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Barbeque 'know how'
Sizzle Glossary

Cooking 101
Common Sense
Cooking Techniques
Medium Sized Tips
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Which food, which wine?
Ingredients Explained
Tricky Words
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Tricky Words

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Acidulated water
Water to which lemon juice or vinegar has been added. Ingredients are held in acidulated water to prevent discoloration, for example, artichokes after trimming.
Al Dente
Italian cooking term, literally meaning 'to the tooth' (in other words, cooked but still firm to the bite), used to describe perfectly cooked pasta.
Bird's-eye chillies

Small, dried hot chilli peppers, the best substitute for the small hot chilli used in Italy. Use whole, crushed or ground.
Traditionally bread toasted over the fire and drizzled with the first press of extra virgin olive oil eaten at the olive mill. Sometimes a clove of garlic is rubbed over the toasted bread. Fettunta is the Roman name for the same thing.
Burghul - Bulgur
Hulled wheat which is partially cooked by steaming, then dried and finely or coarsely ground.

A feathery herb with an oily, grassy, citrus taste. It is also known as cilantro and Chinese parsley. The seeds have an intoxicating lemon fragrance, and are best ground as required because the heady aroma quickly dissipates. Coriander leaves are said to have a cooling effect on the body.
Dried Oregano and Rigani
Pungent and aromatic dried oregano comes from Sicily and rigani from Greece. Available from specialty food stores. Use fresh marjoram as a substitute.
Italian egg dish, like a flattish omelette.
Salty sheep’s milk cheese. Sometimes spelled halloumi and haloumy. In Cyprus it is flavored with dried mint and in the Lebanon with black cumin seed.
Italian parsley
Differs to curly parsley, having flat unfurled leaves with a fresh, grassy, just-picked taste and is always used fresh.
To cut ingredients, usually vegetables but sometimes fruit or meats, into thin sticks rather like match sticks. Use a sharp knife, trim the rough edges, then cut into thin blocks, then into sticks.
Sweet dessert of konafa (kataifi) pastry, layered with a creamy rice filling, soaked in syrup.
A very rich, mild-tasting creamy cheese used in desserts and savoury dishes.
I recommend using firm black olives in recipes unless otherwise stated as they have good flavor and color, and do not cook down to a mush that can darken sauces. Add them towards the end of cooking. When green olives are called for, choose large, plump green ones. Avoid pitted olives because the process of pitting robs them of flavor.
Belly of pork, flavored with spices then rolled. Eaten fresh, like prosciutto, or used as bacon. It is generally not smoked and is not as salty as bacon.
Parmesan Cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Parmesan cheese (parmigiano-reggiano) has an intoxicating aroma and a spicy flavor with an interesting granular texture. As you eat it the small granular pieces dissolve and burst into flavor on the tongue. Parmigiano-reggiano melts without running, browns well, isn't greasy and doesn't become rubbery. It is quickly digested (even by infants) and low in calories. Buy it in the piece and treble-wrap it in aluminum foil. Grate as required because once grated it quickly loses its aroma and flavor.
Pine nuts
Seeds of the stone pine, pine nuts are small and creamy-coloured with a nutty, creamy taste. Buy in small quantities as they quickly turn rancid.
The Venetians first bought corn (maize) from its native Mexico to Italy several centuries ago. It's usually a rich golden color, but in the Veneto region they are rather proud of another variety, white in color with a less strong corn flavor, and a very smooth texture. Today polenta (nearly always ground from corn, but there is a polenta made from buckwheat, a specialty of Treviso) is a staple food in northern Italy, especially in the Veneto and Lombardy regions, where one is likely to see more corn growing than grapes. The Tuscans are fond of it too; they fry it in wedges and serve it under rich game birds, or use it instead of toasted bread under hot antipasti. Polenta is often sold pre-boiled, in a slab, ready to fry, grill or bake.
This famous ham from Parma (sometimes referred to as Parma ham) is either sold as prosciutto crudo, a raw ham cured by air and salt, or prosciutto cotto, a cooked version. In this book, prosciutto refers to the raw cured ham. Prosciutto crudo is sweet and delicate with creamy sweet-tasting fat. It is sliced very thin and eaten as an antipasto component or used in cooked dishes. Substitute thinly sliced ham off the bone if you have to.
A small nutritious seed which has been cultivated in the Andes since at least 3000BC. The ancient Incas called it the “Mother grain” , although quinoa is clearly a seed, the fruit of a leafy plant. It has emerged as a “superfood” because of its high protein, calcium and iron content; it also has several B-group vitamins and many nutrients.
This means to rinse with water. Vegetables are refreshed with a cup or two of cold water after blanching or cooking, to halt the cooking process, to remove strong flavors, or to help keep the color. The vegetables may be served immediately, or reheated gently by tossing in a pan with a knob of butter and a little black pepper, (or a little garlic or herb butter, or in a little stock). Starchy foods, like pasta and rice, are refreshed to rinse off any clinging starch, but warm water should be used as cold water makes the starch tacky.
The world's most expensive spice. Saffron is made up of orange-gold threads, the stigmas of a crocus, which are hand-harvested one by one. It is dried in the sun or artificially. In Spain the stigmas are toasted over charcoal. The best is rich in color and highly aromatic, musky, pungent and slightly bitter. It loses its zest on keeping. Store it away from light and in an airtight jar.
The most indispensable ingredient in the kitchen, salt, when used correctly, is the cook's best friend. It draws out those nuances of flavor which, had the food been left unsalted, may have lain dormant. Compensating for not using salt in the cooking by sprinkling it on the cooked food is not the same. You are likely to taste only salt. Maldon sea salt, from Essex, England, is a superior salt. It's completely natural, has no additives or bitter after-taste, and has a less aggressive taste, but it is expensive. Use regular salt (which is most likely iodised, ensuring you don't develop an iodine deficiency) in cooking and Maldon or similar salts in salads, on tomatoes, and similar uses.
Thick paste made from sesame meal. Sometimes spelled tahina.
Obtained from the pods of the tamarind tree and is used as a sour flavour in curries. It is sold in a slab with seeds and fibre. Break off a lump of tamarind and soak it in hot water. When the water is cool, break it apart with the fingers then pass it through a sieve to catch the seeds and fibre. Store unused tamarind well wrapped in the door of the refrigerator; it keeps well.
Tomato products
Tomatoes need plenty of exposure to full sun to develop that wonderfully sweet tomato flavor. In most instances in these recipes, I have recommended canned Italian tomatoes because they are a superior product to the watery, hot-house or hydroponically grown tomatoes usually available out of season. Passata is a brand name for tomatoes which have been skinned, cored, deseeded and pulped. It is the same type of puree you get if you mash canned Italian tomatoes, minus the seeds. The product is rich and sweet and makes excellent sauces.
Made form tart unripened grapes or other fruit. Used to add acidity to dishes. Milder than vinegar and lemon juice. Use it to deglaze roasting pans and roosting dishes, add it to vinaigrettes and sauces, to casseroles and soups.
Vin Santo
This sweet, or semi-dry wine, is made from grapes left to dry until they turn raisiny. The wine is then transferred to small barrels and left to age for at least 2 years. It is often served with hard biscuits, called cantucci, which are dipped into the Vin Santo to soften them.

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