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What is and how to?

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When I go around the country, appearing at shows and doing demonstrations I often get asked by the audience what certain things are – especially these days with the influx of products and spices we could not get easily in the past.

What is dukka? Dukka is Egyptian in origin. It is a blend of toasted nuts, seeds and spices that is traditionally eaten on bread that has first been dipped in olive oil. It may also be served as a seasoning on deep fried vegetables. In a more contemporary way use it as a basis for a crust for chicken or fish.

What is dim sum? Dim sum literally means, “to touch the heart” and it is a dumpling meal served as part of the ritual of yum cha – “to drink tea”, Yum cha and dim sum are served in Chinese teahouses.

What is pancetta? It is the Italian version of bacon. It is cured belly of pork similar to streaky bacon but is cured with salt and spices.

What is seitan? Seitan is gluten derived from washing the starch from wheat. It is used as a high protein meat supplement in vegetarian dishes.

In which foods does glucose naturally occur? Glucose is sugar in its natural form and is found in ripe fruit and honey.

What is the difference between noodles and pasta? Pasta simply means dough in Italian and refers to any shape made from flour dough mixture. Noodles may be made from pasta dough or a variety of other starchy substances.

Is the croissant originally French? No, the croissant originated in Budapest, Hungary in 1686

What is a legume? A legume is a s seedpod that splits open down both seams when ripe. The most common legumes are beans, peas, Soya beans and lentils. When dried, the seeds of a legume are referred to as pulses.

How does German and French marzipan differ from English marzipan? Both German and French marzipans have their ingredients cooked together while the English make an uncooked paste.

What is the main ingredient of panzanella salad? Panzanella is a Tuscan summer salad made with day old bread. The bread is soaked in water for a few minutes then squeezed before it is added to the rest of the ingredients. It is also popular to soak the bread in tomato juice and olive oil instead of water.

What is the difference between tartare and remoulade sauce? Tartare sauce is mayonnaise that has chopped capers, gherkins and parsley added to it and remoulade is mayonnaise with added mustard, chopped capers, anchovies and herbs.

What is fondant? Fondant, or as it is sometimes called, sugar paste, is the basis of many sweets and also used for chocolate centres and cake icing.

Why is sugar added to Irish coffee beside the taste it gives? It helps float the cream.

What is the difference between croutons and croutes? Croutons are thin slices of bread cut into cubes and fried, used in soups and salads while croutes are large slices of fried bread, which are placed under tournedos, beef or lamb noisettes.

What is a confit? Confit is meat like goose, duck or pork, which has been salted, cooked and preserved in its own fat.

What is the difference between spice and herbs? Spices refer to buds, barks, roots, berries and aromatic seeds that are gathered from various plants and dried. They are also higher in essential oils. Herbs are the leafy part of the plants, which are gathered and dried or used fresh.

Can mayonnaise be use as a cake ingredient? Yes, the first mayonnaise cake recipe was created in 1937. It often makes a good substitute for the fat and eggs called for in cake recipes.

What may be used in order to achieve a moister cake? Place a dish of water on the rack of the oven floor below the baking cake.

Which has less caffeine, a cup of espresso or a cup of regular coffee? A cup of espresso can contain up to 50% less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee. This is because caffeine is water-soluble and is exposed to water longer in a filter coffee machine.

Are cashew nuts eaten raw? The cashew nut in its natural state contains poisonous oil. Roasting them removes this oil and makes the nut safe to eat.

What is the difference between strawberries and other fruits? The strawberry is the only agricultural product that bears its seeds on the outside.

Happy eating!


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