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Preparation, cooking and presentation


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accompaniments
food which is served separately from the main dish, such as vegetables.
al dente
cooked but still firm when bitten. Literally 'to the tooth'
au gratin
Sprinkled with cheese and/or breadcrumbs and browned under the grill or in the oven.
bain-marie
a large pan half-filled with water on which another pan is set. Used to keep foods warm or to cook very delicate food.
bouquet garni
a bundle of fresh herbs used in stews or soups. Removed before serving.
brûlée
to burn/caramelise sugar on top of a dessert.
coulis
a fruit or vegetable purée used as a sauce or to decorate.
croûtons
fried or grilled cubes of bread. Served with soup or salad.
en croûte
wrapped in pastry
entrée
main course
flambé
food which is covered with an alcohol such as brandy and set on fire (pancakes, christmas pudding)
garnish
an edible decoration
julienne
thinly cut strips of vegetables, matchsticks
marinade
a richly spiced liquid used to give flavour and tenderise meat and fish.
mise en place
Literally 'put in place'. Preparation time for ingredients and equipment before beginning to cook.
purée
a smooth mixture or paste made by blending food
reduce
to make a liquid thicker through boiling it to evaporate some of the water.
roux
a mixture of fat and flour used to thicken sauces.
sauté
fry by tossing in a small amount of fat.
meat
beef, pork, lamb
poultry
chicken, duck, turkey
white fish
cod, haddock, whiting, plaice
oily fish
mackerel, salmon, trout
shellfish
oysters, prawns, crab
fresh fish
feels firm, clear eyes, smells salty
fresh shellfish
closed shells
Sirloin, fillet, rib-eye
Tender cuts of meat are suitable for grilling and stir-frying.
Round steak, rump, chuck
Tough cuts are stewed until tender.
Whole chicken, turkey or duck; rib or fillet.
Big joints – or whole birds – are often roasted.
Ethylene
a natural plant hormone. It affects the growth, ripening, and aging of plants.
fresh vegetables
feel firm and plump
cereals
any kind of grain. White, rice, rye, oats, corn.
long-grain rice
is fluffy. Suitable for stir-fry, curry, etc
short-grain rice
is sticky. Suitable for risotto.
convenience products
any ready-prepared food. Dried pasta, ready meals, fresh bread.
fresh eggs
have thick whites and a round, fat yolk.
lion mark
eggs are produced to the highest standards of food safety.
crown mark
eggs are organic.
creaming method
sugar and butter are beaten together until pale and creamy. Victoria sponge cake, biscuits.
whisking method
eggs and sugar are whisked together. Swiss rolls, sponge cakes.
rubbing-in method
fat is rubbed into flour until the texture resembles breadcrumbs. Scones, biscuits, rock cakes.
melting method
fat is melted with sugar or syrup. Gingerbread, flapjacks.
gluten
stretchy protein found in wheat and related grains.
yeast
a living fungus which thrives on simple sugars. As the sugars are metabolized, carbon dioxide and alcohol are released into the bread dough, making it rise.
shortcrust pastry
pies, quiches, tarts, pasties
sweet pastry
sweet pies, fruit tarts
puff pastry
sausage rolls, pies, fruit turnovers
choux pastry
profieroles, eclairs
filo pastry
strudels, pastry parcels
boiling
cook food in boiling liquid, makes texture softer
simmering
more gentle than boiling, slightly lower temperature
poaching
cooking food very gently in liquid heated below boiling point
stewing
cooking food slowly in its own juices or stock, makes meat tender.
braising
meat is fried first, then stewed
steaming
cooking food in steam from boiling water. Preserves colour, texture and vitamins.
pressure cooking
cooking in a sealed pan. Trapped steam causes pressure and temperature to rise.
blanching
boiling food for a short period of time and then plunging into cold water. Preserves colour, texture and vitamin content of vegetables.
microwaving
useful for defrosting and reheating food. Heats food quickly but does not brown food.
frying
fat or oil heated to a high temperature cooks food quickly. Adds flavour but makes food less healthy.
shallow frying
cooking food in fat using a frying pan
deep-fat frying
food is completely submerged in hot oil to cook. Delicate foods may be dipped in batter first.
stir-frying
uses a wok and little oil to cook finely chopped foods quickly. Popular in Asian cuisine.
baking
cooking food in the dry heat of an oven.
roasting
cooking food in the dry heat of an oven. Fat is added to the food to help the outside crisp while keeping the inside of food moist.
grilling
cooks and browns food quickly using dry heat.
factors of food presentation
colour, texture, flavour, shape, layout, temperature, timing, customer needs