Here you will find definitions for some cookery techniques, along with links to any posts where I have expanded further upon them. This is a Work In Progress page, so further techniques (and posts) will be added in due course.

  • Bain-Marie: A method of moderating heat where the cooking vessel is place in or over a second vessel that holds heated water.
  • Beat: Mix foods thoroughly and vigorously; often with a spoon, fork, or whisk etc.
  • Béchamel Sauce: Also known as ‘White Sauce’. This is one of the mother sauces in French cooking and incredibly useful. It starts with a Roux (see below) with milk then added to form a white sauce. Variations of the Bechamel include Mornay sauce or Cheese sauce.
  • Blend: Mix foods in a gentler motion than when beating; often with a fork, spoon, or spatula etc.
  • Boil: When boiling the liquid will seethe, roll, and send up bubbles. For water this occurs at 100*C (212*F). There are slow, medium, and fast boils. The liquid is at a fast boil when it is seething, rolling, and continually sending up bubbles.
  • Capsicum (Bell Pepper): De-Seeding and Trimming: See the link for two methods which I used to de-seed and trim a capsicum.
  • Chiffonade: A technique where herbs, leafy greens etc are rolled up and cut into thin strips, resembling rags.
  • Coat a Spoon’: This describes the thickness of a liquid when on the back of a spoon. Depending on what thickness is desired, it will leave either a thick or thin (or somewhere in between) coating on the spoon. For example, a soup will leave a thin coat on the spoon when it is dipped in and out of the soup; whereas a sauce that will cover the food (such as a Welsh Rarebit) will leave a much thicker coating on the spoon.
  • Cook: A gentler version of sauté, where oil or fat is heated in a pan till warm or hot and the food is added. The food will take longer to brown and/or cook through than in the hotter pan of the sauté .
  • Cupcakes (Baking): My general notes on baking cupcakes.
  • Dice: Where food is cut into cubes, in the shape of dice. To cut food into dice, first julienne the food so that you have strips and then cut those strips, a handful at a time, crosswise into dice. My standard dice are about 1cm cubed. Food cut into small dice are about half that size.
  • Fold: This is where a fragile mixture is incorporated into a denser mixture, such as whisked egg whites into a sponge mixture.
  • Julienne: Where food is cut into thin strips of varying widths. This is also the first step in cutting foods into dice. Typically, my standard julienne strips are about 1cm wide.
  • Macerate: Where foods are placed in a liquid so that they can absorb the flavour, or where the liquid can impart flavour to the liquid, or to become more tender. According to Julia Child, macerate is the term usually used when fruits are soaked in a liquid, whereas to marinate usually refers to where meats are soaked in a liquid.
  • Onion: Peeling, Slicing, and Dicing: My (very non-chefy) technique for dealing with onions.
  • Poach: This is where food is submerged and cooked into a barely simmering liquid. The temperature for liquid when poaching is between 71 – 82*C (160 – 180* F).
  • Sauté: According to Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, a sauté is where small quantities of food is cooked and browned in very hot fat in either a frying pan or saucepan. Food can be sautéd to only colour it, or to cook it through. For the sauté to be successful, the fat needs to be very hot, the food dry, and the pan not overcrowded. However, often you will see sauté in cookery books refer to cooking something in a fat or oil, but not necessarily very hot fat/oil. For example, if you want to sauté onions till they are translucent you may not want high temperatures in order to ensure they cook and become translucent before the heat and fat/oil causes them to burn. I would recommend paying attention to the temperature given in a recipe and what the desired outcome is for that recipe.
  • Roux: A means to thicken a sauce. Fat (normally butter) is melted in a saucepan, then starch (often flour and normally the same weight as the fat) is added and the mixture is beaten over heat so that they incorporate and the flour cooks out.
  • Sieve / Sift: Use a sieve to introduce dry ingredients into wet ingredients (i.e. sieve flour into the wet ingredients of a cake).
  • Simmer: Simmering is where the liquid is kept just below the boiling point. To achieve a simmer, often the liquid is brought to the boil and then the heat is reduced. When simmering, the liquid will hardly move and will send up bubbles at a gentle pace.
  • Toss: Where food is flipped (like a pancake) or lifted in the air to mix the ingredients (like a salad, or vegetables in a pan).
  • Whisk: To beat with a fork or whisk, either with a hand whisk, an electric hand mixer, or an electric stand mixer.