Word count: 3913
Special Hollandaise Sauce
Lin Ke Song was stunned, why did Jiang Qian Fan always know everything? She hated his sensitivity to death. Can’t you give people some leeway?
“I made mixed mushroom pork noodles for Uncle today. I felt that I hadn’t made it perfect enough, so I wanted to come here to practice.”
“go ahead ba.”
Jiang Qian Fan’s reply surprised Lin KE Song. Didn’t this fellow love quietness to the point of sickness?
“you look like you’re studying a new dish…… I think I won’t disturb you.”
“If you’re like this, you will forever be unable to use this kitchen.”
Lin Ke Song paused for a while.
Jiang Qian Fan’s meaning is that he’d be in this kitchen frequently?
And he doesn’t mind her making thunderous movement at his side?
But even if he didn’t mind, she would mind ah! At first she had only thought about exploring the process, but Jiang Qian Fan’s hearing was so sensitive, if she worked while he gave comments at the side, she’d definitely be all over the place ah!
“If you’re not planning to use the kitchen, close the door when you leave.” Jiang Qian Fan turned around, walked towards the fresh foods storage.
Lin Ke Song made up her mind, anyway food is made for people to eat, then shouldn’t have the fear of people’s judgment.
And Jiang Qian Fan is her teacher, every point he may say probably will be more accurate and of greater essence than her being a blind man feeling an elephant.
“Then I’ll be intruding!”
Lin Ke Song walked into the kitchen, and closed the door.
She prepared her ingredients, started making and cooking her mixed mushroom pork noodles step by step. Compared to her Uncle’s home kitchen, Lin Ke Song was a lot more focused now. The details she hadn’t noticed before, were all compensated for right now.
Until she mixed her own noodles, did she realise that from the start to the end, Jiang Qian Fan was at the front of the counter, hugging his arm with his head lowered, not moving, not making a sound.
Lin Ke Song thought that since the other party was in deep thought, she’d better not disturb. She lowered her head, and tasted the noodles she made.
Because she couldn’t find buckwheat noodles, she chose a noodles that was frequently used to cook soup noodles.
The first mouth she ate, and she realised that it was egg noodles. These type of noodles was very similar, but they were very soft too. She had slight overcooked them.
This time’s mushroom and pork slices were stir-fried pretty well, the soup was tasty too, but with the noodles added, there was a flat feeling. The fresh flavour was overpowered by the batter of the noodles, wasn’t as good as the noodles that was made at Uncle’s house.
Lin KE Song inhaled, failed ah. But she had no guts to pour the noodles away in front of Jiang Qian Fan. Even though she knew that Jiang Qian Fan’s focus probably wasn’t even on her.
She planned to eat all the noodles in one shot, then quietly start over.
Just as she was halfway through, Jiang Qian Fan suddenly said: “Bring it over to let me taste.”
Lin Ke Song jolted, almost choked.
“No……No need ba…… it’s a failure……”
“You chose the wrong noodles. The noodles used to make mixed noodles have to be springy, and not easily mushy. But you chose egg noodles, even though these noodles have a smooth texture, but it is difficult to control the time and heat when cooking them. If it were me, and I really had to use egg noodles to make mixed noodles, I would choose to sieve them out when they are half transparent, put them through cold water, wash away the extra flour, stir the noodles in ice cubes, to tighten the texture of these noodles. Put aside. Wait till the mushrooms and pork slices are stir fried, then put the noodles back in boiling water until they are fully cooked then drain the water, and mix them together with the mushrooms and pork slices.”
He hadn’t even tasted her noodles, and already knew where she failed?
This made Lin Ke Song’s frustration heavier.
“So, I’ve decided to recook.” Lin KE Song really wanted to throw away the left over noodles right now.
But Jiang Qian Fan stretched his hand towards her: “Noodles. Maybe your failures, are not only these.”
Lin Ke Song was stunned for 2 seconds. She hadn’t been stabbed by Jiang Qian Fan for a while.
A dead pig is not scared of boiling water. Anyway, no matter what, she wouldn’t be able to cook food that would be able to satisfy the other party’s tricky sense of taste.
“this bowl of noodles has been eaten by me.” Lin Ke Song kindly reminded.
Jiang Qian Fan didn’t say anything, but only gathered the chopsticks, just as he grabbed some, the noodles snapped.
Lin Ke Song hunched her shoulders, she could imagine the kind of comments she would get. It looks like, there was no need for Jiang Qian Fan to eat this bowl of noodles.
Jiang Qian Fan still sent the noodles into his mouth.
“The pork slices and the mushrooms were probably turned over too early for about 10 to 15 seconds. Too much mushrooms were used, it overpowered the original taste of the pork slices. Too little cooking wine was used, the thickness of the ginger slices should be halved, otherwise the fragrance would not be able to be extracted by the oil. Furthermore, compared to the amount of noodles you cooked, there isn’t enough mushroom and pork slices broth, so the noodles couldn’t be mixed uniformly.”
As for all these, if Jiang Qian Fan hadn’t pointed them out, her focus would probably be on choosing the wrong noodles. But when he used a calm tone to say it, Lin Ke Song realised that there were actually so many more details she had to take note of.
Jiang Qian Fan pushed the noodles to the side, and said lightly: “the most important suggestion I can give you is, when you choose ingredients, you definitely have to be clear about its special feature, including the fragrance, toughness and even the taste. No matter if it’s the same ingredient, because the method of production and even the slightest difference of details for the different types of ingredients, will produce a totally different product.”
“I’ve remembered it.”
“Go.” Jiang Qian Fan lowered his head again, looking at the small bowl in front of him.
This time, Lin Ke Song has to be a lot more careful, she finally found buckwheat noodles, and broke off a short bit, sent it to her mouth to feel the tightness of the noodles.
When she prepared the noodles again, she had a taste. The taste of the noodles was pretty good, the freshness of mushroom and pork slices were as she wanted.
She dished out a little bowl, and sent it to Jiang Qian Fan’s front.
“If it were me, I’d cook the buckwheat noodles for an extra minute. Buckwheat noodles is different from egg noodles. Egg noodles absorb the flavour of the sauce more easily, but buckwheat noodles in and of itself does not absorb flavour easily, cooking the noodles for an extra minute to allow room to absorb the flavour of the sauce, would be better. Furthermore, you’ve chosen the wrong part of the pork. This isn’t tenderloin. Even though you have good observation, and didn’t continue stir-frying the pork as it was about to be overcooked, but the pork slices lack the tenderness of the tenderloin.”
Jiang Qian Fan pushed the bowl to the side.
Lin Ke Song grabbed her head, it looks like she still has a big problem with choosing ingredients ah.
She didn’t actually feel depressed, at least Jiang Qian Fan was still guiding her. She continuously repeated, continuously changed, she realised that while she was cooking the things that she took note of was increasing. Like the water content of the mushrooms, like the transparency of the noodles, like the thickness of the pork slices and the length of time of margination in the cooking wine.
And the thing that made Lin Ke Song most thankful, was the at least Jiang Qian Fan didn’t make her eat all the failures up.
Noodles couldn’t be compared to some mint cabbage soup, they could stuff a person to death.
Without noticing, it was daylight.
And the bowls that Lin Ke Song placed in front of Jiang Qian Fan were increasing. Even Lin Ke Song herself didn’t know how many portions she’d made, but Jiang Qian Fan could always point out some flaws.
Until all the buckwheat noodles in the kitchen were used, Lin Ke Song watched as Jiang Qian Fan ate the last mouth of noodles.
If it were when she knew nothing about Jiang Qian Fan, maybe she would be very depressed and even angry about his nit-picking, but when she saw Jiang Qian Fan’s serious attitude towards taste her mixed noodles, no matter how detailed the suggestions he brought up, Lin Ke Song would have a sense of respect.
“Not perfect enough, right?”
“If the portion of the noodles were lessened by one fifth, the taste would be better.”
“En. But all the buckwheat noodles have been used up by me already.”
“But it’s very delicious.” Jiang Qian Fan continued to leisurely eat that bowl of noodles.
This was the first thing that Lin Ke Song had made that made Jiang Qian Fan have a second mouth.
“Really? If you don’t think it’s perfect…… how can it be delicious?” Lin Ke Song felt that Jiang Qian Fan was encouraging her.
But he didn’t seem like the type of person to say things against his will to encourage others.
“there’s nothing that’s perfect, and it’s precisely because of that, that we pursue perfection.” Jiang Qian Fan put down the chopsticks, turned in Lin Ke Song’s direction, “this portion of mixed noodles, the heat used to cook the buckwheat noodles was just right. You have to remember this feeling. The pork slices were evenly cut, the marinating time and the ingredients used were just right. And the time of stir-frying the mushrooms was controlled well. If any Michelin gourmet spy had this bowl of noodles, I believe they will at least give you a fork and spoon evaluation.”
Lin Ke Song blinked. She’d heard of the Michelin star rating method. Every gourmet spy that came to judge would not reveal the identity beforehand, before they receive the star rating, they first have to be qualified to receive a fork and spoon designation.
Was Jiang Qian Fan praising her before?
“come taste this kind of hollandaise sauce.”
Lin Ke Song had only seen this sauce on the books that Jiang Qian Fan had let her read, just how it tasted like, she really hadn’t come across it before. But what she did not expect was, that Jiang Qian Fan would use a thin stirring spoon to scoop up a yellow sauce, use the other hand to gently hold, and reach out towards Lin Ke Song’s direction.
His fingers had a demeanour that moved people’s hearts, needless to say, he looked elegant delicately stirring the spoon, Lin Ke Song did not dare get near, afraid that she would spoil this beauty.
“Lin Ke Song?” Jiang Qian Fan turned his face, like he was feeling for her to come nearer.
She took a breath in, went forward in a few steps, lowered her head, and latched onto the spoon.
She had an illusion, that Jiang Qian Fan’s hand under the spoon seemed to want to hold her chin. So like she was running for her life, she took back her head.
“what have you eaten?”
“En……” Lin Ke Song pursed her lips, letting the hollandaise sauce stop at the tip of her tongue for a longer time, “There’s egg yolk, lemon juice, shallots, butter, white vinegar…… there seems to be a wine taste……”
“white grape wine.”
“This is traditional hollandaise sauce. If its raspberry grilled pork chops, served with this sauce, the taste will be very ordinary, and greasy. If it were you, how would you improve this sauce?”
“raspberry grilled pork chops? I can’t imagine what kind of taste it is……”
If she didn’t know how the main dish tasted like, how would she know the taste of the main dish dipped in the sauce? And most of the time, hollandaise sauce is paired with quiche or foods like asparagus. Jiang Qian Fan actually thought about using it with grilled pork chops? Wont it be incompatible?
“Wait for a while.”
Jiang Qian Fan actually in a moment made a portion of grilled pork chops for her in the kitchen!
It was crispy on the outside, and carried the fruity fragrance of raspberries, it made Lin Ke Song’s mouth salivate, and her cheeks ache, really want to give it a big bite.
Jiang Qian Fan cut a small piece of pork chop for her, dipped it into the hollandaise sauce from before, reached out towards Lin Ke Song’s direction.
This time was a lot more natural than the previous time, Lin Ke Song stretched out her neck, and latched onto the small piece of pork chop. She carefully made sure that the pork chops sauce did not drip onto Jiang Qian Fan’s hand.
But just as she straightened up, Jiang Qian Fan’s hand moved up slightly, his fingertip brushing past Lin Ke Song’s chin.
She knew he didn’t do it on purpose, she knew he couldn’t see, but that short moment of contact, made her heart feel like a balloon so pumped with air, that it was about to burst anytime.
“How is it?” Jiang Qian Fan’s voice was as per normal.
Lin Ke Song slowly chewed. The pork chop was perfectly seasoned, the precise control of heat and time made the pork chop delicious. The grilled fragrance and the fruity fragrance of raspberries mingled, it was full of flavour. The hollandaise sauce that Lin Ke Song thought wouldn’t complement the pork shop also added a silky texture to the pork chop. But it was a fact that for the taste, it lacked a taste that would make people feel harmony or impact.
“Let me think……”
Lin KE Song’s brain suddenly had the image of the peddlers selling grilled lamb skewers. Those spices, that flavour, saliva just flowing ah……
“Can we add some cumin? Something like cumin powder?”
Lin Ke Song said uncertainly. After all, adding cumin powder to hollandaise sauce, is super weird ba?
“Or chilli? Make the flavour have more of a kick?”
Jiang Qian Fan didn’t say anything, only lowered his head in deep thought.
No matter how long he thought, Lin Ke Song could only accompany him at the side.
If it were imitating lamb skewers, directly sprinkling cumin or chilli on the pork chop would do, why the need to put it in the hollandaise sauce, it doesn’t complement too ah!
Just as Lin Ke Song thought that her idea had no value to be realised, Jiang Qian Fan cut a small piece of butter, then put cumin into the oil, the strong aroma dispersed far and wide. Then he grinded some leaves and added them in, 10 seconds later, stirred the sauce little by little into the original hollandaise sauce.
Then he cut a small piece of pork chop, and dipped into the sauce.
Lin Ke Song thought he would ask her to go over to taste, but he sent the pork chop into his own mouth.
When he swallowed the pork chop, the line of his throat was like water, Lin Ke Song subconsciously followed and swallowed too.
“That…… how does it taste?”
“Try it and you’d know.” Jiang Qian Fan had no more intention to feed her.
This made Lin Ke Song inexplicably feel disappointed. Even though this disappointment was kind of laughable. She wasn’t even the kitten he took care of, one that would look up and scrunch the eyes, and make a lazy expression while waiting for the owner’s love.
Move your own arms, and have ample clothing and food.
Lin Ke Song cut a large piece of pork chop, dipped into the sauce and sent it into her mouth.
How amazing! Jiang Qian Fan didn’t add any form of chilli ah, where did this slightly spicy and sweet spicy flavour come from? Can’t be from the garlic, can’t be from the cumin either…… maybe it’s from this grinded green leaves?
Lin Ke Song stealthily used a fork to dip into the grinded green, and sent it into her mouth.
A slightly sweet flavour coupled with the spicy flavour that seemed like it came from fennel, the aftertaste was a little bitter. But this bitterness was flavourful.
“what is this grinded green ah?” Lin Ke Song asked curiously.
Lin Ke Song remembered that she had seen this kind of spice in books. she has really gained a lot today ah! First it’s the hollandaise sauce, then the tarragon.
“What do you think of the taste?” Jiang Qian Fan asked.
“complements the grilled pork chops much better than the hollandaise sauce at the start! But I feel…… how do I say it?”
The flavour was richer, had more layers and stimulated the appetite more, but she kept feeling that there was no convergence.
“the original fruity fragrance of the raspberries has been overpowered.”
Jiang Qian Fan’s voice descended, Lin Ke Song suddenly had a feeling of being enlightened.
“right! Exactly that! The grilled pork chops and fruity raspberry fragrance are complimentary! But the garlic and cumin flavours are too weighty, the plus point of the raspberries are not obvious anymore!”
Jiang Qian Fan picked an apple, and said to Lin Ke Song: “Peel it.”
Without another word, Lin Ke Song picked up the knife, slid around in a circle, and shaved off the apple’s skin.
“cut a piece, test its sourness.”
Lin Ke Song silently remembered this point. She realised that no matter what Jiang Qian Fan did, he would make sure of every ingredient’s taste or texture.
She had a slice herself, but Jiang Qian Fan face was turned slightly towards her, she hurriedly sliced a small piece, and sent it into his mouth.
The gap between his lips have always had a sense of mystery, when the apple was close to his lips, Lin Ke Song inexplicably started feeling nostalgic.
Until the other party’s lip pursed past her fingertips slightly, that gentleness and warmth, were completely different from Lin Ke Song’s imagination.
“En, the sourness and sweetness are balanced. Squeeze out the apple juice.”
Lin Ke Song took a small had juicer, and squeezed the apple juice out.
Jiang Qian Fan scooped two coffee spoon of apple juice, stirred it into the hollandaise sauce, then cut another piece of pork chop, and had a taste.
“En, it’s much better now.”
“Really? Let me try too!”
The taste was just totally awesome ah! no matter the aroma, taste, flavour or the finish were all impeccable.
Lin Ke Song could not help it and ate the rest of the pork chops up.
When she swallowed the last mouth, she realised that Jiang Qian Fan was still beside her, hadn’t walked far.
“You can really eat.”
“Because it’s delicious ah!” this was a praise from her heart.
“To you, anything is delicious.”
“But the reason why it’s so delicious, had something to do with you. Even though the idea of adding cumin was boring, it was effective.”
Lin Ke Song was a little happy, and a little lament.
I say, Mr Jiang, when you compliment others, can you not make it sound like a criticism?
“Get ready, follow me to make a trip to Iris’ restaurant.”
“the back kitchen is a good place to train someone. And there is going to be an important person who will be having a meal, I will personally cook the main course.”
“What main course?”
“Raspberry grilled pork chops with special hollandaise sauce.”
What? Isn’t this what he’d just made?
Jiang Qian Fan reached out his hand, and pressed it on Lin Ke Song’s forehead, and pushed her head away: “You’re blocking the road.”
Lin KE Song rubbed her forehead.
After tossing a night of mixed mushroom pork noodles, shouldn’t she be specially allowed to have a good sleep?
But, once she thought about Jiang Qian Fan using the dish they had completed together to receive an important guest, no ounce of fatigue was felt, the whole body was full of vigour!
The back kitchen today was not as busy as yesterday’s.
Apart from chopping garnishes like onions, garlic slices and the like, Pepper was more patient than the previous time while imparting the know-hows on cutting steak.
Different parts of the steak had different ways of cutting. Even the different ways of cooking determined the thickness of the steak.
Under Pepper’s guidance, Lin Ke Song sliced three portions of filet mignon. This kind of steak is taken from the most tender part of the meat at the spine, it carried no fats.
Then she handled some T-bone steak.
Looking from this angle at the main kitchen, Jiang Qian Fan and Iris coordinated with much understanding.
Iris was obviously cooking the appetizer of French vanilla fried scallops, but she could deliver ingredient to Jiang Qian Fan from time to time, and even remind him about the rawness of the pork chop.
This made Lin Ke Song envious.
Pepper knocked Lin Ke Song’s head: “Focus.”
“Oh…… I was only curious.”
“Curious about what?”
“Mr Jiang’s and Iris’ coordination seems like they’ve known each other for a long time.”
“wait till you become an outstanding chef, you will know that many things do not need language to communicate, you only need to see, and you’ll know what the next step is.”
“Don’t know what kind of person the VIP is today……”
Actually made Jiang Qian Fan think for a whole night to formulate the hollandaise sauce for the pork chops.
“do you know Silicon Valley?”
“Of course I know!”
“The one coming today is the CEO Mr McCallum of network services company snr and one of their new shareholders. Some time ago, because of snr having customer information leaks, they faced public relations crisis, it was this new shareholder’s proposed solution that allowed their losses to be kept at a minimum. So Mr McCallum is coming to dine with this new shareholder here, to show gratitude and at the same time strengthen communication.”
“Oh, so that’s the case.”
“Enough, you’ve asked all you needed to ask, do your work properly!”
It was obvious, Iris ‘appetizer and Jiang Qian Fan’s main course received Mr McCallum’s favour, Iris accompanied Jiang Qian Fan to meet Mr McCallum.
At the dining table sat Mr McCallum, the company’s legal consultant, and a young Asian.
Mr McCallum shook hands with Iris and Jiang Qian Fan, and with a very sincere tone said: “the scallops today had a fresh taste. And the pork chop, was so stunning! My friends and I feel very regretful, why couldn’t the portion of pork chops be a little more?”
Iris laughed, Jiang Qian Fan only lightly said: “This way, you will come a second time.”