While this blog has diffused over the last several months into less and less of a food-centric blog, that has not necessarily meant that my activity in the kitchen has ceased. I'd never allow that to happen. But it certainly has declined.
Having just counted up the weeks since I arrived here in New Zealand (Eight! It's been eight weeks! I've been telling everyone five.) and then tacking on the ten days of road-tripping prior to our departure, I haven't been in a familiar kitchen since August 30th.
No wonder I was starting to get antsy for the browning of onions, drizzling of olive oil, creaming of butter and sugar, and the habit of a watchful eye on the oven.
I've made a few cakes for events and put together individual lunches but only enough to count on my fingers, and that's more than slightly out of the ordinary. My old ordinary anyway. Being in a home-stay situation for three months means that I'm getting to experience the hospitality of initial strangers, and I am so thankful for having been invited into family rituals such as the sharing of food. At times sitting down to a communal meal is far more important (and delicious) than having put together my favorite salad or soup.
While at a friend's last week, I noticed her two lemon trees full of large sunny yellow fruit. As I made my selection from the tree branches, I couldn't help smelling the sweet skin of each beautiful citrus. There's no comparing these and the thin-skinned ones at the supermarket.
I decided to modify a favorite recipe for these lemons. I had noted the suggestion of substituting lemons when I first read the recipe but always stuck with oranges, sometimes the Cara Cara variety. Making the switch to lemons proved entirely worthwhile. I held off on the suggested glaze until tasting the loaf (yes, I used a long, skinny loaf pan lined with baking paper instead), and I was glad to discover that the additional sugar wasn't necessary.
Everyone seemed to love this loaf and commented on its moistness. I love the visible bits of rind in each slice from coarsely mincing the boiled lemons. Bonus: it is gluten-free and dairy (not egg) free with very little fat.
If you're making it for an event, just be sure to give the cake/loaf a day for the flavors to brighten. If there's no particular occasion, do your best to practice self-control and save at least half for the next couple days. The taste will only improve.
Photos of my previous versions are here and here.
Recipe found here.