The Princess sat in her quarters, knees pulled up to her chest, rocking back and forth. Her lady-in-waiting, the Prime Minister’s daughter, an older woman with pinched lips and powdered cheeks, sat perched right by the entrance of her chamber door. Outside in the hallway were another two ladies-in-waiting, as well as two palace guards. She had been shuffled off in a menagerie of personal friends to the Prime Minister, who had recommended that she be consigned to the Eastern Palace until such time as the rebel matter had been dispatched. The King had agreed, the seeds of suspicion against his own daughter sufficiently laid. He was also not particularly keen to have her present for the execution of his edict on the morrow.
The Princess shivered, thinking of the rebel leader, and the others, dragged into the palace courtyard, roped into chairs, tortured and beheaded in front of the entire palace – for all to see the consequences of challenging the King.
The Princess chewed her thumbnail. “Sister!” she called to the Prime Minister’s daughter. “Would you share some tea with me?” She gestured to the ginseng tea set she had arranged on her bedside table.
Her lady-in-waiting looked at her suspiciously, but could not refuse. She sat down and poured tea for both of them. The Princess raised the cup to her lips, sipping quietly, watching as the Prime Minister’s daughter did the same. She waited patiently for the clattering of porcelain that she knew would come. When the older woman’s head lay face-down on the tea table, the other ladies-in-waiting rushed in.
“Quick!” shouted the Princess. “Prime Minister’s daughter has fallen ill! Send the guards for the doctor!”
The guards scurried off with one of the maids. The other stared at the Princess uncertainly. The Princess pressed a silk pouch filled with hard coins into her hands.
“I only need ten minutes.” With that she rushed past the hesitant girl, and made her way quickly to the kitchens, where she grabbed what she needed before heading to the western quarter where the rebels were being held.
There, a few feet from the entrance to the palace jail, she laid the sticks and flammable tar and started an angry fire, just as the rebels had taught her on their cold nights in the mountains.
The guards rushed out of the jail, confounded by the rapidly growing conflagration. Screened by smoke, the Princess darted past them and found her way through the shadows to the dankest, darkest cell. There the rebel leader sat, his bruised eyes closed, blood dripping from the corner of his mouth, which nevertheless curled upwards in a tranquil smile.
“Pssst!” whispered the Princess. The rebel leader squinted open a swollen eye. In a second he was at the wooden slats of the cell.
“Princess! What are you doing here? You must leave immediately. The King has ordered instant death to anyone found conversing with the rebels.”
The Princess’s eyes filled with tears. “Look at the state of you. What will happen?”
“We have a plan.” He handed her a folded piece of paper.
The Princess quickly scanned its contents. She raised her eyebrow skeptically.
“Don’t worry so much,” said the leader, smiling. “It will work.”
Remembering her other purpose, the Princess quickly unloaded her satchel and handed the rebel a container filled with liquid.
“Some noodle soup,” she said. “I’m sure they’re not feeding you.”
“In all this excitement, you never forget the important things.” He winked at her.
Shouts filled the corridor.
“You must go,” said the rebel. “Remember, the letter.”
The Princess nodded, standing up. They exchanged one last glance before she melted into the shadows.
[To be continued! Of course…
For past installments of the Princess & the Rebel saga and related recipes, click here.]
- 8-10 c any type of rich broth (I used grassfed pork stock from the butcher)
- 1-2 tsps sea salt
- ½ package of sweet potato or kelp noodles
- 2 servings worth of duck meat (I used pre-cooked paleo confit duck)
- ½ pound bok choy or gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
- ½ purple onion
- ½ avocado
- seasoned seaweed
- 1 egg (optional, omit for AIP)
- If using sweet potato noodles, bring a pot of water to boil and then boil noodles for 10 minutes, until soft. Drain.
- Blanch veggies (bok choy/gai lan) in pot of salted boiling water, cool in ice bath or cold water to maintain color.
- If using eggs, soft boil (bring water to boil and then boil eggs for 6 minutes, take out and run under cold water/put in ice bath to stop cooking.) Peel when cool.
- Slice and saute onion.
- Slice avocado and duck (cook if not using pre-cooked).
- Bring broth to a boil (season w/ salt if needed/not already seasoned).
- Place noodles in bowl, add hot broth, bok choy/gai lan, egg/avocado, duck, and seaweed.
- Enjoy on a cold day...or whenever you're craving ramen. (Which for me = always.)
This post has been shared on Phoenix Helix’s Paleo-AIP Roundtable.