⟨ Food ⟩

Flavors Offered by the Earth

TOYAU

Words / Elva Pang
Photography / Kimio Ng
Translation / Iris Heung

「跟著時節煮菜,就好像送別和迎接的儀式。準備生菜的到來,留意洛神花的位置,懷念已走的龍眼和荔枝。每個季節所生產的食物,都帶著當季的力量。」土丘的高先生說。在他們看來,依時節的耕種、進食,是理所當然的事。「明白與它們相伴的時間是很難得,所以在迎接與送別之間要格外珍惜。」

“Cooking with seasonal ingredients is a continuous ritual of farewells and welcomes. To expect the arrival of lettuce, observe the position of roselle, reminisce the gone longan and lychee, you will realize all seasonal foods actually possess a certain seasonal force,” said Mr. Ko from TOYAU. From their perspective, it is all so natural to farm and eat according to the season. “It’s a blessing to spend time with the seasonal ingredients. So you have to cherish the time between welcoming and bidding farewell to them.”

炎熱的九月,珮琦帶我們走到雜草叢生、像荒地一樣的農田,我被蚊子咬得渾身不自在,她卻好像習慣了。「蚊子都愛欺負新來的人,起初來這裡,我跟你一樣被咬得滿手痕癢,現在牠們都很少咬我了。」珮琦一邊說一邊採摘蕃薯苗,「田裡沒有什麼能收成的,我們的午飯吃蒜片炒蕃薯苗吧!」沒有刻意去栽培什麼,任由土地休養生息或是自然生長出蔬果。「我們都是看看田裡有什麼食物收成便吃什麼,當然也會向本地農夫購買。很多時候都是食材來到面前,才去想該怎樣烹調。」

On a hot September day, Puikei led us through an untidy farm overgrown with weeds. I was so annoyed by the mosquito bites, but she seemed to be just fine with it. “Mosquitoes love to bully the newbies. I also had a hard time with the itchy bumps, but now they seldom bother with me anymore,” said Puikei as she was picking up the sweet potato leaves. “There isn’t much harvest from the farm today. Let’s have stir-fried sweet potato leaves with garlic!” Without much intention on what to nurture, the vegetables and fruits just grow naturally here on the farm. “We simply eat whatever is ready to harvest. Surely we also buy from local farmers sometimes. It’s only until the ingredients are laid down in front of us then we think what to cook.”

「你們是不是本來就懂得煮食?」餵飽蚊子的我也感到餓了,簡單一道蒜片炒蕃薯苗也吃得份外滋味。「我們都是來到土丘才學習的。」細沈拿起手上的碗說:「我的爺爺本來以造陶瓷碗碟為生,碗上面的花紋都是他手繪的,跟現在用機器造的碗不一樣,手造的碗比較薄又輕,花紋看起來細緻生動。我和爺爺本來都是做陶藝的,不知怎麼的,後來都跑去做廚了。」爺爺造的碗對細沈影響很深,也怪不得她一併繼承了爺爺造陶的手藝和廚藝的天份了。

“Have you always been a good cook?” I asked. Feeling hungry after feeding the mosquitoes with my blood, I was so enjoying the simple dish of stir-fried sweet potato leaves. “We only picked up cooking after coming to TOYAU,” said Sum with a bowl in her hand. “My grandpa used to make ceramic wares for a living. All the patterns were hand-painted and look very different from the machine-made wares. Handmade bowls are usually thinner and lighter, with patterns more delicate but vivid. Grandpa and I used to make ceramics together. It was by chance that both of us became chefs.” The bowls made by grandpa had a great influence on Sum, no wonder she has inherited both his grandpa’s craftsmanship in ceramics as well as his talent in cooking.

「每天清早起來下田、煮食和做各樣雜務,在這裡才是確切地學習生活,給我一份實在的安全感。」珮琦續說:「任由它自然生長的檸檬不濃不淡,味道剛剛好。」這種「剛剛好」的確是令人一吃難忘,珮琦做的檸檬撻以素腰果芝士醬代替忌廉芝士,入口一陣清新的檸檬酸味,燕麥造的餅底香脆又有口感。因為太好吃了,此後趁朋友生日又訂了一個,希望能一起分享這種美味。想起高先生曾說,他們希望前來土丘的人都能嘗到本地食材的美味,然後讓味蕾、身體去感受這種美好,並體驗到身體與土地的連結。

“I start working in the farm every early morning, handling the cooking and a bunch of other errands. This is a place to properly learn how to live, which in turn gives me a solid sense of security,” Puikei continued and said, “The naturally grown lemons taste just right with a good balance.” That “good balance” did really taste impressive when I tried the lemon tart she made. Puikei used cashew cream cheese instead of traditional cream cheese for her lemon tart, which is probably the reason why the acidic taste of lemon zest is so refreshing; the crust made from oatmeal is also so crunchy and full of layers. The tart was so delicious that I ordered one for my friend’s birthday so I can share the joy of a satisfying bite. I recalled Mr. Ko once said that he wished people who come to visit TOYAU can enjoy the beauty of local produce, by letting your taste buds and body to feel the blessing of how our earth is connected to our bodies.

除了到土丘吃飯,他們也會做些無添加的醬料、發酵物、風乾物和茶等,學習承傳村民和農夫的智慧,保存當季的蔬果食物。我買了花生醬來試試,混合了古洞蕉徑的紅皮花生和從國內生態農場挑選的有機白皮花生,經人手剝殼、篩選、連衣烘烤,再以人手去皮。剩著餘溫打磨成碎,讓花生自然出油,配上有機初榨橄欖油、菲律賓公平貿易有機黑糖和貢布公平貿易有機海鹽調味,使花生的香氣四溢。配搭Wanho做的有機蘋果肉麵包,既香甜又惹味。原本還加訂了檸檬撻,不過細沈說農夫給了他們幾箱賣不完的蘋果,要想辦法好好利用,所以做了蘋果撻和蘋果肉做饀料的手工麵包給我,此後我的身體又記住了這蘋果撻和麵包的味道,心裡擔憂以後不能再吃到這種滋味。本地的農田面對城市發展而不斷消失,暗示能嘗到本地食材的機會只會愈來愈少,叫人更珍惜食物自給的美好。

On top of serving meals at TOYAU, people here also produce some addictive-free sauces, fermented foods, dried foods, and tea, etc. A piece of wisdom is well inherited from villagers and farmers by preserving the seasonal produce. I bought the peanut butter to try myself. The peanuts used are a mix of redskin peanuts from Tsiu Keng in Kwu Tung and selected white-skin peanuts grown organically in farms in mainland China. Every peanut is peeled, screened, roasted and deskinned by hands. The lukewarm peanuts are then ground into bits and powder to release natural oil. Blended with extra virgin olive oil, fairtrade organic brown sugar from the Philippines and organic sea salt from Kampot, the peanut butter is utterly full of fragrance. It was a perfect combination when spread on the organic apple bun made by Wanho. I was actually trying to make an extra order of lemon tart but Sum just told me that the farmers had given them a few boxes of unsold apples, and therefore they came up with the idea of making me apple tart and apple bun. Since my body has already memorized the taste of the apple tart and bun, I began to worry that I would never get to experience that taste again. Our local farms are continually fading out in the face of urban development, implying we would have less chance to taste local produce. This is a great opportunity to remind people to cherish self-sustainable food culture.

本地花生醬

成分:有機白皮花生(中國),本地種植紅皮花生(香港蕉徑),有機初榨橄欖油(意大利),公平貿易有機黑糖(菲律賓),公平貿易貢布海鹽(柬埔寨)

Locally Produced Peanut Butter

Ingredients: Organic white-skin peanuts (mainland China), Locally farmed redskin peanuts (Tsiu Keng, Hong Kong), Extra virgin olive oil (Italy), Fairtrade organic brown sugar (the Philippines), Fairtrade organic sea salt (Kampot, Cambodia)

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