‘Fresh’ breadcrumbs were traditionally used to thicken soups and sauces and to give a lighter texture to puddings than those made just with flour. They also improve the texture of meatloaves, meatballs and patties. Bought, dried breadcrumbs will produce a different result and are not recommended as a substitute, but it is very easy to make your own fresh crumbs from an unsliced white bread loaf.
Chicory is an edible perennial herb. Its root can be roasted and ground for use and can be added to coffee as a less costly ‘extender’ for the more expensive commodity. Chicory can be often be seen growing in the Vaucluse House kitchen garden.
Unless otherwise specified, ‘cream’ refers to standard ‘fresh cream’, ‘pouring’ or ‘single’ cream. Double, triple or ‘thickened’ / ‘whipping’ cream (with gelatine added) will be specified as needed.
Side dishes accompanying the main of a course. Charles Francatelli defined entremets: “[These] second course side dishes consist of four distinct sorts, namely, cold entrees; dressed vegetables; scalloped shell-fish and dressed eggs; and lastly of the infinitely varied class of sweets, consisting of puddings, gateaux timbales, sweet croquettes, charlottes, croquantes, pastries, jellies, creams, fritters etc.” The Modern Cook, London 1846
Gelling or Setting Point
The gelling or setting point needs to be achieved for jams to set and keep. To test that it has been reached when making jam, place a saucer into the freezer for 5 minutes. Drop a teaspoon of jam onto the saucer and put in fridge for 5 minutes. Run your finger through the jam and if it leaves a clean trail the jam is set. If it leaves a clean line and the surface of the sample appears to ‘wrinkle’ or be forming a skin, gelling point has been reached, and the jam can be removed from the heat and be bottled. If the jam sample runs back into the line you’ve made with your finger, continue boiling and test again each 5 -10 minutes. n.b. chutneys don’t need to set to keep.
A type of porridge or gruel made from maize (corn) meal. Hominy was given to convicts at Hyde Park Barracks for breakfast. Maize was cheap and plentiful as it grew well in Sydney’s climate and soils.
Kedgeree is a traditional Indian breakfast dish made with rice and lentils cooked in ghee (clarified butter). Recorded as early as 1340 as kishri, it became a popular Anglo-Indian breakfast dish in the nineteenth-century. Often adulterated to suit individual taste, the British quickly dropped the lentils (dhal) and added smoked fish as a standard ingredient. It was described in 1886 as ‘a mess of rice, cooked with butter and dāl [lentils] and flavoured with a little spice, shred onion, and the like; a common dish all over India, and often served at Anglo-Indian breakfast tables.’ (Yule, Henry Hobson-Jobson, a glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases).
Rasp and rasping
To rasp is to rub or grate with something rough. Here rasping is a technique that involves rubbing the aromatic oils from the skin of citrus fruit with sugar, in order to absorb the flavour and colour. Rasping has almost become lost, as sugar is now commonly available in granulated rather than in ‘loaf’, or compressed, form.
Sago and tapioca
Sago and tapioca (the names seem interchangeable although they are slightly different products) are chalk-white starchy ‘pearls’ that are derived from tropical palms. They become translucent once cooked and have an interesting slippery texture, yet set in a relatively firm mass due to the natural starchiness.
Sterile and Sterilising
Bottles and jars used for storing food for any length of time need to be sterilised before filling. This can usually be achieved by heating clean vessels at 120 °C for a minimum of 20 minutes and then used immediately. See our How to sterilise glass jars and bottles post for full details.
Suet is defined by The Macquarie Dictionary as ‘the hard fatty tissue about the loins and kidneys of cattle, sheep, etc., used in cookery, etc., and prepared as tallow’. It was in common use until the second half of the 20th century, used by cooks as a shortening when making sweet and savoury puddings and pastry. High in saturated fat and a meat product, it has fallen from favour in the modern Australian diet, and most recipes have substituted suet with butter. Butter has a much lower melting point than suet, and has a tendency to ooze a bit more than suet would and has less structural quality.
Unless otherwise specified, ‘sugar’ refers to standard white granulated sugar.
Sugar once came in ‘loaves’, which were formed into a conical shape while the refined sugar was still moist and would set quite hard. Sugar nips were used to cut the loaf, which could then be pounded with a mortar and pestle into the familiar granular textures, or left whole for the purpose of rasping. Sugar cubes are the closest thing we have to loaf sugar these days.