A quick snack? OK, something easy, hmmm, tonkatsu in a sandwich? I had some ready-to-eat tonkatsu prepared, oh and other things in my Item Box I could use too. I buttered up a slice of bread, added shredded cabbage and slathered it with mayonnaise before topping it with tonkatsu, another buttered bread slice on top, cut it in half and Done! I made more tonkatsu sandwiches then repeated the process with Cheese IN Chicken katsu and also mincemeat cakes from my Item Box. I put some mustard on the tonkatsu sandwiches to add a bit of bite to the mayo.
"Is it ready yet-" Fer demanded. Yeah yeah, I put dishes with all three types of sandwich in front of Fer and Sui, to see what they preferred.
"Umu, this tastes good." Fer paused, his head tilted in thought. "Especially the tingly yellow stuff." Fer seemed to appreciate the mustard I added to the tonkatsu sandwich, it reminded me he liked spicy food. Mustard was safer than the Poison Lake Fish he had been so keen to eat back in the forest, at least for the cook (me) who would have to prepare it for him. Safety first.
"Sui likes having this white sticky stuff in the middle-" That would be the Cheese IN Chicken katsu sandwich. Sui likes cheese, the reason I had made that kind of sandwich.
"Seconds." they chorused -- I wondered if they practiced that call, they were always perfectly synchronised. Yeah yeah. I made a large pile of tonkatsu sandwiches with mayonnaise and mustard for Fer and a similar pile of Cheese IN Chicken katsu sandwiches for Sui and dished them out before I started to eat my own dinner. I went with Fer's choice, tonkatsu sandwiches with mayo and mustard for myself.
Crunch. Oh yeah, really tasty. The sharp mustard and mayonnaise combo worked to cleanse the stickiness of the fatty Orc General meat and the cabbage added a bit of crunchy texture to each bite. I got a PET bottle of cold tea from my Item Box and helped myself, washing the first sandwich down before starting on a second one.
"Aruji, Sui also wants a drink-"
"Me too." Fer chimed in. "More of that bubbly stuff will do." Yeah yeah, I bought cola from the Net Super and put out two bowls for them.
After we finished eating the sun was still well above the horizon. "Since I've got time today I'll get some work done so you two can take a nap." I announced.
"Sui understands. I'm taking a nap-" Sui said as she went into her favourite bag.
"Hey, what are you planning?" Fer asked suspiciously.
"Well, there's something I want to eat later, I thought I'd make some now."
"Umu, is it tasty?"
"Of course it's tasty." I replied, somewhat offended at Fer's question.
"That's OK then, go ahead." Fer graciously gave me permission to do what I was going to do anyway.
"Right then, go over there and take it easy for a bit." I ordered. I didn't want him slavering over my shoulder as I cooked.
"Yeah, I got it." Fer moved off and lay down, his eyes closed but I suspected he was keeping a watchful eye on what I was doing since food was involved. That was OK as long as he didn't get in the way.
So, what I wanted to make is gyoza dumplings. I liked eating gyoza at home and I always kept a good stock of frozen dumplings to hand. This time I decided to make my own from scratch. I got some minced meat out of my Item Box, an essential ingredient for gyoza. I upped the quantities because I decided to make a lot to keep for later and I added more meat to the recipe because Fer liked meat. I figured I'd be OK with eating some of them because, well I liked meat too but I'd make some with more veggies for myself too.
I needed to buy other ingredients for the gyoza and dipping sauce from the Net Super. More cabbage (I'd used up the last of it on the sandwiches), chives, tubes of grated ginger and grated garlic, more soy sauce and cooking sake to start with, oh and I needed a can of chicken soup stock and some sesame oil too.
First I finely chopped up some cabbage and put it into a bowl. There's two schools of thought about what kind of cabbage to use, Chinese cabbage or regular cabbage. When I'm making gyoza for myself I'm a regular cabbage guy so that's what I went with this time. I put Orc General minced meat into the bowl then added grated ginger and grated garlic from the tubes, soy sauce, sake, some chicken stock, a little sesame oil and salt and pepper and mixed it up well. I added more cabbage and chives until the mixture got sticky and firm.
I bought pre-made pastry circles for the dumplings from the Net Super and started filling them one after the other until all the ingredients were used up. I made some of them with more veggies than the rest just for me.
"After cooking them they're ready to eat," I thought to myself, "they really taste best freshly made." The frozen gyoza I ate at home were good but not as good as gyoza made from scratch and eaten right there and then.
Gruuuu-. Was that the sound of an empty belly behind me? I looked around to see Fer sitting attentively and staring fixedly at the gyoza I had just made and drooling more than a little. Of course-. The sun was going down now, it was time for dinner.
"Do you want to try some of these?" I asked redundantly.
"Well, it's time for dinner so..." Fer didn't do "reluctant eater" very well. The drool was a bit of a giveaway in that regard. OK, how to cook the gyoza? I figured I'd do them "feather style". I got out a big frying pan to cook enough gyoza for Fer and Sui (and myself of course). I put some oil in the pan and then arranged the dumplings in a circular pattern, a "hanetsuki" layout. After frying them for a bit I added some water mixed with wheat flour then put the lid on to steam them. When the moisture had gone and crackling sounds came from the pan I added some sesame oil as a glaze then let them cook for a few minutes more. Once they were ready I put a large dish over the pan, turned it upside down and hey presto! the finished gyoza were laid out in a hanetsuki pattern.
"You made dinner-" it seemed Sui had woken up.
"Uh huh." Fer agreed, his eyes fixed on the plate of cooked gyoza.
"Dinner, dinner-" Sui said happily. I put out some gyoza on dishes for the two gluttons, not bothering with dipping sauce for them but the extra meat juices in the filling would suffice, I reckoned. Fer gobbled five at once to start with.
"Oh, the meat's nice and juicy and the flavour's lovely-" Sui chimed in.
"It really is. There's vegetables in there too, they mix in with the meat and taste delicious." Crunch crunch crunch, more gyoza disappeared from Fer's dish. "Oh, and the crisp outside, tasty." It seemed that both of them liked the gyoza. There was maybe too much of the fatty Orc General's ground meat in their dumplings but the cabbage made up for that somewhat, preventing them from turning soggy as they cooked.
"More." Fer demanded.
"Sui wants more too-"
I baked gyoza again and again for Fer and Sui, only slowing down after they finished eating. The last batch I made I put more vegetables in the filling for my own consumption. I accompanied them with cooked rice fresh from my Item Box and, of course, a premium beer as was only fitting. I used a dipping sauce for my own gyoza since there was less meat and fat in the filling and they were a bit drier. I mixed up some soy sauce, vinegar and chili oil, nice and simple.
Crunch. Tasty TASTY Gyoza-. They were just like hanetsuki gyoza I might have ordered at an izakaya back home, crisp and flavourful. I picked another gyoza off the dish, dipped it in sauce and Crunch! Wonderful! I didn't neglect the rice of course but when that was gone there were still gyoza left. Oh noes! My hand reflexively found the can of premium beer which, I decided, would accompany the remaining gyoza quite nicely. Glug glug glug～.
I was concentrating on eating and drinking so much I failed to notice a flapping sound until it got very loud. I turned to see what it was....
..................? A tiny Dragon was flying around beside me.