Al dente

Food that is cooked until it is ‘firm to the bite’. This is most commonly used to describe how pasta should be cooked.

Au gratin

Recipes that are browned in the oven, or under a grill. Often refers to dishes that use a sauce and are topped with breadcrumbs and/or cheese.



To spoon juices over food that is being roasted or baked to prevent it from drying out and to glaze the surface – commonly meat, or baked fruit.


To add eggs, cream or liquid to a recipe to make the other ingredients hold together


To plunge food (usually vegetables) into boiling water briefly. The food is then removed and placed into cold water to stop the cooking process. This is often to help loosen their skins or to par-cook prior to freezing.

Bouquet Garni

Herbs, usually parley, thyme and bay leaf tied together (or contained in a small muslin bag) added to soups and stews and removed before serving.


To cook slowly in a very small amount of liquid in a dish with a tightly sealed lid.



Small green flower buds of a Mediterranean plant which are preserved in salt or vinegar and used to give a sharp burst of flavour in dishes.


A strained sauce made from purée fruit or vegetables.

Cream (to)

To beat softened butter and sugar, either by hand, or with an egg beater or cake mixer until they become soft and creamy and lighter in colour.

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