⟨ Food ⟩

The Mismatch Taste

Hojicha Cake

Words and Photography / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

1.
由起子從冰箱裡取出牛油,要切多少呢?手指一滑,手機屏幕沾滿了麵粉,放大食譜文字,屏幕便給牛油沾得油亮油亮了。只是個簡單不過的蛋糕食譜,竟也夠她手忙腳亂。

2.
「我為你做了焙茶(Hoji Cha ?)蛋糕啊。」

陽太打開門,迎來的是一個紙袋。玄關有點暗,走廊的燈光慘白,即使是背著光源,奈津的笑容仍閃閃發亮。陽太請奈津到屋裡坐,突然想起要把昨天買的新拖鞋拿出來。奈津看著粉紅色的拖鞋面帶猶毅:「我可以先把襪子脫下吹一吹風嗎?」

陽太這才發現奈津的裙襬都沾濕了,貼在小腿腹上,手提著的雨傘滴滴答答。六月天,梅雨季節,雨從早上一直下個沒完。「車子停得有點遠,才走一段路腳就濕透了。」奈津說。

陽太想接過奈津脫下的襪子,奈津卻一把將陽太手上的衣架搶過來,臉帶緬腆地說:「我自己來就好了。」奈津踮著腳,舉起手臂,把襪子掛在浴室的抽氣扇前,陽太決定先去泡茶,免得自己的眼睛一直離不開奈津的身影。

3.
牛油溶化後,由起子把砂糖倒進去,仔細地攪拌著。廚房之內每個角落都染滿了牛油香,由起子深吸一口氣,滿心滿肺都是甜膩。

4.
奈津抬頭昂望著陽太書架,眼睛從一本書脊滑至另一本書脊。

「這些書你都看過了嗎?」

「大部分都沒看過呢。」陽太笑說。

「你在忙著寫研究論文吧。」

「嗯,還想參加一些攝影比賽,正在拍作品。」

「你的作品一定很獨特的。」

「嗯⋯⋯但我只想拍普通的照片。」

「紀錄著日常生活的照片。」

「嗯。」陽太不知怎地尷尬起來。

「抓住日常風景裡若有若無的氣氛的照片。」奈津看著陽太眼睛說,陽太忍俊不禁,想不到奈津會記得自己說過的話。

「我們來喝茶吧。」陽太說。

5.
將麵粉倒了一半進牛油及蛋液裡時,由起子才想起自己忘了篩麵粉了,她趕忙把沒沾濕的麵粉撈起來,跟剩下來一起倒進篩子裡。麵粉輕輕柔柔地灑落,如雪。

6.
陽太把家裡唯一的椅子讓給奈津,一手裡拿著托盤,一手把桌上的手提電腦放到地上,又推開了一些參考書,總算騰出了空間用來放蛋糕及茶,在床緣坐下後,把床上的沉重紙袋交給奈津。

「攝影集我都看過了,很喜歡,但看過後很怕自己會無意識地模仿了。」

「得花很大的力氣,才能擺脫自己喜歡的作品的影響呢。」奈津接過紙袋,隨即放在地上。

「謝謝你特意跑一趟呢。」瞥到奈津撐開自己赤腂的腳指頭,又合上,又撐開,陽太不小心便細意注視了。腳指頭給雨水泡得發白了。

「反正有車,方便。」奈津用眼睛瞄一下紙袋,笑說:「等一下肯定會忘記拿走。」

雨越來越大,打在窗櫺上,自狹小的縫隙濺到陽太的臉上。

「⋯⋯ 若忘記了的話⋯⋯你可以再來拿嗎?」陽太的聲音小得幾乎被窗外的雨聲淹沒了。

奈津沉默著,陽太不肯定她有否聽到。他吃了一口奈津做的焙茶蛋糕,牛油香溫溫吞吞的,包裹著焙茶如火般剛烈的芳香。

「忘了拿就糟了,因為我丈夫趕著用這幾本書。」奈津呷了一口茶,「你的焙茶真好喝。焙茶跟焙茶蛋糕,味道太相近,反而好像有點不搭。」

陽太看著笑意盈盈的奈津,心想:雨為甚麼還不停呢?

7.
由起子聽到鑰匙旋動的聲音,她知道是陽太出差回來了。她趕忙把焙茶蛋糕在烤箱裡取出,她要在陽太步入家門的一刻,把蛋糕奉在他臉前,在給他擁抱之前,對他說:「我為你做了焙茶蛋糕啊!」

1.
Yukiko opened the fridge to get some butter. How much butter should she cut? Sliding her finger on the screen, her cell phone instantly got dusty with flour; trying to zoom in to see the text, the screen then got glossy from the butter. Such simple recipe was already tricky enough to make her flustered.

2.
“I’ve baked a Hojicha cake for you.”

Hatuta opened the door and saw a paper bag. The entrance was a little dark, the lights in the hallway were too white in color. Natsu’s smile was glittering although she was standing against the light. Hatuta invited Natsu in. He suddenly remembered to bring out the new pair of slippers he bought yesterday. Looking at the pink slippers, Natsu seemed to have a little concern, “Can I first take off my socks and dry them?”

Only then did Hatuta notice Natsu’s skirt was so damp that it was sticking to her calves. The umbrella in her hand was still dripping. June is the rainy season, it had been raining since early this morning. “I parked my car a little far, my feet already got all wet from this short walk,” said Natsu.

Hatuta wanted to take over the socks Natsu just took off, but she grabbed the hanger from Hatuta and said shyly, “Let me do it myself.” She walked up on her tip toe, raised her hands and hung her socks in front of the bathroom ventilation fan. Hatuta decided to brew some tea so he would not keep staring at Natsu.

3.
Yukiko poured the sugar into the melted butter and stirred carefully. The fragrance of butter filled up every corner of the kitchen. She took a deep breath, her entire body was filled with the sweetness.

4.
Natsu looked up at Hatuta’s bookshelf and glanced at the books’ spines one by one.

“Have you read all of them?”

“I haven’t read most of them,” Hatuta said jokingly.

“Are you busy with your thesis?”

“Yeah. I’m also taking some pictures for a photography competition.”

“The photos you shoot must be very special.”

“Hm… But I only want to take usual photos.”

“A documentation of everyday life.”

“Right.” Hatuta felt embarrassed for some reason.

“Photos that catch the subtle atmosphere in everyday life,” Natsu said while looking into Hatuta’s eyes. Hatuta could not help laughing, he was surprised she would remember his words.

“Let’s have some tea,” said Hatuta.

5.
When pouring half of the flour into the butter-egg mix, Yukiko suddenly realized she had forgotten to sieve the flour. She quickly spooned out the flour that had not been touched by the mix and sieved it together with the rest of the flour. It gently fell onto the mix like snow falling.

6.
Hatuta let Natsu sit on the only chair in his place. He held the tray with one hand and put his laptop onto the floor with the other. He then pushed away his reference books to give some space for the cake and the tea. He sat by the bed, took the heavy paper bag from his bag and passed it to Natsu.

“I’ve had a look at all these photobooks. I like them a lot, but I am so worried that I would unconsciously imitate them.”

“It is a great effort to pay to avoid being influenced by works you like.” She took the bag and put it on the floor.

“Thank you for coming.” Hatuta caught Natsu spreading and closing her toes, he was watching without thinking. Her toes got so pale as they were soaked in rainwater.

“It’s a short ride to drive.” She glanced at the paper bag and said, “I’m sure I would forget to take it with me.”

Rain was getting heavier. It hit on the window lattice and splashed onto Hatuta’s face through a tiny gap.

“In case you really forget… would you come again to pick them up?” His voice was so low that it almost got muted by the rain outside of the window.

Natsu remained silent, Hatuta was not sure if she could hear him. He had a bite of the hojicha cake Natsu made. The strong fragrance of the hojicha tea was nicely wrapped by that of the butter.

“I definitely cannot forget, my husband needs these books urgently.” Natsu had a sip of the tea, “Your hojicha tea tastes so nice, but hojicha tea and hojicha cake have such a similar taste, they somehow don’t go well together.”

Looking at Natsu’s cheerful face, Hatuta was only wondering why wouldn’t the rain stop.

7.
Yukiko heard the key turning in the lock, she knew it must be Hatuta returning from his work trip. She rushed to take out the hojicha cake from the oven as she wanted to present it to Hatuta once he entered the door. Before he even hugged her, she would say, “I’ve baked a hojicha cake for you!”

焙茶蛋糕

材料:
無鹽牛津 80 克、糖 60 克、雞蛋 2 個、麵粉 100克、泡打粉 2 克、焙茶 2 大匙、牛奶 1 大匙

做法:
1. 將牛奶加熱後,加入 1 大匙茶葉;
2. 把牛油溶化,加入糖,攪拌均勻;
3. 雞蛋打散後,拌入混了牛奶的茶葉,再加入 (2),拌勻;
4. 麵粉及泡打粉過篩;
5. 把(3)逐點拌入(4),最後加入 1 大匙茶葉,略為攪拌;
6. 將(6)倒入蛋糕模中
7. 烤箱預熱至180度後,將蛋糕放進,烤30分鐘。完成。

Hojicha cake

Ingredients:
80g unsalted butter, 60g sugar, 2 eggs, 100g flour, 2g baking powder, 2 tbsp Hojicha, 1 tbsp milk

Steps:
Warm the milk; add 1 tbsp of tea leaves.
Melt the butter, add sugar and mix well.
Whisk the eggs, mix with the milk with tea leaves. Add the butter with sugar and mix well.
Sieve the flour and baking powder.
Slowly pour mix (3) into (4). Add 1 tbsp of tea leaves in and stir.
Pour the batter into the cake tin.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Ready to serve.