伯爵茶茶葉 5克 （若用茶包裏的茶粉，3克即可）
- 焗爐預熱至 160°C
- 取出麵糰，放在兩張牛油紙之間，檊平至 3 – 4mm 厚
- 焗盤鋪上牛油紙，放上葉子曲奇，焗 18 分鐘後，取出在烤架上放涼即可。曲奇可貯存於密封瓶子內。
It’s a warm winter. My woolen coat was still being hung on the flimsy blue hanger from the dry cleaner and the radiator was unplugged most of the day. It came late though, the leaves behind the window turned red regardless.
A lonesome tree planted in the corner of our neighbouring garden – the sweet gum was surrounded by other trees in all shapes and sizes that, in spring and summer, they form a green curtain outside of my bedroom window, swaying in the sweet breeze. When I had the time, I liked sitting on the single-seater sofa by the window to gaze at the trees, sunbeams that fell on the leaves, butterflies flying by in pairs, dragonflies leisurely hovering in the air and tiny squirrels slipped by the low wall of the garden. The trees grew in the garden corner without much trimming and care, and one of the branches grew beyond the wall that I could have touched if there wasn’t a glass panel. On one hot summer day, the doorman stopped me when I was on the way out. Pointing at the trees, he said, in a look of great satisfaction, that he had taken down the branch extended to our driveway and how much effort it took him to chop off that piece of healthy branch covered with green leaves. I nearly cried. When I returned home, I rushed to my bedroom and looked out of the window – an abrupt hollow among the green. The branch was chopped, leaving a brutally jagged cut face, and with no more shading, one could see the soil and fallen leaves in rot. A part of life was taken, could it even grow back? I guessed not. The cut was immense after all. I couldn’t bear to look at the void and rarely look out of the window since then, leaving my sofa piled up with clean laundry yet to press, throws and cushions, as well as making the perfect day bed for the cat.
In Spring cleaning before Chinese New Year, I cleaned the apartment inside out, in which I also moved the sofa in the bedroom for vacuuming and tidying up. After spending a morning on the household chores, I sank back on my sofa that was at last emptied for a tea break. Ah, the sweet gum leaves had turned red. I didn’t notice the change when I walked under shade outside of the garden every day. Now looking from above where I could see the tree crown, I also saw the change of the season, and all of a sudden, I found that the hollow was already filled up with young leaves, looking tender and green, with the size of a kid’s palm. Judging from the growing direction, the new leaves grew around the remains from the chopped branch, up and up to the sky.
What is severed cannot be mended and the wound is left as is on that very day. The leaves, however, will grow back still, silently, in different forms and shapes, round or chipped. As time passes by, all guesses one once had and imperfections will show their impermanence, and when look back on hitches, well, they were just that. Everything and all, be it good or bad, just be.
Imperfect Leaf Cookies
All-purpose flour 100g
Icing sugar 40g
Earl Grey tea leaves 5g (3g if you are using tea powder in tea)
Sea salt A tiny pinch
Unsalted butter 50g
Egg yolk 15g
- Grind the tea leaves to powder in mortar and pestle, mix the tea powder with salt and flour. Set aside.
- Soften the butter at room temperature. Beat it to soft and fluffy with a handheld mixer.
- Sieve in the icing sugar. Mix it until the mixture is smooth.
- Add the egg yolk to the butter mixture. Mix it until the mixture is smooth.
- Sieve in the flour and tea mixture. Mix gently with a silicone spatula until the dough is smooth without any lumps.
- Wrap the dough in cling film, roll it to an even slab, and chill it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 160°C.
- Take the dough out, place it between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll it out to 3 – 4mm thick.
- With a dinner spoon pastry wheel or even a dinner knife, cut out leaf-shaped cookies and gently pinch or mold them into forms you fancy. Using a cookie cutter will be just as fine.
- Place the cookies on parchment paper and bake for 18 minutes. Once backed, leave the cookies on a cooling rack until they are cold. Keep the cookies in an airtight jar.
It’s raining outside, crisp and bleak. Three chubby sparrows took shelter on my balcony and I gave them the baguette bits left on my breakfast plate but they flew away. I stayed in, played Damien Rice on vinyl and made apple crumble. Repeat.