Cookery Terms from S to Z

This is page 4 of our cookery terms section. Many common words in the English language are used to mean something entirely different in the kitchen, as you will discover as you read on.

A -G | H to M | N to R | S | T | U | V | W | XY and Z |

S

Sauté

To fry quickly in a little fat.

Score

The skin of pork and bacon joints is often scored with a knife to make it look more attractive when cooked. The score marks are shallow cuts, often made parallel to each other in alternate directions creating a criss cross pattern.

Season

Three definitions for this cookery term.

Scored skin and fat on a gammon joint
  • To add salt, pepper, herbs or spices to food to improve the flavour
  • You can season a pan before you use it the first time - often performed on woks
  • Food bought "in season" or at the time of year that it grows, is often freshest and cheapest

Shortening

A lard or vegetable fat used when making pastry

Simmer

Food is said to be simmering if it is being cooked just below boiling point.

Stir fry

An extremely fast method of cooking, often done in a wok.

Sweat

To sweat food means cooking it gently in its own juices, or a little fat. The food should cook but not change colour and become brown.

Syllabub

A rich, chilled dessert made from cream and wine, sherry or champagne.


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T

Tenderize

To tenderize meat you can beat it with a mallet or rolling pin, which breaks up the fibres, or marinate it to achieve the same effect.

Terrine

A name that does dual purpose. It is used for a paté cooked in an earthenware dish, and for the dish itself.

Thicken

Flour, arrowroot, eggs or cream can all be used to alter the consistency of a mixture.

U

Unleavened

A cookery term used for bread that is not made with yeast.

V

Velouté

The name given to a classic white sauce.

Vol-au-vent

A puff pastry case filled with a savoury filling such as chicken, fish etc.

W

Well

When making cakes or batter you will often see the cookery term "make a well". This means to make a dip in the center of a bowl of flour, into which the egg is dropped before mixing.

Whey

When milk curdles it separates into curds (solids) and whey (liquid).

Whip (or whisk)

To add air to a mixture by using a fork, wire whisk or electric mixer. Foods that are often whipped include cream and egg whites (for meringues).

X, Y and Z

Yeast

A living plant used in bread making to raise the flour dough. It can be purchased as live yeast, or dried. It needs warmth, food and liquid in order to be activated.

Zest

The outer skin of a citrus fruit, such as an orange, lemon or grapefruit. Often used to flavour other foods as the zest contains an oil that gives a characteristic flavor.


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