5-4: Lily’s Simple & Easy Recipes
First published on Ainushi
I felt relieved when Jill smiled after tasting it. I’m glad she liked it. Then, I’ll make neapolitan spaghetti next time.
Neapolitan spaghetti is delicious. It’s an original Japanese derived recipe that can’t be found in this world.
I love the rustic flavors in that dish. I’m sure Jill will be delighted by it too.
Now, what other dishes can I make with ketchup…
「Should I make stuffed bell peppers?」
I might have to make Leonard-sama’s bento this evening as well and at least, that doesn’t have juices in it. As I was considering making hamburgs to go along with it, Jill tugged on my sleeves anxiously.
「You’ll cook bell peppers?」
「I know, you dislikes peppers. I was just thinking of what I can make for Leonard-sama」
That’s why you don’t need to make a face like you’re about to cry. I won’t force you to eat them.
「… Are they tasty?」
「I think they are… Do you want to try it? I won’t force you to eat them」
「Well… If I eat them, will Otou-san praise me and pat my head?」
Oh, I see. I finally get it.
「Jill, do you want to see Leonard-sama?」
I gently stroked her small head that hung low. She must have been aware that she was being selfish. She said nothing more beyond that, her hands just remained clutching at my clothes.
「You know that Leonard-sama’s working hard right now?」
「You understand why he couldn’t come back even though there was that situation earlier?」
「I know… But…」
「Even so, it’s still lonely without him」
With her small stature, that child looked up to meet my eyes. “Afterall,” Jill added as she let out a small sigh.
「Okaa-san, you were getting along so well with Milis onee-chan so…」
「Ah-, I’m so sorry. I’m really sorry」
I see. It would have been clear if I’d given it some more thought.
I’m older so it’s easier for me to familiarize myself with Amdo-san and Milis but Jill isn’t.
Leonard-sama and Sid-san whom she’s familiar with aren’t around whilst I was busy with the others. Of course she became insecure. She was probably able to sleep on Amdo-san’s lap during the picnic because Leonard-sama and I were around. Oh man, I’m such an idiot!
「Sorry. Sorry, Jill. I’ve made you feel insecure」
I tightly hugged her and Jill returned the hug too. I felt apologetic towards that child. I can only apologize over and over again.
I’m a failure as a mother. What was I doing? How could I let the most precious person in my life feel insecure?
「Sorry, Milis. The two of us will be making dinner」
「It’s alright. It’s more important to calm down Jill-chan afterall」
Jill looked at Milis when Milis consented with a slight sad air after I had apologized to her.
「Um, I don’t hate you, Milis onee-chan」
「Don’t worry, I know that. I like you too, Jill-chan. I’m sorry for taking up your mommy’s time」
I’m glad their relationship wasn’t strained by this. It is a childish desire to monopolize me so if Milis had come to hate it, I wouldn’t know what to do in that situation.
「Milis onee-chan, let’s play again later」
「Okay, that’s a promise」
In order to grant that promise, I am going to quickly make dinner today. So until she sleeps, she can play with Milis. That way, she won’t feel lonely anymore.
Just the other day, I made minced meat that I finely minced myself but if I had gone to the butcher, I would have been able to purchase it from them. Minced meat, that is. Being as it is, I’ll use minced pork meat today. I don’t really like using a combination of pork and beef together.
Then I’ll mix in one egg, panko breadcrumbs, and finely chopped onions that had been sauteed until its’ golden brown.
「Jill, I want you to knead this until it becomes sticky」
「Knead it? Like this?」
「Yup. Make sure to knead all of the dough as you stretch it largely and fold them back in」
This task would not require the use of a stool for her to do it so it was safe. Giving a sidelong glance at Jill as she tried her hardest, I began with the other food preparations.
Today, instead of salad, I intended to make lots of fried vegetables to go with it. There is some leftover oil from the french fries. I’ll fry capsicums, eggplants, sweet potatoes, pumpkins… Oh! I have to make some herb salts next time. I’ll have to use the one I have with me at the moment.
「Will this be enough?」
「Yup, that’s fine」
Since Jill called out to me, I checked on her work. The minced meat had turned sticky. The stickier it was, the softer the hamburg will be. Since Jill had used both her hands to knead it, it had turned out really well.
「Wash your hands completely, then let’s form the shape together」
「Are we still doing something with this?」
「We are going to split it into portions and mold it」
I began first so she had an example to follow. Forming an oval shape, I played catch with the meat using both hands, throwing it up in the air a few times. This will let the air inside the meat escape so when we fry it, it won’t break apart easily.
Smiling at Jill as she washed her hands and stared fixedly at me, I passed the bowl to her whilst instructing her.
「Jill, make them smaller. They’re for Leonard-sama’s bento」
She imitated as hard as she could with her small hands. Yup, the size is just perfect for the bento now.
For Leonard-sama’s portion, I was thinking of putting it together with bread and making a hamburg sandwich. The seasonings will be ketchup and mayonnaise. Sandwiches are really easy to make so it’s less time consuming.
「I’m done, Okaa-san」
「Mm. Then, let’s grill them」
Before frying it, I slightly indented the centre of the hamburg. First, I saute it on one side then after flipping it over, I sprinkle a bit of sake and cook it with the lid covered. Increase heat to medium high until it’s done. In the meantime, I began to work on the garnish.
The vegetables were cooked whilst Jill kneaded the meat earlier. I quickly seasoned the eggplant and capsicum with salt, and used herb salt for the pumpkin and sweet potato. Next, I made cabbage, bacon and onion soup. This should be enough for today.
「It should almost be ready」
I opened the lid and stabbed it with a skewer. If the juices runs clear when it seeps out, then it’s fine. That’s when you know it’s ready.
「Jill, carry the plates one at a time to the table, okay?」
Let’s continue sauteing them as they’re small whilst arranging the bento. It won’t hold between the bread when it cools down.
And as I was almost done sauteing Leonard-sama’s hamburgs, Jill raised her voice.
「Okaa-san, I’m finished」
Now then, it’s time for us to have our meal too.
We had our dinner. Even the bento was made. Even so, Sid-san still hadn’t come by like I had expected him to.
「Ah, Amdo-san. No, Sid-san hasn’t swung by」
With a fleeting glance, Amdo-san looked at the wrapped bundle lying beside me and quietly coughed before speaking again.
「To deliver the bento?」
「Did you make a mistake with this bundle?」
No, I’m sure he was supposed to come for it.
「I’ve gone through all that trouble to make it. It would be sad if he didn’t get to eat it」
I mean, there is that. Seeing that I was a little upset, Amdo-san took the bento.
「I’ll go over」
He left before I could stop him…
Oh, well. Nothing can be done now that he’s gone. With those thoughts, I began to to tidy up the dishes.
Well then, now that I’ve made ketchup and mayonnaise, the only remaining seasoning that I can likely make myself is… herb salt. I bought rock salt so I just need to pluck some herbs first thing tomorrow morning.
「… That reminds me, was that your own original blend that we used earlier, Okaa-san?」
Well, it was something that was always enclosed with the letters I received so it’s not my original blend. I don’t know what the type and ratio of herbs are used in it. If I want to know, I’ll have to go and ask directly… I’m pretty sure she’ll be absolutely furious otherwise. After all, it’s been thirteen years since I left home. I can count with a single hand how many times I’ve returned to visit and I rarely reply her letters. Since I’ve came to Leonard-sama’s, I haven’t contacted her once.
「She’s definitely going to be furious with me…」
No, the fact is I ran away because I didn’t want to hear words like marriage or formal marriage interviews from her.
Maybe, once everything has calmed down, I’ll ask Leonard-sama for his permission and pay her a visit.
「I’ve delivered it」
It happened so suddenly that I raised my voice hysterically when I heard a voice greet me.
「Ah! Welcome home, Amdo-san」
「He was very pleased with it」
「Was he? If it’ll decrease the amount of work Sid has, then I’m glad」
「No, you’re wrong」
Huh? But if I remembered correctly, Sid-san was supposed to bring it over. Was I mistaken?
「He sent Sid-san off somewhere」
Oh, so that’s why he didn’t come for the bento. Got it.
「That’s why he had given up hope」
「… On my bento?」
I-I see. He wanted to eat it so he took the bento. Somehow my face felt hot, partly from embarrassment and partly from joy.
「He asked me what the red stuff was so I explained the ketchup to him」
「Thank you for explaining it to him」
「Not a problem. I didn’t know it either but master doesn’t like spicy things」
… Ah, it’s because ketchup is red in colour. It probably seemed spicy to him when he saw it. Though in the first place, as Jill’s around, I don’t really make much spicy food.
Also, I myself don’t really like spicy things. I thought of making some if Leonard-sama likes them but … Ah well, I’ll have to ask him to what degree of spice can he handle. If he says he can’t even handle mustard, then there’s a few recipes that I’ll have to put aside. For instance, baked honey mustard chicken. Though it really isn’t spicy at all.
「He entrusted this to me to give to you」
「Oh, I’m so sorry to trouble you」
Without hesitation, Amdo-san handed over the basket from lunch. He diligently returned it. Even though it had slipped my mind to tell Amdo-san about it.
When I checked, I spotted the tea-towel that I had used to cover the sandwiches folded neatly inside the basket. On top of it was a small card. What could it be, I wondered?
『Thank you, it was delicious. Leonard』
… Mmm. What am I going to do? This makes me immensely happy. But Leonard-sama, that’s just a foul move!
「Your face is turning red?」
Even without Amdo-san’s quip, I was well aware that my cheeks had turned bright red.