Cook’s Encyclopedia – F

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falafel: a Middle Eastern speciality consisting of small, deep-fried croquettes or balls made of highly spiced, ground chickpeas. They’re generally tucked inside pita bread, sandwich style, but can also be served as appetisers. A yoghurt or tahini-based sauce is often served with felafel.
farfalle: bowtie shaped pasta.
fava bean: This tan, rather flat bean resembles a very large lima bean. It comes in a large pod which, unless very young, is inedible. Fava beans can be purchased dried, cooked in cans and, infrequently, fresh. If you find fresh fava beans, choose those with pods that aren’t bulging with beans, which indicates age. Fava beans have a very tough skin, which should be removed by blanching before cooking. They’re very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. They can be cooked in a variety of ways and are often used in soups. Also called faba bean, broad bean and horse bean.
feijoa: a fruit grown in New Zealand with a thin green skin and a flavour reminiscent of strawberry, banana, and pineapple, a autumn fruit.
feijoada completa: A Brazilian dish very similar to cassoulet, made with black beans. Sausage, bacon, ham, and various cuts of pork are cooked in with the beans. The traditional accompaniments are plain white rice, cooked greens, fresh orange slices, and a very hot sauce, similar to pico de gallo, called molho carioca. Toasted cassava flour is used as a condiment, to be added by each diner. This too is a very substantial dish and needs little else to accompany it.
fennel: also known as finocchio or anise; eaten raw in salads, or braised or fried as a vegetable accompaniment. Also the name given to dried seeds having a liquorice flavour.
fenugreek: a very hard seed grown in the Middle East, which is used as a spice. Its dominant flavour and aroma is recognisable in commercial curry powders.
ferment: to (cause to) change chemically through the action of living substances, such as yeast or bacteria.
fermentation: breakdown of complex molecules brought about by a ferment, as in the changing of grape sugar into ethyl alcohol by yeast enzymes.
ferrero rocher: a commercial sweet made from hazelnuts and milk chocolate.
feta cheese: feta is a white cheese made from sheep’s milk or goat’s milk. The fresh cheese is salted and cut into blocks before being matured in its own whey. It must be kept in the whey or in oil during storage or it will deteriorate quickly. Persian feta is particularly cream. Feta is available from delicatessens and most supermarkets.
fettuccine: flat narrow pasta noodles less than wide and a bit thicker than tagliatelle.
figs: dried – the slightly crunchy, dehydrated form of a black or golden fruit. They can be eaten as is or used as an ingredient in savoury dishes or desserts. Glace – figs cooked and preserved in heavy syrup.
fillet: special cut of beef, lamb, pork or veal; the breast of poultry and game; fish cut off the bone lengthways.
filo pastry: also known as phyllo; tissue-thin pastry sheets purchased chilled or frozen.
filter: 1) Device made of cloth, paper, porous porcelain, or a layer of charcoal or sand, through which liquid is passed to remove suspended impurities or to recover solids. 2) Remove impurities/solids from a liquid by the action of the filter.
financier: a small cake or cookie that is made with ground nuts and whipped egg whites. These are soft like sponge cake, and have a rich flavour of nuts.
fines herbes: a mixture of chopped fresh herbs consisting of tarragon, parsley, chervil and chives. Dried herbs may also be used, but their delicacy is lost.
finnan haddie: the Scottish name for smoked haddock.
firm tofu: curd which is made from the liquid extracted from pressed, cooked soy beans, which are then drained and pressed into cakes of varying textures. Firm tofu contains less liquid and is easier to cut and cook without breaking up than soft tofu.
fish fillets: boned and skinned fish pieces.
fish sauce: an amber-coloured liquid drained from salted, fermented fish and used in Thai dishes. Available from supermarkets and Asian food stores, where it is often labelled ‘nam pla’.
five-spice powder: a fragrant mixture of ground cinnamon, clove, star anise, sichuan pepper and fennel seeds.
flake: to break into small pieces with a fork.
flame: to ignite warmed alcohol over food.
flan: an open tart.
flathead: also known as sand or slimy flathead.
flat-leaf parsley: also known as continental or Italian parsley.
fleuron: a small crescent shaped pastry made of puff dough that is used to garnish fish dishes and soups.
Florentine: this is used to describe foods that are cooked in the style of Florence. The word is most commonly associated with dishes containing spinach and sometimes a cream sauce. Steak cooked ala Florentine is a large T-bone steak, rubbed with olive oil and garlic, grilled and served with fresh lemon on the side.
flour: plain – an all-purpose flour, made from wheat. Self-raising an all-purpose flour mixed with baking powder in the proportion of 1 cup of flour to 2 teaspoons baking powder.
floured surface: a clean surface with a thin covering of sifted flour.
focaccia: flat Italian-style bread made with yeast.
fold: to add carefully a dry ingredient to a moist mixture.
fold in: to combine by gently turning one part of mixture over the other with a spoon, keeping the mixture light.
forcemeat: stuffing for poultry and meats.
foyot: this is a variation of a bearnaise sauce with the addition of a well reduced meat glaze.
frangipane: a pastry cream made of butter, eggs, flour, and finely ground almonds or macaroons. Modern versions will use a combination of cornstarch and flour. The nuts must be very finely ground for this to be successful. This type of raw cream is baked in the pastry shell or crepe. Frangipane is also the name for a type of panada used in making forcemeats.
freeze: preserve food by making solid or until (frozen) solid by refrigerating below freezing point or using blast freeze equipment.
French beans: this green bean is a very thin variety that is crisp and tender. Also known as string beans, they are sometimes available with yellow, purple or cream pods.
French dressing: a simple combination of oil and vinegar, usually seasoned with salt, pepper and various herbs.
French shallot: a member of the onion family; grows in a cluster of bulbs, much like garlic.
French tarragon: fragrant, long, narrow and slender dark-green leafed herb. There is another variety – Russian tarragon is often sold labelled as French, and is to be avoided as it lacks the delicate anise-lie flavour of the real thing. Russian tarragon can be identified by its small yellow flowers and slightly serrated leaves.
French-trimmed: bone ends cleaned of meat.
fresh herbs: you can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for 4 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) chopped fresh herbs.
fresh horseradish: horseradish is the root of the mustard family – large and white, it has a knobbly brown skin. It is very pungent and has a spicy, hot flavour. It is usually freshly grated as a condiment for roast beef and smoked fish. When commercially produced, horseradish is often blended with cream to give it a smoother texture. Dollop on roast beef or smoked salmon.
fricassee: a dish in which poultry, fish or vegetables are bound together with a white or veloute sauce. In Britain and the United States, the name applies to an old-fashioned dish of chicken in a creamy sauce. A white stew.
frite: food that has been dipped in batter and deep or shallow fried. These may consist of vegetables, meat, fish, shellfish, or fruit. The food may be dipped in the batter or mixed with the batter and dropped into the hot fat to form little balls. Japanese tempura fried foods are a type of fritter, though this term is not applied to it.
frittata: an Italian open-faced omelette.
fritto misto: an Italian mixed fried platter, similar to the Japanese tempura platter. A mixture of vegetables, meat, and fish are dipped in a light batter and quickly deep fried to prevent a saturation of grease into the food.
frozen products: foods made solid by refrigeration below freezing. Food must not be partially thawed and are to be frozen solid.
fruit pectin: a substance found naturally in fruits such as apples, quince, and all citrus fruits. Pectin’s ability to gel liquids makes it a key ingredient in jelly and jam making. You can purchase pectin in powder or liquid form, or use high pectin fruits in the recipe.
fry: frying of ingredients at high heat, which ensures a favourable crisp texture while maintaining a moist core.
FSANZ: “Food Standards Australia and New Zealand” is an independent bi-national organisation. Providing a focus for cooperation between governments, industry and the community to establish and maintain uniform food regulation in Australia and New Zealand. FSANZ is a partnership between Australia’s Commonwealth, State and Territory governments and the New Zealand Government.
fugu: Japanese for swellfish; globefish; blowfish; balloon fish; puffer. Fugu is caught in winter only, and it is eaten as chiri-nabe (hotpot) or fugu-sushi (raw fugu, sliced paper-thin). Only licensed fugu chefs are allowed to prepare this fish in Japan, since it contains a deadly poison.
fumet: an aromatic broth made for use in soups and sauces. The flavour of a fumet is usually concentrated on one item, though multiple ingredients may be used. The stock is then reduced to concentrate this flavour. Fish and vegetable broths are more commonly called fumets, but meat may also be used.
fusilli: spiral shaped pasta. Some versions are shaped like a spring. Other versions are shaped like a twisted spiral.
flour: this is the finely ground grain of wheat, corn, rice, oat, rye, or barley. Unless specified, this term refers to wheat flour. Flour is milled from a variety of wheats containing different amounts of protein. The different levels of protein give each flour unique qualities. All-purpose flour is the most commonly used, especially by the domestic market. This flour is milled from both hard and soft wheats, giving it the strength needed in bread baking, but leaving it tender enough for cakes and pastries. Bread flour has a higher protein content so that it may withstand the constant expansion of the cell walls during proofing and baking. Cake flour is milled from soft wheat, thus containing a very low protein content and preventing the development of gluten. Pastry flour is of relatively low protein content, containing just enough to help stabilise the products during leavening. Whole wheat flours are milled from the whole kernel, thus giving it a higher fibre content and a substantial protein content. Semolina is milled from hard durum wheat, being used mainly for commercial baking and pasta production.
focaccio: an Italian flat-bread made with pizza or bread dough, that can be baked plain or topped with onions, zucchini, eggplant, cheese, or whatever you choose, always contains olives and finished by sprinkling rock salt.
foie gras: this literally means goose liver, but the term is used to describe the fattened liver of both duck and geese. The birds are force fed a rich mixture to help expedite this process. These livers are praised for their delicate flavour and rich, buttery texture. The largest production of commercial foie gras is done in France and Israel. But fresh foie gras is now available from breeders in the NZ. These foie gras are very fine specimens, but a very high price goes along with them. Foie gras is prepared in a vast number of ways, though one should remember to keep these as simple as possible to avoid masking the flavour of this treasure.
fondant: this is an icing made of sugar syrup and glucose, which is cooked to a specific temperature and then kneaded to a smooth, soft paste. This paste can then be coloured or flavoured and used as an icing for cakes and petit fours.
fondue: there are several different types of fondue, the most notable of which is cheese fondue. This is a Swiss speciality in which cheese is melted with wine, eggs, and seasonings and served with bread and fresh vegetables. Fondue Bourguignon is a pot of hot oil into which the diners will cook strips of meat and dip them into an array of sauces on the table. Similar to this is fondue Chinois where the hot oil is replaced by a rich chicken or meat broth. The meat, and fish too, are then cooked in this stock and dipped in sauces. The Japanese have a dish called shabu shabu, which is similar to this type of fondue. Named for the swishing sound that the meat makes in the broth, this dish is also served with vegetables and noodles in to be eaten along with the meat. A chocolate fondue is a chocolate bath, flavoured with liqueur and eaten with bread and fruit, like fresh berries. These are all dishes eaten as much for their social qualities as their culinary grandeur. Their popularity in the US has diminished over the last 15 years, only being seen in ski resorts and at private dinner parties.
fonduta: an Italian style fondue made of Fontina cheese and served over toast or polenta. Exceptional with truffles.
fougasse: a flat-bread from France that was once served sweetened with sugar and orange water. It is now more commonly seen as a bread eaten with savoury dishes. In this case, the dough is brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs or salt before baking.
fruche: commercial dairy dessert with less than 0.5g fat per 100g.

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