It rained in the middle of the night. Shen Shaoguang was awakened by the faint sound of thunder, listening to how heavy the rain was, perhaps it would help the drought this time. And she remembered the emperor did pray for rain half a month ago, a smile showed around the corners of her mouth. Seems like God gave his earthly son some face, otherwise it would be quite embarrassing.
Shen Shaoguang wrapped the cloth quilt around her and closed her eyes peacefully. It was nice to have a rainy day since she did not have to work and could continue sleeping.
The small vendors could be lazy because of the rain, but not for those who went to the court.
Lin Yan sat in the carriage and saw Lushi Liu Feng was standing not far away with an umbrella in his hands. He wore weave straw sandals as he waited in the rain with his head low. Perhaps the ground was slippery, so he dared not ride a horse and wanted to walk to the court.
Lin Yan indicated the servant outside of his carriage, then one of them jumped down from the horse and walked towards Liu Feng.
Liu Feng turned around, he first bowed at Lin Yan's carriage from a distance, then said a few words to the servant, and walked over together.
When he got into the carriage, Liu Feng was slightly abashed, and his stomach was rumbling at this time. Liu Feng's face suddenly burned up, only hoping that the sound of the rain outside would cover it up.
Lin Yan took a glance at him.
Blushing, Liu Feng crossed his arms and spoke. “I was being impolite.”
“It’s fine.” Lin Yan slightly smiled, then paused for a moment and said: “Is that Jianbing really that tasty?” There was clearly a man in a straw raincoat selling Hubing over there.
Liu Feng's face became redder and redder, he stuttered: “I, I-”
Lin Yan slightly raised his hand.
Liu Feng shut his mouth and sat still.
Lin Yan closed his eyes to rest.
Shen Shaoguang kept her words, she only woke up around seven to nine o’clock. She washed up slowly and then held her umbrella out to eat outside. She ate a bowl of chicken wontons, the skin was not thin enough and the filling was too little, only the soup base had some taste.
After wandering around, she bought some rice and vegetables, and slowly walked back. When she arrived at the back door of Shen Family’s old residence, she saw a *asiatic apple sticking out from the courtyard wall dropping its petals. Tsk, it was a poetic scene seeing the rain drops hitting the petals and the heavy door showing silence.
*A flower of Malus spectabilis species
Shen Shaoguang searched her memory and actually found some impressions of this asiatic apple. The original body’s mother loved to collect their petals, not to bury them, but to blend them with rouge, saying “its color is unique”. When her father came over, he would flirt with a smile and say, “unfortunately, there is no fragrance”, which would make her mother stare at him angrily, but not long after her laughter would burst out.
Then Shen Shaoguang thought about the days in her mother’s room, she was once a lady as beautiful yet fragile like asiatic apple, how was she able to withstand that kind of torture? It was only a year she endured it before she passed away, leaving the original body’s owner who was only nine years old alone to survive through it. And then another year passed, the original body’s owner left just like her mother did, it was at that moment the body was replaced by her, a guest from another world.
Shen Shaoguang looked at this “home" that had not lived in before, just thinking of the old days from her memories made her quite emotional.
She heard that the one who lived in it now was Jingzhao Shaoyin, a high official in scarlet robes. Although they had been neighbors for days now, she never found out what he looked like. I wonder when will this vice mayor of Chang'an inspect the situation of street food…Shen Shaoguang was amused by her own sense of humor. She held up the umbrella, kicking the water piles as she walked back to the convent.
When she was back, she soaked some glutinous rice, read two pages of books and wrote a few lines, with that, her morning ended.
For lunch, she simply made some noodle slices, put some small vegetables and knocked on an egg in it, which turned into a bowl of vegetable noodle soup, which was also served with two spoons of homemade spicy garlic sauce.
After her lunch, she took a lazy break, then got up to make food.
Because she bought some fine glutinous rice today, she decided to make *Aiwowo.
*A traditional dessert.
The palace of this dynasty also often made desserts, including stuff like Crystal Dragon and Phoenix cake, Purple Dragon cake, Jade Beam cake, there was also Cocoon cake, Chrysanthemum cake, Makudzu cake and so on made specially for New Year's Day. The names were very fancy, but they did not really suit Shen Shaoguang's appetite - perhaps it was because the Tang people prefer desserts to be very sweet. Thinking about it, they would even pour cane syrup when they ate cherries. Therefore, every spring and summer, Shen Shaoguang would miss the Aiwowo made in her previous life.
It was not troublesome to make Aiwowo. The soft glutinous rice was kneaded into glutinous rice dough then divided into small doses and pressed into a skin. It was filled with various fillings, such as hawthorn, sesame, date paste and red bean paste.
After wrapping it up, it was rolled on cooked glutinous rice flour, it became fluffy white. It was said that there were some rolled on cooked flour instead, but she had always used cooked glutinous rice flour, she thought glutinous rice flour was more authentic.
The one Shen Shaoguang made today was different from what she ate before, the difference was not in the glutinous rice flour, but in the filling. She used the peony flower marinade she made the other day as filling.
There was a big peony tree in the convent, with hundreds of flowers in full bloom, it looked very prosperous with a brilliant crimson color. Shen Shaoguang picked up a lot of peony petals and wanted to make two flower sacks, but suddenly remembered the famous rose brine from “Dream of the Red Chamber”, so she changed her mind and pounded the flowers with a mortar and pickled them with sugar and honey. A few days later, it actually tasted quite nice.
Since she was too lazy to make other fillings now, she could use it.
This Aiwowo with peony brine filling looked great, with snow-white skin and sweet red filling, reminiscent of phrases like pink face and sandalwood mouth.
Shen Shaoguang placed them in a white plate and brought them to share with the abbot who loved delicacies.
“What a fine thing!” The abbot smiled before she even tasted it.
And when she did, she was shocked: “Are these peony flowers?”
Shen Shaoguang smiled, “Isn’t there a peony tree in the courtyard? I borrowed them to make a treat for you.”
The abbot smiled as she tapped Shen Shaoguang with her hands. They chatted from time to time, till now they developed a deep friendship even if there was an age gap between them.
“We ate peony petals before too, though they were fried ones. However, it was not as fragrant and sweet as yours are, even the color of yours seems better.”
Shen Shaoguang did not hide her secret, she told her the way she brine the peony, and they discussed how to improve it.
With fresh tea, they finished that plate of Aiwowo. Shen Shaoguang ate two, Jingqing ate two too while the other four left were eaten by the abbot.
Even so, the abbot still was not very satisfied.
Shen Shaoguang smiled: “It's the perfect time of year to have this candied peony filling, but usually a bean filling or date paste is fine.”
The abbot suddenly remembered, “It will be summer in a few days. Compared to this flower cake, the steam bean cake we used to make in the convent was too rough, so why not replace it with Aiwowo this year?”
Jingqing quickly agreed. Shen Shaoguang thought it was nice for a Buddhist nun to reach the level of being an abbot.
But afterwards, Jingqing came to ask Shen Shaoguang for help, “If this cake is just for us to eat in the convent, I wouldn't dare to come and ask for young lady’s help. But it is an annual festival food, we will always send them around the neighborhood as a gift. If it is not done well, we might become a joke in others' eyes.” Jingqing bowed, “Please guide me.”
Since Shen Shaoguang lived here, of course she would have to help in such small things, so she agreed.
Due to the limited manpower and the large amount, Shen Shaoguang suggested doing red bean paste filling - because whether it was steamed, pounded or strained, it was troublesome to make no matter the amount it was.
At this moment, red bean paste filling was a valuable thing, not because the ingredients were expensive, but because it was very troublesome to make. It was said that the best red bean paste was made in the GuoGuo Lady's Residence during the Tianbao period, and it was called “Ling Sha Hui”. The bean paste was also once put into the glutinous rice cake, which was pounded in a translucent manner to reveal the color of the filling, it was called “Tou Hua Ji”.
While watching Shen Shaoguang direct the Buddhist nun who was in charge of the kitchen to fry the red bean paste, the abbot told her the story: “In the early years, there was a dessert workshop in Chang'an East City, and the “Tou Hua Ji” there was made with great care. Because of how well made it was, the owner of the shop was assigned as the foreign official, which is known as the flower dessert foreign official.”
Shen Shaoguang smiled; it was true that there are masters in every walk of life. But it’s a pity that I am a woman, otherwise I can also consider taking this path to enter the civil service.
Jingci stood on the side and was inevitably surprised as she heard the small talk between Shen Shaoguang and the abbot. She had never seen the abbot so talkative and cheerful before. Could it be that Young Lady Shen bewitched the abbot? Looking at those red beans paste filling, she inevitably started calculating the silver money used, and how much basket money they could get back from other families.