An Enlightenment of Cooking Expression!

It can be very frustrating when you are trying to follow a recipe, but you don’t understand the cooking terms used. Sometimes even instructions on a packet of pasta can confuse you what does cook until ‘al dente mean’? So, let’s have a look at some basic cooking terms and the language used in recipes:

– Al dente – This term is often used with pasta and literally means to the tooth/bite. Boil the pasta until is tender but still has some bite, not soggy and falling apart. Packet pasta usually takes 5-10 minutes in boiling water.

Baste – This term is often used when roasting chicken or cooking meat in a marinade. You will need to regularly baste the meat with the juices or sauce to keep it moist. You can use a spoon to spoon the juices or sauce over the meat, or you can use a buster which is a bit like a syringe or bulb.

Beat – A term often used in cooking or baking. You may be instructed to beat and egg simply crack an egg into a bowl and beat (stir rapidly) with a fork or whisk to combine the yolk and white. In cake recipes, you may be instructed to beat the margarine and sugar together use an electric whisk or beater for ease.

Blanch – A recipe may call for blanching vegetable. This simply means to plunge them into boiling water for about a minute.

Chop – self explanatory but use a good sharp knife and try to chop vegetables etc. so that bits are uniform in size and thickness. Onions often have to be chopped finely so chop them as small as you can.

Cream – Cake recipes often instruct you to cream the butter or margarine with the sugar. Beat them together either with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until they are well combined and the mixture has turned a paler color.

Dice – If you are instructed to dice meat or vegetables, it means that you should chop into uniform squares.

Fillet – This word can either be used as a noun or a verb. A meat fillet is a good quality piece of meat which has been filleted, had the bones removed. If a recipe asks you to fillet a piece of meat or fish, it means you need to remove the bones. This is tricky so buy fillet meat or ask your butcher or fishmonger to do it for you.

Fold – Cake recipes often tell you to fold in the flour after creaming the margarine and sugar and adding eggs. Add the flour a bit at a time using a metal spoon and a figure of eight movement to fold the flour into the mixture while retaining the air added by creaming or beating.

Julienne – This term is used with vegetables. Julienne carrots are carrots which have been chopped into matchsticks or strips.

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