Right then, time to make dinner. What I had planned for tonight was a simple pilaf roast chicken. My parents made it sometimes when I was still at home. After I moved out I made it for myself once at Christmas for old time's sake and I enjoyed it so much it became a regular thing for me to make pilaf roast chicken on Christmas. For that reason I didn't forsee any problems making it in this world, and it's something I've been thinking about making ever since I bought the Black Magic Cooking Stove with its gigantic oven.
This world doesn't actually seem to have chickens but I've got something that will work the same (I think). A Cockatrice. I have a whole one left and as prepared by the Guild dismantlers it's just like a chicken, that is if a chicken was 1.5 meters long. Even the Gluttonous Trio will be full up after eating a "chicken" this big. Probably.
First the ingredients. I needed to buy stuff like herbal salt and frozen pilaf and a brush to apply oil so I opened the Net Super and started ordering before I got to work. I avoided a lot of bothersome preparation by buying frozen pilaf which I heated lightly in a big frying pan to defrost since I didn't have a microwave oven, the way I would have defrosted it it at home. Sure I could have made the pilaf from scratch but it would take a lot of time and the frozen stuff was just as good for this recipe. I rubbed herbal salt on the Cockatrice inside and out and when the pilaf was warmed through I packed it into the Cockatrice's body.
After filling it up with pilaf I stitched the carcass closed with a bamboo skewer and tied the legs together with cooking string to keep the shape before brushing the entire Cockatrice with olive oil. I put the completed Cockatrice on a giant sheet of baking parchment in the pre-heated oven. It just fitted, as the Black Magic Cooking Stove salesman had said. Yosh!
I baked the Cockatrice at 200 degrees for just under an hour, keeping a close eye on it as I was still a bit unsure of the oven's temperature settings. I opened the door frequently to brush the dripping fat over the skin, making it brown and crisp and about half-way through the baking process I turned the entire Cockatrice over to ensure it cooked evenly. I used another bamboo skewer to stab the giant bird and when the fat that ran out was clear I judged it was ready to eat. I took it out and removed the bamboo skewer and the string before admiring the results of my cooking. A whole roast chicken is a wonderful sight but a whole roast Cockatrice outdid it by far, and the smell! However I didn't have long to enjoy looking at the results of my hard work since I was distracted by the piteous voices of the staving waifs and orphans behind me.
"That looks delicious." Fer seemed appreciative.
"Hurry up and give me it." Dora-chan was hovering impatiently at Fer's shoulder, his muzzle quivering.
"It's such a big piece of meat- Sui wants to eat it quick-" Sui was pyonging enthusiastically.
Everyone's eyes were nailed to the roast "chicken".
"Hang on, I'll have to remove the meat from the bones first." I got to work, separating the meat and heaping the pilaf soaked in the bird's juices into dishes for my contracted monsters.
"Here you are." I said, putting the dishes down and stepping back quickly as the food started to disappear.
"Mmmm, this is really delicious." Fer said telepathically. You really think so? Well the way his dish was emptying was a good sign. Sure he liked Cockatrice meat when I cooked it as cutlets and such but baking it whole in an oven is a different flavour experience.
"The crispy outer skin is irresistable." Dora-chan chimed in. "The rice too, it's really tasty, very meaty." Ah, good. I liked the crisp skin too when I made roast chicken for myself, and it was good to hear the pilaf was savoury and delicious.
"The skin is crisp and the meat inside is tender and delicious meat juice comes out. This rice is also delicious because the taste of the meat is soaked into it- " Ah, gourmand Sui-chan likes everything about the roast Cockatrice. Baking it whole kept the meat from drying out and the pilaf has soaked up the taste of the meat, even though it was pre-prepared frozen pilaf rather than home-made. A success! Well, time for me to try some too.
Ooooh, I had to agree, but it's almost too delicious even if I say so myself. The skin is crisp, the flesh plump and juicy and the rice soft and flavourful, a wonderful mixture of tastes and textures, a real pleasure to eat.
Fer and Sui had seconds and extra seconds, and in the end only bones remained as I had half-expected. They made me promise to make it again sometime which I readily agreed to, it's a very simple dish after all. Fer would have to hunt another Cockatrice sometime though.
"Wobbly stuff, I want some wobbly stuff!" Dora-chan demanded after I had finished cleaning up.
"Dora-chan, it's called 'pudding'." I explained.
"Is that what you call it? Pudding, I want some pudding." Dora-chan flew in circles around my head. "I haven't had any today so it's two, remember."
I had promised them two sweets each day and, yes, they hadn't had any yet today so two sweets it was. I turned to Fer.
"You too?" Fer nodded impatiently. "Strawberry shortcake as usual?"
"Umu." So two strawberry shortcakes as usual for Fer.
"Sui wants something I haven't eaten before-." Sui wanted to try something different as usual. I opened up the Sanke tenant store in Net Super and chose two custard puddings and two strawberry shortcakes for Dora-chan and Fer and after some thought I selected an apple pie and a strawberry roll cake for Sui. They looked delicious on the dishes, at least for a few seconds before they were devoured. Fer and Dora-chan headed off to the beast stables to sleep but it was still too early for me to go to bed. Maybe Sui-chan could make something for me?