Word count: 3782
Lin Ke Song’s Mixed mushroom pork noodles
“Then I won’t let you be together with Xiao Xue.”
“Since that’s the case, why don’t you sacrifice yourself, and get together with me?” Song Yi Ran tilted his head, and smiled like a cat that had just finished a fish.
Lin Ke Song gave him a pat at the back of his head, too lazy to bother about him.
Sometimes she really wanted to ask this bastard, if she really said “Okay ah”, what kind of expression will you show.
At night, Uncle cooked a whole table of fine dishes, he was glad when he saw that Lin Ke Song was back, but Xiao Xue at the side constantly had a frozen face.
“it’s so rare for you, Ke Song to be back, and even Yi Ran’s joined us. In the past, for these kind of occasions, it’s always been Xiao Xue and I celebrating. Last year’s birthday, this girl even went out with her friends for a picnic at the national park, totally forgot about her father!”
“Dad! Didn’t I get you a present to make up for it?” Lin Xiao Xue glanced at Song Yi Ran.
She still minded how Song Yi Ran viewed her.
But Lin Ke Song was very shocked. Beforehand, Uncle was even suspicious of Song Yi Ran because he was too good looking, worried that Lin Ke Song would really date him and get hurt and whatnot. Now he didn’t even call him Mr Song and all that, but even called him “Yi Ran”. Just what soup did this chap make Uncle drink?
Uncle laughed, turned to Lin Ke Song and said: “are you learning well at your teacher’s? an average Michelin chef tends to be very busy. Did he teach you anything?”
“Because I’ve hardly ever stepped in the kitchen, everything is being taught from the basics. Like understanding ingredients, the methods of cutting ah, and differentiating the different level of flavours and more.”
“That means you haven’t learnt to cook a single dish?” Lin Xian Xue chillily said a sentence, “you have two more months to the start of that competition of yours, you being like that is to be cannon fodder there?”
“Xiao Xue!” Uncle lowered his voice.
“what I meant was that you dad, have to give cousin some face. What understanding ingredients ah, what cutting thing and flavours and whatnot, it’s obviously the other party doing what is perfunctory. It is a Michelin star head chef, how is it possible that they’d teach a rookie personally. It’s totally a waste of time.” Lin Xiao Xue turned her face, rolled her eyes.
This girl’s vengeful heart is really strong ah.
“Don’t bother about her, her temper is just like that!” Uncle sighed, and said softly to Lin Xiao Xue, “we still have a guest here today, how ugly do you want to show yourself?”
“anyway don’t you think that this daughter isn’t as filial as this niece? Then you let her make a bowl of noodles for you! In any case, today is your birthday!”
“You……” Uncle chocked, and could only shake his head.
Lin Xiao Xue’s attitude made Lin Ke Song feel gradually awkward.
“Then just make a bowl of noodles.” Song Yi Ran said patting Lin Ke Song’s shoulder, “You just came to New York, and Uncle Lin has been taking care of you the whole time. You just make a bowl of noodles for him ba. No matter if it were good or bad, it’s all about the intentions.”
Once Song Yi Ran said that, Lin Ke Song also felt that it was good. Gifting of the birthday cake and whatnot, it was all prepared by Jiang Qian Fan, even the money wasn’t paid by her.
And the image that appeared in her mind was of that night, when Jiang Qian Fan made a bowl of mixed mushroom and pork noodles for her.
His every move, every step done, were all remembered vividly by her.
She too wanted to try it out, if Jiang Qian Fan were not by her side, would she really be unable to do anything.
“Okay ah, Uncle, I’ll make a bowl of noodles for you. Song Yi Ran, you accompany my Uncle and drink some beer!”
“Okay ah, make more. I’ve only ever eaten your instant noodles! Let me snitch off Uncle’s honour ba.”
“Can ah, even if it’s not good you have to eat it all.”
“No problem ah.”
Lin Ke Song laughed to the kitchen next room. This was the place where Uncle cooked for the family.
She found pork, mushrooms, made sure of all the ingredients, and buckwheat noodles. She put water to boil, and according to Jiang Qian Fan’s method, cut the mushrooms, sliced the pork. Smashed the garlic clove, prepared the ginger, and marinated the pork.
Jiang Qian Fan once said, the difference between a top chef and an average chef wasn’t the process, but the details. These details include the amount and degree.
Lin Ke Song first stir-fried the water content in the mushroom away, and put aside. Put a few ice cubes in the boiling soup, to increase the texture of the noodles. in her mind it was totally Jiang Qian Fan’s figure, she imitated all his movements and steps based on her memory.
Until the end, she gave the noodles a good mix, used the chopsticks to pick up a little strand and sent it into her mouth.
She blinked her eyes, even though the layers of flavours weren’t as rich as Jiang Qian Fan’s, the pork was somewhat a little old, but she was very satisfied with the result of cooking for the first time.
As she was putting the noodles on the table, Lin Ke Song thought in her heart. When she was stir-frying the pork slices, she should have adjusted the strength of the flames, should have had less hesitation when stir-frying, the mushrooms were a little late in being stir-fried with the pork slices.
Uncle looked very happy when he saw the noodles: “Aiya, this is mixed mushroom pork noodles ah! In the past when Xiao Xue’s mom was still around, she made it frequently for me!”
“You really made it? Looks pretty good ah, but we don’t know whether the taste will have an explosive reaction.” Song Yi Ran blinked.
That face that was asking for a beating, Lin Ke Song really wanted to use the chopsticks to hit his brains.
Uncle lifted the chopsticks, got a bowlful, blew on it, and sent it into his mouth.
“En! En! Tastes pretty good ah! Ke Song, the noodles are very chewy!”
“Because after boiling, I added a round of ice cubes.”
“Oh, heat expands, cold shrinks, using this method will make the noodles chewier? I’ve remembered it!”
Lin Xiao Xue played with her phone at the side, and said softly: “how can it be that magical.”
Song Yi Ran also had a mouthful, “the flavour of the mushrooms is pretty good too ah, no extra water content, very fragrant.”
Lin Ke Song smiled.
“You too try the mixed noodles your cousin made ah. It tastes quite good.”
Lin Xiao Xue still sat where she was without moving.
Song Yi Ran indifferently had another bowl, gently nudged Lin Ke Song saying: “with this standard, why not I invest in a noodle shop for you, just sell mixed mushroom pork noodles would do!”
“Ke Song, did your teacher teach you to make this? Even though it looks really simple, but there are a lot of techniques ah!” Uncle could not help asking.
“Actually…… I haven’t been taught by teacher. It’s just that I was too hungry one night, and wanted to go to the kitchen to grab some fruit or something, and unexpectedly bumped into him. He made the bowl of noodles right in front of me. I only remembered the steps he went through.”
“You really know how to show off. The great teacher not only has to teach you from the basics, but even made you supper in the middle of the night?” Lin Xiao Xue lifted the corners of her lips, full of mockery.
Lin Ke Song was muted. It did indeed sound unbelievable. And when applied to Jiang Qian Fan, it sounded even more unbelievable.
“Don’t bother about this girl. It’s probably because she has an appointment with friends again, and in the end has to accompany this old man, that made her unhappy.”
This dinner, Lin Xiao Xue didn’t eat much. But Uncle and Song Yi Ran chatted about the restaurant business, Song Yi Ran’s experience made Uncle appreciative.
When they finished the meal, it was almost eight thirty.
Lin Ke Song looked at the time on her phone, and thought that if Miller really reached here at 9pm sharp, would she be unable to hang out a little longer?
Song Yi Ran’s head suddenly popped over, his hair gently brushing Lin Ke Song’s ear: “Why do you keep looking at your phone?”
“Oh…… my teacher said that he’ll pick me up at 9. Probably going to send me to that kitchen’s back kitchen again ba.”
“You’ve been to the back kitchen of a fine dining restaurant? Is it a Chinese or western cuisine?” Uncle asked interestedly.
“It’s a western one.”
“Then what did you do inside? Were you at the side looking at them prepare western dished?”
“Nope. The back kitchen was too busy, if I stood at the side watching, I’d definitely disturb the others. I was helping them chop onions ah, ginger slices ah. I was even hollered at too, because I couldn’t differentiate salmon. The salmon pieces I cut, the head chef there even said that there were no flaws too.”
Bringing up this point, Lin Ke Song felt pretty happy.
“since it’s like that, don’t let your teacher wait. Let’s cut the cake!” Uncle had full support for Lin Ke Song’s learning.
Song Yi Ran brought the cake out.
The box was intricate, just using your hand to touch and you’d know that much attention was paid to the texture.
Lin Xiao Xue who was playing with her phone glanced at the cake box, suddenly her eyes lighted up, and rushed over: “Isn’t this Blue Tulips’ cake? How did you manage to buy this?”
“Blue Tulips?” Uncle was stunned too.
“Ah? What’s wrong with Blue Tulips?” Lin KE Song did not understand why Lin Xiao Xue was shocked.
“Blue Tulips is New York’s most famous dessert shop. Last year, their ginger meringue cake got 《gourmet》’s five star rating. And just 2 months ago, their newly released passionfruit carrot cake became their signature dish as appointed by the ruby guide, they are the best fine dining restaurant dealing primarily with desserts.” Uncle explained.
“How did you buy this? A birthday cake needs at least a reservation 3 months in advance! I have a friend, her father is the vice president of some bank, and even when it was for his birthday, the reservation clause was the same!”
“It’s my teacher who heard that I was coming back for Uncle’s birthday, so it was reserved impromptu for me.”
Lin Ke Song did not think that for the life of Jiang Qian Fan would order such a costly cake.
Lin Xiao Xue gaped, she probably wanted to refute Lin Ke Song or something, that her teacher couldn’t possibly do so much for her. But with just Lin Ke Song herself, she couldn’t possibly have ordered this cake.
She could only wait, when the box was opened, and the cake is a fake one. Then she’d be able to have a good laugh at Lin Ke Song.
Song Yi Ran and Uncle lifted the box carefully, to reveal the cake in the box.
The European styled cake was very simple, there weren’t too many fruits displayed. But at one glance, one could see that the cream at the top was very uniform, the cocoa powder was evenly spread on the surface. The cream that was formed into roses had a few grains of sugar, shaved lemon was placed on top. The colour contrast was very gentle, the whole layout wasn’t too crowded, but it gave off a sense of elegance.
This was indeed a Blue Tulips styled birthday cake.
But Lin Xiao Xue still did not believe, and only waited for the cake to be cut.
Until Uncle had made a wish, and cut the cake, the insides had clear layers of cake and cream, and a thin layer of fruit.
The fruits were obviously very fresh, not any kind of canned fruits.
The first mouth Lin Xiao Xue had, she realised she couldn’t endure it anymore, wanting to bite, and swallow the whole birthday cake.
The soft cream, doesn’t make people feel sick from the sweetness, but because of the fragrance and sourness of the lemon did the taste have more layers. The fluffy cake was soft and full of springiness, the high quality butter in the embryo of the cake brought about a taste that made people unable to stop.
Lin Ke Song closed her eyes, and savoured the ingredients within little by little.
As expected, the reason for being delicious, was because of the radiant balance of the flavours of the ingredients. If there were a little bit more butter, the cake will be soft and sticky, if the butter were a little sweeter, the sourness of the lemon will overpower and make it lose the balance.
Everything, was the grasping of the degree.
Right at this time, Lin Ke Song’s phone rang.
“Hello, Miller? You’ve reached? I’ll be right out.”
Lin Ke Song gave her Uncle a goodbye hug, and left.
Song Yi Ran accompanied her to the street. A black Bentley glowed under the streetlights.
“This is your pumpkin carriage? You’re going to your fairy godmother?” Song Yi Ran asked smiling.
Lin KE Song laughed: “if I somehow lose my fairy godmother, don’t throw me away.”
“how is it possible?”
Just as Driver Miller was about to open the door for Lin KE Song, Song Yi Ran said: “Let me.”
He opened the door, watched as Lin Ke Song sat in.
“Hey, Ke Song.”
“Your mixed mushroom pork noodles was really delicious today.”
“Is it better than LangHua Hotel’s?” Lin Ke Song asked smiling.
“Better than anything I’ve ever eaten before.”
Song Yi Ran smiled. His fingers pinched the tip of Lin KE Song’s nose.
Lin KE Song had a kind of out of conscious feeling.
When he straightened, and closed the door, the light of the streetlamp quietly fell on his face.
She saw some sort of an illusion of doting in his eyes.
She still hadn’t distinguished clearly, and the car drove away.
Lin KE Song looked back, and saw Song Yi Ran waving to her, there was a sense of dashing chicness.
But when the car got far enough, Song Yi Ran’s face dimmed.
He made a call.
“Kevin, I need you to help me.”
There was a noisy sound from the phone, Kevin was going crazy with a bunch of friends at a bar.
“sure ah! Hurry come join our party! We’ve clenched such a big deal, shouldn’t we celebrate properly?”
Song Yi Ran suddenly walked back half a step, leaned on the street lamp, like the crazy atmosphere had no effect on him.
“You seem busy. We’ll talk again when you have time ba.”
Song Yi Ran hung up.
Not half a minute later, his phone rang again, it was Kevin calling back.
“Hey, what do you need help with?”
The noise was a lot lesser. The other party had obviously gone to a quieter place.
“I want you to check up on a number plate for me.”
“No problem with that. Does this number plate belong to a pretty lady? Do you need me to tell you the other party’s measurements, interests, hobbies and all that ah?”
“If I didn’t guess wrongly, the owner of the car should be a guy. If you are willing to check out his measurement, interests, hobbies and whatnot, I don’t mind.” Song Yi Ran gave a shallow laugh, took out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and shook it, putting one of them between his lips.
“No way ba? Someone really stole your lover? But…… are you sure?”
“If a man, lets a woman stay in his house, makes her supper, and even prepare an expensive birthday cake for her family’s birthday, what do you think this is thinking?”
“He’s trying to woo that woman.”
“That’s right.” Song Yi Ran lifted the corners of his lips, “Give me results asap.”
The car left New York, and returned to Jiang Qian Fan’s villa.
Mayer had finally returned, when Lin Ke Song saw him, it was like she’d finally seen her saviour.
“I heard about Li Yan entering the villa. Actually it’s not the first time for this thing to happen, there’s always someone who wants to enter Mr Jiang’s kitchen, to steal his ideas.”
“Not the first it happened?” Lin KE Song lifted her eyes to look at Mayer.
“Of course. If you come across a gourmet recipe, it could potentially gain fame for a small restaurant, and save a restaurant that’s about to close down from death. So don’t look down on Mr Jiang’s kitchen.”
Lin KE Song exhaled.
“But you don’t have to worry too much, I’ve already changed the security system. Sleep peacefully ba.”
Lin Ke Song lifted the corners of her mouth, it’s easy to say so, how is she supposed to sleep peacefully ah!
When she returned to the room, and turned on the shower, she realised that there was already hot water in the bathtub.
She hurriedly walked out, opened the door, Mayer hadn’t walked far.
“Mr Mayer, the hot water in my bathtub……”
“You can take a proper bath, relax a little.” Mayer nodded.
Lin Ke Song was suddenly happy.
She laid in the hot water, and actually wanted to hum a melody, but she thought that it might affect Jiang Qian Fan’s mood, and could only give up the idea.
Mayer went to Jiang Qian Fan’s kitchen, don’t know what he was pondering about now.
“Mr Jiang, I’m back.”
“Ms Lin is also back.”
“Furthermore, Iris Quentin called today to ask about Ms Lin’s matter.”
“What did she say?” Jiang Qian Fan was carrying a bowl, making some kind of sauce.
“She feels that you are very concerned about Ms Lin.”
“Lin Ke Song is my student now.”
“But Iris has always had good feelings towards you. As an heiress of a large restaurant group, she chose your restaurant to be a head chef, and as for the reason, sir, you should be very clear.”
“You don’t need to worry about this, Mayer.”
“Of course this is something I have to worry about. If you could accept Iris, Jiang Co and Quentin Group will become partners, and together be invincible.”
“Iris has a desire to chase the strong, all her areas of focus have people who understand her thoughts and are able to reach a consensus. She is a powerful ally, but to her, a marriage is like a war. She doesn’t know how to understand, tolerate and respect, she can only see the so-called strong, but not their advantages. So you think this kind of marriage is a booster or a disaster?”
Mayer went silent.
“Furthermore, I do not wish for my marriage to have anything to do with Jiang Co., it is not a beneficial trade-off, it is only a marriage.” Jiang Qian Fan picked up a small spoon, dipped a little into the bowl of sauce, gently pursed his lips, slowly furrowed his brows.
“I understand, sir. But if possible, I do not wish for Iris Quentin to become your enemy.”
“If one day she really becomes my enemy, then all that needs to be done is to defeat her.”
And the Lin Ke Song now, was quietly lying in the bathtub. She kept replaying in her ear what Song Yi Ran had said to her.
3 months, is it really enough for her to be able to join that type of competition?
She knew that she didn’t look that cute, couldn’t speak English that fluently, even during the auditions, the judges said that they never wanted to see her again. Her like this, will she be able to stay to the end of the competition?
She’s been her for many day, thinking carefully, she really did gain a lot. She knew how to differentiate the different levels of flavours, understood the different preparation methods for different ingredient, and she even got to “practice” at a Michelin starred restaurant, but all these was still far from being able to prepare a dish that the judges would consider whole.
She hasn’t even made a whole dish under the instruction of Jiang Qian Fan.
When the water in the tub was almost cool, Lin Ke Song woke from her deep thoughts.
She dried her hair, stood at the window.
Indeed, she couldn’t expect Jiang Qian Fan to teach every single thing to her, she has to put in her own effort too.
She needed to try to make something. Only practice can allow her to master different types of practical skills as quickly as possible.
Everything shall start from the mixed mushroom pork noodles that was made today. She thought about how to make the noodles taste better, what follows after would be the execution.
Anyway Mayer did not say anything about not being allowed to use the kitchen alone, he only said that after using the kitchen, everything needed to be cleared and cleaned.
After making up her mind, Lin Ke Song left the room, and went to the kitchen.
But when she pushed the door open, she realised that the light was switched on, and Jiang Qian Fan was standing in front of the counter, while he had his arms folded, don’t know what he was thinking about, Lin KE Song stepped a step back.
Jiang Qian Fan’s expression was that of focus, a position of slightly nodding, let Lin Ke Song instantly think of a pine tree at a cliff.
It seems like she won’t be able to use the kitchen today.
“Is it Lin Ke Song?”
The cool voice felt like it slightly swiped Lin Ke Song’s heart.
“What is it?”
“I…… Thank you for ordering the birthday cake for me, my Uncle and his family really like it……”
“Get to the point.” Jiang Qian Fan’s posture didn’t even change.