Chapter 12: The Four Great Dukes’ Banquet

Editor: King of the End


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The day of the Four Great Dukes’ banquet has finally arrived. This is the test of my true value. I’ve just finished the last round of checks of the preparations in the kitchen hall. Tina and the others are with me too. The only tasks remaining are those which only she can do. It’s past the afternoon now, the schedule is tight, so we must start the cooking process. Nearly every task has been progressing well. Currently, my only worry is…… The only ingredient that has to be procured today and hasn’t arrived yet.

“Head chef Kurt! The ingredient is here!”

A subordinate who came into the kitchen hall called me. Those are the exact words that I’ve been hoping for.

“Finally!”

My requested ingredient has finally arrived. It’s the venison. I requested it from the hunters whom I met in the town back then. A fresh venison that has just been caught early in the morning today.

“Carry it to the kitchen hall, now. I need to prepare it.”
“Yes!”

A splendid deer enters the room. Even the bloodletting step is perfectly executed. Moreover, the condition is great. It seems to be fatally wounded in one shot, because there’s no damaging wounds. The best deer.

“Head chef Kurt. Freshly caught game isn’t that tasty, are you sure you want to use this?”
“Fresh game isn’t that tasty, indeed.”

When the meat comes from a freshly hunted game, there’s no umami component in it. It will only get intensified after being aged.

“Then why deliberately use a deer that’s hunted just for this event?”
“Because I won’t use the meat. ……What I’m going to use is this. The organ meat is more delicious the fresher it is.”

With a dismantling knife, I cut the deer’s belly open, then take out the liver. It’s a beautiful gleaming deep red color. A deer liver.

“No way, are you planning to serve an intestine to the Four Great Dukes?”
“What are you talking about? Liver is the most delicious of the innards. A wild beast will devour the innards first and foremost from their prey. And the fresher it is, the more delectable it is. A deer liver’s deliciousness is ranked at the very top among all livers. It’s the most delicious part in the world. I’ll slice it raw into a sashimi for you.”

My subordinates with their mouths agape glance at me, who already goes back to deal with the liver. There’s a trick to a deer liver’s treatment. Deers have no gall bladder, so the bile is stored inside the liver. This bile fluid is yellowish green and tastes bitter; it’s also dangerous and bad for our body. It has to be removed first.

I slice the liver perfectly in two. In the center of the liver, there’s a hollow part, much like the core of an apple. I threw away the bile stored in there, and then wash it with running water.

I barely touch the parts above the bile, only sifting through the top part of the liver as the bottom part where the bile continuously flowing to is separated into another plate.

Even if I wash it diligently, the bottom part where the bile is flowing to won’t taste that good. It’s tasty enough, but I will only serve the most delicious part for the Four Great Dukes.

“Tina, freeze this liver for me.”
“Understood, Kurt-sama.”

Tina’s Fire magic arte…… Or in fact, the arte of controlling heat, is freezing the liver at great speed. This step is necessary to kill the germs and parasites. Deer have exceedingly warm body temperatures, so the liver can be casually eaten raw, but I can’t be too careful.

After properly frozen, it’s slowly thawed by Tina’s power. This step prevents food poisoning.

“Now, then, another step to do.”

No matter how much I tell them that liver sashimi is delicious, I can’t serve it just after slicing like this. I put a wire mesh on top of charcoal fire that I’ve prepared before, then I put on those liver slices to grill on the surface.

Doing this will stimulate the umami. After the round liver has turned into a grilled color, I cool it down by dunking it into iced water. And then, I slice it thinly before putting the slices on a plate. The outer skin is in the color of an appetizing dark brown, while the center is the color of vibrant ruby. The secret ingredient in this dish is the clear top liquid of miso, made from fermented soybean. It brings out a flavor similar to shoyu soy sauce. It’s not something spread in this world.

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“Now it’s done. The best sashimi in the world. Try some.”

I pass the cuts that can’t be served to the guests to my subordinates. He gulps. The dark brown and ruby and the emerald decoration. That kind of vivid appearance should stimulate his appetite, right? And so he put some in his mouth.

“This is amazing. It’s sweet and firm, it’s not smelly at all, this is the first time I tasted something like this. So venison can be this delicious?”
“If it’s not a freshly caught deer, the taste won’t be this flavorful. That’s how important a fresh game is.”

The liver’s sweet flavor’s true identity is glycogen, and deer liver stores more than four times as much glycogen as cow liver. There’s no other liver that hides this kind of overwhelmingly delicious flavor besides the deer kind.

Deer liver is delicious, it has a very low content of fat, and not a drop of oil is used in cooking the dish, so it’s very easy on the stomach.

I don’t wish to use butter or oil in my ideas of the full course. A full course with a harmony of umami. I’ll serve the best while still holding that principle.

The hors d’oeuvres’ duty is to introduce what kind of full course dishes that will be served from now on, as well as building anticipation towards it. After eating seared deer liver, they definitely will be astounded and their anticipation will go straight through the roof.

“Head chef Kurt, I understand that you’re going to cook something amazing, but isn’t the amount of the liver too small? Only with this.”
“Seared Deer Liver is a special dish that will only be served to the Four Great Dukes. We still haven’t managed to prepare enough freshly caught deer’s liver after all.”

The other nobles will have to settle with Tuna Steak Tartare.

“In that case, it’ll be enough for sure!”
“Maybe you’re truly lucky. You can boast that you’ve eaten a dish that no one but the Four Great Dukes has eaten.”
“Yes, it’s a great honor! I won’t forget this gratitude for life!”

He looks like he greatly appreciates that dish, because he’s been staring at me with deeply yearning eyes.

“Now then, it’s the end of the allocated time for making the hors d’oeuvres. Now let’s start cooking the rest of the dishes too. There’s not much time left.”
“Yes!”

With that, the kitchen hall exudes a war zone-like bustle. I also start my cooking, because the dishes presented to the Four Great Dukes will all be made by myself.

Finally, the banquet has begun. In Renalier’s ducal estate, the hall designated for parties has been prepared for a long time. Inside the hall, only the best decorations were used for this party.

Everything in that room is of the highest grade: every painting, every chandelier, every plate. There’s no way the Arnold House can buy even a single one of them.

The Four Great Dukes are sitting at the highest elevated spot in the hall, around the desk that’s exclusively prepared for them, while the other nobles are gathered around a gigantic dining table.

Simply from the special seats, the Four Great Dukes look like heavenly existences above the clouds for the rest of the people surrounding the gigantic table: the margraves, marquesses, viscounts, and me.

A banquet that could gather this much honor doesn’t exist anywhere else, right? I’m blending in with the servants who are carrying over to serve the dishes instead of being idle. It’s Duchess Renalier’s order. I must appear as a waiter and explain the dishes as necessary.

When I go to the elevated floor designated for the Four Great Dukes, all eyes are focused on me. I can feel a special, bizarre power from one of Four Great Dukes, the one who was involved in that incident yesterday, Duke Härtling.

Those eyes are testing me. After all of them received the apéritif and the hors d’oeuvres, Duchess Renalier stands up. There’s a microphone in her hand.

“Today, I express my greatest gratitude to all of you who has gathered in my place for this banquet.”

That’s really straightforward. I can say that we are peers of the same age, but she has the style of an empress.

“The full course of this occasion is something that I, and the ducal house of Renalier, the governor of the Eastern province of the empire, have prepared with all of our might. I promise you that this is truly the newest creation, and the most delicious meal that you’re going to experience.”

People in the vicinity are making noises. They naturally would, in a sense. It’s because the host of the Four Great Dukes’ banquet is on a rotation. If someone says that it’s the newest and best in that kind of occasion, it’s equal to saying that she will surpass the other members of the Four Great Dukes.

Every time, in order to demonstrate their might, the Four Great Dukes will prepare the best full course. No one will ever say those words thoughtlessly.

I wryly smile. I didn’t think that the hurdles would be stacked up high in the open. However, I have no intention to falter here. I’ve definitely made the dishes that will live up to those words.

“Well, then, everyone. Let’s have a toast. In the honor of the greater growth of our empire.”

In this place, every single person raises their glass.

“To the empire!”

With that, the banquet officially began.

The nobles drink their apéritif to quench their throats, and then they reach out to taste my hors d’oeuvres.


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Isecai’s Notes:

 

Because it’s quite triggering, I will show the raw version down here. Don’t look if you’re vegetarian!

 

I don’t know about you, but it looks beautiful to me!

That being said, I hate the taste of cooked livers (chicken, cows), it’s always grainy and metallic. Yuck. I like cow lungs, though lol, it’s chewy after cooked. But I’m willing to try a fresh one if, like Kurt said, the fresher it is, the tastier it gets! (But it’s probably important to say that raw liver sashimi is banned in Japan…)

Also: the duchess has a microphone? They have microphone in this world? roflmao

 

☘ Upstart Pastry Chef, Vol. 3 Ch. 10

Early chapter because I’ve put another chapter in the buffer. xD And I’d love to play around with my new toy: A self-hosted website! It doesn’t matter if you actively comment here or not, I just want to ask, is there’s something I really must not do in the website? Is there something I should do?

There’ll be ads, but it won’t be obtrusive, that I promise. Tell me here what you think about it, okay? Because I still want to talk to you over there too. Q_Q

In any case, here you go:

Read Chapter

Commissions are still open ^^

 

Chapter 11: Duke Härtling

Editor: King of the End


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With all the commotions here and there, it’s finally the night before D-day. Faruno and Margrave Fernande seemed so busy sending their greetings to various places. The margrave doesn’t only have a high social status, he’s also recognized as an influential person in the empire. In this kind of place, there is no end for that kind of person, though.

In order to calm down my thoughts, I went out to the garden with Tina and Chloe to catch a breather in the night. The wind feels nice.

“Tina and Chloe, great work today. I don’t know what to do without you.”

My prided Chocolate Cake. My newly improved work of art, the king of chocolate cakes. Today, I’ve finished the preparatory work for all the portions except for those to be presented to the Four Great Dukes. The girls helped me out through the ordeal.

Tina used her Fire magic arte as a superb fire controller, and thanks to Chloe’s Water magic arte, making jam had never been that easy.

Of course, the preparatory work for the full course meals are also flawless. Except for one thing that we’ll receive in the morning of D-day.

“I’m happy that I can become Kurt-sama’s strength!”
“I came along for that reason to begin with. I’m glad I can be useful.”

While looking a little bashful, they responded to me like that.

“But, it’s a pity. Kurt-sama’s dishes all looked so delicious and yet we couldn’t eat them.”
“It’s the full course for those elite people, huh. Can’t be helped. It’ll be bad if we say unreasonable things to Kurt.”

I smile wryly. They hit the mark, officially. But on the side, the arrangement is actually more flexible.

“Rest assured. After everything concludes tomorrow, I’ll ask for permission to hold our own banquet.”

Duchess Renalier is a reasonable person to talk to. She already agreed to two of my requests.

Uwaa, I’m looking forward to it!”
Un, I’m excited too. No matter how many Kurts we have, this kind of extravagant dishes cannot be cooked once we return to the fief, after all.”

She’s certainly right. This time, I can splurge money without thinking to procure the highest grade ingredients. There’s some pressure, but inside my heart, I undoubtedly also feel happy.

The three of us look up to the moon. It’s a beautiful full moon. It’s a really beautiful night.

067

While being fascinated by the full moon, I hear some footsteps and turn in that direction.

“Tch, so it’s preoccupied.”

A good-looking middle aged man shows up, clad in an extravagant yet tacky outfit, while cursing at us. He’s trotting heavily while entering the garden that we’re in.

Behind him, there are people who look like his servants, holding baskets filled with wine and snacks. He must have been here to do the moon-viewing with some drinks.

It’s an elegant garden befitting a night with a beautiful moon. It’s not strange to have other people coming here. However, that man just spoiled the serene atmosphere of the night. Complaining won’t change anything, so I exchange glances with Tina and Chloe, signaling for us to return to our room.

“Please, do not mind our presence. We’ll retire to our room now.”

After saying that, I turn my back on that man. However……

“Such a poor-looking lad. Low class noble, huh?”

I tsk’ed inwardly. Right now, I’m wearing my own clothes instead of the outfit that Margrave Fernande gave to me. Those clothes are too stiff, so I’m apprehensive in wearing them here, but that was such a blunder on my behalf.

“I am Kurt Arnold, a Baronet’s heir.”
“Arnold of the spear, huh? So even a baronet is invited to this ducal house. How low has Duchess Renalier fallen?”

I feel a bit irritated at the man’s attitude, but I keep it from showing on my face. In the nobles’ society, there are ranks. From his attitude, his rank should be higher than mine. Unless I have absolutely no other choice, there’s no need to start a fight in this place.

“This humble self is truly honored to have received such an invitation from Her Grace. There are obligations that we must do, therefore, we will retire with this.”

I bow once and intend to make ourselves scarce, but the man in front of us seems intent on speaking more.

“Eh, halt. I am Marquess Klanritte Fordell. You have some redeeming points. If you show me some sincerity, I don’t mind giving you some benefits.”
“Sincerity?”
“That’s right. Leave your two servant girls here. They’re rarely seen top grade women. Moreover a Lunar and Elf are interesting enough for me to taste once. I wonder how they’ll cry. I heard they’re harder to break than humans. Sounds fun.”

Klanritte looks at Tina and Chloe with lecherous eyes that seems to lick them all over their bodies.

Tina’s fox tail puffs up in the opposite direction, while Chloe’s elven ears are trembling.

“My deepest apologies, but they are my family. I will not present my family members for any reason.”
“Bastard, you dare to refuse this marquess even though you’re just a baronet?”
“Yes, that is indeed my intention.”

Actually, it’s just like what he said; it’s unrealistic for a baronet to defy a marquess. If I wanted to act terribly calculative, I have Margrave Fernande and Duchess Renalier as my backers. ……Still, unless I have absolutely no other choice, it’s true that I don’t want to dump more problems onto their laps. However, this is that instance where “I have no other choice”.

“Truly, give an inch and they’ll ask for a mile. I’m being this kind but you smear mud on my face. This is totally inexcusable. Oi, you guys beat that man and drag the women here.”

He sends out a dangerous order to the servants lying in wait behind him.

I’m not afraid at all, though. There’s no expert among them. I can single-handedly turn the tables around by myself. I switch my thoughts into combat mode. It’s that kind of turn of events.

“It’s so terribly noisy over here. The moonlit sky is so beautiful tonight, though? Why are you being so wasteful?”

A young man with blue hair shows up. He’s around 20 years old. He’s wearing a simple and good-looking luxurious black suit that fits him perfectly.

“Why, isn’t it Duke Härtling. What brings you to this kind of place, Your Grace?”

The middle-aged man suddenly looks panicked, talking despondently.

Duke Härtling. I remember hearing that name somewhere. He’s one of the Four Great Dukes that I’ll be serving soon. And then, he’s also head of the noble faction who wishes for war.

“Fordell. I heard what you were about to do, you know?”
“This man is a mere baronet, but he dared to insult me!”

Marquess Fordell yells while pointing at me with veins bulging on his face.

“Hm, is he speaking the truth, heir Kurt of the Baronet of Arnold?”

When he calls my name, I feel agitated in an instant. Why would Duke Härtling know my name? It’s unthinkable for him to eavesdrop on us. If he was within the hearing range of our conversation, I would have noticed his presence.

Then it’s only possible if he knew me from the beginning. A duke remembering an heir of a baronet? That’s also unthinkable. ……No, if he has thoroughly investigated Duchess Renalier’s movements, he would have arrived at my information as well. Just how far did this man know?

Pushing down my agitation, I speak up.

“Marquess Fordell mistook my companions as prostitutes, so I refused his extortion. The marquess seemed unable to accept my refusal, and intended to use pure strength to continue his pressure, but Your Grace appeared in the nick of time.”
“I see now. Fordell, is this what you meant by an insult? Since you couldn’t allow him to refuse, you intended to assault the heir of the Baronet of Arnold?”
“Th, that’s right! A mere baronet, no, not even a baronet, a brat like him, to me, to this me!!”
“I see. Fordell, you’re lucky.”

The next second, Duke Härtling lightly tapped Marquess Fordell’s shoulder without batting an eyelid. There’s a muffled sound coming from Marquess Fordell’s shoulder as it bent in an odd angle.

“Eek, eeeeeeeeeeek, m-m-my shoulder, aaaaaaaaaAAH!”
“Don’t be so noisy. It’s only slightly broken. Defiling Duchess Renalier’s garden only warrants this much, but I actually really want to cut your arm off.”

While he looks elegant and exudes a dignified, noble atmosphere around him, his smile looks so barbaric.

“Marquess Fordell. I wouldn’t let you off with just this much if you truly assaulted this man. He’s someone valued by that Margrave Fernande, even going as far as making him betrothed to his daughter. He’s also a person of interest for Duchess Renalier. He can trample someone like you as if you’re an ant. He’s the Arnold of the spear to begin with. You’re out of your mind to pick a quarrel with the strongest Arnold in this generation.”

The strongest Arnold in this generation. Those words won’t come up from any superficial kind of information. I had predicted that he had investigated me, but he proved to know me better than what I predicted. As someone unreachable on top of the clouds, why would a duke like him try to find out about me to that extent?

“Heir of the Baronet of Arnold, my subordinate has troubled you. I wish you would allow this to settle the matter. I shall send an apology gift to your room later on.”
“Thanks to Your Grace’s timely manner in stoping him, there is no trouble at all on my behalf. I am deeply grateful.”
“I’m glad if you think so. Still, I will definitely send an apology gift. This is my responsibility. Also, I’m looking forward to your cooking. I hope you can have a good night’s rest.”

After saying that, he leaves the place.

While looking at him, Tina speaks.

“That person is scary. His words are gentle, but cold and detached.”
“I don’t like him either. The mana around him is prickly and sharp.”

The two of them reject his presence with their own intuition. Their senses are quite sharp. I should be vigilant against that man.

We went back to our room while abandoning Marquess Fordell whom his servants were nursing, while clutching at his arm.

I’m going to serve food to that kind of man. This matter frightens me a little.

 

 


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Isecai’s Notes:

Changing “the four Grand Dukes” to “the Great Four Dukes”. TT_TT

Excuse me while I cry and try to fix them all sobs

☘ Upstart Pastry Chef, Vol. 3 Ch. 7

I managed 3 chapters yesterday. 8D But I need more, more stockpiling.

Read Chapter

On to the chapter!

Actually, I’m also in dire need of money right now to keep the house hahah. o)–( Still trying to get other source of stable income, but if I can get them from translating, it’ll be pretty amazing. If you can commission me, I’ll be forever grateful. <3

Chapter 10: Bouillon de Légumes and Clear Soup

Editor: King of the End


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At last, it’s only two days before the banquet being attended by the Four Great Dukes. The whole Renalier estate is buzzing with activity.

In the Four Great Dukes’ banquet, it’s not only the Dukes who will be attending; their subordinates and even their servants numbering close to a hundred people in total.

Starting from tomorrow, the guests of honor will arrive in sequence. And then, each of them will require their own special hospitality, which is why this kind of busy atmosphere isn’t strange form.

“Head chef Kurt! Would this be appropriate for the preparation?”
“I finished the stock. Please taste it!”

Right now, I’m in the kitchen hall. Over here, the chefs of the Renalier house are receiving my instructions. After all, having more people means having more hands. It’s impossible for me to prepare all the staff’s duties on my own. And as expected, even without considering the servants of the guests, just the subordinates of the Four Great Dukes have surpassed thirty additional people already.

I don’t make them just by myself; on top of letting the servants help me out, I have to drill the cooking methods into them as well. As expected, though. Being a chef in this place means that their skills as chefs are first rate. Anyhow, besides the elites that Margrave Fernande handpicked and brought as my helpers, I also have the help of the prided chefs of Duchess Renalier. They quickly grasp the gist and remember them.

However, I still personally made the servings intended for the Four Great Dukes on my own, because I want to prepare the best of the best for them.

At the same time, there’s also the dessert, my chocolate cake specialty. If any troublesome mishaps occur in that, there’s no one else who can handle it but me, so I must make it by myself from start to finish.

The cake’s taste will deteriorate in one day after being fresh out of the oven. Frankly speaking, I want to make them all on the exact day, but there’s not nearly enough time for that. That’s why, other than those that will be served for the Four Great Dukes, I will make everything one day before. When I think about it, in reality, today is the deadline to drill all the necessary techniques into the other chefs. The time is running tight. Still, after being instructed for a few days now, they finally shape up.

“Yosh, the fish’s preparation there is great. The soup is…… yes, the sweetness of the vegetables are drawn out. But, the herb bouquet. It needs to be better. Add more parmesan.”

If they keep this up, they should be able to perform well in the day.

I open the paper that contains the recipes.

  1. Appetizer      Tuna Tartare Steak and Seared Deer Liver
  2. Salad             Steamed Shellfish and Tomato Salad with Deluxe Sauce
  3. Soup             Deer Medicinal Soup
  4. Fish Dish       Eel Soup in Puff Pastry Pie
  5. Meat Dish     Roasted Jade Duck
  6. Dessert         Deluxe Chocolate Cake

Overall, the main purpose is to keep the fat content low while raising the appetite.

For the cooking in this era, the tastiness of a dish equals the amount of grease. That’s why, I intentionally turn away from the fat content.

It is exactly because they are accustomed with greasy food that my skills will be the determining factor. That kind of full course dishes must be yet unknown to the Four Great Dukes. Delicate dishes that will showcase the natural flavor of the ingredients and bold preparation that will astonish the guests; those are my cooking’s forte.

“Yosh. Everyone, gather around. Let’s taste the soup.”

The soup this time is made through quite some time and effort. I pile up the vegetables and herbs of various kinds, and then extract the flavor for a whole day long. Bouillon de Légumes. With a technique that recently got extravagant praises in French cuisine. It’s the technique for a vegetable-based stock.

I’m not using herbs just for the taste. It is said to heal the stomach of those nobles who are so used to eating extravagant dishes day after day, accelerate their digestive system as well as used as medicine for internal disorders. I chose this dish to create the effect of making the dish afterwards even more delicious, efficiently so. This soup is a delicious and edible medicine. The role of the Soup in a full course meal isn’t simply as being delicious. It has to lead to the great flavor of the next dish. This vegetable soup is delicious on its own. However, there’s a little bit more to it.

“Typically, soup is carefully boiled for a long time. But this one is not just about that.”

The western soup is the same as here, typically prepared by boiling the ingredients until they turn into a rich soup. According to that theory, this cooking is finished after boiling the vegetables for a long time, like now. However, this is a deer soup. The real deal has only just begun.

“Look at it. It’s the soup technique of the far east land.”

I shave the shikabushi that I brought here with a knife into transparent flakes. Shikabushi is made from the most delicious hind legs of a deer, then dry aired and cured until it looks like bonito flakes.

Due to the curing process, the flakes version has overwhelmingly stronger umami than the raw meat. Even the Western world recognizes this method, the bonito flakes have that fishy smell that they cannot accept.

This shikabushi is the counter-measure for that issue. It doesn’t stink and it has strong umami; shikabushi is suitable for any kind of cooking.

I heat it up before pouring the vegetable soup into a small pot. And then, I add the thinly transparent shikabushi into it, and stir it for about ten seconds. That’s all it takes. It’s the so-called clear soup method. It’s enough to draw out the umami, and with such a short time, it won’t cause any bad smell from the meat. The moment the shikabushi is heated up, it will still ooze the wild game smell, after all. But with this, I can make a clear soup wherever I am. It’s still necessary to carefully boil the vegetables to pull out all those delicious flavors, but for meat, this method is better to obtain the umami without making it smell raw. It’s truly a soup that combines the Western and Japanese.

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“Drink it up.”

When I speak like that, the surrounding chefs look bewildered. Their heads cannot catch up to the foreign cooking method.

“I shall be the first to try.”

Head chef Venaritta took a step forward, then received a small plate from me. He sipped the soup.

“……Delicious. I see now. So we can actually draw out the meat’s umami and vegetable’s sweetness to this extent. With the slowly boiled vegetables as the base, you sharply add the meat’s umami in an eye-opening harmony. There’s no wild game smell at all, which must be contributed to the unboiled method. Wonderful. This kind of soup is a new invention. I feel moved and will remember it well. Boys, what are you dallying around for!? Quickly drink that. You’ll learn well.”

With those words, the chefs started to drink from the soup that they had gathered before.

“So this kind of flavor does exist. What a perfectly clear taste.”
“With only ten seconds I can taste the meat’s umami to this extent.”
“So it can be this delicious even without butter or oil?”

The fellow chefs voiced out their impressions. Those sound like good reactions. The soup I made this time is exactly a foul play, though. Bouillon de Légumes, the latest method from the French cuisine world; the most advanced ingredient, shikabushi; moreover, the clear soup method of Japan. Also, the techniques to combine them with medicinal cooking knowledge. For the chefs of this world, it’s a soup that they absolutely cannot create.

“My, my. I thought I wouldn’t be surprised by anything that you brat made, but I’m still struck dumb. There will be hidden surprises in the other dishes too, won’t there?”
“Of course there will. This is a soup that will make the main dish shine until the very last moment, just a minor performance.”

The other dishes are elaborately planned with everything that I have as well. However, if it’s only about causing pure astonishment, this soup has to take the crown. It is completely different than the custom here.

Serving this to these chefs is deliberately planned so that they will have an easier time of listening to me afterwards. With that out of the way, if I make the dishes that will blow away their stereotypes, the chefs will instantly soften up to the idea. This should make their work after this become easier.

“Everyone, we don’t have much time. Let’s keep doing the preparations!”

To my voice, they……

Ooou!

Everyone in this place answers with the yell of their fighting spirit. One by one, they receive my training towards their performance and the cooking instructions. With this pace, we can somehow prepare everything up to the real event in time, I’m sure.


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Isecai’s Notes:

I think the “new method” that Kurt keeps saying refers to the shikabushi. We knew that bouillon de legumes is a long standing tradition!

The reason why Kurt uses parmesan escapes me though. Is it good?

That being said, I wonder how they taste differently to one of my staple vegetable dish that looks eerily similar here in SE Asia… Maybe not different at all? We eat them fresh instead of after being slow cooked for a whole day though… I wonder if that makes all the differences. 🙂

 

Chapter 9: Brown Sugar, White Sugar

Editor: King of the End


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I’m back in the kitchen hall of Duchess Renalier’s estate. It’s also a private hall. Even if only temporarily, serving as the head chef means getting this kind of special treatment. Besides me, there are also my assistants, the cute girl with fox ears Tina and the beautiful elf Chloe. Tina can operate the heating to a delicate level, while the water that Chloe produces is suitable for cooking.

Today, my purpose to come into this kitchen hall is to make white sugar.

I won’t start processing it from Sugar Cane, obviously. By refining the brown sugar in our hands, it will turn out as white sugar.

Soft brown dark sugar and unrefined sugar cane

“Then, Tina, Chloe, let’s begin. Let’s turn that dark brown sugar into white.”
“White colored sugar, is it? So that kind of thing exists too.”

Tina asks with deep interest.

“Yes, when the sugar’s color is dark, there are hardened crystals of molasses mixed in it. If we take out the black molasses, it will turn white.”

Yes, this thing called brown sugar here is actually a stable product after processing the juice of sugar cane by boiling and letting it cool down. White sugar is something left behind after taking out the black molasses and leaving out the sucrose.

“Does the different names between the brown and white sugar mean different things too?”
“They’re entirely different. Brown sugar’s taste is muddled with a bitter and harsh flavor to some extent. But white sugar, it smoothly elevates the sweetness.”
“Then why does everyone only make brown sugar?”
“Because to make the other one takes too much time to separate the black treacle, and then it will reduce the amount. It’s only about the muddled taste too, because actually, unrefined brown sugar is packed with nutrition. If I don’t consider the nobles’ palate, I won’t deliberately make some white sugar in the first place.”

Yes, and to make it worse, sugar is really valuable. Sugar cane will only grow in a warm climate, it can’t be grown in our continent at all. That’s why, we can only import them from the continent across the ocean by ship. That’s the reason for their high prices. And that high priced sugar is deliberately being halved through a refinement process? No one would do that.

“Since it’ll use the white sugar that valuable, it will become a very luxurious pastry, won’t it?”

Tina’s words are justifiable.

“Honey itself is a product of our fief, so I’m hesitating to actually stock sugar. Besides, the other main ingredient, the cacao, is very expensive. It’s a pastry that I cannot serve if we’re not in these kind of circumstances. We should fully enjoy this opportunity to our heart’s content.”

I grinned while gradually pouring lukewarm water onto the brown sugar. When I do so, it melts into something that looks like clay. I pour that into a stone tub that I made, which has been covered with a cotton cloth.

And then, I tuck the clay-like brown sugar liquid in the cotton fabric’s wrap before sealing the tub with a stone lid. I carefully tilt the stone tub, as I have punched some fine holes on the bottom right part of the tub to remove the water. That stone tub was made from my Earth Magic Arte. I hope it’ll turn out good.

“Now, let’s knead out the molasses.”

I strengthen my whole body with mana. Originally, I was going to make a tool that had its own dedicated lever’s power, but this time, I’m going with manual labor. I press down the stone lid with my maximum strength. When I do so, black molasses start to flow out of the clay-like brown sugar inside the cotton fabric wrap, then run to the bottom part of the stone tub.

By doing this, I’m separating the molasses from the brown sugar. This is a taxing manual labor. My arms are tired. I cast [RecoveryH e a l] to my tired arms and continue the work.

After taking out all the molasses at once, I opened the stone lid and took out the brown sugar inside the cotton wrap. That once dark brown has shed that murky color and became whiter.

Uwaa, Kurt-sama, it really turned white.”
“It’s not nearly enough yet, we have just started.”

In that state, I continue to press down until there’s no longer any molasses that can get kneaded out. That’s why, I use this process called kneading. Adding water by hand, the clay becomes refined into whitish clumps.

Upon reaching that step, I still add more water, enabling me to extract even more molasses. Essentially, the water content, the temperature, the humidity level, and the refining time. Any of those needs artful skills. However, thanks to my Cooking Ability, I can act on my intuition, to some extent.

After I feel that it’s good enough, I add water to make it clay-like again, put it into a cotton wrap inside the stone tub again, press down the stone lid with my full strength again, and extract more molasses out.

“Kurt, can you keep going?”

This time, Chloe the elf is the one asking worriedly. The water that I used this time is produced by her Magic Arte. That’s why it’s been going well so far.

“I think it’s going to turn out well. If I keep extracting, it’ll gradually become closer to white.”

My breaths are ragged. I’m surprised that I still get this tired even after strengthening my body with mana. If possible, this kind of manual labor isn’t something that I ever want to do again.

This sugar refining technique is the method to make wasanbon (fine-grained Japanese sugar) that Japan boasts about. I remember that, once, in order to adopt Japanese essence into Western pastry, I observed and studied the making process of wasanbon, the highest grade of sugar in Japan on-site as a part of my research. It never occurred to me that the experience would become useful in this kind of place.

“Kurt-sama, how many times do you have to repeat this kneading step?”
“At the very least, five times.”
“White sugar is highly troublesome, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, but it’s worth all the manual labor. It’s a pastry chefp â t i s s i e r‘s lifeline.”

The strong and peculiar taste of unrefined brown sugar isn’t bad, actually, but as I thought, the easy to use white sugar with its delicate sweetness is better.

This time, since we have enough budget to buy as much brown sugar as I please, I ended up buying it in large amounts. I intended to bring back home the remaining portions that I don’t end up using in this occasion, as much as possible. It’s necessary to pursue the special pastries that I aim for. I want to put them somewhere reachable…… It should be all fine and dandy to procure this much of a side benefit.

“Let’s keep this up until we get the pure white color.”

Like that, I continue making the white sugar with all my might.

I repeat the kneading process for five times. Finally, the sugar is completed. It’s a thoroughly pure white-colored sugar. This is what I aimed for. After wringing out the water content, it becomes solidified white clumps. Originally, it has to be aired out to completely remove the water content, but with Chloe’s Water Magic Arte, the water content can be isolated and removed in a second. I smash the stiff clumps before putting them through the sieve. It’s a very taxing labor, but this feeling of accomplishment is so good.

“Kurt-sama, it truly became white.”
“Shocking, right? The mass is cut down by more than a half, though.”

Being immensely curious about the pure white sugar, Tina and Chloe can’t stop themselves from staring at it.

“The value is definitely worth all the labor, you know? Tina, Chloe, try and taste the difference to some brown sugar.”

I plop a clump of brown sugar into their mouths.

“It’s sweet and tasty.”
“I never knew about sugar before, but the brown one is tasty enough for me.”

The both of them are already in glee from the brown sugar. It’s natural to be happy from it because brown sugar is already an expensive ingredient that is sweet enough to fill their cravings. However, if they’re already astonished by the brown sugar, I wonder how shocked they’re going to be after the white sugar next?

“Now, this is the white sugar.”

I plopped the white sugar clumps into their mouth just like before. Their eyes went wide.

“The sugar before is tasty, but this, this is so smooth, and velvety when it melts, so wonderful.”
Un, compared to this, the brown one is too sticky and tastes sort of weird. I like this one better.”

Correct. That’s why people refine sugar despite the labor and the reduced amount.

It’s almost foul play to serve a pastry made with white sugar in a world that only knows brown sugar, really. And as if that’s not enough, there will be chocolate too. Using those two bombs, and with my best techniques. The pastry that I’m going to make will become the most wonderful pastry that no one has ever seen before. I should be able to easily get the full clear on this mission to fulfill Duchess Renalier’s conditions.

I could make my number one worry on the list, the white sugar. Now, let’s build up the rest of the menu upon that.


Credits: 

  • Raws
  • Watch how wasanbon is made. (It’s an accidental ASMR— very heavenly to watch and listen from 0:00 to 4:21, after that the video’s sound is weird.
  • Organic brown sugar from Agusthia Organic
  • How to make sugar infographic from Imperial Sugar

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I wonder if you can buy me some cookies? ?????  https://ko-fi.com/isecai

Isecai’s Notes:

It’s tricky to translate the terms in this chapter due to the color codes. When we say brown sugar, the Japan called it black and in the narration Kurt keeps saying black this and black that.

I’m a bit touched by wasanbon. There’s something very human-touch-ish about that ingredient that makes me feel moved.

This is a useful infographic about sugar I guess.

sugar-refining-infographic_isc-900