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Floating Islands

Words & Photography / Jo

這年頭,每每忘記了日子。

處理文件雜務需要填寫日期時,總得看看電話上顯示的日子。哦,都月中了。哦,該是繳帳單的時候了。哦,原來快是誰和誰的生日了。也許是自己心不在焉,也許是這年過得不如過去般踏實篤定。動蕩,日常卻是無風也無浪。只是平靜海洋下,暗湧處處。

這年都快過去了。

過去兩、三年,總想在不安之中抓緊甚麼,人如在茫茫大海之中,載浮載沉,猶如隨水飄浮的小島。張開眼睛,只見滄茫的藍,可望而不可即的地平線,伸手猶不可及的日和月;合上眼,也只聽得喧囂的安靜。蕩着蕩着,心裡想要一艘小木筏、一片朽木,甚至一朵浮萍也好,希冀可以捉緊甚麼,確實的握在手心裡。

孤寂無礙,折騰是看不見的彼岸,那份在心裡浪蕩徘徊的不安。

無助。我在書本中尋找附和、走進山林裡豎起耳朵聽日落的回音、在雲霧間看葉脈裡的生命流動,去找那一個讓心安定的錨,然而,一切未竟。我回到自己的小沙發上,坐下,呼吸,觀照自己,凝視生命。月復月的靜觀,慢慢沉澱,覺察思緒的流動和念頭的生與滅,感受每一部分的自己。心裡安靜澄明,便看見那個錨,不在天、不在山、不在文字之間,是在每個呼和吸之中。

This year, days went by without being remembered. 

When filling in documents, I had to check for what date it is today on the phone. Right, it’s already mid-month; right, it’s time to pay the utilities; right, it’s about his and her birthday. Perhaps my mind was away or it has just been a year of insecurity, unlike the past. Life looked calm amidst unrest, yet there were undercurrents beneath the seemingly calm sea. 

The year is passing by soon. 

In the past two or three years, out of an unsettling mind, I tried to hold on to something. Drifting in the sea, trembling along the wave, I felt like a rootless island floating around. Eyes opened, I saw only an endless blue, boundless horizon faraway, and the sun and the moon one could never reach; eyes closed, I could hear was the outcry of silence. Adrift in the sea, I hoped for a humble raft, a piece of decayed wood or a petal of duckweed even. Just something tangible to hold in my hands, anything. 

Solitude did not matter, what tortured was the shore that could not be seen and the unsettled mind trembling deep in the heart.  

Feeling helpless, I turned to excessive reading in search of the same voice, walked into the woods to listen to the echo of the sunset, and foraged into the mist and cloud to read the flow of life running in leaf veins. I looked for that anchor to settle my agitated mind, yet, all in vain. I returned to my small couch, sat down, breathed, looked into myself and gazed at life. Thoughts sunk through months of meditation and I was aware of their flow, where they came and where they went. And I was aware of my existence, every part of it. When my mind grew quiet and clear, I saw the anchor. It was not in the skies, in the woods not in between lines. It was there in every breath, all the time. 

雲呢拿奶酪與蛋白霜

材料:
中型雞蛋 5隻
牛奶 500毫升
糖霜 140克
純雲呢拿香精 1 茶匙
塔塔粉 ¼ 茶匙
海鹽 1 小撮

做法:

  1. 分開蛋白和蛋黃,放在兩個碗裡。
  2. 奶酪做法:蛋黃加入糖霜,發打至淺黃色。牛奶加入雲呢拿香精煮至微微沸騰,倒一半到蛋黃液裡,一邊倒牛奶一邊攪拌。拌勻後,倒回去牛奶鍋裡,小火煮至濃稠,需不停攪拌。奶酪濃稠至可以覆蓋湯匙即可,放涼後放進雪櫃裡備用。
  3. 蛋白霜做法:蛋白發打至起泡,加入塔塔粉和海鹽。分4次加入糖霜,每次20克,發打蛋白至光滑發亮及挺身。
  4. 用一個闊口平底鍋,水煮至微微沸騰。用兩隻湯匙把蛋白霜塑成橄欖形,輕輕放到熱水裡。每面燙煮90秒,然後反轉。煮好後撈起瀝水,放在焗盤上放涼。
  5. 小碗裡倒入冷凍了的奶酪,然後放上蛋白霜即可。

Floating Islands

Ingredients: 

Medium eggs 5pcs
Milk 500ml
Caster sugar 140g
Pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
Cream of tartar ¼ teaspoon
Sea salt A pinch

Steps:

  1. Separate the egg white and yolks into two big bowls. 
  2. Make the custard: Add 60g of caster sugar into the egg yolks, whisk up into a pale yellow mixture. Bring the milk to simmer and add the vanilla extract. Keep whisking, pour half of the milk into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the mixture back into the milk pot. Cook the mixture in low heat while keep stirring. When the custard is thick enough to coat the bottom of a spoon, it is ready. Cool it down and keep it in the fridge. 
  3. Make the meringue: Beat the egg white until it becomes foamy, and then add the cream of tartar and sea salt. 20g each time, gradually add the caster sugar. Beat until the meringue is shiny with stiff peaks. 
  4. Using a wide pan, bring water to simmer. Quenelle the meringue and push it into the water bath. Poach each side for 90 seconds, and then flip it over. Scoop the meringues out and leave them cool down on a baking tray. 
  5. Ladle the cold custard in a bowl and add the meringue. Ready to serve.

Jo Liu

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.

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