After the polar nights are over, we started hunting again.
Since we went through many things in the storage, it would be nice to get big prey.
“I want to hunt boar or deer.”
“Well, don’t rush it.”
Sieg said that, but I felt restless, wanting to hunt.
But as she said, things usually end in failure if one rushes it so I should calm down.
Today the sky was clear.
The sunlight shone down on the snow and made the land glisten.
“It is beautiful, but it also makes me wish I had light-blocking goggles.”
“Hehh, so such a thing exists.”
“It’s military equipment. I don’t know if it’s sold elsewhere.”
While saying that, Sieg squinted, maybe because the light reflecting from the snow was too strong.
That expression was so handsome, that I became absentminded as I stared at her profile.
“What is it?”
Sieg quickly noticed that I was acting strangely. I waved my hands to deceive her and continued onwards.
The moment my name was called out, something fell from the tree branches above and landed with a thud.
My eyes locked with the round eyes that suddenly appeared.
What fell down was a large black bird whose height was about knee-high.
With Sieg’s shout, the black bird opened its wings wide with a scream.
The bird leaped gracefully with its sharp claws pointing at me. Along with a sharp cry.
I managed to dodge the first blow, but I ended up rolling on the floor.
With its first attack having failed, the bird flapped its wings while glaring at me.
I managed to quickly stand back up, but my foot fell in the deep snow and my balance collapse.
Before the attack could reach me, Sieg ran over here blocking the bird’s path to me.
Sieg raised the gunstock high and rammed it down on the bird.
Having received a blow, the bird rolled on the ground.
“Sieglinde, get down.”
Sieg leaped back at the order.
I checked if there was anything else in the way, and pulled the trigger.
A dry crack sounded and snow fell from trees with loud noises.
The bullet hit the mark.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
I opened the magazine part of the gun and removed the empty cartridge case. After confirming that it has cooled in the snow, I put it in my pocket.
I went to the sleigh and fetched a leather bag for collecting prey.
“What’s this bird?”
Most birds in the grouse family have white winter feathers, but wood grouses have black feathers. It’s big as well.
“Is this a ferocious bird?”
“Ah~ It might be the breeding season~”
It’s just speculation, but I think the wood grouse grew restless when people passed by while it was in heat, and so it attacked carelessly.
Though I was also being careless.
“Sieg, thank you for saving me.”
“It’s a relief that its claws did not reach you.”
“Thanks to you.”
If Sieg wasn’t here, I might have been injured.
It really was a good thing.
After returning home, we removed the blood and the feathers from the wood grouse.
We split the bird from its neck to the belly button, gutting it. Then we put it in a cloth bag and aged it for about ten days.
——Ten days later.
“Now then, why don’t we try the wood grouse we caught some time ago.”
Today, Ruruporon is on holiday, so we’ll be cooking by ourselves.
We bought ingredients from a merchant and started cooking after it got dark.
“Sieg, can you make fried potatoes and boiled potatoes please.”
“We’ll be chopping the potatoes into thin slices. To cook them, peel them and boil them in water.”
I instructed Sieg then I started cooking as well.
The first thing I was making was a salad named ‘Wood grouse nest’. It’s a unique salad that is in the shape of a bird’s nest.
While Sieg was making the necessary pieces for the nest and the eggs, I made the insides.
First, I applied herbs on the breast meat and boiled it in water.
While I boiled the bird meat, I thinly sliced many different kinds of vegetables.
I also made the sauce to go with the vegetables and the meat.
Herbs, pepper, wine vinegar, salt, lemon juice. I mixed those and sprayed them on the vegetables.
I ripped the cooked meat into bite sizes and mixed them with the vegetables.
Next, I piled the vegetables and the bird meat into a mountain shape.
“What are we doing with the mashed potatoes?”
“We’ll be making something in the shape of bird’s eggs.”
Pepper and herbs were sprayed into the mashed potatoes, then they were shaped into egg shapes, with cheese in the centre. After that, they were boiled in water.
Once the sunk eggs float up to the surface, it’s done. They’re taken out of the water then set aside in a separate dish to remove the residual heat.
Once everything is cooked, all that is left is to finish up.
On the pile of vegetables and meat shaped into a mountain shape, thinly sliced and fried potatoes are put around it.
Finally, it’s finished by placing the potato eggs.
“It really looks like a bird’s nest.”
This was something that mother made a long time ago. I remember having had this when grandfather caught a large grouse.
Other than that, I roasted wood grouse meat on a skewer. I placed the dishes Miruporon made last night, mushroom and reindeer soup, along with bread for a delicious meal.
“Uwa, looks amazing.”
“Why don’t we eat.”
Sieg poured berry liqueur into her cup while I had berry juice.
Sieg served some of the salad in the shape of a wood grouse’s nest to me.
I thanked her and received the dish of wood grouse emeat and vegetables.
The clean taste of vinegar and herbs roused my appetite.
The meat had a good texture to it, and thanks to its clean taste it went well with vegetables.
It also had a different taste when eaten with the crispy fried potatoes.
I also tried the eggs made out of mashed potatoes.
“Uwa, it’s chewy and tasty!”
The once mother made had cheese rolled up inside.
This time, I tried making the eggs based on a foreign dish Sieg mentioned.
With a chewy texture, melted cheese stretches out from inside. It’s spiced with herbs so they’re tasty on their own, but they went very well with the crispy potatoes.
“Sieg, how is it?”
“It’s great. It reminds me of food I had back home.”
“Is that so? That’s a relief~!”
I felt happy that I received words of praise from Sieg.
For the skewer roast, I dipped the meat in red wine sauce.
The wood grouse meat was exotic, or crispy shall I say. It was a bit tough.
“Wood grouse meat is more gamy compared to other bird meat, how is it?”
“Is that so? I like it myself.”
After carrying a bite-sized piece to her mouth, Sieg said.
Then she said something more after a drink.
The wood grouse seemed to fit Sieg’s taste well, so I felt relieved.
After the dishes became empty, it was time to chat.
“Ptarmigans, which are of the grouse family, are called riekko here.”
“Is that so?”
I was used to it from a long time ago, I wasn’t sure.
The feeling is different from country to county, I thought.
“Come to think of it, Ritz, what should we do about this?”
“Ah, I forgot about it.”
What was at the edge of the table was a fried egg.
It was from an egg I received from the merchant as a bonus.
“Sieg, you can have it.”
“No, let’s split it in two.”
After saying that, Sieg sliced the egg and placed it on a piece of bread before the yolk could spill.
The yolk seeped into the bread before it could spill onto the table, so I felt relieved.
“Bread and fried eggs go well~. Tasty~”
“You didn’t know?”
“Yup. I only had jam or liver spread with bread.”
Sieg apparently had bread and fried eggs a lot when she lived alone.
“I had them when I did not have much time in the morning. It’s nothing praiseworthy though.”
I remembered the high-quality dining at grandfather’s place. Indeed, one wouldn’t be able to do that in such a solemn setting.
“Eggs tasted good. Why don’t I raise hens this year~”
“They sell chickens?”
“Yup. You can buy them in spring.”
Chickens lay an egg a day, so I planned on buying two for Sieg and me.
While planning for Spring, the dinner ended.