Cooking Glossary

À la : Refers to the way in which the food is cooked. For example, à la Grecque means that olive oil and Greek herbs are used.

Al dente: In Italian, it means “to the tooth” or “to the bite”. The term is used to describe the texture to which pasta should be cooked so that it is firm but not hard.

Bain-marie: A cooking technique used to melt chocolate and thicken sensitive sauces. It consists of two parts, a larger pan or pot in which water is boiled and a smaller bowl or pot in which the substance to be warmed is placed (chocolate or sauce).

Baking powder: A leavening agent (powder which contains sodium bicarbonate) used in cakes, muffins and fluffy pan-fried sweet cakes (pancakes, waffles).

Blanched almonds: Almonds from which the skins have been removed. To do this, blanch the almonds in boiling water for a few seconds and squeeze them between the fingertips to remove the skins.

Blanching:Briefly submerging a food in boiling water. It may be used to clean almonds, soften tender greens or make citrus fruits less bitter.

Bresaola:An Italian charcuterie of air-dried beef with a dark red colour and superb flavour.

Candied fruit: Fruit processed with a shiny coating of sugar-based syrup. The most common fruit used includes cherries, pears, apricots, figs, oranges and tangerines.

Capers: A thorny plant that grows mainly in rocky or uncultivated ground; it adds flavour to salads and sauces and may be pickled and stored in vinegar. It is best picked fresh in May, June and July.

Castor sugar: A very fine sugar with the smallest crystals. It dissolves easily and is used in custards, mousse and meringues.

Chives: Their taste is somewhat similar to onions, but finer and more delicate, and their green leaves are very thin and cut with scissors. They add a decorative touch to soups and salads.

Confit:Fruit or vegetables preserved in sugar for several hours with brandy poured over them. The term is also used for meats or poultry preserved in their own fat. The best known types are duck or goose confits.

Cornflour:Flour made from corn. It is a powder used to thicken sauces or custards. Niseste, or cornstarch, is a similar product.

Cretan cherry tomatoes:Small tomatoes usually sold in bunches with a wonderful sweet flavour and tight, crisp skin. They are great in salads, as well as in summer pies.

Cultivated mushrooms:These mushrooms are cultivated and can be found year-round. There are small, medium and large ones and may be called champignons. Oyster mushrooms have also become popular cultivated varieties.

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Endive:There is a green chicory with curly leaves and a bitter flavour used in salads, but the French use the name “endive” or “chicory” to describe a white leaf vegetable with tightly packed leaves and bitter flavour cooked au gratin with béchamel sauce and ham, or eaten coarsely chopped in salads.

Flaked almonds: Blanched almonds cut into thin flakes. Almond flakes are also available on the market.

Foie gras: ΣThe light-coloured, fattened liver of the goose for which geese are specially raised (and force-fed) in certain areas of south-western France. An exquisite and very expensive deli item.

Ginger: The fresh ginger root is used in Chinese cooking and is an ingredient in Indian curry. In powder form (spice), it is used in biscuits, bread and fruit salads or puddings. It has a spicy taste and pleasant aroma.

Gorgonzola: An Italian cheese made from cow’s milk. It is in the same category as Roquefort cheese, but it is softer, milder, creamier and less salty.

Gratin: A food that is cooked or finished off in the oven so that it acquires a golden brown crust on top using grated cheese and breadcrumbs.

Halloumi: Cypriot white cheese made from a mixture of cow’s and sheep’s or goat’s milk, scented with spearmint. It can be fried, grilled or grated into savoury pies.here

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To suggest a term please contact us here

To suggest a term please contact us here

Lemon or orange zest: The peel grated with a fine grater. Used as a fragrance in desserts (cakes) or in foods.

Marinating:Allowing foods (meats, poultry, fish or vegetables) to soak in a liquid that makes them tender and flavourful. A typical marinade for meat or poultry is made from vinegar, wine or lemon juice, oil and herbs.

Mediterranean Hartwort:Small plants with serrated leaves and an intense fragrance (in some areas they are called shepherd’s needle). It is essential in making Greek pies and particularly popular in the Peloponnese, Crete, the Ionian Islands and Santorini.

Mélange: In French, it means “mixture”, and comes from the verb “melanger” which means “mix”.

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Pecorino: A hard Italian cheese used in the same way as parmesan. It has a sharp, penetrating and salty taste.

Purslane: A refreshing succulent leaf vegetable that can be added raw to summer salads with garlic and yoghurt. It may be stored in vinegar or white wine and in salt. In Izmir and the Turkish coastal areas, it is also added to chicken casseroles.

Quiche:ΙA type of open pie (tart) with a crispy pastry base and filling of vegetables, cheese, bacon and a light béchamel sauce or cream and eggs. The best known variety is the quiche Lorraine with ham or bacon and cheese.

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Saffron: The golden red anthers of the saffron crocus. It is an exquisite and every expensive spice that adds colour and flavour to risotto, paella and bouillabaisse.

Shelled walnut:The fruit of the walnut after removing the hard shell.

Sorrels: Greens with a tart flavour collected in fields in spring and winter. They add flavour to pies and risottos.

Stinging nettles: Stinging nettles have a fine aroma and sweet flavour and are used mainly in Crete as a pie filling, but also in soups and risotto. The only drawback is the histamine in their leaves which can cause allergic skin reactions.

Sun-dried tomatoes: Tomatoes that have been dried in the sun and dehydrated. They are usually stored in olive oil and make a wonderful addition to salads along with fresh white cheeses, or used in pasta dishes.

Tease:This term is used to describe the action of “teasing” out kataifi phyllo so that it becomes fluffier and fuller.

Tomato concassé: Peeled, chopped tomatoes in a tin, ready to use and available from a variety of tomato product companies.

Tyrovolia: A sour cheese from Mykonos. Kopanisti cheese is made from this, either sour or salty or sweet.

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Valerian: Tender round green leaves with a mild flavour that can be used to enhance a mixed salad.

Vrouves (sinapis): Vrouves” in Greece refers to all the wild greens eaten as vegetables. In fact, there are five types of plants which all belong to this category of sinapis (white and black mustard, hill mustard, hedge mustard, Greek mustard).

Wild mushrooms: Forest mushrooms which are not cultivated. The better-known ones are ceps, morels, chanterelles, porcini, blewits and trumpets

To suggest a term please contact us here

To suggest a term please contact us here

To suggest a term please contact us here