al denté Italian To cook pasta so that it is still firm to the bite. Pasta that shows a slight resistance when bitten. Italian for "to the tooth."
albumen The white of an egg; includes the chalazae which anchors the yolk to the shell.
aromat A spice or herb that adds flavour or fragrance to foods.
bain-marie French (double boiler) A vessel containing hot water in which another vessel containing sauces, soups, gravies and other dishes are gently cooked or kept warm. Double boiling foods greatly reduces the risk of burning.
bake To cook food by dry heat in an oven, or as if in an oven.
bake blind To bake a pastry crust before it is filled. To retain the crusts shape it is often lined with baking/parchment paper and filled with rice, beans or ceramic beads.
ballotine French Any meat, poultry or fish with bones removed, stuffed or filled and rolled up, tied into a bundle, which is then poached or braised.
bard Wrapping pieces of fat (usually bacon) around meats to keep them moist.
baste To spoon or brush a liquid, (often fat, pan juices or marinades) over foods as they cook to add flavour or moisture.
batter The uncooked wet mixture for crêpes, pancakes and cakes. Also used to describe a wet coating for foods to be fried, such as fish.
beurre manie French 'Kneaded butter' A paste made from equal parts of flour and butter, used to thicken soups, stews and sauces.
blanch To plunge a food into boiling water - then into iced water to quickly stop the cooking. Often used to loosen skins, set colour, remove bitterness or reduce salt in cured meats.
blend To use a spoon, beater or electric blender to evenly combine two or more ingredients.
boil To cook food by heating liquid ingredients to boiling point and maintaining at that temperature. "Bring to the boil" heating a liquid until bubbles break the surface.
braising To gently fry meat, vegetables or other foods by lightly browning in fat and then cooking slowly in a covered pan with a small amount of flavourful liquid such as stock or wine.
brochette French To "skewer," thread or mould a food onto a thin metal or wooden stick (skewer) and then grill or barbecue.
brunoise French Very finely diced vegetables, typically carrot, celery, leek or courgette. Often used to garnish a consommé.
butterfly To split a food (usually meat) down the middle, cutting almost through but not completely. The two halves are then opened and splayed out to resemble a butterfly.
canelle French A decorative groove used to garnish fruits and vegetables, usually made with a canelle knife.
caramelize The heating of sugar until it liquefies and becomes a syrup ranging in colour from golden to dark brown. Also sometimes used to describe sautéed foods in fat.
castor or caster sugar (US superfine sugar) Fine crystals of white sugar.
caul A thin membrane taken from an animal's stomach, normally a pig. Used to encase and moisten lean meats and minced meat mixtures during cooking.
chargrill To cook foods on a metal grid over hot coals or on a stovetop grill pan. Creating charred marks and lines on the food.
chiffonade Leafy vegetables or herbs that have been sliced or shredded into thin strips.
chinois French A fine-meshed conical sieve, typically used to strain sauces.
clarify To rid a liquid of impurities. Often with the aid of egg whites, which attract the foreign particles. This method is typically used when making consommé. Also the term used to describe the removal of milk solids in the heating of butter.
creaming To beat ingredients together until light, fluffy and smooth. Usually refers to beating a fat such as butter with sugar.
folding To mix a light airy whisked mixture with a heavier one by adding the lighter mixture on top of the heavier one using a large metal spoon in a gentle figure of eight motion to mix. Folding gently combines the two mixtures without losing too much air.
icing sugar (U.S. confectioners' sugar) A very finely ground powdered white sugar. Some icing sugar may contain 2 percent cornflour which acts as a free flowing agent. Often the percentage of cornflour is increased in cheaper brands.
knead To work and press into a uniform mixture with the hands. A stretching and folding technique to make yeast bread dough firm and smooth and develop elasticity, or to press non-yeast dough to get a smooth even texture. Kneading improves elasticity by stretching the gluten in flour.
lyonnaise Slicing onions into thin wedges. Sometimes refers to the inclusion of onions as a feature of a dish.
sauté To fry food quickly over high heat in a little fat to seal and lightly brown. The food is moved constantly to keep an even heat and avoid burning on the outside before the inside is properly cooked.
sifting To work dry ingredients such as flour through a sieve to separate larger pieces from the fine powder. Used frequently in baking to aerate the ingredients.
simmer To cook food gently in a liquid at or just below boiling point so that the liquid quivers rather than bubbles.
soft brown sugar Soft and moist with a characteristic flavour from a film of molasses surrounding each crystal. Mistakenly called raw sugar, brown sugar is repeatedly boiled and re-crystalised. After each re-boiling the colour of the resulting crystals gets darker.
suet A hard and waxy fat around the kidneys and loins of sheep and cattle used in cooking.
sugar cubes or lumps Sugar formed into small cubes from first refined syrup which is the purest form of sucrose.
sweat To heat food, especially vegetables slowly in fat in a tightly closed saucepan until soft but not brown.
white sugar The most common white sugar crystals, larger than castor sugar but smaller than those contained in cube or lump sugar, often referred to as A1 sugar.
zest The thin outer coloured skin or rind on citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. It contains volatile oils that add fragrance and flavour to food. The white part of the skin of citrus fruit is bitter and is called the pith.
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