Sichuan pepper is not like any of its namesakes, the smell and taste are unique. It has a citrus aroma, in fact, it is a member of the citrus family and creates a mild pleasant numbness in the mouth.
Tofu or bean curd is made from soy milk. In a process similar to making cheese it is first made into curds which are pressed into blocks.
Douchi ( 豆豉 ) are semi-dried fermented and salted black soybeans used in Chinese cooking. The finished taste is both sweet and salty so the beans are used sparingly as a flavouring to dishes.
Mustard is made from the seeds of various varieties of mustard plant which are black, brown or white. Mustard plants can be grown all year round, except in areas of extreme cold winters. The plants are fast growing, reaching up to three meters, with bright yellow flowers in the shape of a cross. Mustard seeds are used in cooking and preparing the popular condiment. Mustard seeds have a range of flavours from sweet to hot and pungent.
Clotted cream is a very thick cream made by heating full-fat cow’s milk in a Bain Marie, then leaving to slowly cool.
Fennel has an anise-liquorice like aroma and flavour. You can eat the leaves which are very similar to Dill, as garnishes and to add flavour to soups, salads and sauces. The greyish seeds are used in baking, breads and as a spice particularly in Chinese Five Spice and ‘Italian’ sausages found across North America. The large bulb of the fennel plant can be roasted, grilled, cooked in stews and is delicious sliced really thinly and eaten raw.
Harissa is a popular North African hot chilli paste generally made from a mix of smoky, roasted red peppers, hot chilli peppers, garlic, spices such as coriander and caraway seeds and olive oil.
Worcestershire Sauce is a fermented liquid condiment created in 1837 by two English chemists. It is used in lots of home cooking, burgers, soups, stews and casseroles, principally because of its savoury flavours and as a source of umami. Specifically, Worcestershire Sauce is a principal ingredient in Welsh Rarebit, Caesar Dressing, and the Bloody Mary Cocktail.
Nam prik pao or Thai Chilli paste is made from roasted garlic, chillies, shallots and as with many Thai base recipes dried shrimp.
Granola is an increasingly popular breakfast cereal made from baked oats with honey and sugar.
Tomato concassé is the flesh from fresh tomatoes that have been peeled, de-seeded and chopped into a dice. It is a staple of many professional kitchens used in sauces such as Chasseur, omelettes, with olive oil, garlic, and basil as a topping for bruschetta and when added to Béarnaise sauce to make Choron sauce, served with fish and seafood.
An amuse-bouche or more correctly in France an amuse-gueule is literally translated as "mouth amuser".
Classic Espagnole sauce has a very strong taste and is seldom used directly, it serves as the starting point for many derivatives, of which there are hundreds in the classical French repertoire.
Ghee is a south Asian pure butterfat used for frying and flavouring similar to clarified butter.
Melba toast is completely dry, crisp, thinly sliced, toasted bread and most often served with soup or pâté. History has it that the name was given to the toast by the world’s most famous hotel manager César Ritz. Melba toast was created by his equally famous chef Auguste Escoffier for the Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, around 1897.
Mirepoix, a trio of aromatic vegetables, became popular in 19thcentury French cooking.Mirepoix is a small, fine dice normally of onions, carrots, and celery roughly in the proportions 2:1:1. It is the base flavour of many classic sauces and stocks and slow-cooked casseroles and stews.
Doubanjiang or douban is a salty spicy paste made from fermented broad beans, soya beans and rice and red chillies. It is known as ‘ the soul of Sichuan cuisine'
Empire or Belgium biscuits are the rather patriotic names for a sandwich of two shortbread biscuits stuck together with ( raspberry ) jam and topped with icing and a cherry or a jelly tot sweet.
A Linzer Torte or Linzertorte is a tart made using a rich buttery sable pastry. It is made at Christmas across Austria, Hungary, Switzerland and across the USA.
An egg wash is usually a mix of beaten egg, egg and milk or egg and water brushed onto baked goods.