Chapter 103: Golden Age Birthday Menu
Translated by Gumihou
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com
The more she tried to stammer out her words, the more Xiang Yun panicked. Finally, with tears rolling down her eyes, she collapsed to her knees in front of Duan Tingxuan, who said, “What are you talking about daring or not daring? In the future, be sure to make it clear to anyone who asks how loving and harmonious your master and mistress are, understand? This way nobody would dare to look down on your mistress. Rejoice, for when your mistress gain power, as personal maids you shall walk with your head high and nobody would dare to mistreat you.”
“Ah?” Xiang Yun raised her head to look uncertainly at Duan Tingxuan. “M-master does not… blame this maid?”
“How could this lord blame you? The way you do things fits right into this Lord’s plans. Here! This jade is for you. Ah, but make sure your mistress doesn’t know about this, otherwise… well, surely you do not need me to spell it out? If something were to happen, even this lord would not be able to save you.”
As he spoke, Duan Tingxuan removed a precious and expensive white jade pendant from his waist and handed it over to Xiang Yun. It was high quality Hotan Jade. It felt very slippery to the touch and was exquisitely carved. The whiteness of it was very pure, not even a tiny speckle mar its crystal like surface. It was clear how much Xiang Yun’s little lie had meant to the little marquis.
“Yes, this maid understands. Would master be at eased, this maid shall speak many good things in front of Missy.” there was no happiness like the sudden reversal of bad fortune to good. Xiang Yun happily tucked the jade pendant away, she had now become Duan Tingxuan’s lackey.
“Good little maid, you sure know how to speak well.” Duan Tingxuan nodded approvingly. Spotting the tear stained face, he said, “Go and wash your face, otherwise your mistress would think that I’ve bullied you. How did a cowardly little thing like you dared to play a joke on Feng Xian?”
He shook his head, muttering to himself as he made his way into the house. Su Nuan Nuan was seated at the table recording something onto a piece of paper. Curious, he came over for a look, and saw that it was all cooking recipes.
Su Nuan Nuan had clearly heard him coming, but she did not bother to look up as she said, “Hong Lian said you’ve called Xiang Yun over to you the moment you got here and spoke to her at length. What did you you two talk about? Are you trying to instigate something? Heheh! You’ve misjudged my personal maid’s loyalty.”
“My lady is being overly suspicious, I only called Xiang Yun over to ask what’s for dinner tonight.” Duan Tingxuan laughed. He thought: Hey, you placed too high an opinion on your maids’ loyalty. Did you know this lord has secured your Xiang Yun to his side with just one jade pendant? Naturally, this is not something I’ll ever tell you.
“Pei! How could a lord heir like you speak such shameful words?” Su Nuan Nuan did not bother to raise her head. Duan Tingxuan laughingly replied, “Aren’t these your recipes? Be careful not to lose it. Or you’ll suffer a major loss.”
“It’s just some ordinary home cooked food. Since it’s the old madam’s birthday, I plan to make sure Ms. Xue gets back to the kitchen by then. These recipes are written for her. I want her to oversee the kitchen duties for the banquet to make sure old madam has a wonderful birthday feast.”
Duan Tingxuan looked at Su Nuan Nuan with astonishment. He laughed gently and said, “And how did Ms. Xue earn your regard? To be given such great responsibility and trust, Ms. Xue would probably fall to her knees in gratitude if she knew.”
“No matter what, she was transferred into the laundry house because of me. I even boasted that I’d have her back into her original position in two or three days, but look how many days have already passed. I heard that things at the laundry house isn’t good either, First, some of those looking to curry favour with Madam Yun would bully her. Secondly, that blasted Madam Yun hinted that she was there to take over Ms. Wu’s position, so how could anyone on Ms. Wu’s side not hate her?
She’d done her best to endure all this trouble and never came to see me about it. It was only when I felt things were not right, and decided to plunder the kitchen again that I first noticed that she wasn’t there. Who would have thought she’d have such a backbone on her?”
Duan Tingxuan smiled in reply, “A servant takes on the attitude of their master. Before, when she flatter Ran Yun to climb up the ranks, her attitude was so flexible that you’d think she has no bones in her body. However, now that she sees you as her master, your tough and arrogant attitude must have stirred up some sense of pride inside her. This is not bad, if she really sees you as her true master, she would not sell you out for her own sake no matter what.
Such is the attitude of a truly intelligent person, unlike those who follow where the wind blew them. If two strong winds happen to blow the opposite direction, those following the winds would end up confused and unable to escape the storm.”
“Alright, alright, enough of your fancy talk. As expected of the shameless fox of the imperial courts.” Su Nuan Nuan smirked, waving a piece of paper under Duan Tingxuan’s nose. “Take a look at the menu. If you’ve nothing to add or change, we’ll need to start gathering the ingredients soon, otherwise we’d be in trouble.
Duan Tingxuan paid close attention to the menu/recipe list and immediately noticed four luxury dishes right at the top, “Stewed Shark Fin, Braised Sea Cucumber, Bear Paw with Beeswax, Stewed Deer Tendon.” It was followed by, “Sweet & Sour Yellow River Carp, Steamed Lion Head…” he pointed excitedly at the Steamed Lion Head and cried, “This one, what is it? Why have I never heard of it before?”
Su Nuan Nuan smiled at his excitement, “It’s something you’ve never had. A very delicious dish, you’ll know on that day.”
“I think, in order to make sure that all these dishes are up to standard, it’s imperative that I taste test everything first.” Duan Tingxuan said solemnly. Unfortunately, the unholy gleam in his eye gave away his true feelings.
“Is that so? For the sake of grandmother’s birthday banquet?” Nuan Nuan frowned, then dipped her brush deep into the ink pot, ready to ruthlessly blot out the list with her dripping brush. “If that’s the case, we can just cancel everything. No need to trouble you…”
She hadn’t finished her speech when the little marquis leapt back, the list clutched protectively against his bosom. “Nuan Nuan, I think it’s a good idea to collect all the ingredients as soon as possible. From the names alone, I can tell that everything is going to be delicious.”
“You certainly know how to talk, make sure don’t talk shit in front of me.” Su Nuan Nuan smirked, lowering her brush.
“I was just thinking, would it be possible to leave me with just a little male dignity? No matter what, I’m still a little marquis, if you treat me like a greedy cat just because I asked to taste a few dishes, surely it won’t look good, right? Also, Nuan Nuan, women can’t be too clever, a clever woman is…” Duan Tingxuan said coaxingly, at the gathering lines between his wife’s brows, his heart stuttered and he quickly switched tracks. “A really clever woman is too attractive, ah. I’m worried that many men would fight me for you, so, could you pretend to be just a little dumb?”
“The dumb one is you! You want me to suddenly be so dumb that I forgot how to make this Lion Head Soup?” Su Nuan Nuan was crossed and amused at the same time: What is this idiot talking about now? This man slut’s reputation shone brighter than a well cut diamond outside, what loss is he eating? The way he flatter people, it’s like his mouth is filled with nothing but sweet things, is there no justice in this world, ah?”
“No, no, no, my wife is the world’s smartest and most beautiful lady in the world.” Duan Tingxuan obligingly flattered her with a coaxing smile. “Let me look again… aiyo, there are four more dishes I’ve never heard of before. What’s this Shredded Pork with Sweet Bean Sauce? And this Bamboo Shoot Roll with Shrimp, what kind of shrimp will you be using? The ones from the sea? We’ll definitely need make preparations for those. En, and this Rolled Tips?”
Su Nuan Nuan patiently explained everything to the little marquis, who became more and more excited. Finally, Su Nuan Nuan murmured, “Too bad it’s blisteringly hot now, so we can’t get our hands on southern fruits. Otherwise we’ll be able to make two more dishes with pineapple.”
[Gumihou: Oooh, so many delicious sounding food. Although, everyone, please don’t eat Shark Fin or Bear Paw. Shark fin has no nutritional value, and is only good for showing off wealth. As for bear paw, please pity the poor bears and don’t eat their paws, or their gall bladders, or buy any kind of bear products.]
 Hotan jade or Hetian jade – White jade, very gorgeous  Stewed Sharks Fin – 黃燜魚翅
Check out my personal recipe for Faux Sharks Fin Soup. My grandmother and sister loved it, so I recreated the taste from memory.
I choose this video by Spice N’ Pans because they took the time to explain the individual ingredients. A lot of prep work had to be done before the actual braising.
Interestingly enough, there are no records for this recipe except for this really short clip from The Chinese Feast, a 1995 Hong Kong Film. Since it’s a comedy, well…
Here’s the trailer
Specifically this carp, it has a black dot an inch behind its eye.
 Steamed Lion Head – 清蒸獅子頭
Here’s an English language website with the Hakka Chun Ken Recipe
And here’s the translated recipe for Rolled Tips, please click the image.
A lot of the dishes here are very traditional and restaurant grade. In other words, very high level difficulty, so enjoy the videos, lol!
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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