Cooking by The Four of us
Since Flora’s here as well now, we moved the whole gang into the kitchen.
「I, I’m not really that good at cooking. Maybe I should go back out? 」
「Why’d you say that? You can help even if it’s just a little. Like cutting up the vegetables or making the sauce」
Toack caught Aisha who was about to go back in the living room.
「Aisha, try cooking once in a while. It would surely be fun cooking with everyone」
I also wanted to leave it to Flora and Toack since I know how good they are, but it sounds like fun to make a meal together with everyone this time. Also, I’ll be eating the deer that I hunt from now on, so it would good for me to learn some good ways to cook them from these two.
While everyone was washing their hands, I prepared the things that we’ll most likely need.
Salt and pepper, wine, olive oil, frying pans, kitchen knives and cutting boards. And lastly, the venison.
As I brought these out, Flora also took out a small wooden lunch box from her bag which contained the venison that she had prepared beforehand.
「Ah. This is what I was working on yesterday. These ones were coated with salt, pepper, and olive oil. And this here was marinated with red wine and an herb called marjoram」
「Ohh! You came well prepared. You can make a nice sautéed dish with that」
「As expected from Flora, it won’t take long until we can eat 」
We all praised Flora on the nice preparation that she did.
She brought out such valuable food ingredients from her house. I’m so happy that tears almost came out. She must have done the marinade when she cooked for her family.
Looks like I’ll have to sort out a big cut for them again if I manage to catch game in my next hunt.
「Well then, what are we going to make? 」
「Steak and stew! 」
Aisha responded instantly to Toack’s question as she raised her hand.
「Ah, it takes some time to make a stew so let’s not 」
「Ehhhh, is stew no good? 」
「It’s not that we can’t, but even if we start making it right away, it’ll be way past lunch time by the time it’s done」
Flora seemed to have the same opinion as Toack since she wasn’t recommending it too much either.
If we start making the stew now it’d be evening by the time we can eat.
「Frying it would be no problem though」
「Roasting it or sautéing it would be plenty delicious. If we want some soup, we can also make a vegetable soup. We’d get tired of eating only meat」
「Ohh, that sounds good. I can’t get the flavours of Toack’s soup even if I try to imitate it」
「Haha, you won’t be able to do it that fast. You can’t do it just by cutting the vegetables up normally and throwing them in」
After talking for a while between the four of us, we have decided on a menu of grilled venison steak, sautéed venison, stir fry venison with red wine, pot roast venison and a vegetable soup.
Although this menu sounds like a lot, we have Flora’s marinated venison. The cooking methods were also unexpectedly easy, so we’re gonna get started right away.
Aisha and I were in charge of the simple cooking such as grilling and pot roasting. Flora was in charge of the stir-frying with wine and sautéing. Toack was in charge of the vegetable soup and supervising Aisha.
Flora, me, Aisha and Toack were working in the kitchen next to each other in that order.
This is a pretty roomy kitchen, but it still felt quite cramped with the four of us adults lined up.
Flora brought out a hand-made apron and put it on.
Aisha seemed to be reluctant to join in because of the clothes her little sister had picked out for her. It didn’t come across my mind before, so I have decided to let her use my apron. It would be a waste if she got that beautiful dress dirty.
Flora stared at Aisha. It did look somewhat loose on her because of our height difference.
「It’s a bit too big for her after all, huh」
「…You’re right, but that’s not it」
「What’s not it? 」
「I, It’s nothing Aldo-san! Let’s start cooking! 」
Flora’s strange words piqued my interest, but since she told me to start cooking I will move on from it.
I cut the venison into large chunks and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Then, with a little bit of oil in the frying pan, I threw in the sliced up pieces of garlic into the pan to get its flavour out.
The fragrant smell of garlic drifted as they turned into a golden brown color.
「That smells really good」
「Yeah yeah, hurry up and cut up the meat. I can’t do it ’cause we only have two knives」
I heard the voices coming from the two next to me.
We have three cutting boards, but only two knives. The place where we can make the fire can also fit two frying pans maximum, but it would just waste more time unless we take our turns efficiently.
When I first moved in here I would have never imagined that the four of us would be cooking like this.
Somehow this got me feeling nostalgic, reminding me of the times that I was cooking with my party back in “Black Silver”.
「…Aldo-san, you’re having fun aren’t you? 」
Maybe because I couldn’t hold my smile in, Flora said to me as she smiled at me.
「I was just reminded a bit of my past. I had also cooked like this with my friends」
「Oh, speaking of which, what did you used to do before? You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, though」
Toack hesitantly asked me from hearing my mutters.
A twenty-seven-year old man who suddenly moved into the village. Anyone would wonder what he was doing before that.
「Nah, it’s not something that I can’t say out loud. I was an adventurer a while ago and I came here since I made some money」
At the same time I answered like that, I confirmed that the flavor of the golden-browned garlic had been transferred to the pan before I took out the garlic.
Then, I added a bit more oil and waited until the frying pan was heated up to the point that the oil begins to smoke.
「Heeehh! So you were doing something like that! Does that mean you have taken out vicious monsters like goblins and orcs before? 」
「Well, yeah I guess so」
I even took out a dragon at the end, but I will keep quiet and not say needless things.
「If we have a hunter here who has experience dealing with monsters, we could feel safe even if anything happens」
「We’ll be relying on you」
「I have already retired, so please don’t work me too hard」
When small fry monsters such as goblins come out, it’s normal for hunters and villagers to deal with them. But if it’s a monster that they can’t handle, then they will hold out until the knights and adventurers are dispatched. It will make the people feel safer if the first people who will deal with them are hunters who are former adventurers.
If such monsters do come to this village, I will take the lead to fight for everyone’s lives, but I’d rather not deal with that type of work if possible.
Since the frying pan was heated enough for the oil to smoke, I put the venison in.
I guess they have also finished seasoning the meat from the loud cutting noises I hear coming from near us, and Aisha started throwing the meat into the frying pan.
As the sizzling sounds came from the fat of the meat, the fragrant smell of meat filled the kitchen.
we said as we watched the meat juices from the venison flying everywhere.
The smell of meat cooking works very well with empty stomachs. You’ll realize just how hungry you are once you smell enough of that fragrant smell.
Behind us, Toack and Flora were chopping up the vegetables on their cutting boards with rapid chopping sounds.
Both of them were very fast with their knives.
As I live my single life here from now on, it would be important to get accustomed to kitchen knives rather than swords.
I seared the meat for one minute on one side, then turned it over for another minute on the other side. The surface of the venison was roasted to a brown color. The middle part was still somewhat red but I don’t mind since I’m going to be pot roasting it.
I lowered the fire a bit, then I put a lid on the frying pan and left it covered for a while.
「Oi, Aisha. Don’t be grilling it on such a high heat. Cook it carefully on medium heat and watch for the roughness of the meat」
「Even I know that much」
As I listened to their words, I picked out plates and utensils from the kitchen cupboard.
Since my dish was a pot roast, a shallow, round dish is good. Aisha should be done grilling soon too. Should I bring her a plate as well?
It feels like it’s as fun to pick out plates as cooking the dishes themselves lately.
Then, after confirming that the remaining heat had cooked the meat thoroughly, I sliced the venison into thin pieces.
The outer layer of the meat was well done, and the inside is a beautiful pink. The middle was roasted to a degree between rare to medium rare. That’s the level I’m satisfied with.
I plated the dish with its juicy meat juices still dripping out.
Aisha also looked like she was done; she also served it on the round dish that I placed beside her.
After roasting the meat, I started to make a gravy from wine, honey, and the meat juices from the meat. I put out the fire as the gravy thickened and gave off a fragrant smell.
After I finish plating the food, I noticed that the portions that I roasted looked a bit small.
Suddenly, I paused as I saw Aisha’s skin glowing.
Aisha, you were secretly eating, weren’t you? Just when I was about to call her out, something warm entered my mouth.
The taste of well-seasoned meat juice spread all at once. This is the grilled venison.
In no way was this venison overcooked from the texture of the meat. The more I chewed, the more delicious this meat tasted.
While I continued chewing, Aisha put her index finger on her lips.
This girl… she made me an accomplice. Forcibly putting the food like that in my mouth.
Well, it’s fine if the two behind us don’t notice.
I think that it’s necessary to taste the food when you cook.
To encourage others to cook without tasting their food would be rude.
That’s why cooking this way isn’t really a problem. Yup, this was not us stealing a bite or anything like that. It’s to make sure that it was cooked to just the right level.
「Oh, something wrong Aldo? 」
「No, nothing at all」
As I tried to reach for more, Toack asked in a curious voice as he looked back. I pulled back the hand that I had extended out.
Aisha, who was in the same boat as me, had a natural expression on as if nothing was wrong. Aisha is good at kidding herself.
「… There’s something suspicious here 」
Toack narrowed his eyes and looked at me sharply.
「We’re done here so you can use the frying pan」
I handed my frying pan over to Flora without feeling guilty.
「O, oh. Thanks」
Flora received the frying pan with a smile on her face.
When I looked at her carefree smile, I thought that Toack must be thinking that it was suspicious.
「Ah, Aldo-san. You know you got some sauce on your mouth? 」
「Ehh? Really? 」
I wiped my mouth in a panic from what Flora had just pointed out.
At that moment, I realized my mistake as I heard Aisha’s mutter.
….I fell into Flora’s trap.
「Ah, you stole a bite didn’t you? 」
As I looked blankly at Flora, who had just caught me in the act, she smiled at me and went back to cooking.
Her smile was beautiful and gentle as usual, but for some reason it sent shivers down my spine.
Have I done something that has somehow angered her…?