Intermission: New Year Dish
"Lulu Onee-sama, I earnestly implore you."
....What should I do, Arisa is acting even stranger than usual.
"Do you want something you'd like to have for the evening meal?"
"Leaving out the whale karage is hard too nodesu."
It was Pochi-chan and Tama-chan coming from behind Arisa who answered my question.
Liza-san would have surely requested yakitori.
Nana-san loves kids' lunch.
Mia-chan would be curry I think?
"Ah, I'm sorry, Arisa."
I inadvertently forgot about Arisa as my consciousness wandered about dinner.
"So, what is your request? Don't be something too strange or something that Master dislikes okay?"
"Master won't dislike it mon."
Arisa sulked like a child, turning her face the other way with swelling cheeks.
She rarely sulks like this.
"Please Arisa, won't you talk to Onee-chan?"
When I matched our eyes and asked her, Arisa sheepishly nodded.
--Ah, it's been a while since I feel like an older sister.
"New year dish? What kind of dish is it?"
Arisa was asking a dish called [New Year Dish].
However, I've never heard something like that.
"It's the dish from Master's hometown."
"Then let's ask the way to make it from Master--"
--I thought of asking Master, but Arisa stopped me with both her arms spread open.
"Why can't we?"
"We're always getting surprises from Master, so I want to give him some surprise present sometimes."
"Okay. Leave it to Onee-chan."
"Un, I love you Lulu!"
Arara, it's back to 'Lulu' already.
It's unfortunate, but I won't be able to calm down if she keeps calling me Onee-sama, so it might be alright once in a while.
I rolled my sleeves and then went to the kitchen.
However, the real problem was from here....
"Seaweed roll, fish omelet roll, eel roll..."
"Are they all dish with roll?"
I tilted my head in puzzlement, and then Arisa denied with a strange word, "Nein."
Apparently, she doesn't remember the dish's name.
"U~n, I usually only ate them, so I can't remember the name. You boil carrot, taro, lotus root, and kuwai, there are also sliced kamaboko and ham I think."
Arisa is telling me about it too haphazardly, I can't imagine what kind of dish is it.
I wonder if it's like Nabe where you put many things inside?
"Oops, I mustn't forget, black soy bean and Kurikinton! Sweetened boiled sweet potatoes are also the staple aren't they."
....Even if you tell me that it's the staple.
Were those just now for the dessert after dinner?
"Right, right, prawns! Boiled prawns on boudara sea bream served whole! And then, and then, herring roe! There must be herring roe after all. With katsuboshi on it, you put a biit of soy sauce.... U~n, it's unbearable~"
Arisa is grinning widely like when she's fantasizing about Master.
"It's totally unbearable nodesu."
Pochi-chan and Tama-chan who imagined the dish from Arisa's words have their mouths open wide like they'll drool.
"So, do you know how to make them?"
"....Can't Lulu's transcendental cooking skill do something about it?"
Oh you Arisa. She's way too unreasonable.
"I'm not Master, so it's impossible. Since the eels are sold in the market, I think we can do something about it if you tell what kind of taste the boiled vegetables should be like."
"Really?! Asxpected of Lulu. The favorite pupil of the phantom chef!"
"Even if you praise me. I think we can substitute the prawn with river shrimp or crayfish, but I don't think we can get our hands on the sea bream. We have katsuboshi and soy sauce in stock, but what is herring roe?"
To my question, Arisa crosses her arms and frowns.
"Something that has eggs in it. Something that's yellow, lumpy and delicious!"
I waited for Arisa's explanation to continue, but Arisa just kept crossing her arms and breathing roughly.
"U~n, I don't think I've ever seen them even in the royal capital's and the trade city's marketplaces. If I only know the kind of fish it is, I could ask the marketplace people to get it..."
"Then can't we just ask the fish dealer old man at the marketplace for that?"
"Right. That might be good."
Arisa and I, with Pochi-chan and Tama-chan as the guards, went to the royal capital's marketplace.
Come to think of it, why and what are the rolled ingredients for seaweed roll, fish omelet roll, and eel roll I wonder.
"I could get ya river fish, dried and smoked cods, octopus and river shrimp, but sea fish are impossible. Even if an Item Box-holder merchant runs on the fastest horse, it's absolutely impossible to keep them fresh."
The old man of the best wholesale fish dealer in the royal capital told us so when we asked him.
"Hey~, can't you do something somehow?"
"Like I said it's impossible. A falconkin airmail man can make a round trip to the trade city in one day, but there's no way you're paying 10 gold coins to buy fish right?"
The pocket money I got from Master whenever we return from the labyrinth is quite enough.
However, using it like this feels wasteful.
"Oh right, I've got some sakura salmon if ye' like? I don't know no herring ore, but the eggs of sakura salmon have this popping sensation, I recommend them y'know?"
The fish dealer old man shows a sakura salmon that's as long as Pochi-chan, trying to sell it.
The sakura salmon's eggs are scarlet colored aggregation of grains.
"It's salmon roe! Pouring this on rice and then eating them is delish ain't it~"
"Oh, lil' lady, you come from seaside? There aren't many people who eat this 'round here. I'll give them free of charge, so spread it around the people around you."
"Le~ave it to me. We have two excellent cooks, I'm going to make royal capital's people crazy about salted salmon roe!"
Arisa finds a kindred spirit on the old man, going gahaha together.
....Oh Arisa. I have to instill her more woman-like behavior when we get back.
"Teleporting four people is hard after all."
A few minutes after leaving the marketplace, we've arrived at the hill overlooking the trade city.
Arisa drinks the magic potion with great relish.
The sweet smell is the new peach taste isn't it.
"Now, let's do the last spurt."
After some slight floating sensation, we arrived at the corner of the warehouse block on the verge of the trade city.
This is the warehouse of Echigoya Firm that Master uses whenever he buys fresh fish.
"Now, let's go everyone!"
Tama-chan and Pochi-chan answers Arisa's order with Shupin pose, and then we go to the unloading market while they're pulling my hands.
"This is a good sea bream isn't it."
"It seems to be worth eating nanodesu."
Arisa is being too surprised, but a sea fish that's as big as your spread arm should be the norm.
"Young ladies, you have some sharp eyes. That sea bream is three gold coins."
U~n, it's a bit too expensive.
The market price is around four silver coins I think?
"Yes, here's three gold coins."
Arisa quickly paid before I could negotiate.
The unloading market broker-san grins like he's found an easy mark ignorant of the world, but Arisa returns it with an even worse smile, and continues speaking.
"Hey, I have some ingredients I want, is it alright with you?"
Apparently, the gold coins earlier were for information exchange.
In just about a bell-ring long, the broker-san found the ingredients requested by Arisa.
"There are even lobsters crowding on the plate nodesu."
Tama-chan and Pochi-can found found them to be delicious.
The broker-san even carries them to the warehouse, and then from there on is no problem since we have the magic bag and Arisa's space magic.
The fisherman-san whom we bought the herring roe from taught me the way to cook it, so it seems doable somehow.
Mia-chan uses cooking magic to shorten the time for the water to soak the black beans.
It's a water magic created by Master, but since it has no use other than for cooking, everyone half-jokingly calls it cooking magic.
Now then, I'm going to leave the processing that take time to Mia-chan, the problem is the fish omelet roll which recipe I don't know.
"Wrong, this is just omelet."
I've made so many kinds, but it never be like how Arisa wants.
I could have gotten precise hint if Master or Liza-san were here at a time like this....
"True nanodesu. Leave the cleaning up to Pochi and Tama nodesu!"
Tama-chan and Pochi-can who are holding rolled eggs on both their hands are eating the failed ones enthusiastically.
"You won't be able to eat dinner if you eat too much you know?"
"It's fine as long as the flavor is different nanodesu."
Flavor huh--right! Seasoning!
"Arisa, tells me the seasoning from Master's hometown."
"Uumm, the seasoning is called 『Sashisuseso』. Sato (sugar), Shio (salt), Su (vinegar), Se... Se, Seabura (back fat), So, Soysauce--Shoyu!" <TLN: http://justhungry.com/2003/12/japanese_basics_2.html>
Back fat, that's something I'd have never thought to use as a seasoning.
"Lulu~ This, not it~?"
Tama-chan picked up a small bottle with Mirin inside from among the seasoning in the kitchen.
I tried them all in turns, and it turned out the Mirin that Tama-chan found was the correct answer.
"Right right, this is the flavor! Now Lulu! Let's make the seaweed roll next! Putting herring inside the roll is good, but since we have sakura salmon, let's make sakura salmon seaweed roll!"
--Putting salmon in the seaweed roll?!
The inner part of New Year Dish seems to be quite deep.
It's said that mochi is necessary for New Year Dish, so Pochi-chan and Tama-chan are making mochi on the garden, pound pound.
Mia-chan, Nana-san and the others are also participating, I can hear their cheerful voice.
Let's complete this before Master and Liza-san come back from the banquet and surprise them!
And then, I'll be praised "It's delicious Lulu."!
P-perhaps, he might even say, "The man who makes Lulu his bride is a fortunate man."
While crushing the chestnuts for making Kurikinton, I unconsciously have such delusion.
Tomorrow is the dance party, and the day after tomorrow is the Kingdom Conference.
It's Master's big stage, and there's my Coming-of-age ceremony in the afternoon.
Ehehe~, it's matching with Master.
Feasting, and then congratulating, let's make it a fun new year.
Ufufu, it'll be fun when Master comes back.