Adorable Food Goddess - Chapter 39
Chapter 39: Show Off Some Skills
Translator: YTJS_ Editor: Perriemix
After walking about five li of the road, they arrived at a village with a population of a few hundred families. As far as the ancient standard goes, it could be considered as a big village.
“This is the Li Family Village where most of the people have Li as their surnames. Our master is the rich lord of this village and he’s doing business in herbs. Oh! I just remembered! He also has business at Jin Ling, brother Li. If you manage to impress him with this wedding feast, you can go back to Jin Ling with our business group,” Housekeeper Li said.
“Really?” Ye Jiayao was overjoyed. If they could follow the Li family’s business group, the way back would not be so tough anymore.
Helian Jing’s eyes also brightened up and he looked at Ye Jiayao hopefully.Brother Jin, this time around, it is all up to your capabilities.
Many guests have already arrived, milling around the room decorated with lanterns and colored banners. Housekeeper Li rushed them through the room and provided them with a clean set of clothes; the pitiful little Jingjing no longer has to wear three-quarter pants.
In the kitchen, the ingredients have all been prepared, merely waiting for the arrival of the chef.
Ye Jiayao took a look at the menu that the original chef Old Ming crafted. There were no major problems because she knew how to handle chicken, duck, and fish meat. What she didn’t like was the ordinary and tacky names of the dishes.
She asked housekeeper Li for a pen and paper and crafted a new menu out.
She changed the Whole Chicken to Auspicious Phoenix Cry, the Roasted Duck to Double Taste Duck Roll calling it Two Hearts Beating as One. She creatively renamed the Exotic Delicacies Hodgepodge to Distinguished Friends All Around, and even tweaked a few of the recipes.
Helian Jing stood at the side, shocked. Brother Jin really knew how to seize every opportunity and adapt to someone’s fancy. He was just still a bit dubious if the food that he would make would be as delicious as it sounds.
“Housekeeper Li, I would have to trouble you to bring this menu to your master to look over. If it is good, I would follow it.” Ye Jiayao handed the newly crafted menu to housekeeper Li.
Housekeeper Li walked away merrily, and after a while, came back smiling. “Our master said that this menu is extremely well done. He is very satisfied and told you to proceed accordingly.”
Housekeeper Li took two sealed red packets out and handed it to Ye Jiayao. “This is a reward for you by our master.”
Ye Jiayao declined, saying, “I have yet to start on the feast, how can I accept the reward?”
Housekeeper Li responded, “Our master said that just by seeing the menu, he knows that you are an expert. There is no mistake, take it as an encouragement.”
Ye Jiayao accepted the packets with embarrassment, passing it to Helian Jing.
Holding the red packets, Helian Jing found big Raorao absolutely admirable. Though she kept saying that she was just helping them out, she earned a reward money even without doing anything yet.
After the menu was approved, and she has accepted the reward money, Ye Jiayao fastened the apron around her and began her work.
First, she chose a prepared hen that was half a catty heavy. A hen of this weight would be delicious no matter how it was prepared. The quality of the meat was perfect, not too soft, and not too tough. Ye Jiayao deboned the chicken in a highly skillful manner that awed Helian Jing once more.
Ye Jiayao brushed the blended seasoning on the chicken from inside and out. She then added peeled chestnuts and cooked quail eggs into the seasoning and mixed it for a while. She left 10 chestnuts for plating and stuffed the rest into the chicken’s stomach, making it full and bulging to signify a blessing for many descendants.
She tied a knot at the chicken’s neck and placed it into the steaming tray to steam for 40 to 50 minutes.
“Little Jing, help me take note of the time.” Ye Jiayao handed him a task so that he has something to do. She was not familiar with the counting of time in the ancient times so it was best to hand it to someone accustomed to it.
Helian Jing sat on a chair at one side, staring at the steaming tray with concentration. He also has rewards so he has to at least do something to earn it.
Ye Jiayao felt like laughing upon seeing how earnest he was. He was indeed an innocent child.
After she had finished the first dish, Ye Jiayao started on Two Hearts Beating as One.
She began by mincing the prawn meat, adding chopped onions, mixing the seasoning, and slicing the roasted duck into long rectangles. She then beat the eggs and spread it to make it into an egg-skin of even thickness of similar rectangular shape. Following that, Ye Jiayao rolled the prawn paste in it, dabbed a small amount of beaten egg, and coated it in crushed almonds before deep frying it in the wok.
This dish’s characteristic was that it was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. It was a dual roll with a dual taste, both fragrant and tasty.
However, to the people watching, the highlight was Ye Jiayao’s skills in vegetable sculpting.
After getting rid of the insides of a tomato and slicing it into strips of two centimeters wide, she arranged it into a blossomed flower on the plate. For the leaves, she used sliced cucumber skin strips. A red flower with green leaves, coupled with the rolls that were fried till golden brown arranged neatly, and an exquisite dish of double taste duck roll was completed.
The women helping out in the kitchen could not help but stare in admiration.A chef from a well-known restaurant in Ji Nan province! His skills are indeed admirable, and not only does he pay attention to the taste, he also makes sure it looks pleasing. It was making them drool just by looking.
Ye Jiayao was agile with her movements; stir-frying, pan-frying, boiling, deep-frying, steaming, simmering, roasting, sculpting flowers and decorating. She started on all 10 dishes together, overseeing and planning, yet everything remained neat and tidy. Bonus – she also finished in the shortest time possible.
Helian Jing’s eyes could not keep up with all the movement. Brother Jin’s aura and attitude when he was cooking were radiating. It was as if he was the king here – taking control of everything, a pair of miraculous hands changing something rotten into something magical. With skills like that, even if he had claimed to be the head chef of Wang Xian Restaurant, no one would question him.
Helian Jing planned that when they return to Jin Ling, he would appoint brother Jin as the head chef in the prince’s mansion. He would repay his debt and he would get to eat exquisite meals! That would be the best of both worlds.
Housekeeper Li entered the kitchen to check the progress and saw the jaw-dropping state of the dishes. They looked so precious, it was almost a shame to eat them. He definitely underestimated the little chap. Oh my! Such culinary skills, even Old Ming, the region’s most famous, is left far behind.
He secretly rejoiced, knowing that he found just the right person today.
When the golden hour has arrived, the feast began. There were distinguished guests everywhere and the sounds of gongs and drums rang in the sky. Ye Jiayao and Helian Jing, together with the other aunties, had their meal in the kitchen.
Only then did Helian Jing get to enjoy Ye Jiayao’s meticulously prepared food.
The Auspicious Phoenix Cry was a pure delight in his mouth. The fragrance of the chestnut stuffing has been sufficiently absorbed by the chicken, and likewise, the chestnuts have absorbed the chicken’s juice. The scent of the chestnut was thick and the meat was tender, rich, and mellow.
The celery was tasty, the lily light and sweet, and the shrimp fresh and smooth in the Hundred Years of Happiness. All the ingredients harmonized together to produce a distinct flavor.
Calling the Distinguished Friends All Around simply delicious was insufficient. The collection of sea cucumber, abalone, fish lips, fish stomach, fresh bamboo shoots and shiitake mushroom was a divine match.
Ye Jiayao gave him a hard stare and Helian Jing immediately corrected himself. “Brother, after such a long time, your culinary skill has improved.”
Ye Jiayao broke into a smile. “Of course! Master has always praised me to be talented in cooking. No matter what dish it is, I can replicate it almost perfectly with just one look.”
Helian Jing rolled his eyes at her. Look at your smug face! Can’t you be more humble and restrained? Are you not afraid of people laughing at you?
However, when he turned to look at the women in the kitchen, none of them has the intention of mocking. They were all staring at brother Jin with a look full of admiration.
Helian Jing rolled his eyes once again. A bunch of women with no knowledge.
Ye Jiayao scooped a quail egg for him, saying, “Eat more. This is very nutritious and you are still growing.”
It was totally the way an older brother would care for his younger brother, and it elicited more respect from the women. They have the urge to swindle this young man back home to be their son-in-law.
Helian Jing also took an egg for her, and mocked, “Brother, eat more too. Look at you, years of being a chef and tilting the ladle so much caused you to stop growing. Those who don’t know would think that you are my younger brother.”
Ye Jiayao replied calmly, “Little Jing, having some capabilities is of the utmost importance. If you have real-life skills, you will be able to survive anywhere. With just height and no skills, you’d get nowhere. We don’t have the life of being a parasite like those rich people.”
The women all nodded their heads, agreeing with Ye Jiayao.
Helian Jing deflated again. He could just not win with her!
After a while, Housekeeper Li came back, a wide smile on his face. “Brother Li has good skills! The guests could not stop complimenting the dishes! They kept saying that they have never had such a delicious feast. Our master is delighted and wants to see the both of you after the wedding.”
Ye Jiayao accepted the praise humbly. “As long as everyone is satisfied, that would be fine.”
She secretly looked at Helian Jing. Aren’t I awesome?
Helian Jing looked away expressionlessly, ignoring her.
After the feast, rich man Li invited the both of them over to thank them personally. He even added to their monetary reward!
10 taels! If it was in the past, Helian Jing would not even bat an eyelid. Now that they were so poor, they were about to go crazy, 10 taels were extremely precious. He could not even conceal his happiness.
Ye Jiayao rolled her eyes at him in scorn. Little Jingjing, though your dimples look good, your smile is about to reach your ears. Do you know how embarrassing is this? I thought you came from a rich family! She chose not to acknowledge the embarrassing look she had on when she rolled happily on the bed the night she managed to swindle 10 taels from the dumb donkey.
“I heard from my housekeeper that you are going to Jin Lin. You’re just in time because my business group would be going to the area around Yang Zhou in three days. Stay here for a while and we can set off together!” rich man Li invited.
Ye Jiayao responded gratefully, “That would be great! We can make meals for the group on the way.” She knew that she has to show her value as much as possible and not just take advantage of the help that has come their way. After all, a hardworking person was welcomed everywhere.
The biggest perks of all were that the two of them could finally sleep comfortably on a huge bed.
However, Ye Jiayao started to fret.
She had introduced little Jingjing to everyone as her brother, and therefore, they arranged for them to stay in a room with only one bed.
Although she has slept in the same bed with little Jingjing before, it was a huge plank bed with 10 or more people in it. That was different.
Now, it was only the two of them in bed. A single man and a woman. Not only that there was a physiological barrier between them, Ye Jiayao’s secret was at the risk of being exposed.
Helian Jing plopped face down on the bed, spreading his arms and legs wide. “We’ve been sleeping in ruined temples and pavilions every day, I almost forgot how it feels like to sleep on a huge bed.”
Ye Jiayao watched him roll around on the bed with her face full of worry.
I want to roll around too!