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Kitchen Glossary

A glossary of Cookery Language and terms used in Recipes and Kitchens

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A l' - According to a style; Used before words beginning with a 'a' vovel (à l'allemande…)
A la - According to a style (à la maison...)
A la broche - Cooked on a skewer.
A la carte - A menu of separately priced items.
A la king - Food prepared in a white cream sauce containing pimentos, mushrooms and green peppers
A la minute - Made to order (short order)
A la mode - Lit. "in the fashion"; as in France - "Boeuf à la mode" - pot roasted beef with vegetables
A la Provencale - A dish prepared with garlic and chopped herbs such as thyme, parsley, rosemary - after the 'Provençe' area in southern France.
Abats - see Offal
Abattis - Offal of poltry / giblets; including heart, gizzard, liver as well as neck, feet and wing tips
Acidulate - adding lemon juice, vinegar or sour fruit juice to food. One use is for example to use acidulated water in order to keep cut artichokes from turning brown.
Agar-Agar - Agelatinous extraction from various red algae used as jelling and stabilising agent in foods. Can be used in cold (non cooked) environment.
Aging - Keeping meat for a period of time in a cool environment allows it to tenderise naturally. The action of enzymes on the connective tissues will increase tenderness in the meat.
Agneau - Lamb
Aiguillettes - (Fr) Fine slices of meats or poultry; also a special cut of the beef sirloin (the triangle cap-bit on one end)
Aioli - Garlic mayonnaise, sometimes crushed boiled potatoes are added
Al dente - Italian term meaning: to the tooth. So, when cooking pasta, risotto or sometimes vegetables, there should be noticable resistance left when biting on to it (Spaghetti al dente)
Allemande - A white sauce that contains egg yolk. (German style) A classic dish is 'Fillet de sole a l'allemande' - Sole fillets German style
Almond paste - Mixture of ground blanched almonds with granulated and confectioners' sugar
Amandine - Garnished or prepared with almonds.
Amontillado - (Sp) Medium dry sherry with a nutty taste
Ancienne, à l': Old fashioned
Andalouse, à l': (Fr) Andalusian style; used for dishes prepared with tomato puree and sweet peppers
Anglaise, à l': (Fr) English style; An 'anglaise' is also a mixture of egg, oil, water and seasoning used to coat foods before breading them.
Antipasto - Italian dish mostly served as a starter, usually a selection of cold marinated and prepared foods, cold cuts, olives etc.
Appareil - (Fr) A mixture that is complete but has not yet been cooked or baked, such as a cake batter
Argenteuil - (Fr) City near Paris, known for the exquisit quality of asparagus; therefore used for a dish served or garnished with asparagus
Aromates - (Fr) Herbs (such as thyme, bay leaf, chervil) and vegetables (carrots, cellery, onions, leeks) used to flavour braised dishes, stocks and soups
Arroser - (Fr) To baste the roast
Arrowroot - Starch obtained from the rootstock of the arrowroot plant; used in the preparation of delicate soups, sauces, puddings and custards
Artichaut - (Fr) Artichoke
As purchased (A.P.) - Food as purchased on the markets before the inedible parts such as husks, outer leaves, peels or skins, have been removed
Asiago - Italian hard cheese made from cows milk in the province of Vicenza
Aspic - Jellied meat, poultry, or fish stock used to coat hors d'oeuvre and galantines, as an ingredient in salads and to coat dishes for the cold buffet
Assaisonner - (Fr) To season food
Au four - From the oven.
Au gratin - A dish covered with cheese and/or breadcrumbs, (or sometimes whipped cream and eggyolks, especially when used for fish) then browned in the oven or under the grill (salamander)
Au jus - Served with natural jus, the extract from roasted meat and/or bones, usually simmered with vegetables for an extended period of time
Au lait - Served with milk. (Cafe au lait - Milk Coffee)
Au naturel - Plain, natural. Term often used for oysters.
Aubergine - (Fr) Eggplant; also term used in England

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Baba - (Fr) A yeast rised cake soaked in rum and tea infusion
Bain marie - A container containing hot water. The bain marie is often used to keep food hot (Food in containers are placed in the bain marie for the service period in restaurants - for example soup or sauces) Also used to provide heat (or steam) over which items such as custards, mousses and other foods are warmed without scorching, burning or curdling.
Balsamic vinegar - An Italian vinegar produced from boiled grape juice which is fermented, concentrated and then aged in wooden casks. Dark brown in colour with a smooth, mild, syrupy consistency. Balsamic vinegar is usually used as a dressing for salads, vegetables and so on. Famous source area for this speciality is the town of Modena, Italy
Bannock - A large round unleavened scone or oatcake
Bard / Barding - To wrap lean meat such as poultry with back fat, sometimes bacon or salted pork or proscuitto while roasting, to prevent it from drying out. The wrapper is sometimes removed towards the end of cooking, to allow the meat to brown.
Bar-le-Duc - Jam made of red currants, from which the seeds have been removed; Bar-le-Duc, a town in Lorraine, France is famus for this jam
Baron - A single roast consisting of the leg and loin of a lamb or mutton, or a double baron of both legs and loins
Baste - To pour, spoon or brush a liquid (usually meat drippings, stock or fat) on food (arroser) while it is cooking, to add flavour and prevent drying out.
Batter - A liquid dough thin enough to pour. (also see Appareil)
Beat - Stir thoroughly and vigorously.
Bechamel - A white sauce that is usually made with milk and cream.
Beurre manié - A thickening agent for sauces where equal amounts of soft butter and cake flour are mixed to a paste and gradually added to a hot liquid. Sauces, soups and stews are often thickened this way. Use a wire whisk to ensure a smooth end result.
Biodynamic - Food products produced by an advanced organic farming method. No growth hormones, drugs or chemicals (dipping or otherwise) are used and the animals are not subjected to stress.
Bisque - A thick and rich creamy soup, mostly from shellfish such as lobster, crayfish etc.
Blend - To mix thoroughly. Often this term used to describe when a blender will need to be used.
Bouchee - A small amount (bouche = mouth (french) full) of creamed meat or fish, in a pastry shell.
Bouillabaisse - Mediterranean fish stew.
Bouillon - Meat broth, usually beef, building the base for many soups, as a soup in itself or as consomee when clarified (see clarified)
Bouquet Garni - A bundle of vegetables such as celery or celeriac, carrots and onions as well as a sachet of herbs and spices used to enhance the flavour of a soup, stock or stew. Any herbs and spices usually include bay leaf, parsley, pepper corns and cloves. The spices are commonly tied into a musline cloth.
Braise - A technique of cooking in which meat and/or vegetables are first browned, then cooked at a low heat for a lengthy period of time in a covered pot in a small amount of liquid. This process adds flavour and tenderises the food by breaking down its fibres.
Brider - To tie poultry or meat.
Brioche - A roll made of light sweet dough.
Brochette - Meat skewer.
Brown - To cook over high heat causing the surface to become brown while retaining a moist interior.
Butterfly - To slit a piece of food in half horizontally, cutting it almost through, so that when opened it resembles butterfly wings. Large prawns and thick fish fillets are often butterflied so that they cook more quickly. Also commonly used to prepare BBQ spring chickens - in that case the backbone is removed, then the chicken is folded open.

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Canard - Duck.
Candying - Repeatedly cooking fruits in sugar syrup.
Canola Oil - Rapeseed oil. Useful for cooking due to its high smoking point.
Caramelise - Slowly cooking sugar (or a sugar-heavy food) over low heat in order to convert the sugar into caramel.
Carpaccio - A dish of thinly sliced raw meat or fish, dressed with olive oil and sometimes parmesan cheese.
Casserole - A fire-proof cooking dish/pot. Also interchangeably used with the term 'stew' or 'hot pot'. (fr)
Caul fat - Caul fat is a net that naturally wrapps around the pig's liver. It's used for wrapping meat or for encasing galantines, pates or terrines during baking.
Chantilly - Served or prepared with whipped cream. (fr)
Chateaubriand - Double steak cut from the centre of the beef fillet, usually carved by the waiter in front of the customer. (fr)
Chermoula - A mediterranean marinade made with herbs and spices such as coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, turmeric, chilli, parsley, garlic and salt. Processed into a paste with some olive oil and lemon juice.
Chipolata - Small (usually pork) sausage.(it)
Clotted cream - A very thick, rich cream made by scalding the fresh cream from the surface of cows milk over steam baths, for a number of hours. The cream is full and sweet in flavour and can have a thick yellow crust.
Coddle - To simmer or cook at a temperature just below the boiling point for a brief period.
Cold larder - The section in the kitchen where cold starters and salads are usually prepared.
Cold smoked - Traditional way of preserving food (mainly meat or seafood) by first pickeling it in a heavy salt brine solution and then placing it in a smokeroom for a period of time at a temperature of less than 32°C.
Compote - Stewed fruit, usually sweetened. (fr)
Coq au vin - Chicken stewed in wine. (fr)
Coulis - A thick puree made with fruit as a sauce for desserts or sometimes with tomatoes. (fr)
Crackling - Crispy roasted pork skin.
Cream - To blend or beat to the soft and smooth consistency of cream. Usually butter with sugar.
Croutons - Small toasted cubes or slices of bread. Often brushed with melted butter or olive oil before baked in oven until dried out completely. Croute = crust (fr)
Crudités - Raw vegetables, usually cut in sticks, servde with a dipping sauce.
Crush - To press into very fine particles.
Cryovac - Vacuum packing with a machine. A way to keep food fresh longer by placing it into plastic bags and creating a vacuum, then sealing the bag. Sometimes the food is then cooked inside these sealed bags. This method is called: Cuisson sous vide
Curd - The solid part of curdled milk used to make cheeses or tofu (soy milk). The term curd is also used to describe custards of fruit and dairy.
Curdle - when milk, soup or sauce separates into its solid and liquid elements. Can happen unintentionally. (example: when you pour old milk into a hot cup of coffee, sometimes it curdles immediatly as soon as it gets warm)

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Dash - A very small amount, less than 1/8 of a teaspoon.
Deep fry - To cook food by completely immersing it in very hot fat (approximately 180°C).
Deglaze - To add a liquid (such as wine, stock or water) to the bottom of a pan in order to dissolve the caramelised drippings, then stirring vigorously while bringing to the boil, so that they can be used as a sauce or gravy, for added flavour.
Degraisser - To skim off the grease. (fr)
Diable - A dish or sauce that is seasoned with a spicy hot ingredient such as hot mustard or cayenne pepper. (Diable = devil (fr))
Dollop - A heaped tablespoon full.
Drawn butter - Melted butter.
Dredge - To lightly coat food (typically with flour, cornmeal or breadcrumbs) that is to be pan-fried or sautéed.
Drippings - The natural juices and fat that drips from roasted meats.
Dry roast spices - Spices are heated in a frying pan until fragrant (it takes about three minutes) and then cooled and ground or pounded. Use a mortar and pestle, an electric coffee grinder kept especially for spices or a blender for large quantities. Very commonly done for Indian and North African dishes.
Du jour - Of the day. (fr)
Dusting - To sprinkle with icing sugar or flour.

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Entree - Starter/first course; in North America it means main course.

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Fillet - Most priced cut of meat, usually from the inner loin area of the animal. Or the flesh of fish taken off the back bone.
Flake - To break into small pieces with a fork. Also sometimes used when referring to shark meat.
Fondant - Thick semi-liquid sugar icing. (fr)
Frangipan - A filling for a tart comprising a mixture of ground almonds, butter, eggs, sugar and liqueur (optional). (it)
Frappe - Iced, also, european term for milk shake. (fr)

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Garni - To garnish or decorate. (fr)
Garnish - To decorate food, usually with something edible.
Gateau - Cake. (fr)
Glace - Frozen or glazed. (fr)
Glaze - To coat food with a thin, liquid mixture that will be smooth and shiny after setting. Glazes may be sweet or savoury.
Gnocchi - Dumplings from flour, potatoes or semolina. (it)
Goujon - To cut into strips, usually fish, but also meat (fr)
Gratin - A dish covered with cheese and/or breadcrumbs, (or sometimes whipped cream and eggyolks - mostly for fish) then browned in the oven or under the grill (salamander) (fr)
Grease - To rub or brush lightly with oil or fat.
Griller - To grill or broil. (fr)

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Halal - This Arabic word means "lawful" and refers to all foods that Muslims are allowed to eat. In particular, this word is used to describe meat/poultry that must be slaughtered according to Islamic rites.
Haricot Blanc - White beans. (fr)
Harissa - A very hot paste made with chilli, tomatoes, salt, vinegar, oil and peppers which is very important in Tunisian cuisine.
Hors d'oeuvers - The first course or appetiser. (fr)
Hot smoked - A cooking technique that involves seasoning food and then placing it in a smoker for a relatively short period of time at a temperature between 49-93°C.

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I - NO ENTRIES under I

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Jardiniere - Fresh mixed vegetables cut into small dice or julienne. (jardin = garden) (fr)
Julienne - To cut food into match-like sticks.
Jus - The natural extract from roasted meat and/or bones, usually simmered with vegetables for an extended period of time. Also, the juice, fruits or vegetables. Jus = Juice (fr)

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Knead - To work dough using heel of hand with a pressing motion, while stretching and folding the dough.
Kumera / Kumara - Red sweet potatoes.

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Larder - To insert strips of fat with a larding needle into lean meat, used to moisten roasts. (For a different meaning see: Cold larder)
Lavish or lavash or lavosh- A thin, leavened or unleavened, sometimes crisp bread. It is low in salt and fat and ideal for wraps or when crisp, served with dips.
Lemongrass - A herb used a lot in South East Asian cooking. Use the tender pale leaves and the inner part of the root.
Liaison - A blend of half egg yolk and cream used to thicken soups and sauces. (Caution! Don't boil the liquid after adding a liaison to it, it will curdle...)
Line - To cover the inside of a container.

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Marbling - Term used for fat deposits within the meat. Marbeled meat is usually more tender and flavoursome.
Marinade - Blends of liquids and flavourings used in marinating.
Marinate - To let food stand in a marinade to season and tenderise.
Medallions - Round pieces of meat.
Microplane - File-like tool to efficiently obtain ultra fine shavings of skins of fruit (example: citrus) and roots (example: ginger)

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Nuke - kitchen slang used to describe the use of a microwave oven.

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Offal - Variety meats of animals; brains, heart, kidney, liver, sweetbreads, tongue, tripe. (also called abats)
Olive Oil - Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a full, fruity flavour and the lowest acidity. Virgin Olive Oil is slightly higher in acidity and lighter in flavour. Pure Olive Oil is a processed blend of olive oils and has the highest acidity and lightest taste.
Organic - Food produced without the use of chemically formulated fertilisers, hormones, antibiotics or pesticides.

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Panettone - Italian very light yeast cake speciallity with sultanas & peel.
Pan d'oro - same as Panettone, but without any fruit.
Panforte - Italian, flat pastry made with honey, hazelnuts, almonds, citrus peel, cocoa and spices. It becomes relatively hard and chewy when baked.
Paprika - Hungarian red pepper.
Peel - To strip away the outside covering.
Petits Fours - Small cakes dipped in icing and decorated.
Pilaf - A rice dish with or without meat.
Poach - To simmer gently in enough hot liquid to cover, using care to retain the shape of food.
Puree - A smooth paste made by putting foods through a sieve, food mill, blender or food processor.

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Quince glaze - A sweet glaze made from quince paste used to flavour meats and pastries and also to give them a glossy appearance.
Quince paste - A sweet preserve made in Mediterranean countries from the quince fruit, water and sugar. It can be served with cheese and biscuits or eaten on its own with coffee.

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Ragout - A rich brown stew of meat.
Red-cooked - A term used in Chinese cooking. Meat or poultry is cooked in dark soy sauce resulting in a deep, rich, red glazed exterior.
Reduce - To cook over a very high heat, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by evaporation. This will increase the flavour.
Resting - Allowing cooked meat to rest after it has cooked to keep the meat from losing juices during carving.
Rubbing-in - A method of incorporating fat into flour, by use of fingertips only. Also incorporates air into mixture.

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Salamander - Common commercial cooking equipment, similar to a grill, with heat being generated only from the top, also called 'broiler'.
Sauté - Cooking by tossing in a small amount of hot fat.
Score - To mark foods with cuts to make food more attractive.
Sear - To brown meat quickly over high heat in hot fat.
Seasoned flour - Flour with salt and pepper added.
Simmer - To cook food gently in liquid that bubbles steadily, just below boiling point, so that the food cooks in even heat without breaking up.
Skim - To remove a surface layer of impurities from liquid.
Slivered - Sliced in long, thin pieces.
Slow-roasting - Cooking a roast of meat, chicken or turkey at a reasonably low heat (around 150°C) for a long time. The roast is placed on a rack, not a roasting pan. Advantage is the comparably low loss of weight during the cooking process.
Slurry - Cornflour and water mix used as a thickening agent.
Smoke roasted - A term used to describe foods which have been cooked using hot smoking techniques.
Sorbet - A water ice served between meals.
Soubise - A thick sauce with pureed onions stewed in butter.
Soufflé - A light sponge either sweet or savoury.
Sourdough - A type of bread that has been leavened using both wild yeasts and lactobacili rather than the specific lab cultured yeasts of commercial breads. It may or may not be sour, depending on which yeasts/bacterium cultures are used.
Spatchcock - A technique for preparing poultry for the grill or barbecue so that it cooks evenly. The bird is split in half and the breast bone is flattened. The technique can be used on quails, spatchcocks, chickens etc.
Stir-fry - Refers to food cooked in a wok over very high heat in a small amount of oil. The trick is not to let the wok cool down, so add food in small amounts. If you add too much food at once, it will stew. Add the meat first, then the thickest vegetables and the ones that take the least time to cook, last.
Stock - A liquid containing flavours, extracts and nutrients of bones, meat, fish or vegetables.

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Tabouli (tabbouleh / tabouleh) - A middle eastern / Lebanese salad made from parley, mint, cracked wheet (Burgul), seasoned with lemon, garlic, sometimes lightened up with diced tomato and / or cucumbers
Tagine - Tagines are Moroccan, slow-cooked meat, fruit & vegetable dishes that are almost invariably made with mutton. The word "tagine" also describes the container in which a tagine is prepared: a shallow, round, earthenware, glazed pot with a tall cylindrical lid that traps the steam rising from the stew cooking in the bottom and prevents it from drying out.
Tamarind - The fruit of an originally African legume. The unripe fruits or the pulp of ripe pods have a sour to tart flavour and are used in cooking.
Thicken - To make a thick, smooth paste by mixing together arrowroot, cornflour or flour, with an equal amount of cold water; stir into the hot liquid and cook, stirring until thickened.
Toss - To gently mix ingredients with a fork and spoon.
Tournedos - A small steak from the centre cut of the tenderloin (150g-200g)
Truffled - Foods that have been infused with truffle flavour. A truffle is a strongly flavoured hypogee or underground mushroom, found in the Northern hemisphere. Truffles are very expensive condiments so they are used sparingly.
Truss or vine tomatoes - These are a much deeper red than other types of tomato with firm flesh and excellent flavour. They are allowed to ripen on the vine and are not induced to ripen with chemicals, as are many supermarket varieties.

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Unpasteurised milk - This is milk which has not been pasteurised; a procedure where it is heated to 750°C and then rapidly cooled to 40°C to kill the bacteria.

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Veal glace - A rich, brown, concentrated reduction of veal stock used extensively as a base for sauces and gravy.
Verjuice - The tart juice of unripe grapes. Add to sauces or use to deglaze roasting pans.
Viande - Meat.
Vine-ripened - This refers to any fruit or vegetable picked from the plant when fully ripe. Although this gives the best flavour the fruit tends to be more perishable.
Vongole - Clams in Italian.

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Whip - To beat rapidly, incorporate air and product expansion.

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X - NO ENTRIES under X

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Y - NO ENTRIES under Y

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Zest - The outer rind of citrus fruit.

Classical cooking - The modern way, Eugen Pauli ISBN 0-442-27205-5
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