Words Beginning with the Letter C



A vegetable of the Brassica family, like cauliflowers, kale and broccoli; one of the most popular vegetables, with a num­ber of varieties available at different times of the year and some more suited to certain dishes than others.


The varieties are: -

SPRING CABBAGE: As its name suggests, available from May for several months, and like many other spring vegetables, it is tender. It is smallish and may be distinguished by its oval, pointed heart with its brilliant, delicate green colour and the darker, almost blue-green, outer leaves. It is best plain-boiled in quarters and finished in butter with a sprinkling of herbs, particularly chopped parsley. 

WINTER CABBAGES: These are available after September.

The main types are:

Green cabbage Usually about 2 Ib in weight, round, with a firm heart; slightly different types maintain a continuity for all purposes from September until February.

Savoy cabbage In season from December onwards. Bright green with very crinkly leaves, the outside of which may be browned by frost without the heart being affected. Equally good boiled, with white sauce or braised with rolled bacon.

White Dutch (also called Drum­head) Large, white and hard­-hearted, making them equally good for shredding in salads or cooking in a little wine or stock.

Red cabbage Should be shredded and blanched before cooking (colour can be restored by sprinkling a couple of table­spoons of vinegar with a little sugar over it before cooking). Is served with pork, hare, game and other rich foods. Needs more cooking than the drum­head variety, about one to two hours in a tightly covered pan with ¼ pint of stock. May also be cooked with apple and is ideal as salad or winter pickle.


Cabbage lettuce [see Lettuce]


Cabinet pudding

A once-popular hot pudding of breadcrumbs and currants baked in custard with a lemon or vanilla flavouring.



A white, mild-flavoured cheese with a close, firm texture, best eaten when freshly cut. Origi­nally Welsh, now made in the western counties.



Basically cake is a mixture of flour, fat, sugar and eggs baked in the oven. It may be enriched with fruit or with various flavour­ings, and is served at tea time or as a dessert.


Calabrese [see Broccoli]


Calf [see Veal]



A round cheese weighing about 12 oz, pale yellow and smooth-textured with an orange-yellow crust; when ripe it should be soft but not running. Takes its name from the village in the Orne department where a farmer's wife, Madame Harel, is said to have invented it.


Camomile or Chamomile

Heads of the Anthemis nobilis plant which, when dried, are used for infusions. See Tisane.



A small quantity of savoury mixture piled on to a savoury biscuit, pastry or piece of toasted or fried bread. Lends itself to many forms of decoration to make it eye-catching as well as tasty.


Candied peel

The pith and peel of citrus fruits, generally lemon, orange and citron, which have been candied by boiling and treating with syrup, then drying. Mainly used in puddings and cakes with dried fruit. Usually bought in the shops, but may be made thus: Cut fruit in half, remove flesh, boil peel gently in water until tender, then drain; cover with strong syrup and leave until semi-transparent. Drain again and dry in gentle heat. Or peel may be put into a thinner syrup (see Syrup) at the beginning and simmered gently until syrup is thick and peel translucent, thus shortening the process.



A confection that is granulated or grained. Sugar syrup is boiled to 250°F and then gently stirred round the sides of the pan only. The syrup starts to cloud and become thick and stirring continues until it is all grained. Flavouring is added and the candy is turned out to cool on to a surface that must be both warm and oiled.



A large tube-shaped Italian pasta. The tubes are partly boiled, then stuffed with a meat or cheese filling and generally covered with a sauce in which cooking is completed. Sometimes thin pancakes, rolled and stuffed and coated with cream or cheese sauce, are used instead of the pasta.


Cape gooseberry (Physalis)

A round yellow berry that grows inside a calyx similar to the Japanese lantern plant, imported from the Cape area of South Africa, mostly canned or as jam, but fresh around Christmas. Fresh cape gooseberries may be served as dessert or dipped in fondant after calyx is turned back and eaten as a sweetmeat.



The bud of the Capparis spinosa plant which grows in Spain, France and Italy. The smaller the bud the more delicate the flavour. Capers are mainly used for flavouring sauces. Nastur­tium seeds soaked in brine then pickled are sometimes used as substitutes.



A large game bird (7-10 lb) of the grouse family, now quite rare, but once plentiful in Scottish highlands and moors; hang for 10 days and roast.



A young cockerel treated by injection then specially fattened for the table; has delicate white flesh, weighs 5-8 lb, ideal for large family meals. May be stuffed and roasted like turkey and served hot or cold. Alter­natively, for serving cold poach whole bird, remove and slice suprêmes, and coat with chaud­froid sauce. If bird is roasted, aspic jelly alone may be used.



The name covers the whole range of peppers and chillies, from the large green or red peppers, also known as bell peppers or pimientos, which are mild and sweet, to the tiny hot chillies found mainly as flavour­ing in pickles and chutneys. Dried and ground these hot chillies become chilli powder or cayenne pepper. The big pep­pers are more easily digested if blanched before use. They may be bought fresh or canned. Paprika comes from the big red pepper, dried and ground.



Aromatic, piquant flavouring produced by the last but one stage in the boiling of sugar (see Syrup); usually used for flavouring sweets.



The pungent, aromatic seed of the carum carvi, a biennial plant cultivated in southern Europe for its seed but which grows wild in England. The plant has flat white flower heads, looks like cumin, and the seeds are used in dried form in cakes, bread and biscuits. Some chees­es are also flavoured with caraway.



A well-known Flemish way of stewing meat, particularly beef, with beer, the top of the dish being covered with crusts of bread that soak up the fat and are crisped golden-brown in the cooking. In the old days it was a dish that was grilled or boiled over the coals (carbone).


Cardamom (Amomum cardamomum)

A pungent, aromatic spice that comes from small, black seeds usually grouped in fours in the capsules of the cardamom tree. Used mainly in curry flavouring; used pharmaceutically in treat­ing flatulence.



Designation of sauces or dishes that naturally have a bright red colour, like Lobster Cardinal or Apples Cardinal (apples with strawberry sauce).


Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus)

A vegetable of the artichoke family whose crisp white stalks are cooked like sea kale; in fact sea kale is the nearest thing in looks and taste to the cardoon, which is not well-known in England.


Carmine or Cochineal

A bluish-red colouring obtained from the cochineal insect is called cochineal; a brilliant carmine colouring will result if the process is carried further.



A family of fresh-water fish; the golden carp is particularly popular in countries remote from the sea and its large-flaked flesh is excellent boiled or braised on a bed of vegetables. The carp family includes such fish as goldfish, chub, tench and bream. The golden carp, 2-4 Ib in weight, is much sought after for gefillte fish: the flesh is taken out of the skin, leaving the skin and head intact, and made into a mousse with onions, herbs and water, stuffed back into the skin and the whole braised or poached before being sliced and served with the cooking juices as a sauce.



One of the edible seaweeds, also called Iberian Moss or Irish Sea Moss. Grows on rocks. light brown in colour, and is spread out in the open to bleach after the salt has been washed out. Rainwater washes it further and it is hung up to dry when creamy white; has a gelatinous texture and can be used instead of isinglass, and can be stewed gently in milk for blancmange or jelly. Regarded highly as an invalid or baby food and was once very popular as a general food.


Carrot (Dancus carota)

One of the most widely used of all root vegetables with a flavour which, although unasserting and somewhat mild, is delicate and delicious enough to make the carrot indispensable in an enormous range of recipes from stock to elaborate preserves. It has stood the test of time at least since the days of ancient Greece and its beautiful green leaves are said to have been used as ladies head dress decorations in the 16th century.



A kidney-shaped nut whose kernel is usually fried in butter, salted, and eaten as a cocktail nut. May be pounded or ground, its piquant flavour adding much to a velouté sauce for poultry.



A cooking vessel with a lid and made of metal, earthenware or other ovenproof material. De­signed for slow oven cooking of meat or game. Also the food cooked in a casserole.



A syrup or liqueur made in France from blackcurrant skins.



Individual container made by deep-frying thin batter on a special mould; filled with sav­oury mixtures such as shellfish, kidneys, scrambled eggs or cheese.



A traditional dish of the Langue­doc area of France. Recipes vary with districts, but should con­tain haricot beans, pickled goose (or some duck) and garlic (or pork) sausage.


Castle pudding

The same mixture as for Victoria sponge, but baked in a special castle pudding (or dariole) mould and served hot with jam sauce.



A spiced oatmeal gruel with wine added.



Foetal membrane. Pig's and sheep's caul are used for cook­ing, cleaned and prepared by the butcher. Looks like a thick veil with fat ribbing and is used to protect food and provide fat while cooking.


Cauliflower (Oleracea botrylis)

A vegetable whose close white flower is encased in leaves of a soft, bright green colour. Some of the outside leaves are best left with the flower when it is cooked to improve flavour and preserve shape. Can be served in many different ways, but usually is boiled gently first, with the flower uppermost. Classic dish is cauliflower cheese, in which boiled cauli­flower is covered with a béchamel or white sauce and cheese and browned in the oven (gratiné mornay); may be served with golden-fried breadcrumbs sprinkled on it, or with mayon­naise or vinaigrette dressing as a salad, or the flowerets dipped in batter, fried and served with tomato sauce.



Expensive, luxurious roe of the sturgeon; the best comes from Russia. The flavour of the small grey-black eggs is best brought out when served as an hors d'oeuvre with the traditional Russian blinis, or hot toast, quarters of lemon and fresh butter. The caviar should be ice cold; may also be served as a cocktail canapé.



Chillis dried and ground into hot, red pepper. See Capsicum.


Celeriac (Apium rapaceum)

A very useful vegetable which looks like a turnip but is in fact root celery; in season late November to end of February. Can be cooked like a turnip, or blanched and eaten as salad.


Celery (Apium graveolens)

A very popular vegetable, the stalk of which is eaten and the seeds, leaves and root used for flavouring (stews, chutneys, relishes, etc.). Is equally good raw or cooked; British grown celery is in season from late October to January, but it is now imported from late June onwards.


Cep or Cèpe (Boletus edulis)

A fungus like a large mushroom with shiny brown top, thick cap and spongy gill, and thick white stem. In general it may be treated in the same way as a mushroom, fried in butter, stewed, etc., but because of its size is often stewed as ragoût or the cap removed and cut into slices and fried in olive oil. Is very popular in France, and also grows in Britain but is not often recognised.


Chafing dish

A frying pan used for cooking at the table, usually over a spirit lamp, but possibly also over butane gas or electricity. Is deep and generally used for quick dishes (ragoût of kidneys, scrambled eggs, etc.). A favourite for flambé desserts such as crèpes Suzette.



A Burgundy wine, full-flavoured and rich, which gives its name to certain recipes including Burgundy, for instance chicken cooked in Burgundy with mushrooms is poulet Chambertin.


Chamomile [see Camomile]



The sparkling white wine made in the district of the same name in France round Epernay and Rheims. Sugar added to the wine at a certain stage produces a second fermentation and the characteristic sparkle. The process is expensive since a good champagne takes several years to make.


Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius)

An edible fungus, coloured and shaped like a golden trumpet, and plentiful in the woods in early autumn. It has a slightly peppery but good flavour and should be stewed slowly in good stock to overcome toughness. Like ceps, are much sought-after in France, but are betterknown in England than ceps. Again, care should be taken in identification,


Chantilly (crème Chantilly)

Cream flavoured with vanilla, slightly sweetened and whipped.



A means of flavouring a salad: rub a crust of bread with garlic, place this chapon in the salad, particularly with chicory and remove just before serving.



An unleavened Indian bread, flat, baked on a griddle from a well-kneaded paste of flour and water. Generally served with curry.



Species of small trout, about 1 lb in weight, with olive-green back, and white and red spots on lighter coloured sides. Was once commonplace in England, and potted char (like potted or soused herring) was a common dish, but nowadays it is rarely seen here. Best known in Switzerland, particularly Lake Geneva.



A fuel used extensively in the Mediterranean countries for cooking and heating, but mainly for outdoor barbecues in England. Made by burning wood; also used pharmaceuti­cally as an internal disinfectant, once popular for indigestion and flatulence. Gives off poison­ous fumes when burning and therefore should be used indoors only with great care.



A pork butchery and the class of goods it sells, such as cold meats, mainly pork, eg., brawn, tongues, sausages, galantines, game in aspic.


Chard or Sea-kale beet

The fleshy, long stalks of the chard plant may be tied in bundles and treated like sea­kale or asparagus, while the leaves should be treated like spinach, which they resemble.



A dessert which may be served hot or cold, but which basically is set in a plain mould, like a cake-tin, deep with sloping sides wider at the top.


Cold - Charlotte Russe: Line bottom of mould with jelly made with lemon, raspberry, etc., and place savoy biscuits or sponge fingers round sides as lining; fill with bavarois mixture, turning out when set. In Edwardian times a piece of ribbon was tied round it.

Hot-Apple Charlotte: Lay fingers of bread and butter overlapping on bottom and sides of mould, then fill with a marmelade (well-reduced purée) of stone fruit or apple. Bake until bread is crisp, golden­brown and serve hot with custard or fruit sauce.



The name of a well-known liqueur which is also applied to a dish that must be moulded and have one main ingredient supplemented by smaller quantities of choicer ingredients. Thus a chartreuse of veal would be a veal mousse with a ham, tongue and mushroom salpicon in the centre. As a sweet it might consist of a lemon jelly with various fruits set in it; in either case it may be set in a ring mould or charlotte mould.



French word for a huntsman. A dish or sauce cooked with white wine, tomatoes and mushrooms.



This classic dish is a very thick slice cut out of the middle (the coeur or heart) of a fillet of beef, enough for two persons. It is grilled very carefully and served, sliced downwards, with maître d'hôtel butter and château potatoes.



French, meaning 'hot-cold'; a sauce which sets when cold. White chaudfroid is made on the base of a béchamel, milk, some flour and a certain amount of aspic jelly so that it will set. Brown chaudfroid, not often seen nowadays, is based on a demi-glacé sauce. It is always used cold. For instance, chicken chaudfroid is prepared by boiling the chicken then coating with the sauce just before the latter reaches setting point. After decorating with sliced mushroom or truffle, the whole is covered with cool liquid aspic to glaze it.



A turnover. A piece of short or flaky pastry is rolled out into a flat, round piece and half of it covered with jam or fruit. The other half is folded over it and the edges crimped to seal, then the chausson is baked and allowed to cool before eating. It may also consist of two pieces of pastry with a sandwich filling.



One of the best-known English cheeses, keeps well and travels well. A large, hard cheese with many imitators.



There are two types of cheese, hard and soft, both from milk solids in curd form. Hard cheeses include the familiar English Cheddar, Cheshire and Stilton, and Continental cheese like Parmesan. Most of the soft cheeses are Continental, like Camembert and Brie from France. Gorgonzola and Roquefort, although of creamy consistency, are classed as hard. See also Brie, Camembert, Cheddar, Cheshire, Gorgonzola, Gruyère, Parmesan, Roquefort, Stilton and Wensleydale.



A small stone fruit ripening in England in summer, but also imported outside the English season. There are three main types of English cherry, mostly grown in the Home Counties and Kent: May Dukes, white hearts and Morellos. They ripen in that order, from late June to the end of July. For dessert the May Dukes, red with firm flesh, and the white hearts (Bigarreau) are used. The former may also be made into compotes, but the white hearts lose their flavour when cooked. The Morellos, despite their highly attractive appearance, are best used for preserving. To conserve their considerable juice they are cut from the tree, leaving only a short stalk which, if pulled later, should bring out the stone with it, thus saving the tart, slightly acid flesh.


Cherry brandy

Well-known liqueur made from Morello cherries infused in brandy.


Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

Hardy annual herb whose flavour resembles aniseed. Its leaves are small and bright green, in sprays somewhat like maidenhair fern, and are some­times used for decoration of cold dishes. The flavour of chervil is used in sauce béarnaise.



One of the hard English cheeses, red or white, made from cow's milk.


Chestnut or Spanish chestnut

Most of the chestnuts used in cookery in Britain are imported from Italy and France, being large and floury when cooked; those grown in England usually are too small for practical use. If taken whole after being shelled and cooked, the chestnut may be made into the famous marron glacé with sugar syrup, or braised, or if mashed or sieved may be used for sweet or savoury purposes, in cakes, stuffings and purées.


Chick pea

A large yellow dried pea popular in Mediterranean countries for stews and soups. They need long soaking, then long, slow cooking, like the haricot bean. Also like the haricot they are said to be very nutritious.



Domestic bird reared both for eating and for laying eggs; its description depends on the age at which it is killed. Nowadays for eating purposes chickens are usually sold in the shops already dressed, and their weight is in that state, plus the weight of giblets; it is usually marked on oven-ready birds. Poussin Not more than about 1¼ lb, aged 4-6 weeks, killed for boning, stuffing and roasting, grilling, frying, pot-roasting etc., will feed only one person. Two people may be served from a double poussin, not more than 2 Ib and about 8-10 weeks old.

Spring chicken (Broiler) About 2-2½ lb, 3 months old; cooked like poussins,or sautéd. Roasting chicken Up to about 4 lb, about 1 year old and usable for almost any dish involving chicken. Most widely found. Boiling fowl An older bird, probably already used for laying, say 18 months old, which lends itself better to boiling or stewing. Tends to be very fatty. Cockerel Male bird, should be killed when about 6 months old, unless treated as a capon.


Chicken turbot [see Turbot]


Chicory (Cichorium endiva)

A winter vegetable in season from November to March; may be eaten raw or cooked. Imported into England, mainly from Belgium. Some confusion arises over the name: what is called chicory in England is known as endive in France, whereas the curly endive used in salads in England is called chicorée frisée in France. Chicory used to mix with coffee is entirely different; it is the roasted and ground root of the lntybus plant.



Green vegetables such as lettuce, sorrel, spinach, etc., cut up into shreds (chiffon in French means rag) to form a bed for dishes such as egg mayonnaise.



Chilli powder is ground from the dried small red chilli. See also Capsicum.



The backbone of an animal (from the French échine, meaning spinal column). Butchers usually saw through the bone when preparing cutlets or a roast on the ribs or loin.


Chinese gooseberry

A fruit with flesh, seeds and flavour resembling a gooseberry. Is usually on sale in England for Christmas; is oval, shaped like a sausage and has a brown skin.



A piece of fried potato, generally named according to its size and shape. Thus game chips are potatoes sliced wafer-thin and fried; allumettes are shaped like matchsticks; straw potatoes (pommes pailles) are cut in long thin strips or straws; pont neuf are thick fingers of potato.



Nowadays generally accepted as a smaller and thinner version of the ordinary sausage, but in Italy was a rich, onion-flavoured ragoût and in French was from the word ciboule, meaning chive.



Small pieces of offal, or intestine, of a freshly slaughtered animal, fried.


Chive (Allium schoenoprasum)

Fleshy green shoots from small bulbs which are grown in clusters for their delicate onion flavour, which makes them a delicious addition to salads and stuffings. Only the shoots are cut, with scissors, from the clusters which may be in pots or in the garden.



Chocolate is milled from cocoa in a highly skilled process, the quality, and therefore the price, being dependent on the amount of milling, added sugar, and starch involved. Usually sold in blocks, but may be in powder form. Eating chocolate is sold in many forms, but for cooking it is plain or unsweetened; the former has some sugar in it, the latter does not and is usually sold only through wholesalers.



The name given to a piece of meat cut from the loin of lamb, mutton, veal or pork, up to about 1½ in thick; if taken from the part of the loin nearest the tail it is called a chump chop (there are only two in each side of the animal). In chump chops there is more bone than in others.



French, meaning sauerkraut (fermented cabbage). A dish of this, with boiled pork or ham, and other garnishes such as garlic sausage, is known as choucroûte garnie.



One of the most important basic pastry mixtures, made with fat, flour, water and eggs. May be baked in spoonfuls, or petits choux, for profiteroles, or in lengths from a forcing bag for éclairs, or deep fried in small sweet or savoury beignets.



A soup made from shellfish, a seaboard speciality in the east­ern United States. In addition to clams, lobster, etc., or white fish, it may also have salt pork, onions and other vegetables. There are many variations, as with bouillabaisse in France, but the fish should be fresh.



A condiment, usually containing a mixture of many sweet and sour ingredients like fruits, sugar, spices and vinegar which have been cooked slowly for a long time. Indian in origin and may be hot, or mild. Some are bottled for keeping but others are made fresh for im­mediate use.



Fermented apple juice. Made extensively in places where apples are widely cultivated, such as England, France (Normandy), Canada and the U.S.A. May be drunk alone or in a cup or punch. Draught cider is much stronger and heady than the bottled type. For cooking purposes draught cider is better and is used in soups, stews, and in making vinegar. Also used to improve the flavour of apple fritter batter.



A warm, sweet aromatic spice suitable for adding to sweet foods and drinks. Sold either in quills or sticks, or ground into powder, the former used in mulled wine, spiced fruits, etc., the latter in cakes or pastry, or for flavouring some fruits. Most comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum zeylanicum, a tree growing in Ceylon and the Malabar coast, but a slightly more bitter type comes from the Cinnamomum cassia, or cassia tree.



A citrus fruit, large, lemon-shaped and with a thick rind which has a dark green, translucent appearance when candied, for which the citron is extensively used. Is used in mixed peel and, candied and sliced thin, for decorating a Madeira cake.



French, meaning a rich game stew; the French equivalent of jugged hare is civet de lièvre. See also Hare.



A dessert which originated in the Provence region of France; cherries, red or black, are covered with a thick batter after being stoned and laid in a dish, and are then baked.



Well-known shellfish, generally regarded as American although it is sometimes found on English coasts. Looks something like a large mussel and is cooked similarly to the mussel; the main ingredient of chowder, but may also be baked.



The English name for red wine from the Bordeaux region of France.



To remove impurities. By adding water (about ⅓ the quantity) to fat or dripping, boiling the whole and allowing it to cool, it will be found that impurities have passed into the water and the fat, in a solid piece, will have been clarified, or cleansed. See Butter. Egg whites added to meat broths like consommé, or to jellies, have the same effect. Egg whites are whisked in as the mixture is brought to the boil; they coagulate and rise to the top, carrying any opaque matter with them. Poured through a jelly bag the liquid should become clear, or clarified.


Clementine [see Orange]


Clove (Eugenia carophyllata)

1. An aromatic spice, the name coming from the Latin clovus meaning a nail, which the clove resembles before it is ground. In fact it is the bud of a shrub which grows in the Spice Islands (Moluccas). An onion stuck with cloves is a classic flavouring for soups, stews and sauces.

2. A segment of Garlic.


Coal fish, Coly or Saithe

A fish common in English fish shops, caught in the north. Is not unlike a haddock, with black skin, grey flesh, the latter turning white when cook­ed. For eating should be small and young.


Cob nut [see Filbert]


Cochineal [see Carmine]


Cockerel [see Chicken]



Small shellfish with ribbed white shells, which are hinged. Boiled and usually eaten cold with bread, butter and vinegar. Generally sold ready cooked in fishmongers where mussels, whelks and other molluscs are found.



The cocoa tree grows in tropical countries and has a pod which contains seeds, or nibs, which are roasted and milled to pro­duce cocoa or chocolate. The quality of cocoa or chocolate depends on how much of a sweet-scented, yellowish fat is extracted during milling or is added with starch and sugar after milling. This fat is called Cocoa Butter. A special drink for children may be made by infusing the nib, but for general purposes powdered cocoa is made into a hot drink, being more digestible than the richer chocolate.



The fruit of the Cocas nucifera or coconut palm which grows in the eastern parts of Asia and the East Indies; large, with hairy husk and tough shell. Inside is a crisp white flesh and some slightly greenish liquid which makes a refreshing drink. (This is not coconut milk referred to in some curry recipes, which is simply milk infused with coco­nut for more flavouring.) Dried or desiccated and grated, the coconut flesh is used for con­fectionery, cakes, curries, chut­nies and so on.



One of the commonest deep sea fish. Can weigh anything from about 1½ Ib up to 20 lb, the best being about 9-10 Ib and fished between May and October, although cod are avail­able all year round. The flesh, usually bought in steaks or fillets, is in large flakes, the roe sold fresh or smoked and the liver used for cod liver oil. The tongues used to be regarded as a delicacy. Some fillets are salted and dried for export to countries, particularly in the Mediterranean, which prefer them that way; or cod may be smoked and used as a cheaper substitute for smoked haddock. Salt cod must be well soaked before cooking. The fresh fish is greatly improved if rubbed with lemon, salted and left for an hour, then drained before being cooked in any of the wide range of recipes to which it lends itself. See also Brandade.



The beans of the coffee berry, when dried, roasted and ground, provide the coffee with which we are familiar and which is prepared in almost as many ways as there are cooks. The extent of roasting determines the taste: the Continental roast favoured by the French is burned almost black while others are only lightly roasted; there are also blends. The beans are ground according to whether the coffee will be made in a percolator, filter, by the vacuum method, or etc.



The name given to a fine brandy produced under strictly controlled rules from the grapes of a relatively small area of France, of which the small town of Cognac is the centre, in the Charente district. See also Brandy, Eau-de-vie.



An orange-flavoured liqueur made in France.



An Irish dish of mashed potato beaten with cooked and chopped cabbage, butter and milk until the mixture is fluffy and very light.


Cole slaw

A crisp cabbage, shredded, chilled, and mixed with mayonnaise or cream, with a garnish for serving of green peppers, apple, etc. Originated in the United States.


Coly [see Coal Fish]



Fruit such as apple, gooseberry, apricot, etc., which has been poached in syrup usually made of sugar and water.



To chop up, especially tomatoes. First remove skin and seeds, then chop flesh roughly.


Condensed milk

Canned milk, usually sweetened. The process used renders the milk thick, to a consistency similar to honey.



Spices and seasonings to add flavour and piquancy to a dish, such as salt, pepper, mustard or bottled sauces.


Conger eel [see Eel]



A concentrated, clarified soup made from beef and bone stock. The names of various con­sommés depend on their garnishes, eg. petite marmite, with chicken. A cold consommé sets to a jelly.


Continental sausages

The number of different types of Continental sausages on sale here increases as delicates­sens cater for wider ranges of taste. The better-known ones, mostly made of pork.

Liver Usually richer and with more flavour than the English varieties, the most popular are from Germany, Belgium and France. 

Salami Made in many con­tinental countries, particularly Hungary, Germany and Italy, varies in flavour, consistency and garlic content. Usually speckled in appearance because of particles of fat among the red meat. 

Garlic French sausage, made of salted pork or ham with heavy garlic flavouring, about 3 in diameter.

Mortadella Originally Italian, very large and rather soft in texture. These are all used in or as hors d'oeuvre and mostly are served cold and very thinly sliced. Saveloys and Frank­furters are not served this way.



The dried and powdered fruit of the coriander tree Coriandrum sativum is one of the spices used in curries. Sometimes the ripe seeds and the leaves of the tree are used fresh, but sparingly because of their pungent, oily flavour. Candied seeds may be eaten as comfits.


Corned beef

'Corns' are crystals of coarse salt used in pickling; thus a 'corned' meat is one which has been pickled in such salt. Corned beef is generally boiled.


Cornet [see Mould]


Cornish pasty

A turnover of short or flaky pastry, enough for one or up to 4 persons, with a filling of meat, onions and potatoes.



A fine starch obtained by milling the kernel of Indian corn or maize. May be used for blanc­manges, and for thickening sauces, gravies, etc. Mixed with wheat flour in making some types of cake.


Corn-on-the-cob [see Indian Corn]


Corn salad or Lamb's lettuce

A small annual vegetable named Valerianella olitoria, which, although not very tasty in itself, makes a very useful addition to other winter vegetables in a salad. The plant is not affected by frost and is pulled whole and washed before being included in the salad.



A typical Russian dish: a long, fat roll of brioche dough or puff pastry enclosing a mixture of flaked salmon and rice well glazed with beaten egg and baked. Should be covered with a sauce suprême or cream sauce and served hot.



A concentrated soup or stew of meat or vegetables.



A silver or glass cup, usually on a stem, for serving ice cream, fruit salads, etc. Followed by a name, eg. Coupe française, it denotes the type of dessert.


Courgette or Zucchini

A miniature type of marrow, cooked the same way but usually without peeling. They have a delicate flavour, are easily grown, maturing at the same time as marrows. Imported courgettes are available for most of the year.


Court bouillon

A stock made of water, wine or vinegar and root vegetables. This slightly acidulated liquid is used for poaching fish, veal, etc., since it keeps flesh a good colour and adds flavour.



There are numerous recipes for this Arabian dish, which consists essentially of a type of millet flour cooked in water until fluffy and served with a stew of mutton.



The crab commonly sold in England ranges from 1 to 3½ Ib in weight, with large claws and a rough, reddish-brown shell. Crabs are usually sold cooked and are moderate in price, but if required for salad with mayonnaise, etc., they must be dressed. This is a somewhat complex operation and the instructions in the cookery book should be closely followed; or the fishmonger may do it for an extra charge. Crab meat, both white and dark or mixed, may also be bought fresh or frozen by the pound. This is used in soufflés, savouries, etc. The fresh crab season is May to September.



A small apple which grows wild or on trees cultivated mainly for decoration. Makes a delicious jelly or spiced fruit, but has a very bitter flavour and is not eaten raw. The tree blossom is white or pale pink; the fruit ranges from scarlet to golden-yellow.



The skin of roast pork. Before cooking the skin is scored with the point of a sharp knife, so that the fat becomes crisp.



Cranberry sauce, made from the red berry of the shrub which grows wild on moorland or may be cultivated, is the traditional accompaniment to turkey in the U.S.A. Also used in jellies.



Spatchcock. Small birds split down the back and flattened for cooking, usually grilling.



This is the French langouste, or rock lobster, a crustacean which may weigh 3-6 Ib and is more popular on the Continent than in England. It has a rough brown-red shell and small claws. Its flesh, coarser than that of lobster, is all in the tail and is cut into 'scallops' for serving. Because of its size, often used for a pièce montée or centrepiece on a cold table.



Small, lobster-like shellfish found in fresh waters, particu­larly in Scandinavia, where it is so popular that it is given a festival each year. Usually boiled and served with dressing and bread and butter. Called écre­visse in France.



If milk is allowed to stand, the fat, or cream, rises to the top. Commercially the fats are separated mechanically from the milk, in various proportions to give different types of cream. Pasteurisation by heat treatment will make it difficult to separate cream from milk.

The various types of cream that may be encountered are:

Fresh cream: This is the source of all other creams; will keep for 48 hours, but is better used on the day it is bought.

Single cream: Must have at least 18 per cent butterfat content; may be homogenised for even suspension of fat globules.

Whipping cream: Must have 38 per cent butterfat content, making it possible to be whipped.

Double cream: Minimum 48 per cent butterfat.

Soured cream: Used in making butter, cream cheese, etc., and in some recipes, especially mid-European dishes such as Bortsch, Goulash.

Clotted cream: Made by leaving milk to stand for about 12 hours until cream rises, then heating slowly to scalding point; the milk is then taken off the heat and allowed to stand until the cream clots or thickens and is skimmed off. Clotted cream is a speciality of Devon and Cornwall; Devonshire cream is smoother and more solid than the Cornish.

Ultra-heat-treated: A special high temperature treatment makes it possible to keep fresh cream for three months.

Canned cream Fresh pasteur­ised cream, homogenised and sealed in cans keeps indefinitely. Frozen cream Cream frozen at very high speed will keep at or below 32°F (0°C), but once thawed must be treated like fresh cream and not refrozen. Synthetic cream Made from fats and edible oils other than milk and used mainly for decoration or soufflés.


Cream of tartar

A chemical, potassium bitar­trate, which when mixed with bicarbonate of soda and mois­tened releases carbonic acid gas; therefore, used as a raising agent. To prevent graining when boiling syrup, a pinch of cream of tartar may be used instead of liquid glucose.



Because carrots grown in the region of this French town are renowned, some dishes containing carrots are said to be cooked à la Crécy.


Crème Chantilly [see Chantilly]


Crème de menthe

A peppermint flavoured liqueur.


Crème pâtissière [see Pastry Cream]



A speciality of the Dauphinois district of France: a milk curd made without becoming too sour is beaten with egg whites and cream, sweetened and drained in special pots.



Meat or chicken garnished with rice cooked with tomatoes and peppers like a pilaf.


Crêpe [see Pancake]


Crêpe Suzette

A pancake made from batter flavoured with curaçao, cooked very thin and spread with a mixture of butter, sugar and the juice and zest of either an orange or a tangerine. After being folded the pancakes are flamed with either more curaçao or brandy.


Cress (Garden Cress or Lepidium satirum)

A quick growing, small plant which springs up easily from small seed, even on a damp flannel inside the house. Useful for sandwiches (egg and cress), salads or garnishes. See also Watercress and Mustard.



Traditional French breakfast roll, rich, flaky and with a distinctive crescent (croissant) shape. Made from a dough of flour, water, milk and yeast which is first allowed to rise and then rolled with butter as for puff pastry and baked with butter.



French meaning ‘crack-in-the-mouth’. An elaborate dessert made by coating small crisp balls of baked choux pastry or meringue with sugar syrup boiled to the crack stage. They are then stacked up into a pyramid about 8 in high, topped with spun sugar and the space in the middle either filled with crème Chantilly or left empty.



Cooked and chopped chicken, hard-boiled eggs or flaked fish in a savoury mixture bound together with a thick béchamel sauce. The mixture is divided and rolled into balls or flat rounds, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and deep fried. See also Rissole.



Bread hollowed out and fried in deep fat to form a casing for savoury mixtures. May be made from a whole loaf with the crust cut off or thick slices. The filling might consist of, say, prawns and buttered eggs or sweetbreads, etc. The croustade may or may not be eaten, according to taste.



A piece of bread toasted or fried to be used as a base for a savoury mixture, or a garnish for a dish with a rich gravy, for instance boeuf à la bourguignonne. Generally the bread is in thin slices and cut in triangles. See also Canapé.



A small piece or cube of fried bread or potato, generally served with cream or purée soups.



A Scottish cheese made from soured milk curd.



The French name for a dish of raw spring onions, carrots, radishes and other vegetables served at the beginning of a lunch.



A form of pancake made from a yeast batter baked on special rings in a quick oven. Crumpets are thick and about 3 in in diameter, the method of baking producing one side smooth and the other full of small holes. They are generally served at tea time, toasted and with plenty of butter; sometimes, particu­larly in winter, they may be served with bacon. (Known in some areas as pikelets.)



A general term for all shellfish.



As some confectionery, such as glacé fruits and fondant creams, are finished they are given an attractive as well as protective coating by crystalli­sation of sugar. This requires a saccharometer to make sure that the syrup is between 32° and 36° and a thermometer to ensure that it has boiled to 220-224°F. When it has cooled the syrup is poured over the fruits or fondants to be coated, in special trays; they remain for some time in the syrup and when drained and dried should be completely coated with crys­tals.



A type of melon grown as a salad vegetable, mostly under glass in England; available all year round but most plentiful from May to September. Some outdoor cucumbers are used for pickling.



Juices from cooking meat, poultry or fish.


Cullis [See Coulis]


Cummin (Cumminum cyminum)

Seeds used for flavouring and in making some liqueurs. Very like caraway in appearance and taste.



An orange-flavoured liqueur made from gin or brandy and the rind of Seville oranges.



Curds are milk solids which appear when milk turns sour or when acid is added and the milk heated. Soft curds are produced by adding rennet, as for junket; addition of a cheese rennet produces the hard curds which are the basis for cheese-making, but cream cheese can be made from the softish curds of soured milk. See also Crowdie.



Meat and fish may be subjected to the process of curing with salt, sugar and saltpetre in order to preserve them. They may be dry salted or pickled in a brine, the important ingredient being salt; the saltpetre is used only to give the meat colour, and sugar to counteract the hardening effect of saltpetre. Hams, bacon, kippers, bloaters and haddock are first cured in salt and then further preserved by smoking.



An acid-flavoured soft fruit which ripens in July. Black currants have a high vitamin C content and are extensively used for making a cordial or syrup, also for jams, jellies, and tarts; Cassis is made from this fruit. Red currants make the traditional jelly served with meat or game, and also syrup drinks. White currants are less common but also used in sweets, jellies and syrups. All have a high pectin content. Dried currants are the fruit of the Corinth grape.



A strongly spiced eastern dish or sauce. In Britain the spices are sold ready ground and mixed as curry powder. In India the cook would mix his own spices according to the food to be cooked. The main spices used are cayenne, coriander, turmeric, cumin, ginger, mace, cloves, cardamom, fenugreek and pepper.



An egg and milk mixture served as a pudding or a sauce, or forming the basis of a cold soufflé or cream dessert. A custard pudding (caramel custard, for instance) must have whole eggs mixed with egg yolks so as to set into a pudding when it is cooked. For a sauce, only the yolks are used.



In the case of lamb (or mutton) this is taken from the best end of neck; in veal it might also come from the leg, or a thick fillet. Because they have a delicious flavour and are easily cooked, cutlets are excellent for grills and sautés. Cutlets should be well trimmed of fat before grilling or sautéing.


Cutlet bat

A heavy, flat, metal bat with a handle, for flattening fillets of fish, escalopes, cutlets, etc., before they are cooked.


Cuttlefish [see Octopus]