Translator: Haruchin Editor: Marky
Candied roses as antipyretics.
You know, I have this feeling that the level of medicines they have in this world swings between being a fantasy recovery potion and being a superstition. Well, if the medicine works then maybe it IS effective, I guess…hmm, is the spirit essence the deciding factor?
「Can you remove the stalks first, like this? Here, right at this white border.」
I showed how to cut it with my knife.
The rhizomes and roots of Kinka grass are whitish. I had to separate them from the colored parts because the extraction method is different. It’s a real pain in the neck, I tell you.
I can take a shortcut by not separating them and still end up with a decent amount, but the quantity will be less than a quarter compared to when I separate them.
「Got it. 」
「 That’s quite a huge amount, I say… 」
「 Mm, it’s really difficult if you’re going to do it alone. 」
Butler reflexively took a step back — he probably knows the price and value of Kinka grass, but I just ignored him.
「It’s harder to cut if it’s supple, but there’s nothing wrong with being supple per se so don’t mind it. Oh, by the way, the tin can of snacks is on the shelf over there, so help yourself, okay. 」
Two baskets stood beside the usual table on the first floor; one was empty while the other was filled with Kinka grass. I have knives, towels and tea ready on the table. The water was boiling beside the hearth.
Ash and Butler silently began working. Oy Butler, wait a sec!! You’re going way too fast!! Did you forget the original plan? He slowed down when I subconsciously glared at him.
Cut, drop to the basket, repeat.
My job is to cram the separated leaves into the distiller’s still, which is heated from the bottom. The vapor carrying the essence with it will then be cooled from the top of the structure, turning into liquid that will drip down into the bottle. I just have to be careful not to let the fire go out.
The floor is stone-paved, so I took advantage of that and got a thin slab of stone and laid it on the floor. I placed a small furnace — a makeshift one made by arranging some bricks — and that’s where I worked. Well, it’s too troublesome to go up to the third floor after all.
I tried giving them a hand with the separating job, but they flatly refused, reasoning that it was the work they’re tasked to do. And so, I decided to just make some snacks and prepare lunch while keeping an eye on the still. I can read a book, but my conscience is pricking me.
We had beef yesterday, so let’s have fish today. I knead the bread dough in the kitchen while thinking about the menu. I guess I still need to consider if the ingredients aren’t sold here, so let’s just go shopping while the dough is resting.
Well, even if they’re not sold here, I have something I prepared in advance, I still can do something about our lunch.
「I’ll just go buy some ingredients for lunch. 」
「 Yeah. 」
「 Have a safe trip. 」
I check the fire under the still before calling out to Ash and Butler.
Ash doesn’t take her eyes off her hands, intently focusing on her work. What a scary face…really scary face.
「 Yeah. You two go take a break too, there’s a lot left, if you keep at it you’re gonna tire yourselves out, you know? 」
Looks like they’re going to have stiff shoulders.
「Let me brew some tea. 」
I see Butler standing up while wiping his hands on a hand towel as I step outside.
There are more items available in the bazaar during early mornings, but it’s not like the products will be sold-out by this time. That’s because there are many stalls packing breakfast for people who don’t cook their meals at home, and some also start selling their products by taking turns.
For example, they’ll go fishing after eating breakfast here, then they will display the fish they got, or for others it will be rabbit. So, for today’s fish —
「 I’ll have three of these trouts. 」
There are black trouts and patterned rainbow trouts all lined up in a stall. There are smoked ones and brine-pickled ones being sold in other stalls, but I plan to cook these meunière style. They’re still alive, after all!
Carp, eel, catfish and crayfish. The eels here are a bit different from the ones in Japan, but kabayaki also appeared in the【 Appraisal 】 results, so maybe I can try making it? Ah, but won’t it be too weird without white rice?
So, how about the vegetables?
We have the usual turnips, root crops and cabbage. They have the roundish cabbages, but they also have the curled, blackish variety that don’t grow into balls. No matter which variety it is, they are usually eaten from the 11th month until around this time, so folks frequently use this vegetable during the winter season.
So, two heads of cabbage. Ah, no, let’s just buy 5 heads and make some sauerkraut. The season for these veggies is ending soon, so it has to be now.
Trout meunière, bacon and cabbage for soup. Pass on the black cabbage this time ‘coz it turns the soup color bad. I can also make some cabbage rolls tomorrow — oh, it’ll be redundant, so let’s use some pre-made bean soup for soup instead.
I randomly choose other veggies and mushrooms, and that’s the end of my shopping spree.
「 I’m back. 」
「 Welcome home. 」
「 Welcome back. 」
Ash was still concentrating on the roots.
「 You don’t really have to be that meticulous over it. 」
C’mon. It’s fine even if there’s a bit of white near the leaves, alright?
「 Mm. 」
Ash half-heartedly replied.
I carry the things I bought to the kitchen, then check the still before adding more firewood.
The distilled liquid dripping from the distiller separates into water and oil, so I just have to divide them once we have collected enough, but from the looks of it, we still have a long way to go. Mmm, as I thought, maybe a structure that can cool it more might be better, huh… And yeah, I want a liquid separator, that’d be awesome.
The firewood here is typically too big, so I get the hatchet and split it into smaller pieces the size of the distiller. I make twice as much as I consumed, and my work here is done.
I return to the kitchen, wash my hands and start cooking. First, I add the bean soup to the pickled pork inside a pot, then place it on the stove.
Fish for meunière are usually set aside for some time after killing it, until just before cooking. If you try frying it right away while it’s still fresh, the flesh will be too taut, so it might crumble during cooking. But in this case, the fish really has just been caught, so let’s just take advantage of the freshness.
I remove the gills and gut the fish before dunking them in milk to remove the stink. Set aside.
The dough swelled nicely, so I divide it into smaller pieces, roll them up and put them inside the oven. I get some coals from the fireplace in the adjacent room, and transfer it to the stove. I add more firewood to the fireplace.
I return to the kitchen, take the trout out, wipe off the milk properly before sprinkling salt and pepper. Dust with a thin layer of flour, add plenty of butter and tah-dah, it’s meunière. Just kidding, I also mix some olive oil in so it won’t be too sticky. Squeeze lemons and adjust the flavor.
By the way, lemons are considered luxury goods here. It’s hard to get your hands on them unless you’re in a place that has a warm climate like the country where my house is. Lemon and citrus fruits are status symbols, and they’re being cultivated in private greenhouses of the wealthy and the nobility, apparently.
It’s so commonplace in Nalluadhid, you can see them by the wayside, and there’s way more than you can eat over there. So it’s true, the time it takes to distribute things and the climate both have a big impact on the food culture of a place, huh.
I paired the meuniere with sauteed mushrooms and asparagus. Yeah, it did crumble a bit, so the plating kinda looks bad.
「 Lunch’s done. 」
Good timing, the bread is also baked.
T/N: Trout meunière ~ mmm, looks so delish, I wanna eat it now! XD
Credit: Greg Dupree, https://www.health.com/recipes/trout-meunière