導師開始侃侃而談倒立的好處 ——平衡荷爾蒙分泌、對血液循環和能量裨益甚大等等。這是她令學生在式子中多停留一會的技倆， 而我慶幸沒有人聽到自己囈語。
Bosc 梨子與 conference 香梨不一樣，後者成熟時既芳香又軟腍，我喜歡配襯熟成鹹香的芝士或黑橄欖吃；前者較硬身，需要花多點工夫照料才能帶出銹黃色果皮下的美好香氣與質感。梨子洗淨，我從果蒂一端順着修長的頸項往下把果皮削去，滑過圓潤的下身至梨子的底部。我試着從上端一削而下，可惜總是事與願違。我把梨子倒轉，把果蒂四周的黃皮削去，把零零星星的果皮一一清理。為甚麼要倒立？我手拿着梨子與削皮器，佇立在小木砧板前，思索剛才的問題，試圖記起在肩立式期間的感受。在倒立時，偶爾幾次往上瞧，看看身體各部分是否位置正確，但除此以外，在這式子中，眼睛一直是往自己的心去看的。那刻柔和的凝視裏，在寧靜中蘊藏着平衡、覺察、意識，以及身、心、靈的連結。
海鹽 1 小撮
冧酒 1 湯匙
硬身梨子 4 個
肉桂粉 ¼ 茶匙
海鹽 ¼ 茶匙
梳打粉 1 茶匙
雞蛋 1 隻
天然雲呢拿 1 茶匙
黑蜜 ½ 杯
熱水 ½ 杯
- 梨子洗淨去皮去芯，每個切成6等份，將梨鋪在 18cm 的蛋糕模或鑄鐵鍋裏。
- 烤焗 35-40 分鐘，插入竹籤，取出時沒有沾上麵糊，蛋糕即熟透。
- 從焗爐取出蛋糕，讓蛋糕在模內靜置 20 分鐘，然後以餐刀背面在蛋糕與蛋糕模之間滑一圈，反轉倒扣取出蛋糕。蛋糕微溫，配雪糕和果仁碎同吃。
“Why do we have inversions in yoga?”
“To see the world in a different perspective.”
I slipped this out when I was in a shoulder stand, trying to squeeze all the muscles as tight as I could from the core all the way up to the pinkie toes, tuck my sacrum in and keep my body straight upside down.
The yoga instructor started explaining how inversions help balance our hormones, blood circulations, energy, so on and so forth. This was her trick to keep the students in the asana for a few more moments, and I was glad nobody heard my mumble.
On the way home, I bought a cup of freshly pressed pear and carrot juice as usual from the tiny fruit stall at the junction, finished it on the spot, and grabbed a few Bosc pears home this time. They were just into the season.
I dropped off my bag in the hallway by the kitchen, washed hands and petted the untouchable cat with a stick before going in for a quick shower.
Unlike conference pears, ripe to delicate softness and perfect to pair with crumbly savoury cheese or black olives to my liking, Bosc pears are firm, and need more love and care to bring their goodness out under the russeting skin. Starting from the stem, I peeled a washed pear along its elongated, slender neck, down its curvy body to the bottom. I tried to peel it from head to bottom in one stroke but mostly it remained a faint wish. I flipped the pear upside down to peel the small patches of skin left around the stem, and the missing skin here and there. Why inversions though? Harbouring the questions with a peeler and a pear in my hands over a cutting board, I tried to recall my experience in sarvangasana – despite the several endeavours of looking up to see whether my body was in alignment, I was, naturally, gazing into my heart at all times. In the soft gaze, there is balance, awareness, consciousness and the unity of mind, body and soul.
Eyes were only receptors of the outside world. It’s about how our mind can transcend beyond what is in front of us, flickering or dazzling, and then, land on stillness.
Upside-down Sticky Pear & Rye Cake
Dark Rum Caramel
Brown Sugar 50g
Unsalted Butter 35g
Sea Salt A pinch
Dark Rum 1 tablespoon
Firm Pears 4 pieces
Cake Flour 200g
Dark Rye Flour 50g
Cinnamon ¼ teaspoon
Sea Salt ¼ teaspoon
Baking Soda 1 teaspoon
Egg 1 piece
Brown Sugar 50g
Unsalted Butter 60g, room temperature
Pure Vanilla Essence 1 teaspoon
Molasse ½ cup
Hot Water ½ cup
*Optional: Serve with ice cream and toasted nuts
- Mix the molasse and hot water until combined. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
- Peel, core and cut each pear into 6 wedges. Line a 18cm cake pan or cast iron pan with the pears.
- Except the rum, add the caramel ingredients in a saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Keep whisking until the melted sugar and butter turn into a smooth consistency. Add the rum and whisk till the caramel is smooth and incorporated.
- Pour the caramel over the pears, roughly smooth out.
- In a large bowl, mix well the cake flour, rye flour, cinnamon, sea salt and baking soda.
- In a separate bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla on high speed until creamy. Beat in the egg until combined.
- Mix the molasse water with the egg mix until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth without dry lumps. Pour the batter over into the pan and gently smooth out the top.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes. Insert a cake tester or skewer stick into the cake. If it is removed cleanly, the cake is done.
- Remove the cake from the oven, let it rest in the pan for 20 minutes before running the back of a knife around the rim and flipping it out. Served warm with ice cream and chopped nuts of your choice.
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.