Chapter 175: Eat Eat Eat

 

Translated by Gumihou

Please read this at kitchennovel dot com

 

 

“I’m telling you, ah, Nuan Nuan. That crown prince is getting too greedy. To think that he even wants to pass the new year at our place. Humph! It’s clear what his real motive is. He wants to eat us out of house and home… yi? The Lotus Flower Pastry[1] is done? Let me try some.”

At this moment, things were incredibly busy within the small kitchen of Spring Breeze Court. Even Su Nuan Nuan only had on a simple pink jacket and loose yellow trousers with a stained apron over it. She was currently busy preparing pork chops to be stuffed into rice cakes. Next to her, a perfectly gorgeous and not a hair out of place Duan Tingxuan stood next to her. No matter how one looked at it, the little marquis was completely out of place among the busy cooks. However, this gluttonous food thief had absolutely no awareness of his existence. Under the excuse of ‘relieving his wife’s boredom’, this food thief maintained his position, keeping an eye on all the activity around him. Thus, the moment the Lotus Flower Pastry was done frying, the little marquis cheered loudly. In a flash, he left his vigil by his ‘beloved wife’, grabbing a large plate on his way towards Ms. Xue. In a flash, the plate was piled with pastries.

With half of the freshly fried Lotus Flower Pastry suddenly disappeared, Ms. Xue could only stand there stupidly as the little marquis rushed back to Su Nuan Nuan’s side. After a while, she sighed heavily and turned to Cong’er and Hua’er, “Prepare the next set for frying.”

Su Nuan Nuan finally could not take it anymore. As she wrenched bones out of Pork Chops, she said, “Heheh, the lord really deserves his title as a martial artist. You really have eyes in six directions and ears in eight directions, ah. Though my kitchen is not small, the lord already has the whole place in the palm of his hand. You’ve even chosen the best location to watch every direction. As for your excuse of relieving my boredom, the real reason you’re here is because it’s the most convenient location for you. Am I right?”

The time it took her to say this much, three Lotus Flower Pastries already ended up in the little marquis’ stomach. This scummy character pretended not to hear his wife’s sarcasm and nodded with a scholarly air, saying “These Lotus Flower Pastries really are cleverly designed and wonderful to look at, more importantly they are incredibly flaky and delicious. The moment it enters the mouth, not only is it not greasy or oily, it tasted incredibly gorgeous. Old madam will definitely love these.”

Su Nuan Nuan rolled her eyes. When the Pork Chops were all stuffed into thick cuts of rice cakes, she began to slide the Pork Chop Stuffed Rice Cakes into the hot oil. At this point, Duan Tingxuan had already forgotten his self-appointed mission; and was now drooling over the Pork Chop Stuffed Rice Cakes as it gradually turned a beautiful golden colour. He swallowed, and asked, “This is the Pork Chop Stuffed Rice Cakes you mentioned? It’s so fragrant, I really can’t wait to try them.”

“If you’re not afraid of burning yourself go ahead.” Su Nuan Nuan sniffed. Finally, the nearly crazed little marquis calmed down a little. He tittered embarrassedly and said, “No need. That is… I shall eat these Lotus Flower Pastries first. Once these are finished, the Rice Cakes should have cooled down enough to eat, right? Right. I was just saying, that crown prince wanted to come to our place for the new year. I think we really can’t have him here, right? Do you know how much he can eat? Also, he’s the crown prince, if he didn’t have enough food, Nuan Nuan might have to spend a whole day in the kitchen just cooking for him, right? Isn’t that a bad way to pass the new year? Therefore, I, your husband risked committing a great offence against the crown prince’s face and spoke righteously for the… yi? They’re done? Wu, they looked really hot. Looks like I really can’t put them in my mouth yet…”

 

[Gumihou: … how thick is this scum’s face?]

Please read this at kitchennovel dot com

 

“Madam concubine, it’s already the end of the year but you’re still so busy. No wonder everyone says you’re an incredibly capable person. But, no matter how busy you are, you must take care of your health.”

As Concubine Jing rushed out from the building where the daily management for the mansion is conducted, several female servants proceeded to fawn at her. She gave Zhu Xiu a little nod, before smiling warmly at them, “You have all worked hard too. However, it’s best that we keep up this momentum and consistently complete each job that comes our way. Everyone, as long as you’re serious when it’s your turn to work, you may enjoy your free time as you like. As long as nothing major happens, and the senior madams are able to happily celebrate the new year. I shall make sure that your hard work is recognised. No matter what, you will be rewarded for your work this year.”

The servants all but cheered at this. They happily chorused, “Concubine Jing’s words shamed us, ah. It is our duty to do our best when it comes to work after all. Not doing our best is unthinkable, ah. How would we dare to take credit for anything?”

Concubine Jing smiled, “Enough, no need for such words in front of me. Let me tell you, I am a person who keeps my promises. You know this too. This year, the An Ping shops have yielded quite a good amount of money. Therefore, if you can ensure the senior madams pass a happy new year, what do you think the reward will be like? However, since we are all being frank, if I catch any of you neglecting your jobs, even if nothing happens, I shall not forgive you, understand?”

The women all nodded quickly. Each of them begging madam concubine to not worry. After that, she rewarded them with a few strings of coins, which caused them to nearly burst with joy as they solicitously sent both mistress and maid to the moon door[3] before turning back to their own individual work.

“Madam concubine, it’s already the 29th, but you’ve been hard at work since this morning. It’s noon now, which master in this mansion is not relaxing in their own warm rooms? How about we return for a rest? Yu Ling should still be waiting at home.”

“You think so? Spring Breeze Court is frying snacks today. She was busy helping them all day yesterday, and conveniently came back with a rounded stomach. I heard that first madam will be making Pork Chop Stuffed Rice Cakes, Lotus Flower Pastry, and fried rolls of all kinds as well as other kinds of fried snacks. Even the old madam is looking forward to them. So, how could that little hussy Yu Ling resist?

Enough, there’s no reason to go back at this moment. We can have snacks for lunch at Spring Breeze Court. If we’re lucky, we might even score some Double Steamed Milk Pudding[4].”

Zhu Xiu smiled, “Everything else aside, that Double Steamed Milk Pudding is certainly delicious. I’m just curious, just what kind of stuff is first madam’s brain made of? Just how did she come up with so many different kinds of delicious things we’ve never even heard of?”

Concubine Jing said, “Only the ones we’ve never heard of are delicious? You might not know this, but even the most common food becomes magic under first madam hands. Once, I stayed past noon at Spring Breeze Court and had lunch there. What do you think was served? The most common Red Braised Pork! However, under madam’s hands the meat has the most gentle aroma, the softest texture that literally melts in my mouth. That aside, madam herself said that even this humble Red Braised Pork could be made in several different kinds of ways.”

As the two chatted, they soon found themselves at Spring Breeze Court. As they stepped across the front entrance, they happened to see Duan Tingxuan rushing out of the kitchen. As they watched, the little marquis slipped like smoke down a corridor and disappeared after rounding a corner. Zhu Xiu said wonderingly, “For the master to enter the kitchen at this time, isn’t he like a mouse that had fallen into a rice vat? So why did he leave?”

Concubine Jing was suspicious too, she rushed for the kitchen and saw Su Nuan Nuan labouring over a hot wok, sweat dripping from her forehead, but still wearing a smile on her face.

Concubine Jing came forward, and said, “Sister, aren’t you tired? It’s already the year end and everyone is resting but you, and yet here you are still wearing a smile.”

At the sight of her, Su Nuan Nuan became excited. She hurried over and pulled Concubine Jing in. She reached for a flat biscuit that was the size of a jade token, and stuffed it into Concubine Jing’s mouth.

“Quick, have a taste. I’ve been pondering over these for a long time and have been failing almost every time. Though Hong Lian insists that they tasted alright, but I know that’s not the taste I’m chasing after. I was just making a test batch today, but it seems to be an unexpected success. It appears that the problem lies in the oven. It’s completely different from the one I was used to and it appears that I had to use a much smaller flame to get this flavour. Also, since we’re using fruit tree branches as our wood fire, an unexpected fruity aroma was created too.”

 

[Gumihou: Ahhh, eat, eat, eat]

 

[1] Lotus Flower Pastry – very gorgeous pastry. I managed to find a youtube with English subtitle and fairly easy step by step instructions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tITNTV13dSg

https://www.xiachufang.com/recipe/103353373/

 

[2] 排骨年糕 –  Pork Chop Stuffed Rice Cakes or Pork Chop with Rice Cakes. There are plenty of recipes with that cooked Pork Chops or pork chops with rice cakes, but none that stuff said pork into the cakes. I might have to make it myself to test this recipe, lol.

https://sh-streetfood.org/pai-gu-nian-gao-pork-chop-with-rice-cakes-%E6%8E%92%E9%AA%A8%E5%B9%B4%E7%B3%95/

 

[3] Moon door

 

[4] 双皮奶- Double Steamed Milk Pudding – the youtube below has an easy recipe from a nice Cantonese speaking lady called Mama Cheung, it has English subtitles too, so enjoy~

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qdF2BiHgIY

 

 

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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.

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