Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What is Culinary Arts

Culinary art is the art of preparing and cooking foods. The word "culinary" is defined as something related to, or connected with, cooking. A culinarion is a person working in the culinary arts. A culinarian working in restaurants is commonly known as a cook or a chef. Culinary artists are responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are as pleasing to the palate as to the eye. Increasingly they are required to have a knowledge of the science of food and an understanding of diet and nutrition. They work primarily in restaurants, fast food chain store franchises, delicatessens, hospitals and other institutions. Kitchen conditions vary depending on the type of business, restaurant, nursing home, etc.

cooking methods and technique

Basic Saute - This cooking method forms the basis of many mince recipes. Meat is cooked in a small amount of oil to tenderize and seal in the flavors.
  1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan for 1 minutes.
  2. Add the minced meat and saute gently for 7 minutes.
  3. Stir the meat until brown and sealed.
Dry Frying - An alternative to the basic saute, dry frying is a healthier way to seal meats as it does not require any additional fat or oil.
  1. Heat a non-stick coated frying an gently over a low flame.
  2. Add the mince.
  3. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring until brown and sealed.
Stir-Frying - An increasingly popular cooking method. Foods are quickly fried in a hot wok or heavy-based frying pan with a small amount of oil.
  1. Heat a wok over a low flame.
  2. Add the oil and heat it until almost smoking.
  3. Add the ingredients and fry over a high heat, stirring constantly until cooked through.
Blanching - This tenderizes foods, cooking them slightly before further use. An ideal way to loosen the skin of tomatoes, nuts etc, making them easier to peel.
  1. Trim the top from the tomatoes and scoop out the central flesh.
  2. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the tomatoes and blanch for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the tomatoes with a draining spoon, refresh in cold water, and upturn onto a piece of absorbent kitchen paper.
Mincing with a Food Processor - Foods such as fish and prawns are ideal for mincing in a food processor, using the chopping blade. A quick method of producing  a basic mince for recipes.
  1. Wash, skin and bone the fish.
  2. Flake the fish and place in a food processor fitted with a chopping blade.
  3. Process the fish for 30 seconds on high speed or until finely minced. Use as required.
Mincing with a Mincer - This is the traditional piece of equipment used to mince both cooked and raw ingredients. There are several different blades with a mincer, allowing different textured mince to be produced.
  1. Trim excess fat from the meat and chop into small pieces. Attach the mincer to a work surface and place a bowl underneath. Select the required blade.
  2. Feed the meat into the top of the mincer, turning the handle all the time. Use the minced meat as required.

How to truss a poultry

To truss poultry with string, take a piece of butcher's string about three times the length of the bird. Place the bird on its back, tail end nearest to you. Slide the string underneath so that it is cradling the bird in the center if its back.

Now, gently pull the string up the sides...
...then around the wings. Pull the strings toward you, close to the breast, so that the wings are held against the body.
Cross the strings at the base of the breast, then wrap each string around the end of a drumstick.
Tie the ends of the string together, cinching it tightly so that the legs cross.
Then, lift the bird so that the tail end is up and wrap the string around the tail. Tie the string, pulling tightly so that the cavity is covered by the tail.
Place the bird on its back again and bring the string back to the front, then tie it off. Your bird is now ready for the oven.

How to make brown sauce

Espagnole (Brown) Sauce

  • ¾ pint (420 ml) of brown meat stock
  • 1 oz (30 g) of butter
  • 1 oz (30 g) chopped streaky bacon
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 4 tbsp of chopped mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp of flour
  • 2 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • salt and pepper
  1. Place the butter in a large saucepan and heat gently until it melts.
  2. Add the chopped bacon and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables and continue to gently fry all the ingredients until the vegetables have softened.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour.
  5. Return the pan to the heat and cook the flour mixture (roux) until it turns a dark brown colour. Do not allow it to burn.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the meat stock a little at a time.
  7. Continue to stir the sauce continuously until it thickens and then add the tomato purée, the bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about an hour.
  9. Skim the top of the sauce from time to time.
  10. When the sauce is ready, you should have a thick brown strong-tasting sauce. Strain the sauce into a new pan through a sieve so that only the liquid passes through.
  11. Serve as you wish or freeze the sauce in individual batches for later use.

how to make chicken stock

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How to Make Chicken Stock

Here are two basic ways to make chicken stock. One method uses the leftover bones from a chicken carcass and vegetables, and takes several hours of slow cooking. The second method uses chicken backs and wings, sautéing them first, and takes about 1 hour to prepare. We prefer this second method as it yields a more rich, delicious stock. But the first method can be a great way to not let good bones go to waste.
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How to Make Chicken Stock

Method 1. Leftover Chicken Bones
  • Leftover bones and skin from a cooked or raw chicken carcass
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Carrot
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper
1 Put the leftover bones and skin from a chicken carcass into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add veggies like celery, onion, carrots, parsley. Add salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper.
2 Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer uncovered at least 4 hours, occassionally skimming off the foam that comes to the surface.
3 Remove the bones and strain the stock.
4 If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by simmering a few hours longer to make it more concentrated and easier to store.
Method 2. Chicken backs, wings, and legs.
  • 4 lbs of chicken backs, wings, and or legs that have been hacked with a cleaver into 2-inch pieces. You can ask your butcher to prepare the chicken pieces this way.
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped.
  • Olive oil
  • 2 quarts of boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 bay leaves
1 Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large stock pot. Add one chopped onion. Sauté until softened and slightly colored - 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
2 Add half of the chicken pieces to the pot. Sauté until no longer pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to bowl with onions. Sauté the rest of the chicken the same way. Return onion and chicken pieces to the pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes.
3 While the chicken pieces are cooking, fill a large tea kettle with 2 quarts of water, bring to a boil.
4 After the chicken pieces have been cooking for 20 minutes, raise the heat level to high, add the 2 quarts of boiling water, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 bay leaves. Return to a low simmer, then cover and barely simmer for about 20 minutes.
5 Strain broth and discard solids. Broth can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for several months.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

fish and chips

beef dripping or oil, for deep frying (beef dripping is used in the traditional method and gives a far better flavour, but sunflower or vegetable oil will work just as well)

For the fish
4x175g/6oz thick cod or haddock fillets, taken from the head end rather than the tail end of the fish

225g/8oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

salt and freshly ground black pepper

300ml/10fl oz fridge-cold lager

For the chips
6-8 large floury potatoes, such as maris piper, king edward, desiree (depending on how hungry you are)

Preparation method
1.Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and preheat the dripping or oil to 120C/250F.

2.For the chips, peel the potatoes and cut into whatever size you prefer. Wash well in cold water, drain and pat dry with a clean tea towel. Put the potatoes into the fryer and allow them to fry gently for about 8-10 minutes, until they are soft but still pale. Check they're cooked by piercing with a small, sharp knife. Lift out of the pan and leave to cool slightly on greaseproof paper.

3.Increase the heat of the fryer to 180C/350F.

4.Season the fish and dust lightly with flour; this enables the batter to stick to the fish.

5.To make the batter, sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl and whisk in the lager to give a thick batter, adding a little extra beer if it seems over-thick. It should be the consistency of very thick double cream and should coat the back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and thickly coat 2 of the fillets with the batter. Carefully place in the hot fat and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan, drain and sit on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, then keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining 2 fillets in the same way.

6.Once the fish is cooked, return the chips to the fryer and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden and crispy. Shake off any excess fat and season with salt before serving with the crispy fish. If liked, you can serve with tinned mushy peas and bread and butter, for the authentic experience!

Cream of mushroom soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

1 pound regular white mushrooms, cleaned, quartered or sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
Minced parsley for garnish


1 In a food processor, coarsely chop mushrooms and lemon juice.

2 Melt butter in (4-5 quart) sauce pan and lightly sauté shallots on medium heat. Add mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf, sauté over moderate heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid that is released from the mushrooms disappears.
3 Add salt, pepper, cream and chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

4 Add cornstarch and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Correct seasoning and add more lemon juice to taste.

Serves 4. Serve sprinkled with a little parsley.