⟨ Yum ⟩

Reality is a fabrication of memory labyrinth.

Cold Dan Dan Noodles

Words & photography / Jo

我拿起玻璃碟子,把最後一口蔥油拌麵撥進口裡。隔着滿是油清碟子看風景,樹木林蔭化成模糊,成為斑斑駁駁的綠,一片深深淺淺的綠,我想起一幅莫奈的作品。

在拍賣行工作的短日子裡,碰巧遇上莫奈的拍賣預展,當中有一幅作品,在外國的博物館和美術館都沒有見過,描畫一道森林小徑,綠蔭蔽天,遍地小草青苔,蒼蒼鬱鬱。站在油畫前,人彷彿走進氤氳繚繞的森林裡,遠處卻有一道引路的陽光。我好喜歡。

特別喜歡印象派的畫作,畫家落筆快速,筆觸如斑如點,在看似隨心的濕漉色塊間,記下當刻稍縱即逝的光線與風景。在畫作前,賞畫的人詮譯的未必是現實中的風景,或許更貼近畫家心裡對風景的印象,或是他想呈現的畫面。現實與回憶,總是如此牽引着彼此。

很多時候,我們借食物和味道回到過去,希望重遊某段回憶,那段你珍而重之的回憶。回顧,是為了不要失去,是怕忘記,因此重覆做着同一款菜式、去同一家餐廳,以為自己專屬的味道,就是通向回憶的森林小徑。回憶寶貴,是因為沒法重來,逝者如斯,人卻沒法看見眼前的美好。心裡住着那個味道、那個街角、那個我們想要的世界模樣,眼睛看到的、舌頭嚐到的、腳下踏着的,也是我們希望的模樣,見山不是山。

現實是回憶中的構想,很主觀,一切唯心造,回憶如是,味道如是。或許放下一些回憶包袱,才能夠見山還是山。

Holding the glass plate, I swept the last bite of noodle with scallion oil into my mouth. Looking through the oil-stained glass, the trees outside became motley of greens, light and dark, reminding me of a painting by Claude Monet.

In my brief time working with an auction house, there was an auction preview of Monet’s works, and one of which I had never seen at museums or galleries I visited abroad. It depicted a path in forest where green shades covered the skies, grass and mosses blanketed the earth, composing shades of green. Standing in front of the painting, I felt like having walked into a hazy misty forest and at the end of the path, there was a beam of sunlight guiding you through. I adored the painting.

 I’m fond of impressionist paintings – in the swift brushstrokes dotted across the canvas, the artists capture the fleeting moment of light and scenery in patches of seemingly casual wet strokes. When we appreciate a painting, what we interpret may not be the actual scenery in real life but the scenery in the artist’s memory or the memory he would like to bring to life. Reality and memory, they are so always involved with each other. 

A lot of time, we wish to revisit an episode in memory, that precious episode of memory, with the help of food and flavours. We look back because we do not want to lose it and forget it. By repeating the same recipe or visiting the same restaurants, we take a trip memory lane in the forest guided by your familiar one-and-only flavours. The fact that memory is precious is because we can never rewind and repeat time. All bygones, masking the beauty at present we ought to see. When that flavours, that junction and that world we wish to behold reside in our mind, what we see with the eyes, taste with the tongue and step upon with our soles are nothing but the render of our mind. 

Reality, a fabrication of memory, is subjective. All things are created by one’s mind, so are memory and flavours. Perhaps, when we offload some of the memories that we can see the world as it is.

涼拌擔擔麵 (二人份)

花椒油材料:
花椒                        ½ 湯匙
八角                        2
丁香                        5
原條乾指天椒        5
                            2
米糠油                   ½

做法:

  1. 中火燒熱米糠油(也可用菜油),除花椒外,其他材料加入鍋內,以慢火熬至香料的香氣散發,約3-5分鐘。
  2. 花椒放在耐熱瓶子裡,澆上滾油,放涼即可。

 

花生芝麻醬材料

鮮磨無調味花生醬 1/3
芝麻醬                    1/3
芝麻碎                    2湯匙
食水                        4湯匙
海鹽                        1/3 茶匙

做法:

  1. 將所有材料混合至幼滑,不同牌子的醬料味道各異,宜按口味再加減鹽量。若過份濃稠,可再添食水混合。
  2. 放到雪櫃備用。

 

麵條材料 (也可用現成白麵):

00號麵粉               200
海鹽                        2
清水                        90
冰水                        1 

做法:

  1. 麵粉、海鹽清水混和,揉至稍稍光滑。開始揉麵時,麵糰會較乾身呈鬆散狀,太乾的話可以加1-2 茶匙清水。
  2. 麵糰蓋上布巾,靜置1小時。
  3. 拿出麵糰,稍稍壓平,切半成兩份。
  4. 在食物攪拌器加上壓麵機配件,調至最闊的設定,將其中一份麵糰壓平兩次。
  5. 調窄一度,麵糰壓平兩次。
  6. 再調窄一度,麵糰壓平兩次,麵糰片最後應約1-2毫米厚。
  7. 麵糰片上灑上麵粉。
  8. 換上意粉切麵條配件,將麵糰片切成細麵條,灑上麵粉以防黏着。
  9. 燒一大鍋水,水沸後煮麵,約兩分鐘,撈起放到冰水裡。
  10. 夾起麵條放到大碗裡,加上3湯匙花生芝麻醬,澆上花椒油,綴以蔥粒及芝麻即可。

Cold Dan Dan Noodles (For two)

Sichuan Peppercorn Oil Ingredients:

Sichuan peppercorn   ½ tablespoon
Star anise                2 pieces
Clove                       5 pieces
Dried hot pepper    5 pieces
Ginger                     2 slices
Rice bran oil            ½ cup

Steps:

  1. Heat up the rice bran oil (or vegetable oil) over medium heat. Except the Sichuan peppercorn, add all ingredients to the pot. Simmer over low heat, for about 3-5 minutes, till you smell the fragrance of the spices.
  2. Put the Sichuan peppercorn in a heat-proof container and pour the sizzling spice oil over it. Let cool.

 

Peanut and Sesame Sauce Ingredients:

Freshly ground peanut butter        1/3 cup
Sesame sauce                                 1/3 cup
Ground sesame                               2 tablespoon
Drinking water                                4 tablespoon
Sea salt                                            1/3 teaspoon

Steps:

  1. Mix all ingredients till smooth. As the taste of the sauces from different brands varies, taste and adjust the amount of salt to your liking. If the consistency of the sauce is too thick, add more drinking water.
  2. Put the sauce into the fridge.

 

Noodles ingredients (or use store-bought white noodles):

Tipo 00 flour           200g
Sea salt                    2g
Water                      90g
Ice water                 1 big bowl

Steps:

  1. Mix the flour, sea salt and water till you get a shabby dough. When you first knead the dough, it will be dry and loose. Add 1-2 teaspoon of water if it is too dry.
  2. Cover the dough in a kitchen towel. Let sit for 1 hour.
  3. Take the dough out, roll it even and slightly flatter, and cut it into 2 equal halves.
  4. Attach the pasta roller on your food processor. Feed the dough through the roller twice in the widest setting. 
  5. Reduce the width setting, feed the noodle sheet into the roller twice.
  6. Reduce the width setting again, feed the noodle sheet into the roller twice. The noodle sheets now should be 1-2mm thick.
  7. Dust your noodle sheets with flour.
  8. Attach the spaghetti cutter to the food processor, feed the cutter with the noodle sheets. Dust the fresh noodles with flour to avoid them from sticking.
  9. Boil a big pot of water. Cook the noodles for about 2 minutes in boiling water. Drain the noodles and put them into ice water.
  10. Drain the noodles, put them into a bowl, spoon over 3 tablespoon of peanut and sesame sauce, and drizzle with Sichuan peppercorn oil. Garnish with scallion and sesame seeds.

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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