Peppery Lemon Tart

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me getting excited about moving into a new flat back in June. Amongst many other more serious reasons for wanting to be out of the old one, I had another more personal, somewhat frivolous reason: my new flat had a brand spanking new kitchen. OH, what a kitchen! It had a shiny glass hob, smooth stone counters, spacious and clean cabinets, and the mother of all kitchen amenities (in England at least)… a dishwasher. If you’re a reader in America, you might not realize why this is such a big deal. Well, one thing I’ve learned from living as a student in England is that most flats don’t have the luxury of a dishwasher. I’ve gotten used to hand-washing my dishes–perhaps a bit too much.

The last time I went home, my parents and I cooked a big roast meal together. I’m used to cleaning up around the house when I visit so that I’m more of a help than a burden. After dinner I started in washing the dishes, scrubbing hard at the pan that the roast potatoes had been in. After about 20 minutes my mom wandered back in from the living room. “What are you doing? We’re waiting on you to start the movie.”

“I’m washing the dishes, mom, I’ll be there in a minute.”

“You can just put them in the dishwasher, you know.”

I looked over at the dishwasher, directly to the right of the sink, underneath the heaving drying rack where I’d been precariously piling roast pans, utensils, plates, and pots. Yes, I’d gotten so used to hand-washing the dishes that I literally forgot my parents had such a thing as a dishwasher.

So, yes, I’m a bit excited to have a dishwasher for times when I’ve dirtied a lot of dishes. And baking is certainly one of those times! I’ve been using my kitchen quite a bit to cook and bake, with the hopes of putting more recipes on the blog. However, as I’m sure seasoned recipe bloggers will know, most recipes take a few tries and tests to get right for public consumption. I haven’t found the time for most of them; luckily, though, this lemon tart turned out pretty spiffy on my first try. See?

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42 Years of Experience

At the beginning of this month, my dad celebrated his 82nd birthday. Or, as he likes to put it, “I’m turning 40 with 42 years of experience.”

In all his many years, my dad has loved one dessert over everything else: caramel cake. Caramel cake is a Southern staple, and most families have their own recipe. No good Southern cookbook is complete without it. As a kid raised in rural Alabama, it makes sense that my dad would cherish this dessert as his favourite. He has fond memories of his mother making it for him – buttery, crumbly cake swathed in tooth-achingly sweet caramel icing.

I had planned on making dad a caramel cake for his birthday for a while, but waited until the last minute (i.e. 2 pm on the day) to make preparations. This was a big mistake: one, I had assumed we had in our possession the secret family caramel cake recipe; and two, I had forgotten how work intensive making a one of these is. After checking with my mom, I was dismayed to hear we didn’t have the recipe. I took to the Internet, hoping to find a good alternative, and hoping that if I found one, I wouldn’t mess it up.

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