Slice slice slice.
Sounds of me slicing Rock Onions and other vegetable resounded in the kitchen.
Perhaps thanks to my increased DEX and AGI, I feel like I'm getting really good at swiftly dicing up vegetables now.
Still slower than Alma Mama, but that lady is in a whole different dimension...
"Hikaru, this is the fourth one, are we still making more?"
"Ah, once that one is done, all that's left is the main dish... I might have gotten too much into and made too much."
"Enough portions for five, six people would make it a big party."
"No, I think it'd end up enough for eight, nine people."
"...Un, that's a bit much."
Alma watched me cooking while smiling wryly.
Not the usual twitching smile, more genuine and heartwarming.
I'm currently making fish rolls. Usually the fish needs to be roasted in a foil but since there's no aluminum foil around, I'm using a cooking paper that transfers heat well instead.
Guess otherworld cooking hasn't been left far behind with something this handy around.
I sprinkled salt and rubbed sake on the fish before leaving it for 10 minutes. As I waited, I cut up Rock Onion, red carrot-like thing and mushroom-like thing.
I put them on the cooking paper, sprinkled consomme powder-like spice, cut up the now stench free salmon-like fish, wiped it with a clean cloth and rubbed salt and pepper on it before putting the fish on top of the vegetable.
I put butter on top of the sliced fish, folded the cooking paper, put them on a frying pan, closed the lid and heated it up for 10-15 minutes.
If only this world had a gas stove. Adjusting the heat with firewood stove is pretty hard.
<<Precise heat adjustment is possible through fire ore-powered magic stoves. They are indispensable tools in high-class restaurants and kitchens. Considerably expensive at 200,000 en each.>>
So pricey. But I want one. I'll get one once I can afford it.
The fish was done while I was lost in thought. Looks like the heat was right too.
I stealthily put it inside my Item Screen to retain the temperature while being careful with surrounding eyes.
Now then, time to finally make the main dish.
You just gotta have a cake for a birthday.
Pancake? NO. It's gonna be a hall cake using a real sponge cake.
...Even just one of these cakes costs a lot. Sugar and co. are pretty expensive in this world. But well, it's fine for this occasion.
I had made the sponge cake already yesterday, it was quite the task.
I had to impose on the aunty running a bread store in the town and borrow their kitchen.
She gave the OK right away when I offered to give her the recipe. Thanksies.
First I put eggs into the bowl, mixed them up, put sugar in.
Next up, I whisked it up with whisk x2 I had the town's blacksmith make.
It would have taken too long if I did it manually so I used mana control to spin the whisks with mana drills... Yup, it went quite well.
I made it spin too fast at first and slowed it down enough to create light bubbles. I shook the bowl in the meantime so everything would mix.
As I did, I put wheat flour in.
I poured it in stages to prevent damping.
Once the flour was gone, I put the dough into a different bowl with pre-mixed butter, vanilla and milk and quickly stirred it with a spatula.
Once it was nicely mixed, I put it back into the other bowl and whisked it well.
Then, I poured the dough on the the baking sheet-laced bowl and waited until the dough settled before putting it in the oven.
...I'm kinda cheating by making Menu-san control the temp. Can't tell with just my eyes.
<<Cooking Skill users also rely on their Skill on temperature adjustment, this is no issue.>>
But it still feels kinda you know...
I feel kinda bad with earth cooks even though I don't particularly fancy myself a chef.
Once it was done, I peeled the cake off the baking sheet and turned it upside down.
Then I wrapped it up in multiple clean hygienic cloths.
Once it had cooled down, I left it somewhere cool overnight inside a leather bag along with the cloths. In my case, I encased it inside a miniature cold room using mana control to create the ice.
And now we're here with a damp cloth. It's the shortcuts you often see in cooking programs.
The bread store aunty said she had never seen anyone making a sponge cake. Guess it's rare in this world.
After cutting the completed sponge cake in two, I coated them in an ice cream-type soft cream made with Alma's help and put the two back together.
Then I coated the surface with a fresh cream made from cream slime and vanilla milk. The ice cream one didn't work on the cake's surface.
I squeezed more cream on top, and put strawberries (pretty much the same one as earth's) as decorations, and a birthday cake was done.
S-so tired... I wouldn't wanna make anymore than two a year.
Now then, usually we'd have eaten this in the dining room next to the kitchen, but as there was no space for it and we didn't want to stand out, we'd be celebrating in my room instead.
I had a table in my Item Screen I took out in the room.
I put all the food besides the cakes as well as juice and tea, done.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"Aah, finally done. It went on for a bit too long."
"Good work, Hikaru."
"Y-you'd go so far making all this gorgeous food for my birthday... F-fugwu...! T-thanks so much...!"
"Don't cry now. This much is nothing."
"Where did you order all this? Is Soarer-kun actually filthy rich?"
"...What are you doing there like it's the most natural thing in the world, guildmaster."
As I soothed Reina who was crying in joy, Lolimast joined the conversation like it was normal. Where'd she sprung up from.
"Are you done with the clean-up? Actually, why are you even here..."
"It's all good, I've done all I could for now. Like, I didn't wanna get any more job pushed on me so I ran out as soon as I was done with my quota."
"Is that really okay...?"
"It's fine, it's fine. There's no way to explain everything without Soarer-kun and the rest anyway. Ah, I don't have any deep reason to be here. The Spirits just told me they sniffed good food, so I decided to crash in."
Man, she's a saucy one alright! What's she acting like it's only reasonable to eat at someone's place!
"...Well I don't really mind."
"Also, you can drop your polite tone and get back to that rough one, you know? Didn't you talk normally during the commotion."
"Using that tone on a superior is reserved only during an emergency. I don't think it's okay to keep that day to day."
A bit late now, but I believe it's a good thing to uphold etiquette.
Also, this person has been a great help to us at the end of the day.
"Let's have a toast. Juice or tea, which one you like?"
"Juice for me!"
I got none of that stuff!
"There is no booze."
"I've brought some with me, care for a drink? Oh Reina-chan, wanna have your first sip now that you're of age."
"Booze is off limit till she's 20!"
"Are you talking about the custom at the hero's homeland? Booze is a-okay once you're of age here, you know?"
Man, they're way too lax with alcohol law! What if you turn alcoholic!
"...It can stunt your growth, so keep it in moderation."
"But I want juice for starter. It'd be a waste if I can't taste the food because of booze."
"Good food goes well with good booze though. Well if you say so, I'll start with juice too."
I poured my home made juice in each our glass... This juice is more expensive than all this food.
"And now, without further ado, happy birthday Reina."
We hit our glasses together and drank it up.
All of them had a look of surprise a moment later.
"Itssogfood!! I never drank something this good!"
"...Hikaru, could this juice be..."
Alma who'd guessed what it was asked me with a slightly twitching face.
"Yeah, squeezed from Efi."
"I knew it... This can't be cheap..."
"Eh, Efi, you mean that Efi? This tastes so much better than the ones sold on the market though."
"I used freshly-picked natural Efi. Honestly, I think a piece is at least 5000 en."
"Bufuu!? It's a super bourgeois juice! What a waste!"
"I picked them myself so it's free. Well, I guess they'd fetch a good price yeah, but today's a special day."
"Well, we can always hunt down High Cave Bears if money is an issue..."
"By the way, we're also having a dish made from that meat."
"Nuwaaa!? Bear meat for my birthday!? What kind of cuisine is it anyway!"
"Salted, peppered and grilled. No, seriously, it's really good, probably the best one today, you see?"
Reina stared at the meat with a twitching face. Don't be so wary now.
High Cave Bear meat is too gamey if you eat it outright, but by letting it sit along with a special cooking mold for one week, the surface will rot out but the inside turns the gamey taste into a flavorful first-rate meat.
All I did was slice off the surface and rubbed salt and pepper before grilling it, yet it's been transformed into an extremely flavorful meat dish.
Reina fearfully took a bite before she splattered down on the table.
"...It's so good but I just can't get on board somehow..."
"Your trauma from that chase still there?"
"Of course it is! That was super scary you know!"
Figured. Anybody would be scared to death getting chased by that huge bear.
Thus our pleasant food-rich night has just begun.
I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when I reveal the cake.
...Just hoping it met their expectations.