Abats - The French cookery term for offal.
Acidulated Water - Water with acid added, such as lemon juice or vinegar. This prevents discolouration of ingredients such as fruit and vegetable; use 1 tsp to 250ml.
Agar Agar - A vegetarian alternative to gelatine made with seaweed.
Aïoli - A form of garlic mayonnaise
Al dente - Pasta cooked to "the tooth" until tender but slightly firm to the bite.
The berry of an evergreen tree native to South America and the West Indies. It is pickled before it ripens and has a flavor similar to a mix of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Used in sweet dishes or savoury dishes. Can be bought whole or ground. click here for more
A parsley-like plant with a sweet flavour. Its leaves can be added as a flavouring to salads or sweet custards. The stalks of young plants are crystallised to the bright green decoration for pastries and desserts which is the most commonly available form. The seed is used to flavour vermouth.
Anglaise (a la)- 1) Cooking style for simple cooked dishes such as boiled vegetables. 2) A Method of cooking fish - deep frying in bread crumbs accompanied by tartar sauce 3) Sauce - fresh egg custard.
Aromatic, oval seeds. Anise is one of the oldest know spices. It is native to the Middle East, where it is used to flavor soups, stews and breads. It's most common use today is in drinks such as pastis, ouzo and anisette, and in the confectionery and medicinal trade. Mildly sweet and licorice in flor. Use it in cakes, biscuits and baked products. The seeds can be ground and should be used quickly as the flavor dissipates raptidly.
The dried reddish-brown berry of the Chinese variety of the small prickly ash tree. They are hollow and split open and sometimes have bits of stalk attached. Sometimes has loose black seeds still in the centre of the berries which should be discarded as they are bitter. The flavor is woody and aromatic with a sharp after taste. Widely used in Chinese cookery and is one of the ingredients of Chinese five spice powder. Crush or grind the berries and dry roast for more flavour. Used to flavour roast duck, good with chicken and meat.
Tiny oval seeds of the anise plant, with a pungent liquorice-like flavour. In Mediterranean countries it is used to flavour drinks such as pernod and ouzo. In central and Northern Europe, it is used in baking. In Southeast Asia and India it is used in curries. Sold as the whole seed.
Antipasta (o) - Italian for "before meal" usually a selection of various cold vegetable, meat. fish or cheese.
Arame - An edible seaweed.
Artichoke - click here for more
The hindu alternative to garlic. A hard resin formed from the roots of plants native to Iran and India. It has a pungent unpleasant smell, which disappears when cooked and a delicate garlic flavor develops. Usually in a ground powder.
The shoots of an underground stem. Asparagus is seasonal in Europe and at its best from April to June - May being the prime month, it is also grown in North Africa, Israel, Thailand and the States. There are three main varieties of Asparagus green, white and wild. The bottom of the spears are usually snapped off or trimmed to remove any woodiness and sometimes the base is peeled if the skin is tough and stringy. Boil or steam for two or three minutes until tender but still firm. Often served with melted butter or hollandaise.
Belongs to the tomato family and is native to tropical Asia. The most common variety is the large, oval-shaped and purple in color. White, mauve, and green varities are also occasionally availbale. Miniature varieties are also available. The flesh is white and spongy, but discolours when cut. The flavour is mild and watery, and is best eaten cooked - boiled, baked, grilled or fried. Salting aubergines is common to remove their mild bitterness (sprinkle slices with salt, and let them drain in a colander for about 30 minutes, then rinse well and pat them dry).
Au gratin - Describes a dish which is gratinated (browned) either in an oven or under a grill. The topping is usually made from breadcrumbs or cheese or a mixture including either or both.
Au jus - Roasted meat served with natural pan juices that accumulate during cooking.
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