also hitting the ‘cutting-room floor’ was this lemon squeezer. This piece of kitchen equipment cost me 50p years and years ago and, despite being in rather cheap and cheerful plastic, it is the best lemon squeezer I have ever used.

I really enjoy drawing food containers – they are often mini works of art in their own right. The idea behind lining up all the ingredients was that it would make a handy little aide memoir if you needed to go shopping for the ingredients!

The Art of Baking

EDP Norfolk Magazine March 2015I’ve always been a keen baker and while studying for my Degree in Illustration at Norwich University of the Arts I sold my homemade cakes to help raise funds for the End of Degree Show. People often told me that if I didn’t make it as an illustrator I’d always be able to make a living with my cakes!

Now I’ve combined both talents as a contributor to the EDP Norfolk Magazine. Starting in March, I have an article in the Food & Drink section of the magazine. Each month, I feature one of my quick, easy and utterly delicious cake recipes (all using a 2lb loaf tin) together with my illustrations.

Lemon Drizzle Cake and China by Carol Kearns

This month it’s an incredibly lemony Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe – which has been described as “the best lemon cake I have ever tasted”! But don’t take my word for it, have a go at baking it yourself. All the recipes are tried and tested and are quick and easy to make.

Next month – a lovely Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Fudge Icing….