Poaching is the process of gently simmering food in liquid (not oil) such as stock, milk, water or wine.

It is sometimes used to cook delicate foods like fish, which could fall apart if boiled too rapidly.

People often poach eggs because it gently cooks the egg, making the white solidify and hardening the yolk on the outside, but leaving the yolk inside quite runny.


A type of cutting that makes long thin stripps, like matchsticks.  It is often used to cut vegetables, as it makes them look pretty.


Parboiling is the partial boiling of food as the first step in the cooking process. Parboiling is usually used to precook an ingredient which is going to be cooked in another way too, for instance, if it is going to be roasted, grilled or fried after being parboiled.

For example, potatoes being used in a gratin should be parboiled first; place the potatoes in boiling water and boil until they are slightly soft on the outside, but still feel hard on the inside, when tested by inserting a knife.

Removing the stem from the garlic

The stem inside the garlic (which is usually I slightly different shade of cream or can be green if the garlic is getting older) gives a slightly stronger, sometimes bitter taste (likely to make you breath smell), so some people prefer to remove this.  To do so, cut the garlic in two lengthways (through the middle of the narrowest part of the clove) and using a pointed knife, remove the stem, which should come away relatively easily from the middle of the clove.  Discard the stem.  Chop or crush the rest of the garlic as normal.


Sautéing simply means stir frying an ingredient in a small amount of fat, in a shallow pan, over a relatively high heat.  The ingredient has usually been chopped into pieces before doing this so that it can be stirred quickly around the pan whilst cooking.  Olive oil, butter and margarine are often used for this type of cooking.

Frying onions until translucent.

When onions are cooked until just translucent they take on a lovely mild flavour, the pungent, sharp flavour of raw onion mellows and they give off a slightly sweet smell.  This flavour is perfect for soups, risottos and other delicately flavoured dishes.

Fry the copped onions in a little fat on a medium to high heat.  As they just begin to go from opaque (not see-through) to translucent (see-through), they are translucent. The onion should be sort of clear at the edges but can still be a bit whitish in the center. It should be soft (not crunchy) but not browned.


Simmering means cooking food in liquid that is kept just below boiling point.  To keep the liquid simmering, you should bring it to a boil first and then reduce the heat to a point where only very tiny steam bubbles are appearring, usually at the edge of the surface of the water.