English Culinary Terms

Accompaniments

        Items offered separately with a dish of food.

 

Acidulate

To make a liquid acidic by the addition of lemon juice or vinegar.

 

Agar-agar

A substitute for gelatine derived from seaweed.  Mostly used in vegetarian dishes.

 

Al dente

An Italian term which describes the consistency of pasta when cooked correctly.  Literally, it means “to the tooth” i.e. the pasta should be slightly firm to the bite.

 

Anglaise

Usually means plain style.  When applied to fish it means flour, egg washed, breadcrumbed and deep fried.  In the case of vegetables it generally means boiled.

 

Aromates

Herbs and spices used for flavouring.

 

Aspic

A savoury jelly mainly used for decorative larder work.

 

Au four

        Baked in the oven.

 

Au gratin

Sprinkled with cheese or breadcrumbs and browned.

 

Au vin blanc

        With white wine.

 

Bain marie

A utensil which is partly filled with water and kept below boiling point.  It is used either to keep foods warm or for cooking egg custards.

 

Bard

To cover the breast of a bird with thin slices of back fat prior to roasting.

 

Barquette

A boat shaped pastry case.

 

Basting

Spooning the melted fat over foods being roasted or grilled during the cooking process to prevent the surface becoming dry.

 

Back Fat

Slices of fat usually cut from the loin.  Used as an aid when roasting the drier meats and game to impart additional moisture and flavour.

 

Beard

The action of removing the beard from shell fish (mussels, oysters).

 

Bed of Roots

Slices of onion and carrot, browned and used as a bed for a braising joint.

 

Beef Marrow

Nutritious fatty substances in beef bones.

 

Beurre Marie

Equal quantities of flour and butter used for thickening sauces.    

Bind

To add sauces or egg to a mixture of fish or chicken or meat or other ingredients to hold them together.

 

Blanc

A cooking liquor of water, salt and lemon juice, slightly thickened with flour, used for cooking offals and certain vegetables.

 

Blanch

a.     To put meat or root vegetables in cold water or green vegetables into boiling hot water, bring to the boil then drain off and plunge into cold water.

b.     To cook potatoes in fat or oil without taking colour.

c.     To plunge into boiling hot water in order to remove the skin, eg tomatoes, citrus fruits.

 

Blanquette

A white stew cooked in a stock from which the sauce is made.

 

Bombe

        An iced cream made in a dome shaped mould.

 

Bouchees

Small puff pastry cases.

 

Bouquet Garni

A bunch of herbs; parsley, thyme and bay leaf usually tied inside pieces of leek or celery to facilitate their removal after use.  Known also as a faggot.

 

Brunoise

Small neat dice.

 

Canape

A small cushion of brad toasted or fried on which are served various savoury foods.

 

Cartouche

A round greaseproof paper cut to the size of a pan which helps to prevent a skin forming on the surface of the contents.  A small hole is cut into the middle to allow heat to escape.  This is particulary important when the sauce needs to be rapidly cooled.

 

Chantilly

Sweetened whipped vanilla flavoured cream.

 

Chemise

To line a mould usually with a savoury jelly or fruit ice cream.

 

Chiffonade

Term denoting coarsely shredded lettuce, spinach or other sald vegetables.

 

Chine

To remove the spine bone from the meat around it; normally associated with the best end of lamb.

 

Clarify

To clear stocks, soups, cooking fat etc.

 

Cocotte

A small earthenware dish for cooking and serving one portion.

 

Compote

A term usually applied to fresh or dry fruit cooked in light syrup.

 

Concasse

A term used to describe food that is roughly chopped.  Usually applied to tomatoes which have been skinned, the seeds have been removed and the flesh cut into dice.

 

Condiments

Items such as salt, pepper, mustard, vinegar and all spices.

 

Cordon

A thread or thin line of sauce.

 

Coupe

A combination of ice cream or different ices, fruit, liqueur, cream, whipped cream or other ingredients served in a glass or silver cup or goblet to which the term coupe also applies.

 

Court Bouillon

A well flavoured cooking liquor containing carrots, onions, vinegar or wine, bouquet garni and peppercorns.  Used mainly for cooking fish.

 

Creaming

To beat butter, margarine or other fats with sugar to the consistency of whipped cream.

 

Croquettes

Cooked foods moulded into a cylinder shape, coated in egg and breadcrumbs and deep fried.

 

Croute

A cushion of fried or toasted bread on which are served various hot foods eg savouries, game stuffing etc.  Also a pastry crust.

 

Darne

A cut of round fish across the bone.

 

Deglacer

To swill out the pan (in which food has been fried) with wine, stock or water in order to use the sediment in a sauce or gravy.

 

Devilled

The addition to a dish usually fish or meat of very hot condiments and sometimes a highly seasoned spiced sauce.

 

Dress

To pare, scale, clean and trim.  To present a dish attractively.

 

Duxelles

Finely chopped muschrooms cooked with chopped shallots.

 

Escalope

A thin slice of meat or fish.

 

Fillet

The undercut from a joint of beef, lamb, veal or pork.  Boned breast of poultry or game birds and a slice of boned fat.

 

Flambe

Food covered with a spirit and set alight.

 

Flan

An open tart.

 

Fleuron

A small crescent of puff pastry used as a garnish for fish and vegetable dishes.

Game

Wild birds and animals which are hunted for food.  Game eats food not available to domesticated animals which gives it a distinctive flabour.

 

Garnish

To decorate a dish for the table.

 

Glaze

a.     To colour a sauce or sugar coated dish under a grill or in an oven.

b.     To coat with jelly or mask with melted butter.

 

Lard

To insert small strips of fat or bacon with the aid of a larding needle through or in a piece of lean meat, game or poultry.

 

Liaison

A combination of yolks of egg and cream used as a thickening agent.

 

Macerate

To sprinkle fruits with wine or liqueur and leave for a period of time in order to impart a flavour.

 

Mask

To cover or coat an item with sauce.

 

Medallion

Foodstuffs prepared in round flat medallion shapes.

 

Mousse

A dish of light consistency which may be sweet or savoury, served hot or cold.

 

Navarin

Brown lamb stew.

 

Pane

Pass through seasoned flour, beaten egg and white breadcrumbs.

 

Pass

To push through a sieve or strainer.

 

Pates

Savoury mixtures made principally from either chicken, calves or pigs liver with the addition of other meat, poultry or game.  They can be smooth or coarse in texture.

 

Pipe

To use a piping bag or paper cornet for ornamental decoration of food.

 

Piquant

A sharp spicy flabour.

 

Poultry

Domestic fowls reared for the table.  It includes chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons and turkeys.  Guinea fowl which used to be classed as game is now raised on farms and is classed as poultry.

 

Profiteroles

Small balls of choux pastry for garnishing soups or as a sweet course with cream and chocolate.

Prove

To put a yeast dough to rest in a warm place allowing it to rise and expand.

 

Puree

A smooth mixture obtained by passing food through a sieve.

 

Quenelle

Poultry, fish, game or meat pounded, sieved and shaped then usually poached.

 

Quorn

A vegetarian meat substitute developed from fungus.

 

Ramekins

Small porcelain or earthenware moulds.

 

Reconstitute

The replacing of the moisture content in dehydrated foods.

 

Reduce

To concentrate a liquid by boiling.

 

Refresh

To plunge hot food into cold water to prevent further cooking and retain flavour.

 

Render

Heating raw fats to extract the dripping.

 

Roux

A thickening of cooked flour and fat.

 

Sabayon

Yolks of eggs and a little water cooked till creamy.  Can also be used as a sweet sauce.

 

Saute

To cook quickly in a shallow pan with a little fat.  Literally the action of tossing the food in hot fat.

 

Score

Incisions made through meat or fish and some vegetables to assist the cooking process.

 

Seal

To close the pores of meat or vegetables by the application of intense heat.

 

Season

To add condiments to food to enhance its flavour.

 

Shred

To cut into thin strips eg lettuce, sorrel, onion.

 

Simmer

To keep a liquid just at boiling point.  Simmering is a method used for dishes which need long slow cooking.

 

Singe

To burn off the down of a plucked bird by passing over a flame.

 

Skim

To remove the scum or fat from the surface of a liquid.

 

Souffle

A very light dish either sweet or savoury, hot or cold.

 

Troncon

A cut of flat fish across the bone.

 

Truss

To tie poultry or game with string to retain its shape while cooking.

 

Turn

To cut potatoes or vegetables into barrel or olive shapes.  To groove or channel mushrooms.

 

Zest

The outer part of lemon and orange rind which contains the essential oils.   

 

 

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