Chapter 101 – A Gift in Return
After making the longevity peach buns, Chu Lian sent some over to each courtyard of the Jing’an Estate, together with a set of Eight Confections.
It was still hot out, and Chu Lian had already eaten all these pastries before in her previous life, so she only had a few to satisfy her taste buds.
On the other hand, the servants in Songtao Court were happily eating away while they admired the desserts.
After tasting Chu Lian’s desserts, the confections that the famous Cook Zhou had made in the past were inedible in comparison.
They had never thought that a small plate of desserts like this could have so many different forms and flavours.
The stuffing in each one was different, and so were the shapes. There was even both sweet and salty flavours! Heavens, if Chu Lian hadn’t actually made them, they wouldn’t have believed that there could be such delicious desserts on earth, even if you beat them to death.
The Eight Confections were even more shocking than the longevity peach buns.
Fuyan’s favourite was the one with red date stuffing. The outside was soft and crisp while the inside was filled with a delicate fragrance, and there was even the aroma of red dates. She ate so much that her cheeks were bulging like a little squirrel hoarding its food.
While distributing the confections, Xiyan smiled and placed the ones shaped like peach blossoms with the red date stuffing onto Fuyan’s plate.
“Here, you greedy little cat. Although Third Young Madam made a lot of these, there’s just about enough for all of us to share. Here’s an extra red date flavoured one. If you like to eat them, why not ask Third Young Madam for the recipe? Then you can make them on your own next time.”
Fuyan froze for a moment in the midst of chewing. She stared at Xiyan with wide eyes, who didn’t notice the look as she was distributing the confections.
This was how it had always been back at the Ying Estate. Although she and Xiyan had both been assigned to serve Third Young Madam on the same day, for some reason, Third Young Madam liked Xiyan more and had always entrusted her with more tasks. Of course, she didn’t like losing to Xiyan, but Xiyan often looked after her, giving her the first pick of any of the good food. They had eaten red dates together a while back, and Xiyan liked them too. But instead of keeping the red date flavoured pastries for herself, Xiyan gave them specially to her.
Fuyan took a deep breath and looked down, trying to suppress the sour jealousy in her heart. She decided to hide the letter that Mister Xiao had written to Third Young Madam for the time being. She wouldn’t give it to anyone, at least for now. Eating Third Young Madam’s great cooking every meal was pretty good anyway.
Xiyan was unaware of the swirling thoughts in Fuyan’s heart. She smiled as she placed a pomegranate shaped pastry stuffed with a salty pepper paste onto Wenqing’s plate.
Wenqing hunkered down and ate her desserts in small, savouring bites, completely silent.
These desserts suited her taste buds perfectly. She had never liked sweet things, but most of the confections in the capital were sweet. She had never eaten a salty confection that was pepper-flavoured before. However, the more she enjoyed it, the more she thought of the incriminating letter she lost. It made her feel more and more uneasy by the second, causing the pastry to lose all its wonderful taste in her mouth.
Meanwhile, in Countess Jing’an’s courtyard, Miaozhen was serving the countess a round, drum-shaped confection.
Countess Jing’an hadn’t eaten a proper meal for days, yet she actually managed to eat three pieces of the confections that Chu Lian had sent over. This made her handmaiden, Miaozhen, really happy.
“Madam, I wonder how Third Young Madam comes up with these ideas!”
Perhaps due to finally having eaten some food, Countess Jing’an’s pale and hollowed face was a little flushed. She waved her hand, indicating that she was full. “That girl, she really shouldn’t have gone to the trouble. I can’t finish it all. Why don’t you share the rest? If we leave it for too long, it’ll be spoiled by tomorrow. Ah… I don’t have much to reward her with by now…”
Miaozhen wiped the corners of Countess Jing’an’s mouth with a handkerchief. “Madam, what are you saying? Third Young Madam did this out of filial piety, and not for a reward. Didn’t you hear from Third Young Madam that she received Guilin Restaurant from the matriarch today? Madam, you were so good at managing businesses when you were younger. Why don’t you give her a few pointers when she comes for her daily greetings tomorrow?”