We’ll be adding to the glossary as the need arises.

Baking blind – refers to baking or part-baking a pastry case before adding the filling. The helps to prevent the pastry becoming soggy. First line the pastry with wax paper and then weight it down with ceramic beans, if you have them. If you don’t have ceramic baking beans you can use dried beans or even rice as weights instead.

Infuse – to extract flavour from food by steeping it in a hot liquid. The resulting liquid is an infusion. As well as infusions of tea, coffee, etc, the technique is often used to infuse hot milk with flavour – eg with onions etc for bechamel sauce and with vanilla for custard.

Julienne (cutting) – to cut into thin matchstick shapes.  The technique is mainly used for vegetables or ham etc, and is often used as a garnish too.

Reduce – to partially evaporate a liquid by boiling it rapidly. There are two reasons for reducing: to concentrate the flavour or to thicken the liquid.

Rub in (pastry and scones) – to mix flour and other dry ingredients with butter or other hard cooking fat, such as lard, or vegetable margarine. Use your fingertips (or a food processor) to rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Sealing (meat) – in many cases meat should be sealed and browned before proceeding to cook it for whatever recipe you’re making. We have a description of the technique along with photos showing how to do it.

Sweat or sweat off – to soften vegetables, particularly onions, by frying or sautéing for a few minutes, so that they release their juices but don’t brown. Onions become soft and transparent when sweated off.

Top and tail – (a) to remove the inedible ends of a vegetable, such as a runner bean or a carrot; (b) to cut off the top and bottom of a round vegetable or fruit to enable it to sit squarely on a chopping board.

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