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27 Making BellyBorg Stew

 Xinya and Melting Snow made it back to town just before it hit nightfall, they headed to a small camping ground where players who can't afford or don't want to pay for an inn can hang out at for the night. It was by a small lake so most people, either would catch fish or just catch up with friends, it was also a well-known trading spot.

When they arrived there were only a handful of people, of course, since this was a town for low-leveled players it wasn't strange that there were only a few people hanging around here. Once he starts heading to the outer cities he knew that campgrounds like these would be packed during this time of day. Guiding Melting Snow over to a secluded spot, Xinya registered a camping spot for himself. A registered spot can only be used by himself and his party members, although there is no need to register a spot if a player does register they will get a passive buff, that allows them to gain a 1% experience increase in fishing, cooking and gathering for a short period of time. The player would have to sit at their campsite for 10 minutes to obtain the buff.

Melting Snow starting to set up a campfire so they would have some light to see what they were doing, while Xinya pulled out his portable stove, a couple of pots and pans, utensils, and the ingredients he would need to cook the dish. His skill was still a novice and he never made Bellyborg stew so he figured it would take him a few tries before he could make a 2-star dish.

As Xinya was checking the recipe Melting Snow came over looking at what he was doing curiously. " Do you need my help any with anything?"

"Nope I'm fine, but thank you," Xinya said with a smile. "You can just relax and wait to eat something delicious."

"Relax? I don't know that word. I think I will go fishing while you cook. I got the skill, I will get my revenge on those fish who made me look like an idiot last time." Melting snow said with a grin.

Shaking his head in disbelief, Xinya said, " Alright, I hope you catch something this time."

"Just wait and see, I will catch the biggest fish you ever have seen!" Melting Snow yelled while running towards the lake.

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Smiling Xinya went back to looking at the recipe for Bellyborg Stew, to double-check that he had all the ingredients needed to make it. Most of the ingredients he needed he already had but some couldn't be obtained from just gathering, so on the way to the campsite, he stopped into a grocery store to get all the things that he didn't have. Using the wooden table that was near him, he prepared his ingredients, making sure to separate them for every attempt he planned to make.

Once his ingredients were prepped he pulled up the directions, like the minimap the screen was quite see-through so he was able to follow the directions while cooking the food. The first thing he needed to do was marinate the bellyborg in one of Bellport's classic green wines, bay leaves, and thyme for a couple of minutes but the longer it marinates the better it will taste.

Since he had four Bellyborgs prepared he decided to do this with the rest of them also, that way once he gets finished with the stew that he is preparing now, the other attempts of his would come out better. After he was finished that he saw that the next thing he needed to do was cook the bacon over low heat in a pan. When it's crispy, he would remove the bacon and then turn the heat up to medium. That was simple enough the portable stove had a function where it will ding once a portion of food is cooked perfectly.

After the bacon was finished he needed to pat the Bellyborg pieces dry and brown them in bacon fat. Xinya made sure to take his time, doing it slowly but surely. It took around 5 minutes before they were perfectly brown and then he removed the Bellyborg pieces and put them into a bowl.

Then he proceeded to brown the onions and mushrooms. Once they turned color, he added the carrots and garlic and let it cook for another two minutes. Once the two minutes were up he sprinkled flour over everything and stir to combine. He had to stir often, until the raw-flour taste cooks away, which took about ten minutes.

Afterward, he poured in some Jitterwrinkle sauce that is made from a duck type monster of the same name, which was a red-colored sauce and extremely flavorful, and stir it in to incorporate it. The stew started to become very thick, so he added some of the green wine from the marinade, and stir that in, too. Returning the Bellyborg to the pot, along with any juices that have accumulated. He then stirs in the herbs.

First, he brought it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. He let it cook for at least 30 minutes, which was a way shorter time than it would be in real life, then he started checking to see if the legs and thighs are tender. Since the directions said they should almost to the point of falling off the bone.

When the meat was tender, he removed it, along with the mushrooms and onions, and put them in a bowl, putting a plate over them to keep them warm.

He then turned the heat up to high in the pot. Boiling down the liquid by half until it has thickened to the point of being a sauce or loose gravy. Returning the vegetables and meat to the sauce the dish was done.

Xinya tasted it, although it was good it could be better. He didn't even get one a half a star on this attempt. Although he knew this would happen he did feel a little down, cause he was a great cook in real life, not even getting a half a star was a knock to the ego. Looking over at the lake where Melting Snow was trying to catch a fish with his hands, with a determined expression on his face, made Xinya feel determined, he swore he would make a two, no three-star dish tonight.

On his third try, he got a two-star dish but on his fourth try, everything went beyond his expectations. Somehow he made a four-star dish. Checking the ingredients it turned out that he took out the S grade Bellyborg meat by accident. Better quality ingredients make better quality food, so everything makes sense. Giving the stew a taste, he almost moaned in pleasure. The flavor hit his taste buds hard leaving him wanting more. It was incredibly delicious he could hardly believe that he was the one that made it.

After putting some of it in a container and storing it in his spatial inventory where it will stay nice and warm, he cleaned up once everything was nice and tidy he called Melting Snow over to eat.