Allspice, ( Pimenta dioica ), french piment :
It is also called Jamaica pepper, pimento or new spice. To make the spice the dried unripe fruit of Pimenta dioica must be gathered. The name allspice was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who thought it combined the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg and gloves.
Tasty short-grain rice that comes from North-Italy. Grains are round and short. Cooking time is about 15 minutes. Arborio rice is sticky but also creamy. Grains tend to stay "al dente". How to measure out rice : 1 coffee-cup of rice serves two portions. In turn 1 coffee-cup of rice requires twice as much liquids to soften. That is always right : 1 coffee-cup of rice cooking in 2 coffee-cups of liquids ( such as stock, water ).
Asparagus ( Asparagus offcinalis ), french asperge :
Asparagus is very popular and cultivated in many countries. It is a member of the Lily family. Main producers for Europe are : Italy, France, Greece and Spain. Fresh and high quality asparagus can be recognised by closed tips and fresh cut as well as bright bottoms. If rubbing fresh asparagus spears against each other you can hear a crinkling and squealing noise. Keep fresh asparagus clean, cold and covered. To store wrap the stems in a moist kitchen-towel and refrigerate. Green asparagus tastes very aromatic and pairs perfectly with lemon and olive oil. Moreover, asparagus refines a fritatta or risotto best. White asparagus has to be peeled all over, whereas you only peel the last third down the bottom when preparing green asparagus.
Short-grain rice from northern Italy. Very sticky and glutinous rice, cooking time is about 18 minutes.
Barbary duck, ( Cairina Moschata ), french canard de Barbarie :
Also known as Muscovy ducks, these birds are leaner and better musculature than other breeds of farmed ducks. Renowned for their plump, firm meat, a whole duck ( around 3kg/6lb 10oz ) should feed 4-6 people comfortably.
Beef tenderloin, french filet de boeuf :
It is – without doubt – on of the best cuts of beef. The flesh is lean, tender but with light marbling running through the meat – this gives succulence and flavour. The tenderloin is very suitable for quick frying.
to blanch :
Vegetables or other foods are immersed briefly, usually 30 seconds to one minute, in boiling water to make the skin easy to remove, to eliminate or reduce strong odors or flavours and to set the colour.
Beetroot, ( vulgaris ssp. vulgaris var. conditiva ), french betterave rouge :
Also named table beet, garden beet or red beet. The roots contain betanin – a red colour – that is not fully broken down in the body. Betanin, obtained from the roots, is used industrially as a red food colorant. Beetroots are good for your health, they are an excellent source of folate and vitamines. The roots are best known pickled or vacuum-packed ( ready to cook ). If you want to prepare fresh roots, they first have to be boiled as a whole. After boiling they can be peeled – in so doing you can prevent the roots from "bleeding".
Capers ( Capparis spinosa L. ), french capres :
Dark green buds which are sun-dried and then packed in a vinegar brine. Capers range in size from tiny nonpareils from France, favoured for their delicate texture and more pronounced taste to larger sizes, which are stronger in flavour and less aromatic. The pungent flavour of capers lends piquancy to many sauces and condiments; and they are also used as a garnish for meat and vegetables.
This short-grain rice is an hybride between Vialone Nano and a Japanese variety. Grains are large with a high grade quality. Cooking time is about 20 minutes. High in amylose, but not very sticky. Carnaroli-rice is quite expensive due to the fact that this rice is not that often culitivated.
Chanterelle, ( Cantharellus cibarius ), french also girolle :
Chanterelles are trumpet shaped mushrooms that range in colour from yellow to orange. The mushroom is very valued by gourmets. It is a wild growing native of Europe. Chanterelles have a delicate, nutty, and peppery taste as well as chewy texture. Chanterelles pair well with white wine and fresh herbs. Fresh chanterelles are far more delicious than conserved ones.
Chervil ( Anthriscus cerefolium ), french cerfeuil :
Chervil is a herb that looks similar to flat leaf parsley but with a finer stem and more delicate, almost wilting leaves. It has a faint aniseed flavour – fresh and sweet. Chervil loses its flavour easily, either by drying or by exposing it to too much heat. So it should be added at the end of the cooking or sprinkled over finely chopped and fresh. It pairs perfectly with fish, potatoes and salades.
Classification of rice :
There are Italian terms that classify the rice : „commune“ or„orginario“ is the term for small grains. Grains with a medium length are referred to as „semifino“, and large grains are named „fino“. The term „superfino“ ( Arborio, Baldo and Carnaroli ) indicates highest quality.
Coriander, ( Coriandrum sativum ), french coriandre :
This are the dried seeds of the cilantro plant. They taste sweet and peppery. They are used whole or ground as a flavoring for food and as a seasoning. The seeds are used in curries, curry powder, pickles, sausages, soups and stews. Do not muddle up with coriander green.
Duesseldorfer Senf, Duesseldorf mustard :
Classic, very hot Dusseldorf-style mustard.
Finkenwerder is a marsh island of the "Niederelbe" closed to Hamburg. The Finkenwerder Scholle ( plaice ) is a very famous dish in Germany made with crispy bacon, lemon and capers.
Fish stock, french fumé de poisson :
Fumé is part of the Haute Cuisine. So the delicious fish stock has become indispensable for simmering gourmet fish. It also forms a base for fine fish soups and sauces. You can buy fish stock ready to cook in a jar. But it easily can be prepared at home. Ask for heads ( gills removed ) and bones of non-oily white fish ( sole, flunder, snapper ) at the fishmongers and simmer it together with vegetables and spices. Strain and store in the freezer.
Gelatin, french gélatine :
Gelatin is a common gelling agent and thickener that most people are familiar with. It is flavourless, colourless and brittle when dry. In it's pure form, gelatin comes either as gelatin sheets, or as powder. Generally, it is made from animal bones and collagen. Gelatin sheets have to be soaked in cold water before using them.
Goats's cream cheese ( Soft goat's cheese ), french fromage de chèvre frais :
Fresh goat's cheese is produced in many countries. It has an unique flavour that sets him apart from cow cheeses. Creamy goat's cheese contains between 45 und 50 % fat. They come in many sizes and shapes. This cheese contains a white and curdy paste with smooth, fresh and creamy flavours. Chevres are excellent dessert cheeses, often served as a snack or folded into risotti or pasta. Well known Chevres : Soignon, Chavroux, Chevrotele, Swiss Ziegenmilch-Ziger.
Gorgonzola cheese, french Gorgonzola :
Gorgonzola is one of the world's oldest blue-veined Italian Cheeses ( Piedmont, Lombardy, made from cow's milk ). Generally it takes three to four months to attain full ripeness. There exist many of varieties. Gorgonzola is known as the classic blue cheese. It has a crumply and soft texture with a nutty aroma. Gorgonzola dolce is young, creamy and mild. Gorgonzola mountain ( piccante ) tastes more mature, firm and pungent.
Goulash, french goulash :
Goulash is a rustic stew or soup made with beef and vegetables, and usually seasoned with paprika. It originates in Hungary. A good choice for making Goulash is the Chuck. Consisting of parts of the neck, shoulder blade and upper arm, beef chucks yields tough but very flavourful cuts of meat with a good deal of connective tissue.
King oyster mushroom, french pleurote :
Although the mushroom can be found wild, it is realistically a cultivated popular mushroom. The texture is possibly the meatiest in the gourmet mushroom world and ca be compared to porcinos. Do not store too long since the mushroom tends to become chewy.
Kneaded butter, french Beurre manié :
Beurre manié is a kneaded paste of butter and flour added to a soup or sauce toward the end of cooking in order to thicken. To make one, just combine equal parts flour and soft butter and whisk it into the liquid. Continue cooking for a few minutes until the taste of raw flour has gone.
Lobster ( Cammarus ), french homard :
Clawed lobsters comprise a family of large marine crustaceans. They have long bodies with muscular tails, and live in crevices or burrows on the sea floor. The flesh tastes delicious. It is a luxury product.
Macaire-Potatoes, french Pommes de Terres Macaire :
Robert Macaire was a noted criminal who appears in French plays. To prepare Potatoes Macaire mash potatoes and mix them with butter, salt and pepper. Shape the potato pastry into patties and fry them in a pan until golden-brown.
Meadow herbs, french herbes sauvage :
Meadow herbs serve as a spring therapy. They are very aromatic and can be added to salades or soups. Furthermore, they are a good source of minerals and vitamins of any kind. Make sure only to pick young and soft leafs, before the plant is in bloom. And mind not to harvest closed to trafficked roads or on heavy fertilised meadows.
Mozzarella cheese, french Mozzarella :
A mild, white fresh cheese made by a special progress, where the curd is dipped into hot water, then stretched and kneaded ( "filare" ). In the past mozzarella was only made from buffalo's milk. Most of the Mozzarella cheeses available nowadays are made from cow's milk. Fresh mozzarella cheese has a soft texture and a sweet, tasty flavour. Mozzarella cheese is not aged like most cheeses. It is eaten fresh.
Muscovy duck ( Cairina Moschata ), french les canards de Barbarie :
In Europe this duck is very popular. The taste is convincingly good with an aroma of wild bird. The wild bird's meat combines tenderness with pleasant firmness.
Neck ( pork ) :
Also known as collar butt. The Pork Neck Chop is one of the most flavourful cuts of pork. This cut is also very good for roasting or casseroles and stays moist during slow cooking.
Nutmeg ( mustcatus ), french noix muscade :
The hard brown seed from the nutmeg tree ( a tropical evergreen ) has a warm, spicy sweet flavour. It matches well with soups, white sauces, cheese, pumpkin and potatoes.
Olive oil, french huile d'olive :
Pressed from olives of the olive tree ( Oleo europaea ). People have been eating olive oil for thousands of years and it is now more popular than ever. So it is not surprising that this oil is referred to "fluent gold". Hundreds of varieties of olives are used to make olive oil. So the range available is huge – varying in colour, flavour, aroma and character. Extra-virgin oil is the best : it is the first pressing of whole unblemished olives. No more than 1 % of the oil is free oleic acid which makes the oil taste sharp. Produced mainly in France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.
Parma Ham, Proscuiutto ( Emilia Romagna ) :
Parma Ham is the most popular ham of all dry-cured hams in Italy. The name Parma Ham is exclusively reserved for hams bearing the Ducal Crown ( unique brand/PDO ). The secret of Parma Ham begins with a careful selection of the pigs. They must be born and raised by authorised breeding farms located in 10 regions of central-northern Italy. Making a Parma Ham is a long and painstaking process, there is only : Italien pigs, salt, air, and the goal to cure the pork leg with pure sea salt on order to keep the meet as sweet-tasting and as supple as possible. Other dry-cured hams are : San Daniel, Jamón Serrano, Jamón Ibérico.
Parmesan cheese, french Parmesan :
A hard, rich in flavour and dry type of Italian cheese. Parmigiano-Reggiano is the best known Parmesan cheese. It is a so called PDO/DOP – Cheese ( Protected Designation of Origin/e.g Emilia Romagna ) that is aged in very heavy wheels ( 30 kg ). Parmigiano-Reggiano cures in about 12 months up to 4 years. This cheese is prized for its flavour and aroma, which is fruity and nutty. Grano Padano tastes a bit sweeter and is produced in many places of northern Italy ( especially the region around the Po river ). This cheese is aged 12 up to 36 months. Grano Padano is very delicious too, but not that rich in flavour as Parmigiano-Reggiano. Parmesan cheese is ideal for risotti and pasta. Tip : Parmesan cheese should be grated freshly.
Pearl barley, french orge perlée :
To get pearl barley, all the bran layers and husks of the grain ( barley, seldom wheat ) is removed. This gives round, shiny grains and a pearlescent white colour ( polished ). They can be bought as whole grains or split. Pearl barley can be used in soups and stews as a thickener ( split grains ), as salad or cooked like a risotto.
Piccata, Italian cutlets :
"Italian escalope"! "Piccata" is an Italien dish that consists of thinly pound meat. It is traditionally sautéed briefly. In Milan the meat is served with a golden, delicious coating, consisting of beaten egg and Parmesan cheese ( Piccata alla milanese ). You can also make Piccata from chicken or other meat.
Pesto is an herb-based sauce originated in Italy that is typically made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese. Many variations of this sauce exist in the Mediterranean cuisine, which may be different simply by the type of cheese, nuts or herbs – eg. rocket or wild garlic. As an example, a red couloured version of pesto, known as "pesto rosso" in the Italian, is made from sun-dried tomatoes as one of the key ingredients. Pesto is traditionally used as a pasta sauce but may be used as a seasoning for other dishes as well as an ingredient or topping for appetisers.
Pine kernel, pine nuts ( Pinus pinea ), french pignon :
Pine kernels – referred to "pinola" in Italy – are the unpeeled, and dried oilseeds of female young cones of the pine tree. They are also crunchy yet butter textured and pleasantly sweet. Pine nuts are also used roasted to refine and provide flavour to many dishes. Shelled and processed kernels deteriorate soon if exposed to warm, humid conditions. Unshelled nuts have a long shelf life and can be stored for many months.
Plaice ( Glaeba ), french carrelet :
A popular orange-spotted flat sea fish with a mild, sweet flavour. There are four species in the group, the European, American, Alaskan, and scale-eye plaice. The German "Finkenwerder Scholle" is a very popular dish.
Polenta is an Italian storecupboard staple and has its roots in the cuisine of northern Italy. It is made by grinding corn into flour and meal. The rich yellow colour is quite appetising. Polenta can be cooked to be creamy and thick, or allowed to set and then sliced. Serve it instead of pasta, rice or potatoes. Moreover, it can be used for desserts. Polenta is available in various grades, ranging from coarse to fine. Different types take different lenght of time to cook. The part-cooked instant polenta is ready in 5 to 8 minutes.
Potato dumplings, Kartoffelklöße or Kartoffelknödel :
Dumplings can be made from uncooked and cooked potatoes. Cooked potatoes are to be pressed through a potato ricer. Very popular are also dumplings containing a mixture between cooked and uncooked ( halb & halb ) potatoes. This tasty side-dish belongs to the classic German cuisine. It is found everywhere in the South of Germany, Austria and Bohemia. Traditionally the dumplings are served with any roast with gravy, as an accompaniment for a hearty Sauerbraten and red cabbage.
Pumpkin, squash, french courge :
It is a fruit of the gourd family and native to the Western Hemisphere. The pumpkin was already referred to in 1543 in a herbal book. A wide variety in size, shape, and colour is existing nowadays. Since these hundreds of types are confusing to the customer, the pumpkin is divided into two general categories : summer squash and winter squash. Summer squashs have thin, edible skins and soft seeds. Winter squashs have hard, thick skins and seeds. Popular pumpkins : Butternut, Neck squash ( musky gourd ), Hokkaido pumpkin ( skin edible ).
to prepare a pumpkin / squash :
Cut the squash in half, then remove the seed and fibres from the centre with a spoon. Cut into segments, peel and cut the flesh into sticks or cubes. You can leave the skin on, if using a Hokkaido pumpkin.
Red onion ( Allium cepa var.cepa ), french oignon :
Red onions, sometimes called purple onions, are cultivars of the onion with purplish red skin and white flesh tinged with red. They have a mild to sweet flavour, are often consumed raw, grilled or lightly cooked with other foods, or added as a decoration to salads.
Stock, braising juices or sauces are cooked without a lid so that the liquid evaporates; thus they become concentrated and thick. The process gives stocks, soups and sauces a more intensive aroma.
Rib eye steak, french entrecôte :
The word entrecôte in French literally means "between the ribs". Indeed, the traditional steak was made of the meat between the 9th and 11th rib, thus making the entrecôte a very rare and exclusive steak. It is a very tender cut and usually prepared by quick sautéing and grilling. The Entrecôte simple weighs about 200 g. The Entrecôte double serves two persons and weighs about 400 g.
Rocket; argula, ( Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa ), french roquette :
Already in the Middle Ages rocket was well known and popular as a herb, that is diuretic and digestive. Moreover, it was appreciated as a spice. Rocket has a strong, peppery flavour, and the leaves have a slight bite to them. It is very tasty served as a salad and pairs wonderfully with Pasta. It can also be placed on top of a pizza.
Rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis ), french romarin :
Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game, but it is also suited to fish and beef. Originally from the Mediterranean, rosemary is most extensively used in French, Spanish and Italian cooking. Rosemary is evergreen and is available fresh all year round. Dried rosemary is an acceptable alternative, but quickly loses its strength and flavour. Whole sprigs of rosemary can be added to pieces of meat or roasted vegetable as well as potatoes. This gives the dish a delicious mediterranean taste.
The Roux is a thickening agent for soups and sauces. Its roots are dating back more than 300 years in French cuisine. It is made by cooking a flour and fat paste until the raw flavour of the flour cooks out. Both the flavour and the colour become deeper the longer the roux cooks ( blond or brown roux ). A good roux gives dishes a silky-smooth body and a nutty flavour. The optimal mixture contains one part fat and one part all-purpose flour, by weight.
Saddle of Lamb, french selle d'agneau :
Lamb has grown in popularity over the last several years. The saddle is ideal for frying. Spring lambs have a very tender flesh. As the animal agens the flesh will darken in colour and take on a slightly coarser texture. So look for the lightest colour when bying lamb.
Saffron ( Crocus sativus ), french safran :
Saffron is the most precious spice. It is derived from the flower of Crocus sativus. To get 1 kg of saffron, 80.000 flowers must be gathered. So the high price is not surprising! Saffron is native in Southwest Asia. Romans brought saffron to Spain – today Spain is still the main producer of this costly spice. Saffron has an aroma which cannot be duplicated. It is sold in two forms : powder and threads. If using too much saffron, the dishes will get an hay-like fragrance and aroma.
Sage ( Salvia officinalis ), french sauge :
Already in ancient Greece sage was used to aromatise dishes. Moreover, is was known as a medical plant. Fresh sage is less bitter than dried sage. It is best to harvest the leafs before the plant is in flower. Sage pairs well with mediterranean dishes and fat-rich recipes.
Salmon ( Salmonide ), french saumon :
Atlantic Salmon and Pacific Salmon : They are usually classified by the ocean in which they are located. The salmon is a predator and feeds on small fishes as well as crustacean. Due to the crustaceans they have a appetisingly orange/pink colour. Furthermore, salmons belong to the family of fatty fishes – they are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and D. In Europe mainly Atlantic Salmon ( Salmo salar ) is consumed – which is mostly available as farmed-raised salmon. Also Wild Salmon can be bought- this fish possesses more muscles that makes the flesh more firm.
Saltimbocca alla Romana :
It is a dish originated in Italy, that is made by wrapping a thin, pound piece of meat ( veal ) in prosciutto, adding sage. The term means "jump into the mouth". The prepared saltimbocca is traditionally sautéed. It is a fuss-free mouth-watering dish. Only use high- quality prosciutto.
Sea bream ( Sparidae ), french dorade :
It is a lean fish consisting of a large family of fish found in temperate and tropical waters all over the world. Their texture is coarse, succulent and the flavour is delicate. In Europe people prefer the gilthead seabream, which is also named "Dorade royale". Sea breams are incredible versatile and perfectly suitable for grilling and frying. Tip : Grill the sea bream marinated or bake en papillote in aluminium foil.
Sea salt, french sel de mer :
Sea salt is salt produced from the evaporation of seawater. It is used in cooking and cosmetics. Like mineral salt, production of sea salt has been dated to prehistoric times. Some cooks believe it tastes better than salt from mines.
Sepia ink, french sépia :
Squids hold a sac full of ink. You can harvest this ink for cooking. To remove the ink sac, cut open the squid lengthwise. Pull out the shell. Then pull the head and tentacles out of the body cavity. The guts will come along with the head. Look for the small thin sac about halfway along. Carefully detach the ink sac. If you don't want to harvest yourself, you can buy "ready to cook" sepia ink in a deli or via internet.
Shallot, ( Allium cepa var. ascallonicum ), french échalote :
Related to the onion, shallots grow in clusters at the leaf base. Most varieties are smaller than onions, have finer layers and contain less water. The flavour is much milder and sweeter than that of the onion. Therefore the shallot is indispensable in the Gourmet's cuisine.
Sole ( Solea vulgaris ) french sole :
The sole is a saltwater flatfish found in the Atlantic, Baltic Sea and in the Mediterranean Sea. This fine fish is highly valued by gourmets and also quite expensive. Soles have tender flesh with a delicate flavour and firm flaky texture. The best known sole is the Dover sole. It is generally available in fillets, which are fresh or frozen. The sole is suitable for frying, but when frying, beware of the time! When fried in very hot fat, the flesh will turn firm and dry.
Stock, french fumét, bouillon :
Stocks serve as a base for soups and sauces. It is also sometimes called broth, fumét or bouillon. The difference between stock and broth is, that broths are intended to be served and stock is used in the production of other dishes. To make a stock, bones, meat, chicken, fish ( bones ) or vegetables are gently cooked in water. Mostly a bouquet garni and cut vegetables are added. You can buy stocks in a jar or make them at home.
Sucrose, Cane sugar, french sucre de cannes :
It is a brown sugar, a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content ( natural brown sugar ), or it is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar ( commercial brown sugar ). Cane sugar is quite aromatic, not only sweet.
Tarragon, french estragon :
An herb with narrow, pointed, gray-green leaves with a distinctive anise or licorice flavour. Only the leaves are edible. Tarragon is excellent with seafood, fruits, poultry, eggs and most vegetables, as well as sauces, particularly bearnaise sauce. Tarragon can easily dominate other flavours, and care should be taken when using tarragon. Tarragon leaves should be used fresh, as the aroma of dried tarragon is usually very weak.
Trimming meat :
Meat, poultry, game etc. should be trimmed. With a very sharp knife you remove the silverskin, fat, and gristles of the cut.
Trout ( Salmonide ), french truite :
Trouts are very popular and high valued for food. It is a species that belongs in the salmonid family. There is a huge variety of this tasty fish. They have a streamlined, spreckled body and usually inhabit freshwater streams or lakes. Their meat is delicately textured, moreover, it is a good source of protein and minerals. Well-known trouts : Rainbow Trout, Golden Trout, Brown Trout.
Turbot ( Scophtalmus maximus ), french turbot :
Like halibut, turbot is a highly prized species ( and often regarded as the best of the flat fish ) with great flavour and firm, white flesh. It has an almost round shaped body, studded with bony tubercles on its dark side. Colour varies from light to dark brown, spotted with green or black and a white blind side. The texture is similar to halibut, but it has a slightly more pronounced ‘fishy’ taste, so requires very little to enhance the flavour.
Vanilla pod ( Vanilla planifolia ), french gousse de vanille :
Vanilla pods contain the seeds from the vanilla orchid plant. The green pods must be cured in the sun over several days, raised to high temperatures and 'sweated' in cloth to achieve the complex balance of sugars and aromatics, then dried and straightened out for several weeks. This process also transforms the green seed pods into the characteristic wrinkly, dark-brown pods. Vanilla goes well with desserts, cream, cakes and ice cream.
Vialone Nano :
Rice from Northern Italy. Large grains containing a lot of amylose. Not very sticky. Cooking time is about 15 to 18 minutes. Used for risotti.
Walnut ( Juglans regia ), french noix :
It is worth the cracking! Since the kernel is delicious and also good for your health. Walnuts contain carbs for power, eupeptic proteins and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. The fresher cracked open the better the aroma. Walnuts pair – roasted or not – with many dishes such as Pesto and salades.
Wild garlic ( Allium ursinum ), french ail des ours :
As a member of the Allium family, the plant leaves have the same pleasing combination of sweetness and astringency that make onions, chives and bulb garlic so useful in the kitchen. The season for the delicious leaves is short – they are gone by June. Beware of picking something poisonous. The wild garlic leaf looks very similar to that of the Lily of the Valley. For a failsafe test, take a leaf and crush it in your hand, then inhale the "garlic odor". Use it fresh and do not heat too much – it will loose its mouth-watering aroma.