Today’s modern housewife is a far cry from the lady of yesteryear whose role seemingly was only to bear children, wash clothes, ensure that the house is kept tidy and last but not least cook for the family.
The Ugandan woman of today is sophisticated and few will allow themselves to be stereotyped into such cut and dry roles as the aforementioned. Nowadays more than ever, families tend to dine out. Ugandans have become multicultural and have come to love and appreciate such diverse food as Italian, Mediterranean, and Continental and increasingly going into the kitchen and preparing first rate gourmet meals for friends and family.
When one goes to an Italian restaurant, why eat over cooked spaghetti when your preference is al dente or firm to the bite. It helps to know that canapés are small starters and not a main course that one will order and end up regretting for it sheer size of economy. Yes, fillet can be in the form of fish that is deboned or boneless meat. Dumplings are commonly found in Chinese eateries and yet this category of cereal dish that is reinforced with protein makes a fine light meal when combined with soups or stews.
However, it is to those countless foodies who derive enormous joy watching food shows on television and frequently here the chefs talking of au gratin or ‘to blanch’ or ‘to boil.’ Hopefully, the glossary will be of some assistance to all you foodies out there and surely in time you will even find more items to add.
Al dente Refers to pasta and means, ‘firm to the bite’
Au gratin This is a term in America that is generally associated with cheese. In any case it is cooked food in some sort of sauce though not a stew and then sprinkled with either grated cheese or breadcrumbs. It is then usually browned under the grill prior to serving.
Bake blind To partially bake a pastry case in the oven minus any filling. This prevents the filling making the encasing soggy.
Bake Refers to cooking by dry heat in an oven
Basting Spooning the cooking juices at intervals during roasting of meats or poultry in order to retain their juiciness by moistening their surface. Remember that roasting is a dry-heat process.
Barding This refers to the covering of certain cuts of meat, game or poultry that may inherently be lean with pieces of bacon fat in order to keep the flesh moist while roasting.
Beat To mix something such as eggs vigorously with either a fork or a wire whisk.
Beurre manie An equal quantity of flour and butter that is kneaded together to form a paste. This mixture is then whisked into a sauce or casserole gradually at the end of the cooking time so as to thicken it.
Bind To use a small quantity of liquid to make the dry ingredients stick together in a firm manner
Blanch There are two references used in blanching using either boiling water or hot cooking oil. In the case of the former, one can refer to the blanching of tomatoes in boiling water for a couple of minutes and the removing them to hasten the removal of the skin. Otherwise one would refer to blanching French Fries in a two-stage frying operation. They are par fried or blanched for two minutes and then removed and set aside for at least five minutes or longer and then finally fried for three minutes until golden.
Blend To mix together slowly
Boil To cook in a liquid.
Bonne femme Refers to poaching fish in butter, mushrooms, shallots, parsley, dry white wine and then served with a sauce veloute.
Bouquet garni a combination of fresh thyme, bay leaf and parsley tied in cheesecloth and placed in a stew such as coq au vin or Boeuf Bourguignonne.
Braise To stew meat or poultry gently over low heat.
Canapé A small starter comes appetiser with a toast, bread or biscuit
Base topped with a savoury offering such as tuna fish, sardines, smoked salmon etc.
Cayenne Red crushed pepper
Cocotte A small ovenproof dish that can be used for baking and serving egg dishes, mousses and soufflés.
Cream To beat a mixture until it becomes the consistency of cream
Croutons Small toasted pieces of fried or toasted bread diced into squares
Dice To cut vegetables or meat into small cubes
D’oyley A fancy paper mat placed on a plate
Dough A basic mixture of flour that kneaded or rolled into whatever shape that is desired.
Dredging Sprinkling food such as fish with flour or bread crumbs
Dressing A cold sauce with a base of olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, herbs et al that is generally served over salads.
Dripping The fat that drips from a roast of beef, game or poultry during roasting.
Dumplings A savoury mixture, often comprising flour or potatoes, which is formed into balls and simmered in liquid. They are great served in soups or stews.
En Croute Poultry or meats that are encased and cooked in a pastry case.
Escalope A flattened and thin slice of veal, pork or even beef fillet that is coated in an egg and breadcrumb concoction and then pan-fried.
Fine herbs A mixture of chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, tarragon, thyme et al.
Fillet 1 Can be fish fillet or beef, pork or lamb fillet. Very prime and always guaranteed to be tender.
Fillet 2 To fillet a fish is to debone and remove the skin and bones of a fish.
Flake To brake and separate items such as cooked rice using your fingers or a fork.
Flambé Fried in a pan to which usually cognac is added and set alight much like the effect of a sizzling steak.
Fry To cook in oil or fat. Note that one talks of deep frying and pan-frying. The two are different and one is not a substitute for the other.
Garnish To decorate and generally enhance an entrée with fresh herbs or fruits whatever the chef desires in order to live up to the maxim; ‘food must be pleasing to the both the eye and the palette’
Gelatin A powder form that is made from the bone of animals that melts upon making contact with hot water and is often used in making chilled puddings such as mocha gelatin or lemon gelatin.
Giblets These are what we here in Uganda refer to as gizzards and liver
Glaze A glossy sheen that is brushed onto to breads such as bagels by brushing them with a beaten egg before baking.
Grate To shred cheese, carrots, onions et al using a grater
Gugelhupf Yeast cake that is baked in a fluted mould.
Hulling If you were making the classic ‘Potage St Germain Soup, aka, Green Pea Soup, the recipe would call for X amount of the hulled peas then you would know that they are refereeing to the peas out of their pod.
Infusing Steeping ingredients such as tea in hot water with a view to extracting their flavour.
Joint Usually a prime or choice cut of meat for roasting or a Barbie.
Kebab Usually meat such as lamb that is skewered and the grilled.
Knead The process of pressing with the hands flour and water that ensures the even distribution of the fermenting yeast cells through the dough.
Larding The insertion of strips of pork fat into lean cuts of meat helps to make meat juicier and enhance the flavor during the cooking process.
Marinade This is a process that enhances the tenderness and flavor of meats by generally soaking them in a mixture of oil, wine, vinegar and seasoning. Marinades are not just confined to meats and poultry or fish. For that matter they are some wonderful vegetable marinades that we shall discuss in the future. The other thing to remember is that there are also dry marinades.