Chapter 113 Coconut Osmanthus Cake (d)
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Gumihou
Shiyu flinched back in fright.
However, she quickly gathered herself and smiled gamely at Xuan Yin, “Hungry? Come, come, come eat some  sticky cake first to pad your stomach.” Shiyu opened the steamer to reveal the  glistening surface of a thin sticky cake bursting with the fragrance of Osmanthus flowers. She scattered some Osmanthus Sugar over the surface of the cake before  tipping it out of the baking tin. The Osmanthus sugar was made by lightly toasting the flowers over very weak fire, followed by plenty of granulated sugar. The Osmanthus sugar was then further crushed to release the maximum amount of Osmanthus fragrance.
 Honey as a sugar substitute is not very sweet, and this way she could add fragrance as well as sweetness onto the sticky cake. Not to mention, the sugar also made it easier to cut the hot and sticky cake. Since it was not yet time for dinner, Shiyu cut the rounded edges off the cake. Making a perfect square and letting a hungry Xuan Yin eat the slightly discoloured edges.
Shiyu further chopped the cut-offs into smaller pieces. Xuan Yin looked hungry enough to stuff the sticky cakes whole into her mouth and she really did not want the Female Lead to choke and die. As a final touch, she scattered more Osmanthus sugar over cake cut-offs before handing them to Xuan Yin. “Careful, it’s hot so eat it carefully, and don’t choke! The noodles will be ready soon.”
 The soup stock was soon done, it was light, balanced and savoury without being overwhelmingly briny. Shiyu poured the stock into the three bowls of noodles, the third bowl received only half a bowl of stock. That’s Qing Chen’s portion. She topped the rest of it with the precious remainder of the heated Plum Blossom snow. Shiyu sighed at the fragrance of Plum Blossoms before quickly garnishing all three bowls with blanched, young Bok Choi leaves and some Plum Blossom flowers she had pickled in sweet wine and vinegar.
 For the girls’ portion, Shiyu added a generous spoonful of crab powder in the middle. Shiyu had always enjoyed heavier tasting food. Also… she cast an eye at Xuan Yin, who was chewing furiously at her large mouthful of sticky cake, and added another spoonful into her bowl.  Shiyu cut up the remainder of the sticky cake into perfect little blocks and scattered Osmanthus Sugar over them. The sugar not only gave the cake a more aesthetically pleasing look, they smell really good too!
When she lifted the tray of noodles and sticky cake, Xuan Yin automatically followed the food. Her cheeks bulging with the sticky cake cut-offs that Shiyu had given her.
As eager eyes followed her hands, pity bloomed in Shiyu’s heart. Just how long has this poor child been starving? No wonder Wen Heng was angered to the point of destroying this place!
“Come on, let’s eat our noodles inside.” Shiyu smiled as she led the way in.
Xuan Yin did not answer. Her eyes were fixed on the steaming noodles. The jade-green vegetable leaves and pickled red Plum Blossom looked especially beautiful on top of the pure white noodles. Her chewing slowed down. As the sweet, sticky flavour of the cake rolled across her tongue, she wondered what those clear sparkling thing in the bowls would taste like. Also, what is that little mountain of red dust? Is red dust edible? Xuan Yin pondered over these profound question as she obediently followed Shiyu into the house.
“Dinner time!” Shiyu called out cheerfully as she set the tray down. She placed the vegetarian noodles with the extra Plum Blossom water in front of Qing Chen. “This one is yours!”
Xuan Yin received the noodles with the double helping of crab powder.
Shiyu watched Qing Chen’s expression carefully as he reached out with his chopstick. He looked very elegant even as he sipped the noodles. A faint spark of interest could be seen in his eyes. The noodles were very clean and simple looking. However, there was a depth to the broth and the faint fragrance of cool Plum Blossom lingered even after he swallowed the noodles.
As this elegant man ate his noodles Shiyu grew more and more excited to learn his opinion of the food. However, though his chopsticks continued to move steadily, his expression did not change much. Bored, Shiyu switched her gaze over to Xuan Yin… whose bowl was already half-empty.
“… …” Shiyu has no words. Whatever, she would just eat her own noodles. So there.
Meanwhile, Qing Chen wordlessly and quietly finished his noodles. Once the noodles were gone, he looked at the plate of brown blocks covered in yellow and white flecks set in the middle of the table. He reached for a piece and took a small bite. As he chewed the sticky cake, he sensed a sudden aura of hostility from the side. However, when he looked over, the source of the glare had already lowered her head over her near-empty bowl.
Qing Chen, “… …”
After thinking over the matter, he pushed the plate of sticky cake towards Xuan Yin.
Xuan Yin showed no reaction.
Qing Chen did not shrug, he was too elegant for that, but he did reach for a second piece. Then the third, fourth and the next thing Shiyu know, the entire plate of sticky cake was gone.
Qing Chen turned to Shiyu, “Are there any more cakes?”
Shiyu, “… …” I’ve only lowered my head to eat a few bites of noodles, just what happened in that time?!
Seated on the opposite, Xuan Yin raised her head to stare at Shiyu intently. In her eyes: Shiyu = lots and lots of delicious food = will not starve.
“At least let me finish my dinner first!” Shiyu exclaimed. Are you treating your honourable guest as a cook now? “Speaking of which, I’ll need to collect a few things…”
“I shall collect it.” With that, Qing Chen stood up and drifted away.
The two girls stared as the thin, slightly ephemeral back disappeared through the door. Xuan Yin turned to Shiyu, “Should I do something also?”
“You?” Shiyu lowered her bowl. “Well, I shall trouble you to wash the bowls for me.”
Qing Chen soon returned… with a large vat of snow.
Shiyu’s eye twitched.  What is the meaning of this? Just what do you expect me to make with this much snow?  Do you want more noodles?
 “Just how much noodles do you want?” she asked incredulously as she scooped a little handful of the snow to sniff test. The faintest scent of Plum Blossom greeted her nose.
 “Not noodles,” Qing Chen frowned. “I will bring Osmanthus flowers too,” and just like that, he disappeared again.
 “Err,” they only had two dishes today. One noodle dish and one a, “dessert?” Shiyu frowned at the vat of snow. “Did that fellow want me to make a dessert with this?”
 “Can you?” Xuan Yin had finished washing the bowls and was now staring expectantly at her.
 Xuan Yin’s eyes were oddly imploring despite their lack of expression.
 “Alright!” she said at last. “I’ll make dessert for you.” She still has to make sure that this child ate well and have good memories of this Sect to prevent Wen Heng from razing it to the ground.
 Shiyu glared at the big vat of snow. This type of thing can only be used sparingly to make tea or flavour delicate food like vegetarian noodles and… hmm, Shiyu put away more than three-quarters of the snow in her space. She could use the remaining quarter to steam her more delicately flavoured desserts or make tea.
 Just then, Qing Chen came in with two large baskets of Osmanthus flowers.
 Shiyu, “… …” Just how much dessert you want me to make, ah, ah, ah!
 Nevertheless, Shiyu pushed up her sleeves and got to work. Since both of them seemed to like the sticky cake with Osmanthus, she decided to start with that first. For this one, she did not bother to use Plum Blossom scented water to steam the dish since it already contained the heavily scented Osmanthus flowers. She also did not use coconut water since there was no evidence of the flavour in the earlier cakes anyway.
 “Xuan Yin, come and stir this,” said Shiyu, handing her the bowl of slightly lumpy batter. Xuan Yin grabbed the bowl and stirred enthusiastically. “Slower!” Xuan Yin stirred more slowly, “That’s right, make sure to scrape the sides and bottom, alright?”
 Xuan Yin nodded and stirred as though the batter held the key to her next Cultivation breakthrough.
 “What about me?” Qing Chen stepped forward. “Do you need other ingredients?”
 “Err,” is this guy interested in cooking? Shiyu checked through her inventory and found that aside from coconuts, rice, flour, a little sugar and honey, she had run out of ingredients suitable for making desserts. “Why don’t you go and see if you can find some autumn fruits and nuts? Oh, and some sugar?”
 He disappeared without a word. Shiyu decided he’s not her problem and checked on Xuan Yin’s progress. She periodically scattered some Osmanthus flowers into the batter and got the steamer going. She felt a little like an older sister instructing the younger on how to cook as she showed Xuan Yin how to grease the baking tray and pour the batter. Once the batter was inside the steamer, Xuan Yin settled down to stare at the steaming basket. As though her eyes could see through the bamboo steamer into the sticky cake inside.
 Qing Chen came back with a basket of chestnuts, a basket of dried red dates, mountain fruits and a sack of sugar. Shiyu put him to work peeling the chestnuts. Let him deal with those thorny shells! Meanwhile, Shiyu busied herself cutting out the stone out of the dried red dates. Since she had plenty of Osmanthus flowers, she mixed the cut up dates and flowers together and set them aside. Then, she made a thick caramel with honey and sugar, cooking them until it formed thin, brittle strands when she lifted the caramelized sugar up with her chopsticks. Next, she mixed the cut dates and flowers into the caramel before pouring the mixture onto a greased tray. There, she quickly separated the candied dates with her chopsticks.
 Her action attracted Qing Chen and Xuan Yin, so she handed chopsticks to them and instructed them to roll and separate the dates to prevent the fruits from sticking to each other. As soon as her back was turned, she heard a yelp.
 “I should warn you,” she said a little belatedly. “Those things are really hot.”
 Next, Shiyu made Crisp Chestnut Flatcakes  with shelled chestnuts since it’s faster than making actual Flaky Chestnut Pastry. The reason why she wanted to use easy, fast to cook recipe was simple. It turned out that these two companions of her were gluttons, ah! Well, Xuan Yin acted more half-starved than greedy, but the unexpected contender for the foodie title was Qing Chen!
This guy actually has a chronic sweet tooth!
No wonder the guy who normally eats one side dish with his rice suddenly swallowed an entire plate of sticky cakes! It turns out his weakness was sweets, ah!
Tsk, tsk, one really can’t judge a person by their looks, ah!
Their little group busied themselves making and eating desserts nearly half the night. Shiyu soon got pretty sick of sweets, but the other two were still quite enthusiastic… Never mind, Shiyu decided to count the little successes in life. Especially since she also managed to convince Xuan Yin to stay overnight at Qing Chen’s residence. Later, at the very first opportunity she could, she brought up Xuan Yin’s bullying and possible starvation to Qing Chen.
Though this guy has a cold face like a certain snow princess she knew, Qing Chen has a rather soft heart and as long as it doesn’t trouble him too much, he’d be willing to assist. In the end, after pondering over the matter for a while, he decided to help Xuan Yin by finding her a different place to stay.
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com~
The next day, he brought Shiyu and Xuan Yin with him to a rather secluded residence in the middle of a nearby valley. The climate within the valley was very warm compared to the peaks. The trees were greener and filled with the sounds of chirping birds and the fragrance of flowers. The scenery here was closer to early spring than winter.
They passed through swaying willow trees and blooming red flowers to a small wooden house.
“This is where 11th Martial Uncle is staying with 12th Martial Uncle to recuperate. Very few people come here. Xuan Yin, from now on, you will be under the care of 12th Martial Uncle. 12th Martial Uncle is someone who protects the people under them and would not let others bully you.” With that, Qing Chen pushed the courtyard gate open.
Shiyu approved of Qing Chen’s arrangement. Xuan Yin’s heroine halo might still invite trouble onto her head. But at least, Leisurely Cloud Sect would be able to escape the worst catastrophe by providing a proper guardian for Xuan Yin.
The moment they entered the courtyard, a powerful medicinal scent enveloped their senses. Shiyu looked around the garden curiously. A path split a medicinal herb field into two and there were a lot of rare medicinal herbs growing vigorously within the courtyard walls. For some reason, though the scent of herbs was strong, not a trace of it could be sensed outside the courtyard.
Shiyu had no time to ponder over this mystery when Qing Chen stepped forward to speak to a beautiful woman with a gentle expression on her face. She looked soft, tender and sad. It was not until Qing Chen introduced them that Shiyu finally found out that this sad beauty was actually the 12th ‘Martial Uncle’.
This woman was 11th Martial Uncle’s Cultivation partner.
Speaking of which, if 11th Uncle is here, does this mean the Thunder Seed was also here?
Shiyu was rather curious about what the Thunder Seed might look like. Therefore, when Qing Chen went to the inner rooms to visit his 11th Martial Uncle, Shiyu trailed after him.
The room which 11th Martial Uncle was recuperating in was shrouded in darkness. When Shiyu’s eyes adjusted themselves, she saw a single person lying on the bed, his body was surrounded by some malevolent black mist. Now and then, lightning flashed across his chest, dispersing the black mist, preventing it from completely eroding his chest.
“Our senior brother said he only has one year left, at most.” Tears gathered at the corners of the beautiful woman’s eyes. “If I had known that he will suffer futilely for 10 years, I’d have acceded to his wishes and not insist on preserving his life. I should have followed his wishes and let him rest in peace. At least, he would not have suffered so.”
Qing Chen said, “Don’t be too distressed. There’s still one year. Perhaps we may still find a cure for 11th Martial Uncle’s illness.”
Shiyu telepathically asked Fat Cat, “What’s wrong with this 11th Uncle? Do you have a way to cure him?”
“A demonic fiend entered his body and is currently feeding on his life force bit by bit.”
“Could we use the Spring of Life?”
“It would only prolong his life a little.”
“Then… if the Thunder Seed could resist this demonic energy, would Fire Seed work too?” Since it’s a matter of resisting demonic power, perhaps fire would work?
“Only the Ocean Heart Flames could destroy this demonic fiend.”
At this, Shiyu understood how she could treat this person. However, her Cultivation stage was too low to explain the existence of a Fire Spirit within her body… The people around here were probably good people, but the hearts of men are weak to temptations.
Whatever, let’s think of a way to get around this problem first.
Qing Chen was currently explaining the reason for their visit and requested 12th Martial Uncle to allow Xuan Yin to stay here and help take care of things around the house. 12th Martial Uncle agreed without hesitation. She has faith that anyone introduced by Qing Chen would not be a villain of any sort. Moreover, aside from the ill 11th Martial Uncle, there was no one else around. It would be nice to have some company at least.
Now that Xuan Yin’s matter was decided, the next thing to do was to inform Xuan Xia Peak about the change. While her status was still uncertain, Xuan Yin would be staying at Qing Chen’s residence until everything was settled.
It took a couple of days of running around to get to this point and Shiyu was scheduled to leave Leisurely Cloud Sect the next day. The Sect Master had also sent over a lot of things to Qing Chen’s residence for Shiyu, the majority of which was to be delivered to Grandpa Feng.
As the date of Shiyu’s departure drew nearer, though Qing Chen never said anything, Shiyu could feel resentful eyes stabbing at her back. Helpless, Shiyu could only try and appease this beautiful Flower of Gaoling with a special bowl of sweet soup. As a thank you for housing her and arranging things so nicely for Xuan Yin.
Unfortunately, once that bowl of soup was drunk, Qing Chen encountered an issue…
[Gumihou: A lot of effort went into this chapter, Gumihou hopes you enjoyed it~]
 Gumihou will have to discard the ‘bright, golden yellow’ description, as it is obvious Shiyu is not actually making Coconut Osmanthus Cake but modified Nian Gao. Also, to make it tastier and more Osmanthus-y, Gumihou made the Osmanthus sugar. Since it’s obviously not Coconut Osmanthus Cake or conventional Nian Gao, Gumihou shall just call it ‘sticky cake’.
 Gumihou also made a different broth for the noodles,
Adding crab powder onto your lump of cooked dough? Sure, why not? Who cares about the delicate fragrance of Plum Blossoms which you’ve already boiled away, right?
Also, ‘vegetarian broth’ does not mean fancy water boiled with nothing. You still need to flavour it with salt, mushroom stock, seaweed or even grated radish to sweeten the soup stock. Only stingy people serve you lumps of dough in plain water and call it ‘vegetarian’. Fuck this, check out this recreation of Joichiro Saiba of Shokugeki no Souma’s vegetarian ramen!
Contrary to popular belief ‘simple dishes’ does not mean throwing fewer ingredients together and using no oil, sugar or salt. To make a simple dish taste good, you have to add more steps somewhere to properly filter out certain impurities and highlight the taste of certain ingredients.
In short, a truly ‘simple’ and delicious vegetarian dish actually takes more effort, not less!
 Switch from narrative to stream of consciousness.
 Additional Information for Clarification: Not sure why QC ran outside for snow since it’s used to make noodles when he really wanted dessert. Not sure why Shiyu decided to make dessert from the ingredient that’s used to make noodles. Added a scene to give an explanation.
 Apparently, she made a whole bunch of things with the snow. Things that wasted delicately scented snow. I guess Prime-of-Life-san probably thought Plum Blossom Snow tasted like Plum Blossom syrup?
Anyway, fixed it.
 According to the original, Shiyu ‘worked until midnight to make a whole table of dessert’, presumably while the other two were just standing around and waiting for the dessert to be done and eat at midnight… Which sounds kind of unlikely. So, let’s put them to work since they’re so willing to be coolies for sweets.
Gumihou is preventing OOCness! This is for the prevention of OOCness!!
 Crisp Chestnut Flatcakes – Basically tiny chestnut pancakes
Click on the picture for the translated recipe ~
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