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Recipe Jargon - Beginner's Guide to Kitchen

Learning to cook can be intimidating enough, but when recipes are full of confusing terms, that are alien to us beginners, things can get...frustrating. Like what’s the difference between chop, dice, mince and slice? Let us help you unjumble some jargon. 

1. Chop / Dice / Mince / Slice: Chopping means to cut into large squares, usually about 1cm wide, but the recipes can be more specific. Dicing is simply smaller chops, usually about 3-5mm. Mincing is trying to cut it as finely as you can, like mincing garlic. And slicing is exactly what it sounds like, just cut vertically down. The recipe will usually say whether it wants thin or thick slices.  

2. Al dente: When they say to make sure your paste is “al dente”, this is an Italian term used to describe pasta that is cooked but still firm and not soggy.   

3. Blanche: Blanching is a method of preparing food for other uses by boiling it quickly. It can soften food, remove some of the saltiness, or aid in removing the skin.   

4. Chargrill: To cook foods in a heavy iron pan on the stovetop. Usually, a pan with thick ridges on the inside is used to give foods a distinctive charred stripe such as steaks or fish such as tuna, or for grilling vegetables such as peppers, courgettes and aubergines. 

5. Folding: Simple word, but why does it make your head sore when you see it in a recipe book? How do you fold ingredients together? Folding is a way of combining light elements such as whipped cream or beaten egg whites with a heavier mixture, using a gentle over-and-under motion, usually with a rubber spatula.