Black sesame cookies

I am left to my own device for a few days. How wonderful is that! To eat when I am hungry and to toss all the salad without him probing around the leaves asking "Where's the beef?". I am able spent the night reading in bed with bright reading lamps friendly to my eyes instead of my clip-on-your-book-light (those pathetic battery operated light that clips on your book). Be absorb in the pages and chapters without him reminding me to go sleep. Now that I have the whole big bed to myself, I can sleep diagonally, horizontally in any position I fancy. I can turn up the air conditioner until our room feels like winter and hide my head in the thick quilt. I foresee our apartment be finally neat for once. There will be no dishes in the sink left for me from his erratic hunger pangs. I knew I am sure to miss him, but the odds are better. Over dinner, I popped a bottle of fizz. We've been stuck together for too long. His mom told him to stop bullying me. Yeah! Toast to that.

Peace arrives. Finally, a few days of good peaceful days. By the time I woke up, he had already left for the airport. I took time to enjoy my morning coffee. I chided myself to dress for the day. I thought I will be relieve from his annoyance and his messiness and all that irritation that comes in his package. I thought my days will be filled with abundance of personal time all for myself. Ha... Joyous, isn't it?

But it wasn't quite so. Our apartment is extremely quiet and too peaceful for my liking. After work, I did head straight to bed, but not quite how I intended with a good book and a nice dinner. In fact, I ended up with television and episodes of crime stories until dawn. My bad. It gave me nightmares. So long the beautiful leafy dinner salads. I admit to feeding myself poorly. Dinner became a quick meal by the kitchen sink with a bowl of milk and cereal. Or even worse: A handful of nuts and nibbling on chocolate. On our large bed, I didn't sleep diagonally but slept on my little usual side hugging his pillow with his fading scent to coax me to sleep. My winterish room made me sneeze in the morning. I overslept with the lack of his noisy, inconsiderate morning buzz.

I am more tired than ever before.
I felt lost without the routines of cooking and caring for someone. Mundaneness of everyday became  meaningful simply because we were sharing it together. His annoyance and messiness didn't matter anymore. The reason I can stand to eat dinner by the kitchen sink and waking up each morning with dark rings and felt like I've partied all night long is not so much because I don’t think I’m worth the effort. Instead, it’s because the ritual has been broken. And that ritual put order into my life and that anchor was more powerful than I know. It gave every day purpose and meaning. The rest fell into place.

I am so glad he's coming home tomorrow.
 The only routine thing I did amidst all the irregularity, is to have Chinese tea, Tie guan ying or Pu'er tea with nuts and little refreshments (糕点-gaodian). Something like high tea done Chinese. It's intended to be a ritual for peace and calmness to clear the mind to write or think (a ritual that I kept since Shanghai days). Which, of course, obviously, I didn't pen a single word only to surf the net mindlessly.

Other recipes for Chinese high tea - Danish butter cookies (The blue tin cookies) or black tea pound cake.

Yields just right for a Chinese high tea for 4 people.
125g butter, very cold, chopped
160g plain flour
40g almond meal
40g roasted black sesame
80g icing sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk

In a food processor. Grind the black sesame seed with some flour  in short, quick bursts until fairly fine. And all the dry ingredients and pulse until mixed. Add the cold chopped butter and vanilla extract and pulse until it resembles bread crumbs. Lastly, drop the yolk in and pulse until it forms a dough.

Transfer the dough on a sheet of clip wrap and roll to form a log. Refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing to ½ inch cookies. Place on cookie dough on lined baking tray and bake at 175˚C for 15 mins or until edges are golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

- till next post, ss. 

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