Everything you ever wanted to know about cooking, but were afraid to ask; 'C'... Cabbage to Customer service
Cabbage; Our friend Cabbage is probably the oldest known cultivated vegetable in the world as we know it.
It was one of the first vegetables to be preserved, allowing it to partially decompose.
Sauerkraut, they must have been hungry away back then!
The cabbage smell? Don't overcook it! Cover your Cab with water & salt, 4 minutes max.
Any longer than that it will start to stink out your kitchen.
Red cabs are nice for a change, especially Cole slaws, also nice pickled.
The Red ones especially have antioxidants aplenty and a high concentration of cancer fighting anthocyanins.
Cabbage is not a particularly glamorous vegetable, I like them, but I wouldn't be seen out with a cabbage.
Brussels sprouts are like my all time favourite, I chew through a stack of these in season...
They're worth growing, but they take up a lot of room, keep them away from red things, they no like. Strawberries, tomatoes etc.
Throw some orange nasturtium around your cabbage plants; it'll keep the bugs off!
If you cut the head they will grow little baby cabbages which are quite fun.
Careful cutting anything as large as a cabbage. Cut them in half, again, lay them on the flat side, slice...
Remember the first rule of knife safety, stop before you get to your fingers…
Caesars salad; Yes it’s Caesar’s Salad, not Caesar salad!
This salad is attributed to a Chef in Mexico in the 1920's, worked at a hotel called…. You got it, Caesars!
It was kind of an 'around the kitchen scratching for ingredients' salad.
It has nothing to do with any of the Caesars of old.
As with a lot of popular dishes it has been bastardised by every single Chef in every single kitchen. Everyone has their favourite, but it's generally accepted as containing;
Cos lettuce, these should be served whole. Bacon bits (a recent innovation), croutons & parmesan cheese. It may have a boiled or coddled egg atop & with or without anchovy fillets.
The dressing is a mayonnaise blended with parmesan & again Anchovies.
The original concept with the whole leaves is still seen occasionally, the idea being to use the lettuce leaf as a scoop, eating straight from it.
And to those who think of this salad as a healthy choice, with Bacon, cheese, mayo dressing, croutons cooked in butter, think again, Seizure salad, not a typo!
Cajun; This was one of the new kids on the block.
Another hybrid cuisine, the world's getting smaller!
Cajun is what you end up with when you send French people to the swamps of the New World.
If you buy any Cajun spice of the type that's readily available, it's going to have chilli flakes in it.
True Cajun is not historically highly spiced. It is misrepresented in the name of conformity & convenience.
Look for Gumbo, a soup thickened with okra & Jambalaya, kind of an around the kitchen stew, may include anything at all plus Rice.
Crawfish & boil ups are synonymous with Cajun also.
Creole is more of an upmarket city slicker experience.
Let them eat...
Cake; A Cake as we best know it is usually a sweet dish, baked similarly to bread.
There are millions of variations but they have a broad classification;
Yeast cakes, where yeast is employed as a leavening agent, these are pretty much breads really.
Butter cakes, these rely on the butter mixed into the cake to create steam & provide lift.
Leavening is the word we use, Lift is for bras.
Sponge cakes are pretty simple, but then again not.
A sponge is formed by trapped air bubbles from the whipped egg whites.
My Grandma could whip them up in seconds, yet they bring tears to many a professional cook.
There are vast encyclopaedia’s devoted to making cakes, every possible scenario is covered.
Personally, I'll make a cake at home, but then again, I'm more likely to use a packet mix, idiot proof!
Professionally I'm more likely to order a cake from a bakery, let them sort it out, it's what they do.
We are guaranteed a superior product & time is a valuable resource.
Cheesecakes are another variety of cake, with a biscuit or pastry base. Sometimes a cheesecake is baked, other times just set.
Soft cheeses such as cream cheese, ricotta, mascarpone etc are used.
Potato cakes are just potato formed in the shape of a cake, although you can make cakes from potato!
When Marie Antoinette famously proclaimed, when the peasants had no bread; “let them eat cake”, she meant brioche, a sweetened enriched bread, known as cake, of which they had plenty to share.
They guillotined her anyway...
Calamari; what's the difference between Calamari & Squid? The name! Calamari defines squid as a dish from say, bait.
Hands up who's never met the ubiquitous salt & pepper calamari?
It's actually really simple to prepare & cooks in a minute.
Presumably you have prepared squid tubes;
Slice one side open so the hood is one flat sheet, lightly score the inside at 7mm (exactly) intervals in a criss cross pattern.
Or slice them just into rings?
Either way, it's all good... Prepare a mix of Flour & cornflour 50/50; add some salt, preferably sea salt flakes, pepper & whatever else you fancy. Lemon pepper, Szechuan pepper, Cajun spice. Some ground fennel seed is quite attractive.
Dust the calamari in your mix & use a sieve to rid yourself of the excess flour.
Deep fry for 2 minutes, no more no less.
Same recipe applies to the tentacles, baby squid.
Also available IQF is pineapple cut calamari & flower cut calamari.
I have another recipe, but it's a bit more advanced.
Get a large frypan hot, mix the Calamari in the spices with some nice olive oil, Not the flour, literally throw that in a pan, sauté' it for a minute or two, make sure it stays hot, it should cook around flash point, so be careful!
Make fire your friend!
Calzone; These are a folded pizza, much the same, but different from Mexican Quesadilla & welsh pasties.
Basically make your pizza as you would. Then fold it over & bake it ‘til it’s cooked.
Originally all these folded over type contraptions originate from a workman’s lunch, something easily prepared & eaten on the run, much the same as our sandwich.
With all cheesy things, Pizza etc. It’s important to let them stand for a few minutes before you tuck into a steaming hot mouthful obviously, but also to let the cheese set slightly, it makes it much easier to slice & present.
Canapé; Don’t worry if you can’t find a recipe for a canapé.
A Canapé is a tasty little titbit, a morsel. Therefore it can be anything you like.
Again; what it sounds like, is what it is, canapé’ = Canopy.
It becomes something that is covered, like cheese on toast, technically it’s a canapé.
Candy, Candy, candy...
Candy; We're talking about the confection not the girl.
Candy may be a lolly, a sweet or a confectionary; it’s all candy if you are an American.
But the candy we are familiar with in the kitchen is the process named candy.
Candying put simply is cooking a food item in sugar syrup until it absorbs so much sugar it takes on similar properties to the sugar itself. Certain leaves such as Angelica being popular, more as a garnish than a condiment.
These tubes of pasta can be filled with the aid of a piping bag.
Fill them with your basic bolognaise & smother them in Mornay. A bit of a change from lasagne!
I guess you could make them out of pasta dough, pass them through a roller, cut out squares, form them into tubes... but why would you?
Canteloupe/ rock melon
Cantaloupe; It’s American for Rock Melon. They had to change the name because people were reluctant to buy a melon synonymous with rock. Some folk believed it was the devils fruit, somehow akin to Rock Music. Other folk thought it was maybe a rock painted like a melon; either way there was consumer resistance & they had to change the name.
Capers; a frolic or a gambol, an adventure?
No the other Capers, the little ones that come in a jar!
Capers are the flower bud off the caper tree, we buy them pickled or brined, in jars.
They are a primary ingredient in tartare sauce.
Don't use too many of them, but they make a nice garnish, top a salmon mousse with capers.
Grill a fillet of fish & serve capers beurre noisette over it! To interpret;
Once the fish is cooked, in the pan, add a knob of butter, heat the butter, add a dash of lemon juice with a few capers, a bit of chopped parsley if you like & serve it over the fish.
Caper berries are the fruit of the caper tree, a shrub really.
They are the same plant, just bigger, quite a novelty as a garnish I've found.
Capers are sold by grade, each size having its own name, so don't let that confuse you, they're all the same, buy the big ones, and buy the little ones...
Any of these little pickled condiments are nice served with fatty foods, adding a nice bite.
Capsicum; Peppers, Bell Peppers, Capsicum, Chilli, Pimento, Paprika... These are all variants of the same plant; they're given different names depending on where they are found; all over the world, but originating from the Americas.
Green peppers are the unripe version of a yellow, orange or red pepper.
As a general rule with peppers, the smaller they are, the hotter they feel.
There is a heat scale from zero hotness such as green & red peppers to a mid rating, for some small chillies such as jalapenos.
The 10 is saved for small bird’s eye chillies & cayenne chillies.
The term 'burning ring of fire' is attributed to the fact that chilli, if it is not digested properly can irritate the anus also!
It is the membrane on the inside of the pepper, capsicum, or chilli that contains the heat & also the flavour.
Please be careful when processing chilli, I make a point of wearing rubber gloves.
It's very easy for the essential oils, to come in contact with sensitive membranes, such as the eyes. All it takes is one touch & you will have a burning sensation which is not pleasant.
I have a story to share, of an unfortunate individual, felt the need to use the toilet after HE had been cutting chillies... A hand basin & a tap were involved, immediately after; I'll leave the details to your imagination...
Capsaicin, the same stuff used in pepper sprays is the active ingredient.
Peppers & chillies are not related to pepper or peppercorns.
To peel a pepper, place it under a hot grill, salamander, on a hot grill, char etc, or over an open flame until the skin is scorched & blistered. Then place the pepper in a bowl & wrap in cellophane, or in a container with a sealed lid.
The idea is to let them sweat out, when they are cool; the skin will simply rub off.
Caramel; Caramel is sugar boiled down until it turns brown.
This subtly alters the flavour & can become a base for a range of ingredients.
Sugar has to be heated to about 350 degrees C, which is very hot & very sticky so be very careful.
For making soft caramels, milk caramels & the like, boil an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for 2 hours.
Cool before opening!
Caramelisation doesn’t have to be Caramel, sure, most fruit, veg and meat contains sugar, which caramelises, or browns; but to split hairs, Caramelisation is usually to brown, which, as we all know, is the Malliard effect, actually changes the amino acids in the protein, that’s why we like food which has been browned, or caramelised… It tastes better.
Carbohydrate; Carbo’s are one of the major sources of energy in the human diet.
Carb’s form, in an ideal world, 60% of our diet.
Carbohydrates are usually associated with starches; Starches usually deriving from grains.
What is truer is that our bodies process starches & convert them to sugars which the body can then utilise.
Carb’s are also available naturally as sugars in the form of fruit & milk, fructose & lactose.
We as a race have become pretty smart & developed simple sugars refined from their parent plants.
These refined sugars are pure carbohydrate & should only form 10% of our diet.
Interestingly the human body does not need carb’s as part of the diet; we are structurally engineered to survive on fat & protein alone; Carb’s have come to form a part of our diet through convenience.
Grains pack a punch, they are the storehouse for the next generations plant, and by nature store a lot of energy, which we harvest, refine, and think nothing about eating…
We all remember the ‘Atkins’ diet, and more recently the paleo diet, well thay have a point, once the average joker used to survive on bread and water, carbs are a super food, if you notice your toes disappearing beneath your waist, cut down on carbs…
Personally I love Porrige, Rolled Oats, but that’s my carb meal for the day! Really I can just have meat and leafy veg for dinner…
Carbonara; This is another of those bastard recipes.
Traditional Carbonara never had mushrooms, or cream.
It was pork, with oil or butter, cheese & an egg yolk to bind it, tossed through hot pasta.
Try insisting on serving the traditional recipe; see how far that gets you?
Today if you asked for a carbo' I would cook down some bacon pieces, probably a little onion.
Deglaze with a dash of white wine, add sliced mushrooms & lid.
Allow to sweat the ‘shrooms then add some cream & cook down until it is almost completely reduced.
Check seasoning, blanch your pasta & have that ready.
Add the pasta to the sauce, and just before you serve it add a cup of cream mixed with parmesan & a couple of egg yolks. If it's a little sloppy give it a few tosses in the pan.
But careful, thems eggs you're dealing with & you want to thicken the sauce, not scramble the eggs. This is known as a liaison.
A Dangerous liaison if those eggs were salmonella eggs.
Carrots; have you ever wondered as to how Orange got called an orange & carrot a carrot, when they are both the same colour?
I have dwelt upon this subject in depth.
I thought Orange got the nicer more rounded name as it was probably discovered first?
Being more head height, rather than underfoot.
Carrot is a more guttural word, to hear it is to imagine it as an insult.
Perhaps carrots were a weed in the Garden of Eden?
Were fruits & vegetables named for their colour?
A Lime is green, so why cannot a lemon be a yellow?
To the truth, a carrot was not always orange; indeed the beautiful citrus of this name was first.
Once upon a time carrots were white, like a parsnip and could also have purple variants.
It wasn't until the sixteenth century some enterprising individual, from the largest man made structure on earth, Holland, specifically bred Orange carrots.
Also the pigment in carrots is called carotene, a pigment that will build up in the body of animals which consume large quantities of carrots.
Eating carrots will not help you see in the dark.
This story emerged in WW11; it was a myth like Popeye & spinach.
The British had developed radar which enabled its pilots to see in the dark, and they wanted more Britons to grow healthy cheap food such as carrots.
So they started a propaganda campaign suggesting an improvement in one's eyesight could be afforded by copious ingestion of carrots.
It also fooled the Germans, who were a pretty gullible lot.
Carrots however are still indispensible, in a kitchen or in a garden.
In the kitchen carrots go in almost every cooked dish as a base, scraps are thrown into the stock pots, there's not a day goes by without a carrot.
If you have a garden, sow rows of carrots, thin them & call your thinnings 'baby carrots'.
Grow rows of onions, or leeks beside them, they like each other & can stick together all the way to the pot.
Cookies that look like a cat’s tongue. Not an actual cat!
Cauliflower; Not much left to add really, 2nd cousin to a broccoli & cabbages uncle.
Cook your cauli for a little bit longer than you would broccoli or similar.
An interesting point; when you are cooking more than one vegetable, blanching in hot water, cook the cauli last.
Apparently it can bleach the colour out of any green veg cooked in the same water!
Caviar; Fish eggs from the sturgeon fish from Baltic waters.
These fish are hand caught & 'squeezed' for their roe.
Of course that is going to push up the price of them!
Some cheaper substitutes are lump fish caviar, or salmon caviar, just eggs from another fish.
There are a few instances where caviar or roe is called for, as a condiment, flavouring a dish. If you bought a jar it would probably last 100 years!
It's a big thing in the European part of the world, not so much down under.
Celery; Is a salad vegetable. As a classification, it’s a stalk…
I've always prepared it by running a peeler down the back of it to remove the strings.
It is one of the Holy trinity of traditional cooking.
Most recipes calling for a mirepoix of onion, carrot & celery.
I like to save the smaller stalks & the yellow leaves as a garnish; it saddens me to see them go in the scrap bucket.
Celeriac is the other Celery, the one they don't talk about, grown for its tuber, or taproot to be true.
Celeriac can be used like a turnip or a Swede.
Celery is pretty easy to grow, plant it with your cabbage as the white cab' butterfly don't like celery.
Don't grow too much; it all ripens at the same time!
Marinated fish. Technically it's not really cooked as no heat is applied.
The chemical action of the citric acid causes the flesh to become denatured, a structural change, which in effect renders the fish cooked.
How long it takes to marinate depends entirely on how thick the cut of fish is.
If you can cut fillets of fish paper thin they will be ready instantly, they merely need 'dunked' as for sashimi.
Cubes of fish may have to be left overnight.
Citrus is the usual medium, limes & or lemons, but Coconut works too!
Try grapefruit for a change?
There's not much involved in making Ceviche; cut some fish, add some lemon juice & maybe a bit of scenery, coriander etc, a quick grind of peppercorns & that's it.
Try pink peppercorns with Ceviche.
Champignons; a French name for Mushrooms, don’t go thinking you’re away home with something special; they call them that to fool you into thinking that.
We's aint French, they's mushrooms to us, or up & coming abbreviation, 'shrooms. I believe this applies more to the more narcotic varieties, of which I don't know anything about, nothing at all.
Chateaubriand; This is a term heading toward obscurity.
Chateaubriand is the head of the fillet, the thick end of it.
It also refers to the dish created from it, where the chateaubriand is roasted whole.
You’re unlikely to see this term again, unless you’re on the road from obscurity to extinction.
Cheeking; You’re not going to believe this!
It’s definitely not what you are thinking....
Cheeking is the practice of cutting the cheeks off vegetables & fruit.
For example mangoes, or capsicums.
Cheeking involves slicing the majority of the flesh from the core or stone.
At times the economy of time is more urgent than the economy of the cut.
Sometimes it’s just not worth it.
I have actually worked in a slaughterhouse, taking the cheeks off beefs.
Can’t recall ever calling it cheeking, there were men in there, with knives!
So it is flora only!
Cheese; Smile! Say Cheese!
Cheese is curdled milk that has been drained & the solids set & usually, but not always aged.
Bacterial cultures are added to the milk to curdle it.
These are traditionally derived from Rennet, an enzyme found only in the stomach of infant ruminants, extracted post mortem...
Nowadays a bacterium is specifically cultured in a laboratory.
It is the starter, as it is known, plus the type of milk, plus the aging process that gives cheese its characteristics.
Cheeses are divided into categories, as; Soft, semi soft, Hard, semi hard.
Soft cheeses being like ricotta or cottage cheese, semi soft, the camemberts & bries. Semi hard is Cheddars & hard is the likes of parmesan & the like.
There is a limited range of animals from which cheese can be produced, most domesticated herbivores.
Goats, sheep, obviously cows, buffalo.
Bull’s cheese is still on the dangerous occupations list...
There is a range of vegetarian cheeeses available that do not contain Rennet, really a simple cheese, such as Ricotta can be made by simply acidulating milk…
I worked at a dairy processing facility, they develop their own bacteria, known as a starter…
Chef/ Cook; what’s the difference? Well, a Chef can cook, but a cook can’t Chef.
Chef; Firstly is a male only term, like drake or a duck, there is no female equivalent. Don’t get upset, I never wrote the language!
Chef is closely approximated to the word Chef; and there you will find a better explanation of the term.
A Chef is chief of the kitchen. I have worked with the title of Kitchen Manager in the past, which is perhaps a more modern description.
A Chef is a designation given once you are qualified, i.e. Trade Certified, until then, you are an apprentice, a Cook, or a Kitchen Hand.
As a Chef you may be a Commis Chef, a Chef de partie. That is a Chef in charge of a section, more often seen in larger brigades.
Sous Chef is the stand in for the Head Chef, or Simply Chef.
The Sous Chef runs the kitchen hands on in the absence of the Chef. Or in the case where there is an executive Chef, there may be a Head Chef, or more than one Sous Chefs.
The Executive Chef would therefore be confined to an office role, Kitchen Manager.
My Mum could cook; she would bake & do preserves, all the things that Cooks do.
But where it differs is the use of the term ‘professional cookery’ doing it for a living!
Mum would come up with some great recipes & she did a fair bit of entertaining, even some catering; But to put her in a Commercial a La carte’ Kitchen would be completely foreign to her.
A cook can cook a meal, but can they repeat that over & over again, juggling that with the fact it’s not just one meal, but several, all at the same time...
It gets a bit repetitive really, without all the perceived glamour, not like on TV where they have all the time in the world to make that one perfect dish.
It's a tough job too, not many go the distance, think working weekends, late nights, holidays. Then there's winter, Chef's a summer job, unless you young and mobile and can travel for work, do a resort for winter, somewhere else for summer; but long term stable careers, Chef's not that!
All Chefs’ share a common language; they know instinctively how long something takes to cook & to coordinate that with the other items on the menu which may be prepared by other sections.
Think of a conductor for an orchestra & you have it almost right!
A Chef’s job may also involve a high degree of literacy & numeracy.
It makes me smile when I see spelling mistakes on menus; most common Parmiagana & Aioli!
A Chef will have to write his, or her, own menu. This may not always be the case, the exceptions being franchises where all the menus are the same.
Then the menu is written, using local ingredients in season, when supply is most plentiful.
Suppliers must be sourced & assessed for price & service.
A Menu must reflect the establishment & the clientele, is it easy & greasy? Pub Grub? Cafe? Fine Dining?
The menu must be costed, every ingredient accounted for in the food costing and expressed as a percentage of the selling price.
Staff must be trained, including Junior Chefs & service staff; they must be able to know each dish intimately so they can describe it to customers.
Preparation & presentation must be designated by the Chef, He, or She is responsible for ensuring standards are kept & sufficient Mise en place or prep has been done for service.
This is the Chef’s Job!
A cook can have a valuable place in a commercial kitchen, but they would be more likely referred to as A Kitchen Hand.
A cook would be unlikely to be found on the front line service team.
It is not uncommon for a Cook to be found running an establishment of a smaller volume, or a simpler style of cooking
Chemical warfare; What they are doing to our food, the stuff we eat, what we put in our mouths. You have a choice, Poisoned fruit and vegetables, which kills bugs, weeds, and potentially you? GM foods which can be sprayed with toxins to kill every living thing on them, and maybe you too, or Organic foods which don’t have anything toxic sprayed on or around them, I know which I’d prefer!
Problem is Organic is not mass marketed, that head of Broccoli from the Supermarket comes from intensive farming, organics is still a niche market in it’s infancy and unlikely to gain A mainstream foothold while we can still buy cheap chemically saturated foods.
Cherry: These are little fruits which grow on trees.
They have a short growing season & usually ripen early summer, fortunately coinciding with the southern hemisphere Christmas.
In my unbiased opinion the New Zealand Otago cherries are the finest in the world and were always eagerly anticipated for Christmas.
Cherry has a second meaning, something young, sweet, even virginal.
Toe Knee Chest Nut
Chestnuts; What have you got when you have nuts on your chest? Chestnuts!
What have you got if you have nuts upon the wall? Walnuts right!
What have you got when you have nuts on your chin? Think about it!
Okay chestnuts are technically a fruit, chest fruit?
They are not related to water chestnuts, these aren't nuts at all, they're a tuber.
Try roasting them over a fire; that seems to be the favourite tradition.
Or the traditional favourite if you prefer?
Score the end of them first, or they will jump right back at you again!
Peeling them is a bit of a trick, Score them & blanch as you would a Tomato, the skin will peel back.
Chicken; Have you ever wondered why we have a bird on the middle of our table?
We criticise some cultures for eating things we are abhorred by, pets, and parts of animals that should not be eaten.
There's a lot to be said about the chicken, then again, not a lot.
Chickens are a staple part of our diet nowadays.
When I was growing up Chicken was a bit of a rarity, if you wanted Chicken, you had to take an axe & go down to the back yard, where the Chickens lived, not for much longer.
There are ways of cutting a chicken, raw or cooked.
Chickens do not enjoy the same stringent post mortem inspection that 4 legged species enjoy.
They are presumed to be carriers of Salmonella & should be handled accordingly.
Commercially we would use a yellow coloured cutting board & would be prepared with all necessary equipment before touching a dead chicken.
I would be prepared to thoroughly sanitise my hands, my work station, all utensils & my board.
Thus prepared I would proceed to joint or bone the chicken.
Thorough cooking is essential, but it does not need to be overcooked.
1 hour per kg is plenty for any whole chicken.
If you have a thermometer 72C is fine, 75 is safe, deep muscle temperature… Thigh will be a little pink on the bone, but 75’s safe, unless you are Salmonella, then it’s bad news!
How to bone a chicken is really a subject for a demonstration, it's not an easy task unless you are skilled with a knife.
To joint a cooked chicken;
Insert a sharp knife into the inner thigh, between the leg & the body; work your way down to the joint, at the same time 'break' the whole leg down & away from you, exposing the joint.
Small point, look on the backbone where the legs have been removed, there will be 2 small 'scallops' of meat, known as the oysters.
These are the finest pieces of meat from the chicken & should be consumed without delay.
The leg may be trimmed of the knuckle end of the drumstick, by striking it with the sharp edge of a large knife.
If you hit your fingers you have gone too far!
Don't blame me I warned you!
Cut through the thigh joint of the leg, you will have a thigh & a drumstick.
Use a knife to separate the breast from the bone, it will pull away, but you may need to assist it slightly.
Cut the wing off at the joint closest to the breast.
I take it off before cooking, & use it as a trivet, that is, cook the chook on its own bones.
Cut the breast in to 2 even parts.
You will have 8 pieces of chicken & the traditional way to serve this is 1 piece of breast, 1 piece of thigh or drumstick.
Be careful storing chicken, if it's frozen, take it out a day before you need it, keep it in the fridge. What I do is take it straight from the freezer & microwave it for 10 minutes; this heats the bones up & ensures it cooks through. To test a Chook for done ness, use a meat thermometer, they will say 82 degrees for a chicken, sterilisation temperature!
For an easier way, insert a skewer inside the leg & its cooked when the juices run clear, no blood.
For Chicken breasts; if you want to stuff a breast, for wet ingredients, spinach & ricotta for example.
Make a hole with a sharp knife in the thick end of the breast.
Lay the breast flat & hold it firm with your hand. Carefully push a sharp knife through the thick end of the breast, slicing deep inside the breast.
Try & keep the entry wound as small as possible & try not to cut through the outer surface.
You can then fill this cavity with your farce.
I'm happy the trend for skinless Chicken is passing.
A Chicken breast does not have much fat in the actual muscle, like beef or lamb.
I found a skinless breast would dry out very fast.
It's possible for diners, if they so wish to easily remove the skin at the table.
Kinda liking the new trend for crispy Chicken skin, as a garnish. Spread the skin out on a greased baking tray, preferably with parchment, lay a similar sized tray on top and bake. (The skin, not you). Comes out like a wafer!
Thigh meat can be troublesome to present due to the darkness of the meat.
Once I made a wet chicken dish for a buffet.
Naturally it was well cooked, but we had a complaint from a diner that the chicken was raw.
I had to remove the entire chafer from the buffet.
I replaced it with the exact same dish I had still in the oven for back up.
The meat was perfectly cooked, but being thigh it had a dark pink colour similar to uncooked chicken breast.
If you are making any sort of fried dish with chicken it pays to precook, or blanch it.
Here's one of my favourite recipes. I make this at home & have made it in restaurants.
Okay, use any cut of chicken, bone in portions are fine & keep the dish cheap. You can use boned thigh, in which case skewer them into their basic round shape before you boil them, then you can stuff them before crumbing them.
So cook the chicken, save the stock for a risotto or something, just boil it in salted water.
Don't overcook it.
When it's cool, get 3 trays & a bowl. We want plain flour in tray 1. Egg wash in the bowl. And in the third one we're going to mix Breadcrumbs with mixed herbs, or whatever seasoning mix you have, Italian herbs etc.
Cajun mixes work for me.
Simply crumb the chicken in the mix & set on the 3rd tray. If the coating looks a bit thin, double crumb it.
Refrigerate to set the crumb, then deep fry until it is nicely coloured. Serve it in baskets for a casual setting.
I make a mango style mayonnaise, great as a dipping sauce.
Girls wees? Garbanzo beans if you prefer? I didn't make the name.
Chick peas are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world, known in many different cuisines, less so in our western diet.
We meet chick peas when we are making coeliac dishes & want substitute flour, in vegetarian dishes & in my all time favourite dip, hummous, spell that how you like...
For convenience we use them straight from a can, but you can soak them overnight & cut down cooking time considerably.
It’s a considerable inconvenience if you don’t soak them, they take a long long time to cook, and will probably burn dry first…
Chili, Chilli, Chilli peppers, all Capsicums.
Lots and lots of shapes, sizes & colours, infinite uses. I could write a book on Chillies.
Simple rule, the smaller the Chili. the more Capsicain it contains.
Capsicain is the hot stuff, it's found mostly in the seeds and inner membranes, so for a milder flavour, split them and scrape the seeds out.
Chilies are rated according to the Scolville scale. A bell pepper, or Capsicum score about, a zero.
The hotter the Chilli, the higher rating it has, some into the millions.
Chili is something you get used too, I can eat a pretty hot chili dish, but others, wow that's crazy stuff!
Few precautions when handling Chillies, wear a disposable glove, rinse your hands under cold water, or squeeze lemon juice on your fingers. Before you go to the toilet; say no more...
Yoghurt, cucumber, sour cream, milk all help when you O/D on Chilli...
Chips, aka French fries
Chips; whoever invented these little coffin nails was a genius, or a psychopathic genocidal maniac with delusions of grandeur. (The latterly only if chips were named after him)
Chips have become a staple part of the western diet; batons of potato, deep fried in animal fats, then salt is added; Russian roulette!
It’s a perfect combination, both salt & fat are excellent carriers of flavour, and the starchy potato soaks it all up!
Being a Kiwi, and in excellent health, I prefer a couple of eggs with my chips!
But seriously folks; a few things to remember if you want perfect chips;
Firstly, use the right potato, red potatoes are usually starchy or flourier, than the white potatoes.
Use late season fully mature potatoes, these have the highest starch content.
Cut your chips anyway you like, wedges to shoestrings, but;
Make sure you rinse them in cold water; it washes the starch off them & stops them sticking together.
Make double double sure you dry them; rub them in a tea towel, make sure they are dry; very important, oil & water do not get on together at all.
Hopefully you will be using a thermostatically controlled deep fryer, not just a pot of oil...
Do not overfill the fryer, a quarter to a third full is sufficient.
When you are ready to cook your now dry chips; use a basket, don’t drop chips into hot oil, unless you fancy a skin graft!
Make sure the fryer is set to the right temperature, 160 to 170 for the first cook.
Lower the basket into the oil, briefly, then you can estimate how the oil & the fat are going to react.
If you’ve too much oil in the fryer or if your chips are wet; it’s going to foam up & overflow.
So cook the chips a couple of minutes, then lift them out again.
Now turn the fryer up to 180.
Wait for your fryer to come back up to temperature, it will have dropped to about 130-140.
Drop the chips again; they will be par cooked & will brown up nicely & be ready in a few minutes.
A lot of work just for chips, but it’s all about recovery times in the fryer.
Have a look next time you’re in a busy bistro, at peak times the Chefs will probably blanch the chips; less cooking time at service.
Chocolate; Chocolate is a recent addition to the western diet. 3 or 400 years ago it was unheard of.
Not so for the ancient Mayans, they knew of it, but they made a drink from it, the birthplace of hot chocolate.
It’s unknown whether they had a marshmallow float in it?
The Mayans used chocolate beans as a means of currency; it had all the values of money.
A turkey was worth 100 beans & an Avocado a mere 3 beans.
Eventually it was the Spanish that bought Chocolate to the new world.
At first it was only seen in royal courts, but soon with mechanical processing it became more widely available.
Chocolate has 2 major constituents. Cocoa solids & cocoa butter.
These are blended together to form various grades of Chocolate. Separating the cocoa solids gives us Cocoa powder, for baking etc and cocoa butter, for food as well as cosmetics etc.
There are 2 main types of chocolate, milk chocolate, which has added milk & sugar, perhaps emulsifiers to give the melt in the mouth.
And dark chocolate, which is stronger & bitterer & more suitable for further processing, that is cooking chocolate.
White Chocolate is a trick, it's not really chocolate, and by definition Chocolate must contain a certain percentage of cocoa solids & cocoa butter to qualify as Chocolate.
(15% US 35% euro)
The Americans tried to get this changed so they could put extenders into their Hershey & mars bars...
White chocolate does not meet this criteria, it is merely milk flavoured fat with cocoa butter.
Chocolate is a drug, it has a mood altering effect.
Reputedly an aphrodisiac also, one study suggested a piece of Chocolate melting in the mouth was akin to a long passionate kiss.
Theo bromine the drug aforementioned stimulates the production of serotonin, little chocolate Prozac’s!
Chocolate or Theo bromine stimulates the cannabanoid receptors in the brain, resulting in heightened sensitivity & mild euphoria.
Thank you oh creator for providing us with the receptors to feel these sensations of euphoria.
Naturally the health benefits associated with Chocolate consumption must be weighed against the potential risk for obesity.
That means, enjoy a little chocolate, dark chocolate is best, but don't pig out on it.
Dark Chocolate is true Chocolate, Milk chocolate is just a sweet treat, doesn’t contain anything like as much Theobromine.
White Chocolate isn’t even Chocolate, has no Cocoa in it, a good brand will be made with cocoa butter, but your average bar of white Chocolate? Vegetable fat & milk solids!
Don't let your dog eat chocolate, it's true, they don't have the tolerance to Theo bromine & it will drive your dog mad & kill it!
Dogs don't know this & will happily consume any chocolate which comes their way.
Chocolate has become the world’s No1 gift. More chocolate is given in makeup rituals, valentines etc.
Easter has been turned into a Chocolate fest. Chocolate eggs once predominated, now we accept Easter bunnies as part of the ceremony.
Now some enterprising individual has begun to market Jesus on the crucifix chocolate.
A bit of a temptation for agnostics, like kids eating jelly babies, "Eat the feet first", “no eat the head first"!
But you gotta wonder what it's got to do with Jesus anyway, that stories a couple thousand years old now, what's he done for us lately?
Pretty hard to find any goodness in this world, I think, maybe, He’s sitting back waiting for the right moment, He’s told us once, if we didn’t listen, can’t blame Him!
Really it never was, Easter’s a pagan festival incorporated into the church as a marketing exercise
A couple of tricks for melting chocolate, a hardened fat may be melted with the chocolate for coating fruit etc with chocolate.
Heat it in a bowl over hot water. Don’t boil the water or allow water or steam in contact with the chocolate, it will lose its temper!
And you won’t like me (chocolate) when I'm angry.
What? You don't like me anyway?
Cholesterol gets bad press, somehow it's evil, a new genocide.
I'd like to say it ain't so. Cholesterol is a steroid produced by animals, vegetables are cholesterol free!
Cholesterol is essential to our body functions, we make it ourselves, it builds cell walls, we can't elminate Cholesterol without eliminating ourselves.
Bad Cholesterol? Without going into scientific detail, and I don't rate science really, too much cholesterol from eating too much animal fats is supposedly bad for you.
But, there's different types of Cholesterols, some are essential nutrients and we should not encourage people to avoid life enhancing substances...
I do see the funny side of products claiming to have 'no cholesterol', like vegetable oils, pastry fats, all those things that will send you headlong into an early grave.
Choux Pastry; pronounced 'Shoe' is a hot water pastry, completely different to other pastries.
Choux is made by heating water and butter, stirring in flour (this is a panada not a roux), then cooling and beating in some eggs.
Eclairs & Profiteroles fill me with dread, if you find a good Choux recipe, keep it!
The trick is baking them until they are dry, then leave them in the oven overnight to dry out. Turn the oven off first, or leave them in a warm dry place.
Chowder; Opinions vary depending on where in the world you live; what constitutes Chowder.
It can be Seafood, but it can be corn, potato or any combination you like.
Essentially it’s a soup thickened with flour.
It has whole ingredients; i.e. Not blitzed, whole corn kernels, seafood etc
The origins of chowder may be lost in the mists of time, but it is never the less as popular as ever.
I’ve always had a laugh at the way the French pronounce the word, chow-derr. But technically they are right as the Chaud part of the word is French for Hot, also it is the name given to the pot in which Chowder is traditionally cooked.
Still it’s fun to take the piss out of other people’s accents!
Bad taste joke.
Chunky; Guy walks into a servo, says to the chick behind the counter, “Can I have a KitKat Chunky?”
She brings back a KitKat Chunky.
Guy says “Just a Normal KitKat, Ya fat bitch”
Seriously, Chunky is a descriptive term, Chunky chips etc...
Cider; Cider is a clear alcoholic beverage made from apples.
I emphasise clear; Cloudy cider is known as Scrumpy. Cider concentrates the flavour of the apple, making it ideal as a flavouring agent or base for a sauce, that’s if you don’t drink it all...
Cloves; Cloves are a pungent little spice, don’t use too many of them. They are added to court bullion, for the likes of corned beef. Traditionally, for making béchamel, an onion was studded with a clove & heated in the milk.
Cloves are also found in the medicine cabinet, clove oil being an antiseptic.
If you have a toothache, stick a whole clove in the cavity & bite down on it. Cloves are associated with dentists; they use clove oil as a mild anaesthetic.
Koi fish hobbyists use Cove oil to sedate fish, or euthanize them…
Cochineal; This is a dye, used occasionally in food preparation. It’s an organic dye, rather than chemically derived.
It’s a natural food colour; it comes from bugs, little bugs that live on prickly pear cactus.
An attempt was once made to introduce these to Australia, the bug never made it; the prickly pear cactus is now a notifiable weed plant... best intentions...
Coconut; This has been called the tree of 1000 uses & the tree of life.
If you were stranded on a desert Island with only coconuts you would be okay.
So long as you weren't afraid of heights in which case you'd be fucked.
You could us the fibres for clothing, or to make sails?
The unripe coconut contains about 1 litre of coconut water which is sterile, which makes it invaluable as an intravenous fluid,
It is an isotonic drink, which means it has an equal osmotic balance to human cells & can be rapidly absorbed.
Take a coconut with you to the gym!
The ripe coconut has coconut meat which is particularly nourishing.
If you had a Mrs Robinson Crusoe, she could use coconut halves as a bra!
Coconut shells have been used on stage to replicate the sound of horse’s feet.
They make a handy projectile in case anybody at the gym laughs at you!
Buttons were once produced from coconut shells.
Statistically you have an even chance of being killed by a shark as you have a coconut falling on your head & killing you.
Truly the only plant mankind would ever need. Its culinary uses are legion, coconut meat from the inside of the nut is known as testa and yes coconut is a proper nut.
The testa is dried, desiccated & powdered & sold as such.
Coconut milk or cream is not the coconut liquid. It is a reconstituted extract from the testa.
It is quite high in oil, about 30%. Of which 90% of the 30% is saturated fats, unlike most nuts which renders an unsaturated fat, or oil.
Coconut is accepted nowadays into mainstream cuisine, but only on the outskirts, its uses being mostly confined to Asian influenced dishes, curries & the like.
I've used Coconut as a non Asian dish.
Reduce coconut cream or thicken it slightly, add horseradish.
A very simple & tasty sauce for grilled meats.
Coffee; Yes please, blonde with 2 legs, stock standard.
Coffee is a brewed beverage of ground coffee seeds, or beans as we know them.
Like chocolate, coffee has only recently reached the western world.
Coffee has quite a history; it has been banned, put on trial & proclaimed as a Muslim drink, therefore heretic. Drink it & your soul will be damned for eternity.
Nowadays it comes with a list of ingredients & a simple warning about the effects of over consumption.
Coffee has an effect on the physiological state of a human being.
It is a stimulant & a mood altering substance.
Coffee is a drug, Caffeine being the active ingredient.
Coffee has become a ritual substance for westerners who lack rituals.
Coffee as we know it is prepared by only a few methods.
Each method results from a different preparation of the beans, how finely they are ground & how they are brewed.
Known as the grind, not to be confused with daily life, known as toil.
The grind is fresh coffee; grounds are the wet mess that's left over.
Percolating, where the ground coffee is effectively stewed, over & over again. Thankfully the only place you see percolators now are salvos stores & recycling yards.
Then there is the cona or the drip method.
This involves pouring water into a machine that will heat the water & funnel it through a filter containing ground coffee.
The resultant liquid is stored in a Pyrex jug on a heated element & is then available & accessible for extended periods of time. The quality does diminish over time, but overall this is still a popular means of producing coffee.
Plunger coffee is a recent invention.
I remember a time when they were all the rage.
Coffee grinds are placed in the bottom of a flask & a sieve like press is placed over the coffee.
Add boiling water, allow to brew, and then depress the plunger, separating the grounds from the drinkable coffee.
Instant coffee is brewed coffee that is dried. It differs from other methods as it is not actually the beans you are brewing, but reconstituted brewed coffee.
It loses some of the essential oils, but it's still good.
Espresso is the method of passing pressurised hot, not steamed & not boiling water through ground coffee beans.
Adding steamed milk gives you latte', frothed milk as cappuccino & endless variations.
An espresso machine is a licence to print money, a cup of coffee costs less than 20c.
Coffee grounds are really good for your garden, keep the grounds & dig them into the same spot.
They are quite acidic, but the worms love them.
Combi. No not a Volkswagon, a steam bake combination oven, steam, bake, or steam-bake...
Compote; Again, a French word... if it sounds like compost, then that’s probably what it is.
Compote is anything that is cooked in sugar.
It differs from Jam, Jam having a higher amount of sugar & pectin to help set the jam.
Consommé; A soup which has been clarified by whisking egg whites into the cold mix, then boiling it gently until all the solids form an eggy crust on the top of the soup.
The set egg whites are discarded.
The consommé can then be decanted & it’s served as an absolute clear soup.
Not something you see a lot of nowadays...
Confectionary; Sweeties, lollies, candy; all those sweet treats that rot your teeth.
Actually, it doesn't matter if you clean your teeth, Sugar leeches Calcium, teeth are made of calcium... work it out.
Colour; this is not a race issue, I’m not about to give the speech; “I had a dream, that one day all men would be equal...”
Colour as it refers to food.
Really there’s only one colour we’re interested in, & that’s brown.
I believe I have already discussed the various colour of vegetables, specifically; why carrots are called carrots & oranges are called oranges....
To colour is to brown, if you were asked for a bit more colour on something you were cooking, you would brown it a little longer, not reach for a palette...
Corn; Corn is usually separated into Maize, the traditional corn which comes in a variety of colours.
It is generally processed, but can be eaten as sweet corn.
Maize is used to make Cornflour,
Maize cornflour is labelled as such to avoid confusion with wheaten cornflour, which is not from corn at all.
Cornmeal such as polenta, grits or victuals (‘vittles’) comes from maize.
Sweet corn is sometimes known as Indian corn & originates from America.
Sweet corn can be eaten raw or cooked. The usual method is to drop the peeled cob into boiling water. But it can be Barbequed inside of its husk still. Also microwaving sweet corn while still inside the husk is an innovative method. Just remember to take the husk of it before you eat it.
A popular dish from New Zealand is deep fried corn cobs.
The whole cob being fried & served with your fish & chips, bro.
You can't live on corn, people have tried & died.
You can’t live on beans, people have tried & died, but you can live on beans and corn! It’s a staple Mezo American diet!
Corn is unrelated to korn, although members of the band korn may eat corn.
Maize has no correlation with the word maze, although there have been instances where a Maze has been fashioned from Maize.
Sweet corn is easy to grow, just plant the seed out in mounds with 2 or 3 seeds together.
They need to be close or they will not pollinate.
Grow Sweet corn with beans that may climb the pole, and melon, cucumber, squash, as these will give good ground cover. Corn’s a bit of a nitrogen hog, so alternate with peas.
Another use of the word corn is to corn meat. Corned beef, corned silverside etc.
This has nothing to do with the vegetable corn, or the band.
It is the process of salting known as corning.
The rock salt was known as corn, as was anything small & granular.
Interestingly corned beef was made popular by the Irish immigrating to America, when bacon could not be had; the Irish pinched a trick off the Jews, who weren't fans of bacon.
Corned beef aka Silverside. A tough old muscle which is brined & usually boiled, due to its higher salt content, but it has been known to be roasted accidentally & I can attest as to its palatability!
Corny is an unrelated adjective, meaning sick weak jokes, as a child may enjoy.
Cottage Pie; Doesn’t have any cottages in it, like a Shepherd’s pie doesn’t have any shepherds in it.
It’s pretty much any sort of pie with a mashed potato topping.
Cottage pie is a nicer pseudonym for leftovers, or that might be Shepherd’s pie, the experts cannot agree...
Collagen; is a meat protein, you’ve probably heard the term associated with Women’s skin products.
Collagen can be extracted from meat & used as meat glue. Sandwiching meat together.
Collagen is the protein in Gelatin, extracted involuntarily from animals
Cornichons; A Gherkin by any other name, usually small or ‘baby’ gherkins, a dill pickle!
Courgette; these are a green, or yellow vegetable of the squash family. Second cousin to a cucumber.
The term Courgette is interchangeable with Zucchini, but I think Courgette is an adult zucchini, technically, an adolescent zucchini; as an adult zucchini/courgette grows up to be a Marrow!
Court bullion; Court Bullion is a cooking, or poaching liquid, it is flavoured usually with the traditional Bouquet garni, parsley stalks, bay leaves, peppercorns, clove and an onion slice.
It can be used as a base for a sauce to accompany whatever you are cooking in it, usually chicken or fish.
It differs somewhat from stock, which is an extraction made usually from bones.
Cous cous; Here’s another example of an ingredient given an exotic name. Like Squid & Calamari...
Cous cous is basically semolina, it is a wheat product (I’m not sure, if like semolina it’s just a roughly ground wheat product or if it’s further refined then converted to little ball shapes by a man with not much else to do?)
It’s a very simple dish to prepare & involves very minimal preparation or cooking.
Add boiling water to cous cous, preferably in a large bowl, Add seasoning, whatever condiments you like, butter or more likely Olive oil & leave to soak, covered with cling film.
Later fluff it up with a fork & it’s good to go!
Pearl, or Israeli Cous cous, same thing but larger!
If you see ‘North African’ or ‘Moroccan’ grain, read Cous cous, rebranded.
Crabs; there's about 7000 species of crab & they've been around since dinosaur days.
This is one food that fights back!
Cooked crabs are obviously a lot safer!
Crabs can be used as a dish themselves;
A dressed crab is where the meat is all removed, then dressed in a sauce etc & replaced back in the shell & served whole.
Crab meat can be used for the likes of crab cakes, ravioli etc.
Whole crabs are used to produce bisque.
Soft shell crabs are a bit of a novelty, they can be eaten whole!
When dressing a crab, preparing it for cooking;
Lift the carapace from the rear flap, exposing the inner organs etc.
The feather like gills need to be removed as these may be toxic.
They're known as 'dead man’s fingers'.
Crab apples; these are little apples.
They don’t look or taste like crabs, they don’t have claws!
However they have high pectin content and are therefore useful in making jams & jellies.
Cranberry; These little berries have been used by the native Indians of America medicinally. Nowadays they are better known in jams, as an accompaniment for roast turkey’ and cranberry juice. They have a reported antiseptic effect on the urinary system. They apparently have the ability to make your inner tubes ‘non stick’, removing bacteria which cause urinary infections.
I have heard they will also ‘flush’ the urinary system & are used to this end by people wishing to ‘cheat’ drug tests.
Don’t think you’re going to harvest Cranberries and keep your feet dry either, they grow on water!
Crawfish/Crayfish; What’s the difference? A’Y’.
The Americans just have to be different; our Cray’s are their Craws.
They gotta complicate things even further, calling them ‘Rock Lobsters’
Lobsters as I have known them are a poor second cousin to Cray’s.
Lobsters have got the big claws, but the tail has only a small amount of meat, compared to a Cray!
Fresh water crayfish are the same species as the crayfish, But known variously as ‘yabbies’ or ‘Crawdads’’.
If you harvest any of these creatures yourself from the wild;
Please check their sex before you remove them from their habitat. The females will always have a larger set of swim paddles under their tail.
This is only significant if they are in berry. Aka carrying eggs. Simply check underneath their tails & if they have what looks like red baby crayfish eggs under their tail; put them back, that’s the next generation!
Cream; The original baby food.
For baby Cows that is!
This is one ingredient the kitchen would grind to a halt without; it’s used in almost everything.
Cream is graded by the amount of milk fat it contains.
Whipping cream, which is what you most often associate with cream, contains about 30% fat, much less fat content than this & it doesn’t have the protein content, found in the fat, to hold together the aeration process.
Double cream is not really double anything it’s about 48% milk fat.
Sour Cream is made by adding a bacterial culture to cream, the resultant lactic acid giving it its characteristic flavour.
The cream that Americans love in their coffee is a light cream, about 10 to 20% milk fat.
Creamed; an ingredient can be creamed without adding cream, or involving cream.
Creaming is the act of puréeing a dish, with a mechanical device.
So you can say mashed potatoes are creamed.
One of my favourite foods is Creamed sweet corn, in a can.
I have to use 2 cans, as I will eat the first before it makes it to the table! Straight from the can!
The prefix ‘cream of...’ usually attached to a soup dish, is much the same as creamed. It just means you are ordering a thickened, blended soup, Cream of Tomato etc
Crème Angliase; English custard, I'm not sure why, but this has always been referred to in a snide manner by the French, obviously we're not in on the joke.
The French rightly make fun of English cuisine.
"Roast beef" is seen by many French chefs as England’s contribution to international cuisine.
Angliase however is well used by the French themselves.
Angliase is an egg custard, made cream, milk, eggs & sugar.
It's as tricky to make as a Hollandaise
Angliase is a cooked egg custard;
To make Angliase, scald some milk and cream. Barely bring it to the boil.
It is traditional to use a Vanilla pod to flavour the milk; however vanilla essence is usually a cheaper substitute.
Egg yolks & sugar must be whisked until they are a pale colour & frothy.
Slowly add the scalded milk back to the egg mix, whisking continuously.
Then comes the tricky part, the custard mix has to be returned to the heat & reheated to about 65 degrees C.
At about this temperature the eggs will begin to curdle & if the mix is continually stirred it will thicken, otherwise I hope you like scrambled eggs!
There is only about 5 degrees difference, so as soon as the sauce mix begins to thicken, remove it from the heat!
I often have a sink of cold water handy & I can dunk the bottom of the pot in the water to stop the cooking.
A safer way of making Angliase is by Bain Marie, to cook the custard mix in a bowl over a pot of boiling water.
Either way it will take about 10 minutes of continual stirring to make Angliase.
Uses: Frozen Angliase will become Ice Cream.
Add gelatine to the Angliase & set in moulds for a bavaouis, bake it in the oven in a tray of water for crème caramel or crème Brulee', or use it simply as a sauce.
The recipe will vary for the thickness required, by the amount of eggs used.
Crepes; these are little pancakes, but they are not so simple to prepare:
A crepe should only be 2 or 3 mm thick & lightly browned.
Not as easy as a pancake after all. There are a few tricks; first you need a flat bottomed crepe pan.
If I‘m making a stack of crepe’s I’ll have 3 pans on the go!
Who’s got time to stand there & watch 1 pan cooking?
Make the mix, egg, flour, milk; well in advance; so it has time to relax.
It’s very stressful for a batter being poured into a hot pan.
It’s all about the protein in the flour, the gluten unwinding after being stirred so vigorously.
Heat your pan until the butter sizzles & will brown, lift it off the heat & allow the butter to wash around the pan.
(See the section on proving your pans)
Pour a small ladle of batter into the pan & again swirl it around until it covers the base of the pan.
The crepe is ready to be flipped when the top has almost set & the bubbles have turned into little craters.
Now comes the hard part, flipping the crepe.
I use a pallet knife or spatula.
The hardest part is to get under the edge of the crepe without it tearing.
If you have a good batter this is usually straightforward, but...
A little trick I have employed in the past, when I have a bad run of crepe’s (usually someone else has made the batter)
When the crepe won’t turn out I place the pan under the salamander! This will cook the top, especially the edges, then your crepe’ will slide straight off.
If you are making a stack of crepes it pays to layer each crepe with baking paper.
Hot crepe’s, made with flour will have a tendency to stick together.
A weed that grows in ditches.
Or a salad vegetable?
When we were kids we used to get watercress out of a creek, it was a regular with chip sandwiches!
You can buy various cress's fresh now, but if you decide to self harvest, 2 important rules; Only harvest from running water, and wash it, it may have flukes, and stagnant water, well work that out yourself. I suppose there's a couple other safety concerns; don't drown, and watch out for Croc's?
Crocodile; Another food that can look after itself, eat it before it eats you!
Crocs are harvested now for human consumption, the risk is somewhat lessened by the time it reaches your plate; it’s unlikely to take your hand off at the table, wrestle you into a death roll in your favourite restaurant...
Croc flesh is still something of a novelty, therefore the cost remains prohibitive, and I wouldn’t recommend harvesting your own from the wild...
Croissant; again this is a case of the French being unable to spell properly. But I suppose crescent does not conjure the same universal response as croissant.
Strip away the myth, the fancy language & you end up with a pastry roll.
Traditionally these were made of bread dough enriched with butter & folded several times.
Crostini; As you would expect with a name like this, a Crostini is literally a crust of bread, a crouton to the French.
Crostini; to be modern, relates to any savoury topping, toasted or fried bread.
Crouton; a dried or toasted slice or dice of bread, as seen in Caesar salads & on French onion soup.
These are notoriously difficult to make, for such a simple item.
If you are making croutons in bulk, you need a large tray, usually with the addition of Garlic Butter, or Olive oil.
It certainly makes it a lot simpler if you don’t overload the tray in the first place; then you must ensure they are evenly crisped & the oil/butter is evenly dispersed.
I have a solution!
Butter your bread slices before dicing them & bake them on a tray as a single layer.
Place the tray in a hot oven at the end of the night’s service, turn the oven off, but leave the pilot light on.
By morning they will be perfection!
A similar result for an electric oven would be to set the thermostat to about 60*.
It pays to use a sticker or note on the oven control, just to remind yourself something is in the oven.
I have seen Chefs drop a whole basket of diced bread into the deep fryer to make croutons... It does work, but soaks up a lot of oil, and picks up the flavours of anything previously cooked.
Some Chef's would frown upon such 'dodgy' practices, but not Me, if it saves time, and you used clean oil; and your customer expectations were not overly high...
curry in a hurry
Curry; Britain’s national dish, Curry is now more English than Indian!
Curry is an amalgamation of spices, it’s easy enough to blend your own spices; Turmeric gives it the colour, pepper, chilli, in varying amounts, cardamom, and cinnamon.
Every Chef has their own recipe for curry.
You could write a book on curry, in fact I think somebody has!
Curry is not an Indian term, To them ‘curry’ means ‘gravy’ or ‘sauce’. Masala is what they would call what we would call curry…
Nowadays it’s as simple as opening a jar of curry paste.
The Curry powders you buy would be completely foreign to a native 'curry muncher', it's a product of convenience for Anglaise tastes.
I'm not being derogatory saying 'curry muncher', it's a redundant cliche' for an Indian; however to say Indian, in terms of a curry is a gross understatement, curries are enjoyed by many different cultures.
Even to say 'Indian' is ignorant, India is a continent and has a range of regional cuisines, and cultures...
I guess it's developed as a cuisine based on available ingredients.
Remember the heat scale; mild, Hot, Burning ring of fire...
Curry leaves; These are leaves off a tree which impart a flavour akin to curry.
This is not curry as mentioned above. Curry leaves, from the curry tree are used in much the same way as a bay leaf is used, added to a dish, but often removed before serving.
Cucumber; what can I say? There’s a few types, mostly green, a few hybrids here & there, apple cucumbers etc.
They’ve all got a high water content. If you want them to keep without wilting or bleeding cucumber blood through your salad; it’s best to split them lengthwise, and then scrape the seeds out of them before slicing them.
They have a cooling effect on the mouth, good to have a few slices on hand when munching out on a hot chilli dish.
Won’t help you the next day though, eaten or otherwise.
‘Otherwise’ currently remaining untested!
Cumin; Comes as whole seeds and also as a powder.
The important thing about cumin, more important than it’s flavours, or suggested culinary uses; is its pronunciation.
I prefer Coo-Min; I personally don’t like Q-min; Cumin always raises a smile.
Fond memories of a Woman colleague, totally naively announcing that “she loved comin”! She was speaking in the context of the spice.
Custard; Originally custard was Crème Angliase. Custard that was made from hot milk, vanilla, cream and egg yolks.
Today Custard is solely the domain of the yellow powder, or the thickened milk dish made from it.
Custard powder is; Cornflour, Vanilla & yellow colouring.
As such it is quite handy; I used to supplement custard powder for cornflour when making pikelets, just for the nice colour.
You can add a little bit to a batter also to colour it quickly!
Custard shares a causal link with disgusted; Guy goes to a fancy dress party naked except for his dick in a bowl of custard. He’s Fuckin dis-gusted…
Customer service; There is a common expression "the customer is always right".
I'd like to meet the person who coined that expression.
I'd show them a right, then a left...
This is not a perfect symbiotic relationship.
We as your host are providing a service for your convenience & enjoyment.
To some people, usually these are the people who rarely dine out; the experience is perhaps the only chance they get to show off their wonderful personalities.
We will smile & be pleasant, pay attention to your needs, try & make your experience a pleasant one.
Then we get that one person who has had a bad day/life and nothing will please them.
They come along with their attitudes & try & dump as much shit as possible on their serving staff.
Many times I have seen a young girl in tears & we have to send out a senior, just because somebody has had a few drinks & thinks the wait staff is there for their amusement & pleasure.
I have had the honour of working for a considerate gentleman who would have none of this.
It warmed my heart to see him invite troublesome customers to leave, immediately.
Other customers are quite happy & don't want some dick next to them complaining about things other people are quite happy with.
The rule of thumb I use is if the last 99 people who ate this dish were happy with it, there is nothing wrong with the dish.
If it is not to the customers liking, a similar rule to retail purchases applies.
We will gladly replace the meal with another if there is something about the meal that you did not like.
As long as the meal has not been substantially eaten.
We will do this as we like to see customers happy.
We will not refund you simply because you change your mind.
The menu usually specifies the dish & the wait staff can further explain it to you before you order the meal.
Believe me; we have heard all the lines before, People think we are stupid?
You can’t eat an entire meal then complain about some aspect of it, demanding a refund.
You are afforded an opportunity for feedback when the wait staff return to your table shortly after the meal has been served.
How many times have I seen orders for a Medium rare steak, but cooked through, or with no blood in it.
Or a well done steak with a bit of pink in it still...
One of the most common is people asking for an omission, and then expecting a replacement bonus.
Someone who doesn't want tomato on their salad, could they have an extra steak instead...
We've heard it all...
Some people make an industry of it; some places where I have worked the staff have been flat out giving away free desserts, complimentary wines, all to the same people who turn up week after week.
The customer is seldom right, but we will endeavour to address all reasonable circumstances to ensure your dining experience is as pleasurable as possible.
We acknowledge that there is a cost to our service.
We are confident our product represents value for money.
Our customers are the key to our success, if we do not provide the quality & the level of service sought by our market, our clientele will desert us.
Without trade we have nothing, so it is in our interest to provide the best overall value to our clientele.
We want you to be happy; this is the essence of Hospitality.
Having taught Diploma level ‘Managing Customer Service’ I can share a new insight..
It’s all about expectations, managing customer expectations! So thanks to al the TV Chefs setting customer expectations, and creating a range of ‘amateur experts’.
But that’s half the battle, managing a customers expectations, ensur