Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Nuomi said very happily, “It’s been a long time since I ate snake meat. Snake meat is cold in nature. After eating it, you won’t get heat rashes in the summer. It’s a pity that Tuan’er isn’t here…”
Qiao Jinniang thought of Tuan’er and said with affection, “Tuan’er had a lot of heat rashes in the summer last year. I don’t know how he is in Chang’an this year…”
It was very hot in summer in Chang’an.
When Junior Duke Rong heard the two women talking about eating snake meat, he was startled. “Do you dare to eat this snake?”
Seeing that the “Crown Prince” was still here, Qiao Jinniang saluted and said, “Snake meat is a delicacy. And among them, the Caihua Snake is the most delicious.”
Princess Rongxiao couldn’t help swallowing. “Which family are you from?”
During the spring hunt, the North Mountain was heavily guarded. The girls who could enter here were mostly nobles or daughters of officials. Besides, this girl was dressed in fine brocade.
However, Junior Duke Rong could recognize most of the noble ladies in Chang’an, but he had never seen her before.
“My surname is Qiao. It’s getting late. Please allow me to leave first, Your Highness.”
Qiao Jinniang didn’t want to talk to the Crown Prince too much. If it was known by Qiao Ruoshui, she would make a scene again.
When she returned to the manor, Princess Fulu had also come. She said huffily, “They don’t allow us to hunt hares! Then there is nothing fun about hunting!”
Women usually hunted hares.
But this year, somehow His Royal Highness ordered that hare hunting was not allowed. Although there were other small wild animals, they weren’t as easily hunted as hares.
Princess Fulu hadn’t had a good catch for a long time, so she came to Qiao Jinniang dispirited.
“I heard that my imperial aunt gave you the hairpin she often wears. Do you know how wonderful the expressions of the women who mocked you behind your back were when this news came out.”
Qiao Jinniang smiled. “I have no grievances with them, and I have never even talked with them. Why did they mock me?”
Princess Fulu said, “Many people want to take the opportunity to mock your elder sister, Qiao Ruoyun.
“She married Mr. Qin more than a year ago, but she hasn’t been pregnant yet. You know, her husband is renowned as the First Child of Chang’an.
“Qin Miaomiao often showed off how excellent of a brother she has to me!”
At this time, Qin Miaomiao’s voice suddenly came, and she snorted. “How do you have the cheek to criticize others? Didn’t you mock my sister-in-law? Because of your remarks, she didn’t even come to North Mountain this time!”
“She has a bad appetite recently and has lost a lot of weight. This is all because you said the descendants of our Qin family will have the blood of slaves in their veins…”
Fulu touched her nose and said awkwardly, “I didn’t mean to hurt her. I just said that to disgust you.”
“Although you didn’t mean that, my sister-in-law is suffering because of your words!” Qin Miaomiao’s voice was cold.
When Qiao Jinniang was in Lin’an, if she wanted to visit someone, she would have to make an appointment first, but these two noble ladies in Chang’an just came and left freely as if this manor was their own home.
“Miss Qin, why did you come here?”
Qin Miaomiao knew that she was rude to come without making an appointment, but she still sat on the stone stool beside Fulu gracefully. “Why, your Qiao family doesn’t welcome me to come?”
Qiao Jinniang smiled. “No, it’s a pleasure to have you here. I happen to be making Golden Locust Flower and Locust Flower Honey Cake. Now that you two are here, let me make you some snake broth.”
Qin Miaomiao frowned. “Do you cook by yourself?”
“Does the Qiao family not even have a cook?”
Qiao Jinniang said, “That’s not true, but I’m interested in cooking. Princess, Miss Qin, please wait a while.”
Qiao Jinniang took the spring water from Hongling, washed the locust flowers, and began to chop the snake.
Watching Qiao Jinniang killing the snake without batting an eye, Fulu shuddered, and Qin Miaomiao leaned slightly toward her mortal enemy Fulu.
When a mammy of the Duchess came over to deliver food to Qiao Jinniang, she saw Qiao Jinniang cutting the snake meat and hurriedly said, “Miss, the Duchess has brought you some royal dishes. You don’t need to cook yourself.”
Qiao Jinniang smiled. “Mammy, I’m doing this out of the craving for these dishes.”
The mammy could only tell the maids not to let Qiao Jinniang hurt her hand.
Qiao Jinniang fried the snake meat, added the white fungus and shiitake mushrooms, and stewed the snake broth in a casserole.
After mixing the flour and eggs with a pair of chopsticks to form a rice paste, she wrapped the locust flower with the rice paste, then dipped it into the hot oil and fried it. Nowadays, cooking methods like stir-frying, frying and boiling were popular for only ten years.
So the nobles rarely saw food cooked this way. The fried locust flowers were like gold.
After sprinkling a handful of salt onto it, Qiao Jinniang put a platter of locust flowers in front of Princess Fulu and Qin Miaomiao.
Princess Fulu had tasted the food Qiao Jinniang made, so without a word, she picked the chopstick and tasted the dishes. The more she tasted it, the more delicious she felt it was.
“I never knew that locust flowers could be eaten.”
Seeing Fulu eating mouthful after mouthful, Qin Miaomiao picked the chopsticks and tasted it too. The deep-fried crispy food mixed with the scent of locust flower gave the taste buds on the tip of her tongue the ultimate pleasure.
After Qiao Jinniang smashed the remaining locust flowers and put them in honey, she grabbed some flour and kneaded them into dough. Then she shaped the dough into small balls like flowers before steaming them on the steamer.
At this time, the snake broth was done. Qiao Jinniang ordered Nuomi to place the snake broth on the stone table and serve Fulu and Qin Miaomiao each with a bowl of snake broth.
The two of them didn’t know that it was snake broth. Thinking it was some chicken soup, they tasted it and a savory taste instantly filled their mouths.
Fulu said, “Qiao Jinniang, you have such great cooking skills. It is indeed a pity not to open a restaurant in Chang’an.”
Qiao Jinniang smiled. “It happens that my restaurant in Chang’an will open in about half a month. You are most welcome to come to my restaurant.”
Princess Fulu said tauntingly, “Miss Qin is a noble lady from a distinguished family. She doesn’t have any mortal desire for food, and a graceful young lady like her will certainly not go to the restaurant to make a pig of herself.”
Qiao Jinniang said, “That’s okay. In addition to the wine and food, our restaurant also has the finest West Lake Longjing, Lu’an Maofeng and other fine teas, as well as delicate pastries.”
Qin Miaomiao retorted, “Your fine Longjing is probably to be wasted. After all, someone drinks tea like a cow drinking water and doesn’t understand what good tea is like at all!”
Seeing that Fulu and Qin Miaomiao were about to fight, Qiao Jinniang quickly said, “If you two like the snake broth, please have some more.”
“What? Snake broth? What I just ate was snake meat?!”
Qin Miaomiao and Fulu were both in shock.
The two shouted in unison, “I pity you, so I treat you as my good friend. How can you feed us snake meat? Humph!”
“Exactly, I won’t talk to you anymore!” Qin Miaomiao walked away in a huff.
Qiao Jinniang touched her nose awkwardly and told herself that she was already a mother and shouldn’t be angry at the two children, so she sat down and began to eat the snake broth.
However, halfway through the meal, she saw Qiao Ruoshui hurry over.
She shouted rudely, “Qiao Jinniang, hand out the gold phoenix hairpin Her Majesty gave you!”
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