On this page we will add terms we use in our recipes which you may or may not be familiar with.
A double boiler is essentially a bowl (such as a small stainless steel or glass mixing bowl) placed on top of a pan of simmering, boiling water. This allows a more gentle heat to be applied to the contents of the bowl. It is commonly used for melting chocolate and making sauces like Hollandaise. You should make sure not to overfill the pan, so that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
This is the same thing as tepid water. There’s no exact science as to the temperature of lukewarm water, it is simply water that is not hot and not too cold. It should feel slightly warm to the touch, which means it is warmer than body temperature.
This is a term which refers to how firm egg whites are when whisked. Soft peaks: when you run your whisk through the egg it will just about hold a shape, but fall back into itself after a few moments. Firm peaks: when you bring your whisk out of the egg whites, peaks will form and hold their shape but the tips will fall over. Stiff peaks: the whites will be noticeable thicker and when you run your whisk through, ridges and peaks will hold their shape.
Proving (or proofing) bread means allowing the dough to rise. This is when the yeast is doing its work and creating air within the dough. The yeast will work faster when it is warm (but not too hot), so try to position dough in warm areas of your home. Some ovens also have proving settings. Dough will still rise in cold areas of a home, and even in the fridge, but will take longer. You may need to adjust the resting time of recipes depending on the temperature in your home.
Sterilising Jars and Bottles
Sterilising a jar or bottle helps to rid it of microorganisms and yeast. This can help food last much longer. The easiest way is to use a dishwasher on its hottest setting, although this may not be as effective as using an oven. Wash your jars and lids in hot, soapy water, but do not dry them. Instead, place them on a baking tray and put them in a pre-heated oven (around 160-180°c) for 15 minutes. (If your jars have rubber seals, these should not be put in the oven). While they are still hot, you can then carefully fill the clean jars with sauces, chutneys or jams, using a clean ladle or jug. Put the lids on while everything is still warm. You should avoid putting hot contents into cold jars (or cold contents into hot jars) otherwise they’ll crack.
Toasted and Ground Spices
Using spices you have ground yourself makes food taste better! To toast whole spices, simply put the spices into a dry frying pan on a medium heat. They should become fragrant quite quickly and slightly darken in colour. Some spices may pop when toasted! Keep an eye on them, and tip them into a bowl as soon as they are done, as they can quickly burn in the pan. Spices can be ground with a mortar and pestle, a manual or electric spice/coffee grinder, and maybe in your blender or food processor (not ideal – the spices may not be very finely ground). It is fine to use ready ground spices of course – in some cases it might not make much difference. But you’ll need to use about one quarter less than the quantity stated in the recipe.