Everything you ever wanted to know about cooking, but were too afraid to ask 'I' for Ice cream to 'J' for Junk food
ICE; Ice is the frozen state of water. Generally water becomes Ice at temperatures below 0 degrees C, That’s pure distilled water. Salt water freezes at a lower temperature, depending on the salinity.
So if you want Ice for, say keeping fish, or cooling beer, throw some salt into your water.
Iced refers to many things, and anything that is frozen.
Ice the drug, we’re not going here…
An interesting experiment; which freezes faster, hot water or cold water?
‘Cold water, der’, everyone knows that… Well think again, hot water will freeze faster!
Freezing cold water, the thermal conductivity of the water is reduced, it tends to slowly freeze from the bottom and around the edges.
With hot water the conductivity is more volatile, meaning the water circulates more freely and will ‘set’ more rapidly. Don’t believe me, try it yourself.
Ice can be pretty dangerous, Imagine finding somebody lying bleeding on the floor, in a pool of water. Somebody has stabbed them with a stalactite! Tme perfect murder, gootd luck finding fingerprints on that murder weapon CSI Miami!
Ice and traction do not always see eye to eye either. Generally Ice has some traction, or adhesion, but once it has melted, then refrozen, it forms a slippery kind of glaze. That’s why we don’t put hot things into freezers, especially walk in type freezers. I knew a woman broke some bones once; She walked into a blast freezer and slipped over. Someone had put racks of hot food in there to cool…
Eye scream for ice cream! Ice cream is one of the modern inventions of culinary history.
It’s evolution has come about since the advent of modern refrigeration.
Ice cream was unheard of before Ice was readily available.
It never really caught on, a cone full of wet cream Angliase!
Indeed that is all ice cream is, traditionally... It’s made in factories on a large scale without eggs, even without cream, but bulked out with gums etc.
Homemade Ice cream is made using a crème Angliase, or ‘English custard’ base, it is supplemented by the addition of other ingredients, fruits etc, chocolate and usually placed in a purpose designed Ice cream churn.
An Ice cream maker is simply a churn which mixes the Angliase as it freezes to prevent it forming ice crystals.
You can make Ice cream without an Ice cream maker, just mix it as it’s freezing.
A note as to the addition of fruit; it will freeze as ice unless the fruit is cooked with sufficient sugar to prevent this.
Iceberg: be afraid Titanic, be very afraid! Actually it’s not that kind of iceberg.
Iceberg is a Lettuce variety, it’s probably the most common variety of lettuce out there.
When I was a young-un, we bought a lettuce it was an Iceberg; but there was not the variety of hydroponic lettuce available today. A lettuce was that, a lettuce; and that lettuce was an Iceberg.
I see so many people with torn lettuce browning in their fridges, they simply break into the top of the lettuce and tear away what they want.
Lettuce consider this for a moment; is there an alternative?
Why yes there is, the chef approved method for preparing an iceberg lettuce is to trim it of old and wilting leaves, leaving the stem intact.
Now we undertake a manoeuvre I like to call ichy, after the method of killing a fish.
Take the lettuce in your hand and drive down the stalk against a bench, this drives the stalk into the heart of the lettuce, killing it immediately and putting it out of its suffering.
Alternatively you may place the lettuce, stalk up on a bench and strike hard to the stalk with the palm of your hand.
The result is the same, the core comes away and may be discarded, the lettuce may be washed and drained.
The outer leaves are often tougher and more bitter in flavour; however they have a use still, as Chiffonnade, or shredded lettuce. Ideal for burgers, tacos, shrimp cocktails, it can even be cooked.
The method for preparing chiffonnade is to; roll leaves together with the stalks all aligned, take a sharp knife and cut through the leafy part of the lettuce. Continue this cut at regular intervals, discard the ends and the stalks.
ICING; I sing; in the shower, and the dog howls along with me…
Nah, not really; Icing and frosting are synonymous, that means they are much the same…
Icing is a sugary topping usually on a cake or pastry.
Icing can be prepared a number of different ways, Icing sugar and a little boiling water is the simplest.
You can add Cocoa, or food colouring, a little butter for softness & texture…
Cream cheese, or variants, mascarpone etc are also options, and a favourite on Carrot or Banana cakes.
Beyond simple is royal icing, made with Fondant & egg whites, Marzipan, made from Almond paste. Ganache is a Chocolate icing, although it can be other things, whats a black forest or Saccher Torte without Gananche. Whats Ganache? Melted Chocolate, Cream and Butter!
INGREDIENTS: Who needs this explained?
Ingredients are the physical substances which make a product, or the product itself...
Ingredients which must be listed are listed in the order of the percentage of the total product.
The largest ingredient are usually listed first. Have a look next time you buy a bottle of Energy drink; Ingredients, water, sugar, sodium, caffeine, etc etc.
Some imported ingredients do not have the same requirement to be listed; therefore some ‘undesirable’ elements or ingredients such as GM foods may sneak through unnoticed.
Active Ingredients are; as suggested the active ingredients are the ones, in a formula, or mixture which do the actual work. For example Bicarbonate soda is the active ingredient in self raising flour. The bi-carb reacts with water and gives off a gas...
Local and/or imported ingredients? This should ring alarm bells, for instance in Australia a lot of Pork is imported and processed locally. They may use Australian salt, even a teaspoon; and rightly call it ‘local and or imported ingredients…
INSOMNIA Aka, I can’t sleep, hardly a culinary dilemma? Au contraire, there has been many a night when an overworked Chef has awoken during the night, having dreamt that he was still at work. Usually awoken with a rude shock as something has gone amiss, as they do.
This phenomena is known to Chefs throughout the industry as ‘doing service in your sleep’.
Insomnia’s not unknown within hospitality environments; it’s not like a 9 to 5 job, where you can come home at night and put your feet up for a few hours, eat dinner, watch TV, wind down then hit the sack ready for the next day.
It’s more like you’ve been pulled out of the front line of an action drama where you are the star, and suddenly it’s bedtime, the rest of the world is catching zzz’s and you’re still pumped.
Then you want to kick back and wind down before you go to bed. By then it’s 3am and you have to start again in a few hours… So you go to bed, and spend the night dreaming you’re at work, IF you can sleep at all, without counting in your head all the things you need to do the next day.
It’s thesort of job that takes over your life, you are truly immersed in it; the rewards and satisfaction can be immense, but sleep is one of the prices you pay.
Did I mention seeing your kids grow up? Being a stranger at family sports events, weekends, goodnight kisses? Not for the faint hearted.
There’s a predilection among hospitality staff to indulge in mind altering substances; this is a hard road, things to wake you up, things to set you down; avoid would be my belated advice…
IRISH Here’s another of those racial slurs, Like ‘Scotch’. Irish stew is a hearty concoction usually containing Potatoes. Irish coffee is usually served with the addition of whiskey and cream, both staples of Irish cuisine.
Now I’m not sure if it’s really a racial slur, or a statement of fact. Ireland has been known through the ages as a culture that imbibes excessively, and many are below the poverty line and exist on cheaper foods.
You decide, I’m not going there.
Interestingly, the Irish diet once consisted of Potatoes and fresh Cow’s milk, that was it, a balanced diet!
Jalapeno; These must be my favourite chilli pepper, they are not red hot chilli peppers, more like milder green chilli peppers. Jalapenos are the most common variety of chilli, if you went to the supermarket and saw some red and green chilli peppers up to about 10 -15cm chances they are Jalapeno; they are pronounced Jalapeño, the J is just to make them look exotic! Any chilli’s are milder if you split them then trim the seeds and membranes out of them. I love to make a curry, then serve green Jalapenos, sliced and deseeded in yoghurt, on the side, delish. Certain precautions are necessary when handling jalapeno, indeed any chilli.
Some people prefer to wear latex gloves and discard them when they are done.
This is a good idea, but if you don’t have any... Be extremely careful where you put your fingers!
One touch to the eyes the lips, nose, or other sensitive areas (use your imagination). The active ingredient capsaicin will burn you without mercy.
This is the chemical agent used in pepper sprays.
I have an interesting anecdote, of a friend of mine; He was cutting some chilli’s and He had to go to the toilet.
He did not wash his hands first, and spent the next 40 minutes with his Manatomy under cold running water!
Jam: Jam is a difficult subject, but then again it’s simple... confused? Well jam is just fruit and sugar cooked down to, well to a jam consistency. Sometimes pectin, a fruit protein is added to ensure the jam sets. That’s the simple part, jams can be further categorised by regional use, and there are several substances and several methods of cooking which are similar to a jam. Marmalades, chutneys and preserves are all jams
Most jams are edible by definition, except of course traffic jams.
Traffic jams are an ideal simile of jam, cars packed in a confined space.
A band can get together and play music, this is a Jam session, nothing to do with fruit really!
JAMBALAYA; Is pretty much a Cajun Creole version of a Spanish Paella. In fact it has everything you would find, and is cooked in a similar manner that it could be either… Serve 1 tabel Paella, the other table Jambalaya? Also similar to Biryani, simply, meat and or vegetables, cooked and added to rice. Ingredients optional and far to varied to list…
JAR; A jar is a rigid, approximately cylindrical container with a wide mouth or opening. Jars are typically made of glass, ceramic, or plastic. They are used for foods, cosmetics, medications, and chemicals that are relatively thick or viscous: pourable liquids are more often packaged in a bottle. They are also used for items too large to be removed from a narrow neck bottle.
A Jar is what Americans call a Can, this side of the world we call bottling, preserving in JARS. In the USA they call this Canning. We’d calla Jar a Can?
Ajar is when you leave the door open..
Jar is also when forward momentum is suddenly interrupted, usually by a solid object...
JELLY; What the Americans call jam.
Jelly can also be a jam, strained of any seed and fruit pulp, certain fruits will gel.
Jelly is also a confectionery or dessert, or Jell-O if you happen to be hanging with Uncle Sam. Jelly is a pretty simple dessert, but it’s complicated... Yes it can be a good invalid food, jelly contains protein, protein derived from animals!
Beware if you are a/ Vegan or b/ Hindu.
Jelly is derived from Gelatine, or Gelatin if you prefer? Gelatine is produced by rendering off cuts from the slaughter of animals, usually beef.
Any parts, bones, sinew, skin which is not utilised elsewhere all goes into a big cooker. Sometimes it pays not to look too deeply at where your food is coming from! This includes Jelly Beans and all Jelly based confectionery’s.
Aspic is sometimes referred to as Jelly, Aspic is a gelatine based clear savoury flavoured jelly.
JERKY; Jerky is lean meat that has been trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried to prevent spoilage. Normally, this drying includes the addition of salt, to prevent bacteria from developing on the meat before sufficient moisture has been removed. The word "jerky" derived from the Quechua word ch'arki which means "dried, salted meat". All that is needed to produce basic "jerky" is a low-temperature drying method, and salt to inhibit bacterial growth.
Modern manufactured jerky is normally marinated in a seasoned spice rub or liquid, and dried, dehydrated or smoked with low heat (usually under 70 °C/160 °F). Some product manufacturers finely grind meat, mix in seasonings, and press the meat-paste into flat shapes prior to drying.
The resulting jerky from the above methods would be a salty and/or savory snack. However, often a sweet or semi-sweet recipe is used, with sugar being a major ingredient (in contrast to biltong which is a dried meat product that utilizes the acid in vinegar rather than salt to inhibit bacterial growth when drying the meat). Jerky is ready-to-eat and needs no additional preparation. It can be stored for months without refrigeration. When the protein to moisture content ratio is correct, the resulting meat is cured, or preserved.
There are many products in the marketplace which are sold as jerky which consist of highly processed, chopped and formed meat, rather than traditional sliced, whole-muscle meat. These products may contain more fat, but moisture content, like the whole-muscle product, must meet a 0.75 to 1 moisture to protein ratio in the US. Chemical preservatives can be used to prevent oxidative spoilage, but the moisture to protein ratio prevents microbial spoilage by low water activity. Many jerky products are very high in sugar and are therefore very sweet, unlike biltong, which rarely contains added sugars.
A typical 30 g portion of fresh jerky contains 10–15 g of protein, 1 g of fat, and 0–3 g of carbohydrates, although some beef jerky can have more than 65% of protein content. Since traditional jerky recipes use a basic salt cure, sodium can be a concern for some people. A 30 g serving of jerky could contain more than 600 mg of sodium, which would be about 30% of the recommended USRDA.
Jerky can also refer to spasmodic movement, like an L plater learning to drive a car for the first time...
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE; Jerusalem Artichokes are not Artichokes, and do not come from Jerusalem.
What they are however is tuber, or rhizome, similar in appearance to Ginger.
They are the root of a plant that looks like a Sunflower, but are not sunflowers, but are kissin, cousins.
Jerusalem artichokes have health benefits, they produce a Carbohydrate called Inulin, Not InSulin; Inulin. This starch turns to fructose, a plant sugar; which is where the benefits lie. If you are diabetic Fructose metabolises slower than sucrose or table sugar, it’s also a lot sweeter per volume.
Jerusalem Artichokes are very easy to grow, plant a tuber and wait, but don’t wait too long, these things are prolific, 1 tuber can produce 70 baby tubers, and soon you may have a whole garden full of them, i.e weeds… My advice, if you are tempted to get your fingers, and your green thumbs dirty; is to plant them in tubs. If you harvest them, and miss 1 cm, they will grow back again.
J.A’s (sick of writing Jerusalem Artichoke…) as a food can be eaten similarly to a Potato or other root vegetable, better steamed, not boiled, or they will turn to mush…
Another interesting factoid about J.A’s, the Inulin, does not break down in the stomach, but the carbs are fermented by bacteria in the colon. Which leads to an interesting, albeit embarrassing condition; flatulence of an extroadinary pungency and volume. Great news if you are entering a farting competition!
Jewfish, Or Dhufish to the locals. An unfortunate choice of name perhaps? I’m not sure of the origin of the name, but it does not sound flattering. Another example of xenophobia entering our dialect perhaps?
JICAMA; Is a tuber, the root of a vine. It has different names depending on where it is grown, though usually tropical to temperate regions. Probably and mostly associated with Yams.
As a tuber, it can be cooked, like a potato, but it’s 90% water, so don’t expect a nice fluffy mash.
Jicama can be eaten raw, in salads or as a dessert, Jicama, like Jerusalem artichoke contains Inulin as it’s source of sweetness.
John dory; St Peters fish. My favourite fish, this has to be one of the nicest fish on the market, if you buy your fish at the market that is… I’ve never ever paid for a ‘Dory’, I used to spear them off the jetty, they don’t seem much interested in dead baits.
They are called St Peters fish on account of the large black spot on their side, this is apparently the thumb print St Peter left on them when he pulled some out the sea.
Why are they called John? It’s a mistranslation of Juan; Juan being a translation in itself of yellow, as in Juandice, as they are an yellowy olive colour.
JUNKET; Junket is a milk-based dessert, made with sweetened milk and rennet, the digestive enzyme which curdles milk. It might best be described as a custard or a very soft, sweetened cheese.
To make junket, milk (usually with sugar and vanilla added) is heated to approximately body temperature and the rennet, which has been dissolved in water, is mixed in to cause the milk to "set". (Temperature variations will inactivate the enzyme in the rennet, causing the dessert to fail.) The dessert is chilled prior to serving. Junket is often served with a sprinkling of grated nutmeg on top. For most of the 20th century in the eastern United States, junket was often a preferred food for ill children, mostly due to its sweetness and ease of digestion.
Junk It, is to throw something once valuable, now beyond repair into a wastage receptacle.
JUNK FOOD, Food which has little or no nutritional value, usually convenience foods and often loaded with fats and salts, preservatives, artificial colours; all the things we don’t want in our bodies.
However these foods remain attractive to our younger generations; they develop a taste for these foods to the detriment of a balanced wholesome diet.
These foods are great for manufacturers, they can throw in any ingredients they want and the marketing dept will find a brand for it.
Recycled human food... deep fried and served in a colourful bag, with some intense advertising, I’m sure they could sell us our own shit!
JUICE; Pretty much the liquid part of anything. Usually associated with fruit and or vegetables, but can also be Jus, or Meat juices.
Some fruit juices can contain as much sugar as soda style drinks, some profess to be healthy. Really pays to read, and understand the ingredients. “Made from reconstituted…” Means watered down pulp imported from countries of dubious origin. “Whole fruit pulp” is ususally the whole orange, skin and all, with extra sugar added to maintain the balance of sweetness.
Nectar is a new rendition of concentrated juice, just reconstituted with less water.
Smoothies are a new rendition of frozen juices.
Nothing wrong with juice, just be wary of the juices you buy where somebody has done all the work for you, value added is probably not the only addition.
If you have a juicer yourself, juice away your own fruit and veg, wholesome, nutritious, and always a bit messy.
JUNIPER; Ever wondered why Gin tastes a bit like Kerosene? One of the main flavouring ingredients in Gin is Juniper.
Juniper is a Pine tree berry, Junipers aren’t actually a berry, they are a cone, pretty much a pine cone!
As a spice Junipers are usually bruised and added whole to marinades, most often associated with Game.