Products and ingredients

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On this page you will find information about some products and ingredients used in the recipes on this website.


Agar-agar

Agar-agar is a natural gelling agent, of vegetable origin, made from seaweed. It is sold as a beige powder, and has no taste or smell.

If you intend to buy:

You can find it in asian or organic groceries, sold in small sachets.

If you want to use it:

To activate agar-agar it should be heated to 95°C or 203°F. It starts is action as a gelling agent when its temperature drops to about 30°C or 86°F.
Agar-agar

Recipes which use it: 7

Of which:
Quick bramble jellyBlackcurrant, vanilla and lime verrine Pears in red wine with blackcurrant Bounty-style tart for AlisonPear compote
Quick bramble jellyBlackcurrant, vanilla and lime verrine Pears in red wine with blackcurrant Bounty-style tart for AlisonPear compote

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Amaretto

Amaretto is an Italian sweet almond-flavoured liqueur. It is made from a base of almonds or apricot stones

If you intend to buy:

The most famous brand is "Disaronno" with its square stopper.
Amaretto

Recipes which use it: 3

Of which:
TiramisuNew tiramisuPistachio tiramisu
TiramisuNew tiramisuPistachio tiramisu


Apricot glaze

Apricot glaze is an apricot jelly (strained jam), used to coat tarts, to protect them from the air and give them a glossy appearance.

If you intend to buy:

You will find it in supermarket, or in specialized stores, where it's cheaper. See about that my best addresses page.

If you want to use it:

Apricoting glaze looks like a fruit jelly, and should be melted with 10% water or sugar syrup, in a bain-marie or microwave oven before use.
Apricot glaze

Recipes which use it: 12

Of which:
Apple and pear tartApricot and almond cream tartPeach and green tea tartExotic fruit tartStrawberry tart
Apple and pear tartApricot and almond cream tartPeach and green tea tartExotic fruit tartStrawberry tart

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Baking powder

Baking powder (also called "Alsatian yeast" or "chemical yeast" in France) is a chemical raising agent, mainly bicarbonate of soda (or sodium bicarbonate), which acts with heat to make cakes rise.

It is used in most cakes, like for example chestnut cake, added to the mixture, and put in the oven without delay.

It should not be confused with yeast, which is more usually used in breads and viennoiseries.

Note: French baking powder is not the same formula as British and is about twice the strength, so if you are using French baking powder in a British recipe, use half the quantity. If using British baking powder in a French recipe, double the quantity.

If you intend to buy:

In France baking powder is sold in packets of 10 famous small pink sachets of 10 g. Always keep some in stock, in an airtight tin or box, as it keeps for several months. [Translator's note: British cooks are more used to buying baking powder in tubs, and measuring by the teaspoonful. French recipes often specify it by the sachet.1 sachet = 2 level teaspoonsful, but because it it stronger, this is the equivalent of 4 teaspoonsful of British baking powder!]

If you want to use it:

Baking powder is straightforward to use. The only thing it doesn't like is to be kept waiting, once mixed, before being cooked.
Baking powder

Recipes which use it: 21

Of which:
Spinach and Comté LoafArizona cupcakesLeek and tuna loafGâteau Basque Chestnut cake
Spinach and Comté LoafArizona cupcakesLeek and tuna loafGâteau Basque Chestnut cake

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Butter

Butter is a fat obtained from dairy cream by the mechanical process known as "churning" (traditionally done from ancient times in a receptacle called a churn, in which the cream is agitated until it turns into butter).
Simply put, the cream goes in and comes out as butter.

If you intend to buy:

Good butter is an excellent foodstuff and a good ingredient in cooking, but we must be clear about the difference between real butter and the low-fat products proposed as butter substitutes. These poor imitations are full of thickening and texture-enhancing additives.
You should try to buy real, good quality butter, even if this means buying less.

Nota: If you are worried about your figure, see the blog post all about butter, which I hope will reassure you.
Butter

Recipes which use it: 248

Of which:
Almond cream or frangipaneLoaf for 'les filles' Béarnaise sauceEggs en Cocotte à la FrançaiseCocotte eggs with Comté
Almond cream or frangipaneLoaf for 'les filles' Béarnaise sauceEggs en Cocotte à la FrançaiseCocotte eggs with Comté

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Cancoillotte

Cancoillotte is a runny French cheese made from milk cow, principally in Franche-Comté traditional province of eastern France.

If you intend to buy:

Cancoillotte is hard to find out of France, but if you have choice I suggest you to try "Raguin" or "Lehmann" trade.
Cancoillotte

Recipes which use it: 4

Of which:
Endive gratin with cancoillotteComtoise tart for SeànEggs ComtoiseComtoise stuffed tomatoes
Endive gratin with cancoillotteComtoise tart for SeànEggs ComtoiseComtoise stuffed tomatoes


Carrot

Carrot is a tuber that is a vegetable that grows underground.

If you intend to buy:

See the calendar of seasons to buy at the right time.

If you want to use it:

See how to prepare carrots
Carrot

Recipes which use it: 51

Of which:
Crispy prawn rollsSalmon marinated like herringStock-pot fish Spaghetti BologneseCreamy risotto with vegetables
Crispy prawn rollsSalmon marinated like herringStock-pot fish Spaghetti BologneseCreamy risotto with vegetables

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Caster sugar

Basic white sugar is mainly extracted from sugar beet or sugar cane. This is then refined and crushed to produce the familiar small crystals or powder.
Caster sugar

Recipes which use it: 187

Of which:
Panna cottaBrioche TatinMinted MelonBounty-style tart for AlisonCheckerboard biscuits
Panna cottaBrioche TatinMinted MelonBounty-style tart for AlisonCheckerboard biscuits

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Chestnut flour

Made from dried chestnuts, this is a light brown flour without gluten. Not suitable for making bread (unless mixed with a proportion of wheat flour), but it's excellent for cakes, biscuits, pancakes,...

If you intend to buy:

You can sometimes find it in supermarkets, but more usually in organic stores.

If you want to use it:

Chestnut flour must be sieved before use to prevent lumps in your recipe.
Chestnut flour


Chicken or beef stock cube

It's beef or chicken stock, concentrated and dehydrated (all water is removed). It's very useful to increase the taste of sauces, soups and others.

If you intend to buy:

You can find them in cube of course, but also in powder.
Chicken or beef stock cube

Recipes which use it: 36

Of which:
Express chilli con carneSorrel soupScallops with crunchy vegetables and wine sabayonCreamy risotto with vegetables Spaghetti Bolognese
Express chilli con carneSorrel soupScallops with crunchy vegetables and wine sabayonCreamy risotto with vegetables Spaghetti Bolognese

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Chocolate

Chocolate use in pastry is usually sold in bars that sould be break into small pieces and then melted in a bain-marie.

You can also find chocolate in "pistoles" (small round pieces, at left on the photo).

If you intend to buy:

Take quality chocolate, with a high level of cocoa (50%, not less).
Chocolate

Recipes which use it: 22

Of which:
Chocolate cream with a crunch, irish coffee mousseBounty-style tart for AlisonChocolate sauceChocolate mug cakeChocolate mousse
Chocolate cream with a crunch, irish coffee mousseBounty-style tart for AlisonChocolate sauceChocolate mug cakeChocolate mousse

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Coarse sugar crystals

Coarse sugar crystals are usually white and have much larger grains than caster or granulated sugar.

They are used for decorating cakes and pastries, such as chouquettes, for example.

If you intend to buy:

If you can't find any, it's quite easy to make something similar by wrapping sugar cubes in a cloth, then hitting them with a hammer.
Coarse sugar crystals

Recipes which use it: 5

Of which:
Liège wafflesChouquettesBrioche feuilletée (flaky brioche)St Tropez tartMilk rolls
Liège wafflesChouquettesBrioche feuilletée (flaky brioche)St Tropez tartMilk rolls


Cockles

Cockles are a small shell of the North Atlantic, living under 1 or 2 cm of sand. His flesh inside is a small white nut with a little orange spike, and a delicate iodized.

If you intend to buy:

Cockles are sold rather in the cold season (October to April), take the freshest possible from your fishmonger who sell them by weight.

If you want to use it:

See how to.
Cockles

Recipes which use it: 5

Of which:
Crusty cockle tartHow to prepare cocklesTagliatelle with cocklesFillets of sole DieppoiseFisherman's Ragout
Crusty cockle tartHow to prepare cocklesTagliatelle with cocklesFillets of sole DieppoiseFisherman's Ragout


Comté cheese

Comté is a cow's milk cheese, made in the Jura's mountains, in eastern France. It looks a bit like Gruyère and Emmenthal (without holes), but that's just the appearence, its flavour is much stronger.

You can find more information about it on Wikipédia or on the Comté official website.

If you intend to buy:

Because Comté is protected by AOC certification, you can be sure of getting a quality product when you buy it. Furthermore, Comté ages well, and some remarkable cheeses can be found 18 months old, or older.

If you want to use it:

Comté is used in many recipes on this site. If unfortunately you're unable to find any, you can use other cheeses of similar type instead, like Gruyère, Emmenthal, etc. (but they will not be as good).
Comté cheese

Recipes which use it: 12

Of which:
Potato gratinCocotte eggs with ComtéInvoltinisSalmon and spinach quicheSpecial Cheese and Walnut Sticks
Potato gratinCocotte eggs with ComtéInvoltinisSalmon and spinach quicheSpecial Cheese and Walnut Sticks

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Cornflour

Cornflour is a starchy flour made from maize.
It is mostly used as a thickening agent: when mixed with a liquid and heated, it thickens rapidly without altering the flavour.

If you intend to buy:

Cornflour is available as a white powder, sold in packets or tubs of varying size.

If you want to use it:

To add cornflour to a liquid, it is best to mix the powder in a little water or other liquid first before adding this mixture to the larger quantity of liquid to be thickened.
Cornflour

Recipes which use it: 22

Of which:
Pistachio custard  tartPistachio creamMushroom veloutéAlmond cream or frangipaneFrench custard tart
Pistachio custard tartPistachio creamMushroom veloutéAlmond cream or frangipaneFrench custard tart

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Courgette

Courgette (Zuchini) is a summer vegetable, full of fibre and vitamins.

If you intend to buy:

Contrary to a popular idea, the smaller the courgette, the better it is. As they grow, courgettes become full of water and lose both taste and crunch. The famous chef Alain Dutournier says that "Over 15 cm (6 inches) a courgette is no longer of any interest".

So big or even huge courgettes are not better than small ones, but are only good for being stuffed .

If you want to use it:

See how to on this page
Courgette

Recipes which use it: 28

Of which:
Stuffed tomatoes and courgettesCrunchy spring saladCrispy prawn rollsScallops with crunchy vegetables and wine sabayonMinestrone
Stuffed tomatoes and courgettesCrunchy spring saladCrispy prawn rollsScallops with crunchy vegetables and wine sabayonMinestrone

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Cream

If you leave milk to stand (real milk that is, full-fat, coming straight from the cow), after a while small droplets of fat float to the top, they come together and create the fat part of the milk: cream.

This cream, naturally liquid but which thickens over time, is drawn off the milk and sold as cream. From this basic cream, other kinds are developed:

  • Pouring cream, ("fleurette" in French): this is the classic cream from the top of the milk.
  • Crème fraiche: a cream which has undergone a brief lactic fermentation, which makes it thicker and slightly sour.
To these two kinds can be added UHT cream, which has been sterilised at high temperature.

If you intend to buy:

Crème fraiche (sold in pots) and fresh liquid cream (sold in small bottles or cartons) should be stored in the fridge, for a limited time.

If they are UHT, these creams (sold in cartons) can be stored out of the fridge until they are opened, .

"Full" cream means without any fat removed, so it's real cream. Beware of all the "light", "reduced fat" or other creams of this type. In order to produce them, manufacturers need to replace the fat they remove with something else to keep the creamy texture, and this other additive is not necessarily good for your health.

If you want to use it:

Crème fraiche is the cream of choise for sauces, but this is not an obligation. Fresh pouring cream is perfect for everything like whipped cream or chantilly.

You will surely notice that UHT creams have less flavour than fresh ones, because the sterilisation leaves them bland.

Cream

Recipes which use it: 159

Of which:
Quartet of brassicas with cream 'Day After Pork Belly' SoupPistachio ice creamSausage with duchess potatoes and a Mont d'Or fondue Nanou's tuna tart
Quartet of brassicas with cream 'Day After Pork Belly' SoupPistachio ice creamSausage with duchess potatoes and a Mont d'Or fondue Nanou's tuna tart

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Dry white wine

There are dozens of dry white wines, and you can usually use the one you choose (except for recipe with particular white wine).

If you intend to buy:

The main thing is that it's really dry and not (too) sweet. A classical Chardonnay is a good choice.
Dry white wine

Recipes which use it: 53

Of which:
Mackerel Fillets in White WineBlanquette of vealSpring veal sauté Rabbit terrineMelting Epoisses on toast
Mackerel Fillets in White WineBlanquette of vealSpring veal sauté Rabbit terrineMelting Epoisses on toast

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Egg

Eggs (we no longer specify that they are hens' eggs these days) are used widely in cooking and patisserie.
They may be one of the ingredients (in a dough, sauce or dressing, for example), or the main ingredient, as in an omelette or scrambled eggs (oeufs brouillés).

If you intend to buy:

Do buy your eggs as fresh as possible (check the laying date) and the of best quality.
Contrary to popular belief, eggs do not need to be kept in the fridge; room temperature will do just fine.
Egg

Recipes which use it: 157

Of which:
Grandma Solange's biscuitsDipping bread with cheeseGâteau Basque Steak burger topped with eggOat shortbread biscuits
Grandma Solange's biscuitsDipping bread with cheeseGâteau Basque Steak burger topped with eggOat shortbread biscuits

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Egg white

Egg white is the common name for the clear liquid contained within an egg which fold and protect yolk. An egg white is about 30 grams.

If you want to use it:

If you need to separe egg whites from yolks, see how to on this video.
Egg white

Recipes which use it: 34

Of which:
Amiens macaroonsSwiss meringuesCalissonsCoconut tuilesPistachio 'Financiers'
Amiens macaroonsSwiss meringuesCalissonsCoconut tuilesPistachio 'Financiers'

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Egg yolk

One egg yolk is about 25 grams.

If you want to use it:

If you need to separe egg whites from yolks, see how to on this video.
Egg yolk

Recipes which use it: 55

Of which:
Crème de foie grasFish in white wineParis-BrestKey Lime Pie for JeremyChocolate and vanilla crème brûlée
Crème de foie grasFish in white wineParis-BrestKey Lime Pie for JeremyChocolate and vanilla crème brûlée

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Feta

Feta is a brined curd cheese traditionally made in Greece, from sheep milk (sometimes from goat milk).
Feta

Recipes which use it: 15

Of which:
Courgette tart with mintMoussakaGreek saladMediterranean toastTzatziki
Courgette tart with mintMoussakaGreek saladMediterranean toastTzatziki

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Filo pastry

Filo pastry (or phyllo - fillo) is a flour-based product from Greece or Turkey. The very thin sheets are often used to wrap fillings and produce a very crisp roll or parcel.

Filo pastry is used for some famous Middle Eastern sweet pastries like baklava.

If you intend to buy:

You can find it in packs of 8-10 square sheets.

If you want to use it:

Once the pack is opened, be sure to seal it well after use, otherwise remaining sheets will dry out and be unusable.
Filo pastry

Recipes which use it: 4

Of which:
Red rice pannequetsCrispy rolls with chicken and leekLangoustine sabayon tartFilo leeks and cheese tart
Red rice pannequetsCrispy rolls with chicken and leekLangoustine sabayon tartFilo leeks and cheese tart


Fondant icing

Fondant icing is a mixture of sugars and water, in the form of a white paste, fairly hard when cold, but which softens when warmed.
It's used for icing the tops of cakes and pastries such as millefeuilles or eclairs. It can be used white or coloured.

If you intend to buy:

Use a professional supplier if possible (look in Yellow Pages); you'll find it at a better price. You could also ask your baker. If he's kind, he might agree to sell you a little (or even give you some).

If you want to use it:

Fondant is used softened, which occurs at a temperature of 035°C (90°F), generally done in a bain-marie.

If you don't have any, you can replace it with a quick glacé icing, made by mixing icing sugar thoroughly with a little water until very thick and syrupy.

Fondant icing

Recipes which use it: 3

Of which:
Arizona cupcakesChinoisChocolate eclairs
Arizona cupcakesChinoisChocolate eclairs


Garlic clove

Garlic is a plant that is harvested in "heads", which are then separated into cloves.
Its taste makes it a powerful condiment often used in cooking.

If you intend to buy:

See the calendar of seasons to buy at the right time.

If you want to use it:

See in videohow to peel a garlic clove easily
Garlic clove

Recipes which use it: 59

Of which:
Celeriac and mushroom gratinCassouletGratin DauphinoisTzatzikiHow to cook potato grenaille
Celeriac and mushroom gratinCassouletGratin DauphinoisTzatzikiHow to cook potato grenaille

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Gelatin

Gelatin is a gelling agent, of animal origin, which is used in cooking to thicken or set preparations. It dissolves when heated (at about 60°C), and then acts as a gelling agent when the temperature drops again.

If you intend to buy:

Gelatin can be found in supermarkets in 2 gram sheets or as a powder.

Be aware that sometimes you can find it in smaller sheet of 1 gram instead of 2, so you should note that recipes here use full size sheets of 2 grams.

If you want to use it:

See this page.
Gelatin

Recipes which use it: 15

Of which:
Individual charlottes with morello cherriesCorsican tartsFrozen NougatEuropean glassHow to use gelatin
Individual charlottes with morello cherriesCorsican tartsFrozen NougatEuropean glassHow to use gelatin

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Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored brandy liqueur made from a blend of Cognac brandy, distilled essence of bitter orange, and sugar.
Grand Marnier is 40% alcohol (70 Proof in UK, 80 Proof in US).
Grand Marnier

Recipes which use it: 1

Of which:
Crêpes Suzette
Crêpes Suzette


Griottines Cherries

The griottines cherries are small red cherries, pitted and kept in a Kirsch syrup.

If you intend to buy:

The griottines cherries is a specialty of the region de Fougerolles, in France. They are found in jars of various sizes.

If you want to use it:

Generally you must drain the griottines cherries before using in a bakery for example, but in contrast with an ice cream or a pudding, flavored syrup that accompany them is a great addition.
Griottines Cherries

Recipes which use it: 3

Of which:
Black Forest gateauCherry and pistachio tartsIndividual charlottes with morello cherries
Black Forest gateauCherry and pistachio tartsIndividual charlottes with morello cherries


Ground almonds

Grounded almonds, or sometimes flour almonds, are almonds very finely milled.

If you intend to buy:

You can find "grey" one (almonds with skin), or more ofently "white" one (almonds without skin).
Ground almonds

Recipes which use it: 32

Of which:
Fruit crumbleAlmond mug cake for MaryStrawberry and rhubarb crumbleGâteau NantaisApricot blancmange
Fruit crumbleAlmond mug cake for MaryStrawberry and rhubarb crumbleGâteau NantaisApricot blancmange

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Herbes de Provence

The "Herbes de Provence" (Provençal herbs) preparation, as used in France, is a mix of dried herbs, crumbled fairly small.

This mix is used for the typically "Mediterranean" flavour it brings. It is usually a combination (quite variable) of rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley, marjoram, summer savory, oregano and chervil.
Herbes de Provence

Recipes which use it: 5

Of which:
Olive and pesto breadTomato foccaciaHow to seal a terrine or casserole dishStuffed MushroomsTwo-olive ciabatta
Olive and pesto breadTomato foccaciaHow to seal a terrine or casserole dishStuffed MushroomsTwo-olive ciabatta


Icing sugar

Icing sugar is a very fine powder, it's caster sugar which is just ground very finely. It is widely used in baking and pastry to dust.

If you intend to buy:

If possible go to shops for bakers or pastry, price will be cheaper than in super markets.
Icing sugar

Recipes which use it: 43

Of which:
CalissonsPistachio madeleinesToasted almond cakeLinzer torteArizona cupcakes
CalissonsPistachio madeleinesToasted almond cakeLinzer torteArizona cupcakes

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Instant mashed-potato powder

Instant mashed-potato powder is made of cooked potatoes which have been dried, then powdered.

Though intended as a quick way of making mashed potato, it can be used as an ingredient in recipes.
Instant mashed-potato powder

Recipes which use it: 5

Of which:
Aperitif rollsTomato foccaciaFish in a seed crustPotato Waffles with Smoked SalmonChicken breasts in a potato crust
Aperitif rollsTomato foccaciaFish in a seed crustPotato Waffles with Smoked SalmonChicken breasts in a potato crust


Japanese chestnut pumpkin (Potimarron)

The potimarron is a kind of pumpkin which originated in Asia. It's shaped like a very large pear, with a hard reddish-orange skin.

It is different from the classic pumpkin, especially in 2 respects: the skin is edible, and its flavour - which is rather like chestnut - is stronger.

If you intend to buy:

See the seasons calendar about it.

Potimarrons weight about 2-3 kilos each, they can be kept several times until they are open or cut.

If you want to use it:

See this page.
Japanese chestnut pumpkin (Potimarron)

Recipes which use it: 5

Of which:
Stuffed pumpkin gratinHow to prepare a pumpkin (or potimarron)Pumpkin (or potimarron) soupTriple-Cheese Pumpkin GratinPotimarron (Japanese chestnut pumpkin) purée
Stuffed pumpkin gratinHow to prepare a pumpkin (or potimarron)Pumpkin (or potimarron) soupTriple-Cheese Pumpkin GratinPotimarron (Japanese chestnut pumpkin) purée


Lemon

Lemons are citrus fruit.

The skin of the lemon is normally yellow, unlike the smaller, green-skinned lime.

The whole flesh of the lemon is sometimes used, but recipes often call for the juice and/or the zest.

If you intend to buy:

Try to buy organic lemons if you can, especially if you intend using the zest. Otherwise, be sure to scrub the skin thoroughly before use.
Lemon

Recipes which use it: 71

Of which:
Green parsley saucePreserved lemonsPaellaMelt-in-the mouth meat and vegetables in a sealed casserolePear tart with almond cream
Green parsley saucePreserved lemonsPaellaMelt-in-the mouth meat and vegetables in a sealed casserolePear tart with almond cream

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Lime

Lime is a citrus, a cousin of lemon, but not a kind of lemon. It's a very tasty fruit, frequently use in cooking and pastry.

If you intend to buy:

If you plan to use zests, try to get organics lime, otherwise brush and clean carefully each lime.

If you want to use it:

If you plan to use lime juice, first roll over lime on your working surface with your hand while pressing it, this will give you more juice.
Lime

Recipes which use it: 34

Of which:
European glassMexican cevicheAvocado and smoked salmon terrine Mixed salad stackRum babas
European glassMexican cevicheAvocado and smoked salmon terrine Mixed salad stackRum babas

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Malibu rum

Malibu Rum is a liquor made from rum and coconut extract. The alcohol content by volume is 21% (42 proof).

If you intend to buy:

Usually in opaque white bottle.
Malibu rum

Recipes which use it: 2

Of which:
Coconut-vanilla cream for Elsa Like Bounty
Coconut-vanilla cream for Elsa Like Bounty


Milk

When we talk of milk on cooking-ez.com, and unless otherwise specified, it's cow's milk.

It should also always remember to explain to childrens in towns, that milk comes from cows, not bricks or bottles from the supermarket.

If you intend to buy:

Prefer organic milk, and whole milk if possible, for much better taste. Skimmed milk is unfortunately not more than white water.
Milk

Recipes which use it: 74

Of which:
Crème de foie grasCrème bruléeDipping bread with cheeseChaud-froid of grapefruit, pineapple and lime custard Pan-baked hash brown (Hash-brown casserole)
Crème de foie grasCrème bruléeDipping bread with cheeseChaud-froid of grapefruit, pineapple and lime custard Pan-baked hash brown (Hash-brown casserole)

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Mont-d'Or cheese

Mont-d'Or is a cheese made from whole raw cow's milk in Franche-Comté (an area of eastern France).

It's a soft and full-flavoured cheese, sold in a characteristic wood box.

Mont-d'Or in Wikipedia.

If you intend to buy:

Mont-d'Or is a seasonal cheese wich can only be made during certain periods of the year, when cow eat hay instead of grass.

You can see this on the calendar of seasons.

If you want to use it:

Mont-d'Or can be eaten cold or hot.
Mont-d'Or cheese

Recipes which use it: 8

Of which:
Morel risotto with Vin Jaune and Mont d'OrBaked Mont d'Or with diced mixed vegetablesSausage with duchess potatoes and a Mont d'Or fondue Dipping bread with cheeseGratin of Endives with Mont d'Or
Morel risotto with Vin Jaune and Mont d'OrBaked Mont d'Or with diced mixed vegetablesSausage with duchess potatoes and a Mont d'Or fondue Dipping bread with cheeseGratin of Endives with Mont d'Or

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Morteau sausage

Morteau sausage is a delicious sausage, smoked for at least 48 hours with conifer sawdust in the highlands of the French region of Franche-Comté. Unfortunately it does not yet benefit from A.O.C. status (French culinary heritage protection) and it's a real shame! but only a geographic protected identity.

When eating a Morteau sausage, you are sure to enjoy a true quality product, made with traditionally produced pork from pigs raised on sub-alpine slopes. In my humble opinion, the best smoked sausage there is...

If you intend to buy:

Always choose a sausage that has small slivers of wood along the sides and a green metal label which guarantees you a true product from Franche-Comté.

Each pork butcher has his own way of making sausages, so you will probably find small differences in taste (more or less smoked, salted, spiced) and texture (more or less fat) between different producers.

It is not easy to find good sausages, by good I mean, not too much fat and smoked enough. If your feet ever carry you to Franche-Comté, let me advise you to check this page of good addresses.

You can also find sausages with caraway, a stupid trendy sausage flavour, in complete conflict with the smoked taste...

If you want to use it:

Please look at the sausage cooking page.
Morteau sausage

Recipes which use it: 17

Of which:
Franche-Comté sticksSausage mushroom and cheese crumbleMorteau sausage "crisps"Sausage in briocheMorteau sausage
Franche-Comté sticksSausage mushroom and cheese crumbleMorteau sausage "crisps"Sausage in briocheMorteau sausage

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Noilly

The Noilly or Noilly Prat is a vermouth, that is a wine with the addition of alcohol and many herbs, invented in 1813 in Marseillan in France.
br>In mouth the Noilly is a sweet white wine, with complex aromas dominated by chamomile, coriander and bitter orange.

If you intend to buy:

The Noilly is usually sold in bottles of 1 or 0.75 liter.
Noilly

Recipes which use it: 3

Of which:
Pan-fried scallops and chanterelles with Noilly Prat sauceTournedos RossiniScallops with cabbage julienne
Pan-fried scallops and chanterelles with Noilly Prat sauceTournedos RossiniScallops with cabbage julienne


Oil

By "oil" I mean "any kind of oil", but usually it's neutral oil like ground oil or sunflower. It's opposite to olive oil, or sesame oil, which are much more tasty.
Oil

Recipes which use it: 42

Of which:
Steak burger topped with eggRémoulade dressingCrispy potato galette with leeksMayonnaiseHow to cook potato grenaille
Steak burger topped with eggRémoulade dressingCrispy potato galette with leeksMayonnaiseHow to cook potato grenaille

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Olive oil

Olive oil is a fat obtained by the cold pressing of olives (the fruit of the olive tree).
Rather like wine, olive oil comes from a vast array of origins and cultivation methods. In the bottle, this offers many different bouquets, flavours and colours.
So there is not just olive oil, but lots of olive oils, each with its own special character.

Note: the comprison with wine only goes so far; unlike wine, olive oil does not improve with age.

If you intend to buy:

Choose a high-quality oil of known origin. Beware of oils at bargain prices; they are rarely a good deal.

I invite you to take a look at my good addresses page, where you can find the contact details of a producer in Crete whose oil I particularly recommend.
Olive oil

Recipes which use it: 235

Of which:
Cod loin with saffronCrispy potato and mushroom brik rollsTomato tatinLeek and artichoke tart à la piémontaiseKoulibiak in pie dish
Cod loin with saffronCrispy potato and mushroom brik rollsTomato tatinLeek and artichoke tart à la piémontaiseKoulibiak in pie dish

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Onion

Onions are condiment plants, closely related to shallots, but larger and with a more robust flavour.

If you want to use it:

See how to prepare an onion.

Note: if a recipe calls for onion but you only have shallots, don't worry. Shallot will be fine instead.
Onion

Recipes which use it: 84

Of which:
PaellaGisèle's PastiesBeef braised in reduced red winePaté en croute (terrine in a pie crust)French onion soup
PaellaGisèle's PastiesBeef braised in reduced red winePaté en croute (terrine in a pie crust)French onion soup

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Pepper

Pepper is a spice obtained from the berries of two kinds of tree. The berries (peppercorns once dried), yield three kinds of pepper, depending of harvest period and processing:
  • Green pepper (immature berries)
  • Black pepper (mature)
  • White pepper (black pepper without skin)
White and black pepper are the most commonly used in the kitchen, their tastes are similar, and it's mostly for aesthetic reasons that one is used rather than the other. It's worth using white pepper when you don't want to see small black grains in your dish.

If you intend to buy:

Have 2 pepper mills if possible: one with white pepper and the other with black pepper. In this way you can be sure that you add pepper and only pepper to your recipe (with commercially ground pepper, who knows?). Your pepper will always be fresh; once ground it soon loses its flavour.

If you want to use it:

To add pepper to a dish to be served raw (salad, vinaigrette,...) no problem, just grind with the mill when needed.

For cooking with pepper, it's a bit different because pepper eventually gives a bitter taste during cooking, due to its tannin. Auguste Escoffier (confirmed by Hervé This) says that this happens after about 8 minutes of cooking, so you should so try to avoid cooking pepper more than this, and add it "at the right time...".

Pepper

Recipes which use it: 360

Of which:
Pork chops with a duo of brassicasBeurre blanc sauceSorrel soupWarm lentil saladAvocado with Sautéed Prawns
Pork chops with a duo of brassicasBeurre blanc sauceSorrel soupWarm lentil saladAvocado with Sautéed Prawns

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Potatoes

Potato is a tuber, that mean a vegetable that grows in the ground.

If you intend to buy:

See the calendar of seasons to buy at the right time.
Potatoes

Recipes which use it: 51

Of which:
Comtoise tart for SeànMaroilles cheese quichePotato purée Morteau sausageHome-made potato crisps
Comtoise tart for SeànMaroilles cheese quichePotato purée Morteau sausageHome-made potato crisps

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Quatre-épices (four spices)

Quatre-épices (4 spices) is a mix of: black pepper, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Sometimes a fifth spice is added, ginger or chilli.

[Translator's note: this mix is rather hotter and less sweet than British "mixed spice", and in France is often used in savoury dishes. If using British style mixed spice as a substitute in French recipes, you will need to add extra pepper to get the same effect. I use quatre épices in cakes, fruit puddings and mincemeat, and I've got used to it - give it a try, but use with caution at first. The French "mélange sweet" is based on the British mix, but only normally available from professional bakery suppliers.]

If you intend to buy:

Quatre-épices can be bought ground in supermarkets or from specialist grocers.

If you want to use it:

Search ++
Quatre-épices (four spices)

Recipes which use it: 6

Of which:
Home-made terrine of foie grasFoie gras cured in saltRabbit terrinePâté de campagneCrème de foie gras
Home-made terrine of foie grasFoie gras cured in saltRabbit terrinePâté de campagneCrème de foie gras

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Red rice

Red rice is a whole-grain rice with a strong and delicious flavour. Originally from Asia, it's now produced in several places in the world.

If you intend to buy:

You can find it in organics stores and in fair trade.

If you want to use it:

As all complete rice, red rice is much more longer to cook than white rice.
Red rice

Recipes which use it: 1

Of which:
Red rice pannequets
Red rice pannequets


Salt

Salt is more than just a condiment, it plays an important role in bringing out flavours in recipes.

There are two main types of salt:

  • Sea salt: made by evaporation of sea water
  • Rock salt: extracted from mines
These two kinds are then factory refined to produce the very fine white powder that we know as table salt. Unfortunately, this refining results in the loss of most of the minerals and its characteristic flavour. That's why if you don't particulary need fine salt, it's better to use unrefined coarse grey salt.

If you intend to buy:

I advise you to keep at least two kinds of salt: coarse grey sea salt (like "Sel de Guérande"), and a finer salt for the times when coarse salt is unsuitable.

Please note that in all bread recipes on this site, salt quantity is given for coarse salt.

If you want to use it:

Don't forget that for an equal weight, white refined salt adds more salty taste than coarse salt, so you should add less of it.

You can make yourself a special salt with a particular flavour, as you make vanilla sugar. It's possible to make salt with herbs, citrus fruits or chili.

Salt

Recipes which use it: 433

Of which:
Rolls of fish in smoked hamCurried prawn risottoSpinach OmeletteDublin fruit sconesTomato foccacia
Rolls of fish in smoked hamCurried prawn risottoSpinach OmeletteDublin fruit sconesTomato foccacia

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Shallot

Shallots are condiment plants, closely related to onions, but smaller and with a more subtle flavour.

If you want to use it:

See how to prepare shallots.

Note: If a recipe calls for shallot but you only have an onion, don't worry. Onion will be fine instead.
Shallot

Recipes which use it: 116

Of which:
Leek and potato soupChicken nemsSliced cauliflower with 3 cheesesMushroom veloutéMarchand de vin sauce
Leek and potato soupChicken nemsSliced cauliflower with 3 cheesesMushroom veloutéMarchand de vin sauce

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Small pieces of bacon

"Lardons" in French are bacon cut in small pieces, more or less big.

If you intend to buy:

Take a piece of good quality of bacon, and cut your own pieces, it's less expensive.

If you want to use it:

See this tip.
Small pieces of bacon

Recipes which use it: 33

Of which:
Montbenoit's canapésHow to cook bacon and remove excess fatFougasse with bacon and ComtéRabbit with mustardBeef braised in reduced red wine
Montbenoit's canapésHow to cook bacon and remove excess fatFougasse with bacon and ComtéRabbit with mustardBeef braised in reduced red wine

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Spices for couscous

For several oriental recipes like couscous or chorba, one use a special mix of spices that can be find in supermarket or ethnic groceries.

If you can't find a ready-made mix of couscous spices, you can make your own from: cumin, coriander (ground), cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and turmeric. Paprika, cloves and caraway are also sometimes used.
Spices for couscous

Recipes which use it: 4

Of which:
Algerian brik rollsHome-made doner kebabChorbaCouscous
Algerian brik rollsHome-made doner kebabChorbaCouscous


Tomato

Coming from south America, tomato is a fruit rather than a vegetable, even if it's mainly cooked salted.

If you intend to buy:

See the calendar of seasons to buy at the right time.

If you want to use it:

See how to peel tomatoes easily
Tomato

Recipes which use it: 53

Of which:
Cauliflower taboulehGreen beans with tomatoesMixed tomato saladPan bagnatBreton Sandwich
Cauliflower taboulehGreen beans with tomatoesMixed tomato saladPan bagnatBreton Sandwich

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Vanilla

Vanilla is a spice produced by a kind of orchid, originally from South America. After harvesting and treatment it is sold in the form of black pods about 4 inches long.

Vanilla can be found in different forms: beans (pods) - the best kind, and in liquid essence or powder extract.

The best vanilla (it is said) comes from the islands of Madagascar and Réunion in the Indian ocean, so called "Bourbon Vanilla " (on the right in the photo), but many other places in the world produce vanilla.

In particular Tahiti produces a special kind with large and very fragrant beans (on the left in the photo).

If you intend to buy:

Buy pods as thick as possible and supple to the touch, as this is a sign of freshness and quality. See my best addresses on this subject.

If you want to use it:

See this page
Vanilla

Recipes which use it: 23

Of which:
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)4 pears salad with vanillaCrème caramelVanilla ice creamHow to use a vanilla pod effectively
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)4 pears salad with vanillaCrème caramelVanilla ice creamHow to use a vanilla pod effectively

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means that it prevents vegetables and fruits from browning, like a peeled pear for example.

Vitamine C is in several fruits and vegetables like blackcurrant and lemon, but it can be bought in powder form for use in cooking.

If you intend to buy:

You can find it in drugstores or chemist's as "ascorbic acid". Ask for vitamin C for cooking use, and it will be sold to you as a white powder.

If you want to use it:

Vitamin C is ideal for keeping the attractive appearance of fruits and vegetables which need to be peeled, cut and/or blended. You need only use a pinch each time.
Vitamin C

Recipes which use it: 10

Of which:
PestoFruit coulis (fruit purée)Sautéed pears with custard and orange syrup Pear charlottePear sorbet
PestoFruit coulis (fruit purée)Sautéed pears with custard and orange syrup Pear charlottePear sorbet

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Water

What could be simpler than water? It is true that for most recipes that require it, ordinary tap water is fine.

The exception is for sorbets, which can sometimes be affected by the slight chlorine taste of tap water. For sorbets, it is better to use bottled water, or - a more economical solution - leave tap water to stand for a few hours in the fridge and the chlorine will escape naturally.
Water

Recipes which use it: 97

Of which:
French croissantsNaanValay-BrestSteak burger topped with eggFrench Family Cake
French croissantsNaanValay-BrestSteak burger topped with eggFrench Family Cake

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Yeast

Yeast (also called "brewer's yeast" or "baker's yeast") is a living product, made up of microscopic fungi which grow slowly when they are in a warm place.

Baker's yeast is for use in breads and viennoiseries. It it is incorporated gently into the dough, then you need to wait for it to work.

It should not be confused with baking powder, which is used for raising cakes.

If you intend to buy:

Yeast is available in two basic kinds: fresh yeast (ask your baker to sell or give you some, it looks like a greyish paste, which kept in a sealed box in the fridge and should be used within a few days), or dried yeast in 5 g sachets (on left on the photo). Dried yeast will kep for several months without any problem. It can be used like fresh yeast, but only half the quantity is needed (it's a very effective yeast).

Personally, I frequently practice: 1 dried yeast sachet = 10g fresh yeast, and vice versa.

Note: For each recipe you can use either fresh or dried yeast, use whichever you have to hand.

If you want to use it:

Yeast is a delicate product, it doesn't like cold (which stops or slows its action), direct contact with salt (which can kill the yeast by "burning" it), and excessive heat. Usually fresh baker's yeast is added to a little warm water or milk to "start" it before adding to a recipe.
Yeast

Recipes which use it: 47

Of which:
Kouing-amanOlive and pesto breadRolled chestnut and apple briocheLiège wafflesMilk rolls
Kouing-amanOlive and pesto breadRolled chestnut and apple briocheLiège wafflesMilk rolls

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Your 7 comments or questions on this page:

Is the rind edible once cooked, specifically oven baked?
By Juls january 14th 2012 at 22:41 (n° 1)
Rind of what?
By jh january 16th 2012 at 08:40 (n° 2)
what are the ingredients of a jar of griottines? are there any chemicals, additives, flavourings,aromas?
By trebor august 11th 2013 at 20:48 (n° 3)
No, there is nothing more than: cherry, sugar and alcohol (for good griottines of course :-).
By jh august 12th 2013 at 09:40 (n° 4)
Thanks for posting this Potato flour. I like it to prepare my indian dish.
By Anonymous january 22th 2015 at 12:44 (n° 5)
Hi
Can I use potentiometer mash powder to make cutlets?

emmakumar@gmail.com
By Emma january 29th 2015 at 13:46 (n° 6)
Hi,

By "mash powder" do you mean mash potato powder?
If so, yes you can, see how to on this chicken recipe : chicken breasts in a potato crust.
By jh january 29th 2015 at 17:35 (n° 7)
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