Words Beginning with the Letter S



Similar to the Italian dessert zabaglione, this French version uses whole eggs (instead of yolks), white wine (instead of the Italian marsala) with sugar. The ingredients are whisked together over heat to a nice mousse consistency and served either as a sauce to a hot pudding, or as a sweet in its own right served in glasses with sponge fingers or ratafias.



Equal parts of butter and flour made into a rich biscuit paste, either sweetened to go with jam or cheese-flavoured as a savoury.



An essential piece of equipment in making some confectionery, marrons glacés and water ices, the saccharometer measures the density of sugar in a syrup by its specific gravity.



Pastry twists made from puff pastry or trimmings, which should be rolled, folded, dusted with caster sugar instead of flour and chilled. The pastry is then cut into strips ¾ in wide and about 6 inches long, twisted well, placed on a damp baking sheet and baked until brown in a hot oven. The sugar caramelises and gives a pleasant colour to the pastries.



Lamb or mutton, cut in such a way that the two loins and connecting vertebrae remain in one piece.



Flavouring and colouring in the stamen of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus). Used in savoury rice dishes, cakes and bread. A little is used-a pinch dissolved in a few tablespoons of warm water is usually enough-and as it is light in weight, saffron is usually sold in very small quantities.


Sage (Salvia officinalis)

This perennial herb is the one most usually associated with goose, duck or rich meats. Also used for flavouring crab apple or gooseberry jelly, and sage leaves are sometimes wrapped round cheese to give it a flavour.



Fashionable as a nourishing invalid food up to the turn of the century, but the theory of its nutritional value was discounted in the early part of this century. Comes from the pith of the palm tree and may be used for thickening, like arrowroot. Used in Scandinavian röd gröd. Can be stewed with apple and served cold with cream or simmered in milk until clear, cooled, sweetened and served with whipped cream.



Degree to which meat or game is roasted or grilled: blood should run out when it is cut. Extremely underdone (literally 'bloody'). Used especially of wild duck.


Saithe [See Coal-Fish]



The name usually applied to a dish of raw, mixed vegetables, but extended also to cold cooked vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, cereals, eggs and so on, in dishes which may be served separately or as an accompaniment to another dish. The commonest forms are of raw greens like lettuce, chicory, cresses, cucumber and root vegetables. Salad is often served as a side dish with meat, poultry or game; it usually has a dressing, either a French dressing, mayonnaise or cream sauce for the more sophisticated dishes.



A long-handled iron plate which was held in the fire until red hot, then held over a dish to brown the surface in the days before gas or electric grills were invented.



A small piece of well-baked choux pastry topped with cara­mel and filled with orange whipped cream; usually served as a small pastry or petits fours.


Salami [See Continental Sausages]


Sally Lunn

A very light teacake split open and buttered while hot, to be eaten immediately. The name is said to originate from the late 18th century, when Sally Lunn became famous for her home­made tea biscuits, which she sold in the streets of Bath.



An 18th century dish with a name that rolls round the tongue: the dish itself sounds equally attractive, being a mixed salad of cold cooked and sliced meats, beetroot, cucumber, hard-boiled eggs, etc.



A type of ragoût, usually of duck or game. The bird is first lightly roasted and after being jointed or split, is sim­mered gently in a rich brown sauce containing red wine. Should be served with fried bread croûtons.



This 'king of fish' weighs an average of between 10 and 25 Ib when 3 years old or more, the young fish below that age and size which have been down to the sea for the first time being known as 'grilse'. Salmon are partly sea fish but return to the rivers to spawn and are usually caught at the river mouth, the season being roughly from Feb­ruary to August depending on the area. Salmon may be bought fresh, whole or in steaks, smoked, dried or canned. Fresh salmon is usually poached and served cold with a mayonnaise or tartare sauce or hot with a hollandaise sauce or anchovy butter.


Salmon trout or Sea trout

Resembles a small salmon, with silvery skin and pale pink, delicate flesh, also returning to a river to spawn, but the two fish are no relation. Salmon trout average between 2½ and 6 Ib and are in season May to July. They are cooked and served much the same as sal­mon and nowadays are re­garded as more delicate than the salmon, although years ago they were thought to be inferior.



The name given to a mixture of shredded ham, chicken, game or mushrooms, bound with a rich sauce, brown or white. May be used as a stuffing for pastry cases and other dishes or made into croquettes.



A form of saltpetre used to hasten the process of salting or pickling. Use with care.



There are two varieties of this delicious vegetable, sometimes called the oyster of the garden. Black salsify or scorzonera, with a long, tapering root, is the more prized because of its delicate flavour. White salsify has a thicker and shorter root. Both should be well cleaned by scrubbing, then scraped or thinly peeled and boiled in salted water with a slice of lemon until tender (about 40 minutes). May be served hot with melted butter, cold in salad or coated with egg and crumbs and deep fried.



This commonest of kitchen ingredients is the chemical, sodium chloride. For kitchen use it is in rough or block form, but for table use it is refined in a process that ensures that it will pour freely. There are other grades and types of salt such as Rock (or bay) salt, in coarse crystals or freezing salt. See also Freezer.



Nitrate of potash used in the process of pickling meats such as beef, tongue, etc., in conjunction with ordinary salt.



A spring plant (May) used as a green salad or for pickling; grows on sea marshes, sand dunes, etc., particularly in East Anglia, and is to be found in shops along the east coast of Britain.



The story goes that the Earl of Sandwich, too intent on continuing at the gaming table to take a meal, sent for a piece of meat with buttered bread on each side of it and thus invented the sandwich. Nowadays there is an almost infinite variety of sandwich fillings.



A drink from the West Indies: port, spices, crushed ice, sweetening and a lacing of brandy in a long glass.



The sardine is the young of the pilchard and is netted off the coasts of Portugal, Spain and France. Because they do not travel well they are exported from these areas canned in oil or tomato sauce or salted, only relatively few people know the delights of fresh sardines. They are used mostly for hors d'oeuvre or savouries. Their name comes from the fact that they were discovered near Sardinia.



A Spanish variety of tangerine, imported into England from mid-November and popular because it is particularly juicy and large.



A sauce is a seasoned liquid with or in which food is served. Bottled proprietary sauces like Worcestershire, tomato ketchup, etc., are condiments. Generally sauces are made by using the cooking liquid from the food with which they are to be served, thickened with, for instance, flour and butter or egg yolks, but there are many ways of arriving at an end result that will accompany, coat or cover a dish or bind its ingredients together. See also Aioli, Béarnaise, Béchamel, Bercy, Bigarade, Blanche, Bordelaise, Bread Sauce, Brown, Chaudfroid, Demi-Glace, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Mayonnaise, Mornay, Poivrade, Poulette, Ravigote, Reform, Rémoulade, Robert, Rouennaise, Soubise, Suprême, Tartare, Velouté, Vinaigrette.



A vessel with a lid and handle which should be 4½-5 inches deep so as to allow the con­tents to be stirred without spilling over the sides while the vessel is on the heat. For sauce, it should be small so that the minimum surface is exposed to the air. A milk saucepan has no lid, has sloping sides and a lip for easy pouring. Saucepans are made of many materials such as aluminium, enamelled iron, tin-lined copper, stainless steel, fireproof glass, etc.



Sour or fermented cabbage. White drumhead cabbage is sliced finely and allowed to ferment in brine for about 4 weeks; usually it can be bought ready for blanching and cooking from delicatessens or in tins. See also Blanche. Braised or stewed, it is used to go with rich meat like goose, boiled pork and sausages. The French equivalent is choucroûte and one of the traditional dishes of the Alsace region is a chou­croûte garnie.



Meat and a farce such as breadcrumbs, mixed and finely minced or ground with season­ings and stuffed into a gut casing. There are many sorts, beef and pork (or a mixture of both) being the most popular nowadays. See also Contin­ental Sausages. Most com­mercially made sausages con­tain preservative, otherwise they deteriorate very quickly.



To brown food in butter or oil and butter, generally before cooking is completed in a 'small' sauce, one made in the sauté pan on the food. The process is particularly suitable for young or good quality food such as a small chicken, veal, sirloin of beef or for sweetbreads, kidneys or liver. The pan should be wide so as to accommodate the food and allow reduction of the sauce to take place quickly; or a frying pan with improvised lid (a plate, for instance) would do. When the meat is browned it is taken from the pan and the sauce made and reduced until it is just sufficient to cover the meat when it is put back into the pan. Depending on the sort of dish, the remainder of the cooking may be carried out in the oven or on top of the stove. It should be noted that in using a mixture of oil and butter, the oil goes in first and the butter is added a few minutes later and that some foods, like chicken, take longer to brown.


Sauté pan

A special pan used to sauté meat or poultry. A wide, shallow pan (not more than about 3-4 inches high) with straight sides and a well fitting lid.



A light cake baked in a distinctive savarin mould, a ring mould with a rounded top (as opposed to a flat border mould). The mixture is a rich yeast dough which, when baked, is soaked in a syrup flavoured with rum or kirsch. The centre should be filled according to the dish required, eg. crème chantilly for a Savarin Chantilly or with cherries for a Savarin Montmorency. See also Baba.



A smallish sausage generally made with ground pork or the meat of a pig's head, well flavoured with spices and herbs. The sausage is lightly smoked and sold cooked. The best are reputed to come from Italy; the name is thought to be a corruption of cervelas (brains) because the original ones were made with pig's brains.



An important gastronomic region of eastern France, mountainous and noted for dairy produce, freshwater fish, game and pâtisserie. A la savoyarde denotes that a dish will have eggs, milk, Gruyère cheese and potatoes. Among its famous cakes is biscuit de Savoie, a type of sponge.



There are two easily cultivated forms of this aromatic herb (Satureia montana and S. hortensis). The first is an annual, summer savory and the second a perennial, winter savory. Is used with broad beans, or in some stuffings, and has a flavour similar to sage but more delicate.



The final course of a dinner menu, something small and piquant designed to clean the palate for the port; welsh rarebit, angels on horseback and cheese soufflé are the most popular.


Savoy [See Cabbage]



1. To plunge into boiling water for easy peeling.

2. To heat a liquid, eg. milk, to just under boiling point.


Scallion [See Onion and Shallot]



A very attractive shellfish with a delicate flavour, known in France as coquille St. Jacques. At its best in January and February. When alive scallop shells are tightly closed, but they are usually sold opened, with the flesh and orange-coloured roe, called the tongue, attached to the flat side of the shell. The deep side can be had from the fishmonger for serving in. If bought closed, the shell can be opened easily by placing in a warm oven for a few minutes. Remove beard and cut flesh and roe from the shell with a sharp knife. There are many ways of cooking scallops: baking, frying, grilling or poaching. Avoid boiling or the flesh will be tough.



Dishes which are cooked and served in a dish shaped like a scallop shell, for instance a gratin. Scallop shaped dishes in china or silver, can be bought for the purpose.



True scampi are Mediterranean prawns, but what is sold as scampi in England nowadays might be Dublin Bay, Pacific or other large prawns. Mostly sold frozen, but if Dublin Bay type prawns are bought fresh, they should be boiled lightly and the shells cracked. Scampi may be cooked and served in many ways.


Schnitzel [See Wiener Schnitzel]



The original scone was made in Scotland, an 8 inch diameter round of dough made with flour and buttermilk or sour milk, cut into four quarters or farls and baked either in an oven or on a girdle. Nowadays the scone may assume one of a number of shapes and may contain white, brown wheat flour or oatmeal, potato, barley, sour milk, etc.


Scorzonera [See Salsify]


Scotch woodcock

A savoury consisting of hot buttered toast spread with an­chovy paste and the whole covered with a rich savoury custard. Served hot.


Sea bream [See Bream]



A very delicately flavoured vegetable, valued as a separate course with a hollandaise sauce or melted butter. Expensive to buy or cultivate, but repays the cost; not often seen in the shops and then only in winter, particularly about Christmas time. Has pencil-thick stems which widen towards the root, white with a grey-green tip. To cook sea-kale: trim away the roots and tie in bundles, boil gently for 16-20 minutes in salted water until just tender, then drain and serve on a folded napkin with melted butter or with hollandaise sauce. See also Chard.


Sea trout [See Salmon Trout]



A form of grain usually used in soufflés, moulds, puddings, etc., or sometimes in place of maize meal (polenta) in gnocchi or in bread. It is really grains of wheat left over after a sifting process called bolting.


Sesame seed

Seeds of the sesame plant, small and brown; much used in the Middle East for a sweet meat called halva and to extract sesame seed oil for cooking.



A medium-sized fish averaging up to 10 Ib weight which, like the salmon, lives in salt water but migrates to rivers and lakes to spawn. Better known in Continental Europe and America than in England; has a reddish-silver skin and is very bony, but the flesh is highly esteemed. Shad roe is a delicacy. A traditional American dish is shad split, laid on a pinewood shingle and cooked with the wood burning slowly round it.



The original name for grapefruit, sometimes called pomeloes, which were introduced into the West Indies from China by a Captain Shaddock.



Small, reddish-brown skinned onion with a slightly purple flesh, delicate flavour and economical size for kitchen use. Sometimes called scallions in the north of England. Shallots multiply into four bulbs about ½ oz each when planted. Can be cooked in a variety of ways or used for garnishes, vegetables, pickles, etc.


Shashlik [See Kebab]



A Middle East iced drink flavoured with flowers and fruits including violets, rose petals, etc., and frozen semi-solid. The name is also given to a variety of water ice in the United States and a children's sweet in Britain.



A wine from the Jerez region of Spain, fortified by the addition of brandy at a certain stage of fermentation. It is a blend of a number of different years' harvests, and thus there can be no vintage sherry. Good sherries are produced in some other countries like South Africa, Australia, etc., but in Britain these must be strictly labelled as such.



A shortcake baked for New Year and other festive occasions in Scotland. It is made from an equal quantity of butter and flour, very well sweetened and made into various shapes with moulds before being baked. Can be decorated with comfits or candied peel before baking.



A lard or vegetable fat which, unlike butter, contains no liquid and hence gives a very 'short' or crisp texture when rubbed into flour for baking.


Shrewsbury cake

Somewhat like rich shortbread.



Shrimp and young prawn are similar in appearance, but a true shrimp has a brown shell and the young prawn a pink colour with a horny protuberance in the front of the head. The shrimp has a better texture and more delicate flavour; may be bought fresh, usually shelled or potted. See also Prawn.



A 19th century drink made with brandy or rum and a syrup and fruit juice. The name is thought to be a corruption of sherbet.



In the modern kitchen a nylon or metal mesh replaces the old fashioned hair sieve and may be coarse or fine as required; used mainly for making purées from raw or cooked foods. A proprietary type, well-known and useful because the mesh can be altered by changing a base plate, is called a Mouli­sieve. See also Strainer.



Another name for brisling or the young of herring. In Britain they are sold canned or smoked.



Method of cooking food in a sauce or liquid that is kept slightly below boiling point, where the surface is not subject to violent movement.



A mid-Lenten cake usually baked in Lancashire for Mother­ing Sunday but also associated with Easter. It is a rich fruit cake sandwiched and decorated with marzipan and iced.



Crisp toast cut into small trian­gular pieces and arranged round a dish of mince, with which they make a pleasant contrast.



A very ugly fish caught off the Cornish coast, but with wings or side pieces which make excellent eating, often after the fish has been hung in the sun for several days. Apart from these, only the liver of the fish is eaten. The wings, generally sold skinned, are cut into thick fingers through the semi-gristle or bones and fried in batter or poached. In France raie au beurre noir or skate with a black butter sauce, is a popular dish.



An implement for fastening meat or joints together or holding meats for grilling. Made of wood or metal, in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are very thin and round for delicate meats like kidney, others may have an edge to stop meat slipping round in kebabs, brochettes,etc. See also Attelettes.



In America a frying pan is known as a skillet.


Skim [See Dépouiller]



To mix a small quantity of cold water with cornflour or arrowroot before it is added to another liquid as thickening. The proportion of water to arrowroot is about two tablespoons of water to a heaped tablespoon of arrowroot.


Slaw [See Cole Slaw]



A fruit not unlike a damson but smaller and sourer. Used in making sloe gin and sometimes mixed with elderberries to give extra pectin and flavour to jelly. Comes from the blackthorn bush, which grows wild in hedges and ripens in September.



Small almost translucent fish 5-6 inches long, usually fried or baked, served with butter and lemon. Has a distinct smell and taste of cucumber, hence is known as the cucumber of the sea. Popular before World War II, but rarely seen nowadays.



Scandinavian open sandwiches, usually laid out on a table with many different toppings ranging from fish or meat to combinations of fruit. May consist of only a few sandwiches or be virtually a complete meal.



Snails for the table come from France, the best being from the Burgundy region, where they are fed on vine leaves. Although they can be bought fresh or tinned in some shops, snails are difficult to prepare and are best served by restaurant chefs who are familiar with the dish. In French, called escargots.



A game bird not unlike a woodcock, small but highly prized. Snipe are plucked but not drawn, the head left on, trussed with the legs crossed and the beak pushed through the thighs. Can be spit-roasted, or cooked for 3 minutes each side in a Dutch oven or 6 minutes on a grid in a roasting tin in a very hot oven. Served in their own juice on toast with game chips.



A now outdated means of making mounts for dishes in an elaborate cold table by moulding cooked, pounded rice into required shape and then covering with silver paper.


Soda (Bicarbonate)

A raising agent generally used for fruit, dripping or ginger cakes because it keeps cakes more moist than baking powder and also has a darkening quality. Used with sour milk in scones and soda breads (cream of tartar is used with sweet milk). A pinch of soda also helps when stewing rhubarb or sour plums, or to keep the colour of or soften green vegetables.



Considered the best of the white fish, there are two main varieties, Dover (or black) sole, the most prized and most expensive and the lemon sole. Both are flat sea-water fish, the Dover sole with a brownish-black skin and rather narrow shape and the lemon a paler, more sandy brown and a larger oval in shape. Both are available all year round but are at their best in the months from April to January. Lemon soles weigh 1-2 lb, should be skinned on both sides and can be grilled whole or filleted, fried or poached and served with various sauces. Small 8-10 oz Dover soles called slip soles are cooked similarly. There is a third type, called a witch or Torbay sole, but it is very poor by comparison with the others.



French, meaning sherbet; a water ice, usually lemon-flav­oured, which was served after the entrée in Victorian days to clear the palate for the roast. See Menu. Nowadays it appears as a separate course only in formal dinners, otherwise it is served as a sweet.



A herb popular among European cooks but little used in Britain. Has a fresh, acidy taste which goes well in a purée served with rich meats and eggs and tradi­tionally accompanies a frican­deau. Potage de santé is a soup made with sorrel and spinach.



A purée of onions, usually mixed with rice, seasoning, butter and cream or with béchamel sauce instead of rice, for coating.



Virtually an Irish stew made with fish instead of meat.



An egg dish which can be sweet or savoury, hot or cold; the basic idea is that the eggs must be separated, the yolk being mixed with other ingredi­ents while the whites are whipped to a firm snow and folded into the mixture just before baking. How the whites are whipped is important since they are what makes the soufflé rise. Hot savoury soufflés are usually made with cheese or vegetable purées, bound with a béchamel sauce before beating in the yolks. Hot sweet soufflés are made on a pastry cream base. All are baked in the oven in a special ovenproof dish or case with a paper band tied round it and several inches above the sides, since a good soufflé should rise a couple of inches above the dish. Cold sweet soufflés have milk and cream as well as eggs and are set with gelatine.



Basically a flavoured liquid eaten (soup is eaten, not drunk) before solid foods to stimulate the gastric juices. The range of soups is enormous; a clear, double-distilled broth or consommé is probably the most concentrated and best form. This is followed by the bisque or fish cream, which needs some skill to make. Then comes purée of vegetable, followed by cream soups and broths. The last-named require long simmering of meat bones with vegetables and cereal to give them body and flavour. A broth may also be made with fish. Some soups are really a meal in themselves.



A process, used mainly for fish (soused herring) or calf's head, whereby the food is steeped and cooked in a vinegar or wine marinade.



The soya bean is extremely useful, being high in protein content. It is the source of soy sauce, much used in Chinese cookery and the basis of Worcestershire sauce, as well as soy or soya flour. The latter is a good source of protein and was used during World War II to increase the protein content of sausages and to make bread. Food scientists are now developing new protein foods based on soya flour.



The most common of the Italian pastas, usually made in thin rods about 12-18 inches in length; like other pastas it should be simmered gently in salted water after being lowered gently into the pan to avoid breaking its length. Cooking takes about 12 minutes, until it can be broken easily with the thumb nail. Spaghetti should be drained and tossed with a knob of butter before being served with a savoury sauce.


Spanish potato [See Potato]



Any small bird which is split down the back, flattened and kept in shape or spitted with skewers, brushed with melted butter and grilled. (An eel treated the same way is called a spitchcock.) Usually served with a devil sauce, gravy and cress.



A flat piece of wood or plastic, like a spoon without a bowl, used for stirring sauces and cream mixtures.



The term covering most of the condiments used in cookery, the main ones being allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, nutmeg, black and white peppercorns. All, like herbs, should be used carefully so as not to spoil the dish by over flavouring and care should be taken to see that any particular spice blends correctly with a certain dish.



A common green leaf vegetable which can be used as a vegetable or in creams, soups, etc. Summer spinach is the true spinach (although a winter variety is also grown); it has a delicate flavour and a large, tender, bright green leaf. But also classed as spinach are New Zealand spinach, with a small, dark green and not very tasty leaf, spinach beet or perpetual spinach (in season all year round) and sea-kale beet, whose leaves serve as spinach. See also Sea-Kale, Chard.


Split pea

A dried pea, split at its natural division. Soaked and made into purées, soups, etc.



Like Brisling and Sild, the young of herring, about 3 inches long, with red round the eyes and a bright silver skin. Usually served either deep fat fried or grilled with mustard butter. May also be bought smoked.



A stick for stirring porridge, still made in Scotland.



A pigeon bred specially for the table, killed when plump and young.



1. A vegetable of the gourd family Cucurbita, which may be edible, like a pumpkin or merely decorative.

2. A syrup of concentrated fruit juice (lemon, orange, grapefruit, etc.) and sugar, ready to be diluted with water. This generally is prepared commercially and sold in bottles; if made at home tartaric acid should be added to the fruit juice as a preservative.


Squid [See Octopus]



A slice of meat, fish or gammon, but usually when a steak is mentioned without qualification it is taken to mean a cut of fillet, rump or other beef for grilling or frying or chuck or other beef for braising or stewing. See also Beef.



Cooking food by moist heat or steam, either in a specially designed two-stage pan, the bottom containing water and the tight-fitting upper part a perforated platform and a lid, or in some improvised form of this. One such improvisation is to place the food in a covered mould or bowl and set this in a pan of water with the water halfway up the sides of the bowl and a lid covering the whole. Whatever the pan, the water in the bottom should boil conti­nually but not violently during the cooking time. Steaming is mainly used for fish, meat, creams, puddings and some vegetables.



A Russian fish, a small species of sturgeon. Its roe is said to provide the finest caviar.



One of the basic methods of cooking food by subjecting it to long, slow heat in water or stock; used for meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and fruit. The temperature should not rise above simmering point (190°F). Meat stews may be brown or white, the former usually being of beef browned with vegetables in a little fat before liquid is added and the latter, usually lamb or mutton, being put straight into the water and boiled before vegetables are added.



A shallow saucepan, often with double handles to make lifting easier. The handles must be in an ovenproof material for braising. Must have a lid and usually is 3-4 inches deep.



One of the best-known English cheeses, semi-hard and blue-veined, although a white Stilton is also made.



Stock may be defined broadly as a liquid (or jelly) which has absorbed the soluble parts of meat, fish, bones and vegetables by long and slow simmering. Different stocks are made for different purposes, but the main all-purpose ones are white bone stock, brown bone stock, mixed and vegetable. White stock is made by putting veal bones into a large pan with a quart of water to each pound of bones, bringing to a boil, skimming, then adding quartered carrots, onions, celery, seasoning, a bouquet garni and a few peppercorns and then simmering for 4-5 hours. To make brown bone stock use beef or beef and veal bones, fry in a pan without water for 10 minutes, add vegetables and fry again until browned, then add water and herbs and cook as for white bone stock. Mixed stock consists of just about any trimmings or scraps of meat (but not mutton or lamb), chicken (but not liver), or vegetables (but not turnip), which may be to hand. Vegetable stock is made with vegetables alone (but not turnip). There are special stocks for chicken and fish and one made from sole bones is used for velouté sauce or bisque. The more concentrated a stock, the better it will be and the longer it will keep, but stock should be reduced by about one-third before being strained and kept in the refrigerator until needed for soups gravies, braises, sauces, etc.



An implement for straining liquids and purées or for sifting dry ingredients. Strainers come in many sizes and shapes from the large Chinese or conical type with a mesh in aluminium, tin or stainless steel, down to the simple small bowl strainer in nylon or wire mesh which can be used for most purposes, including sifting flour, making purées or straining small quantities of stock.



The luscious red fruit of the strawberry plant of which there are numerous varieties, mostly fruiting in June or July although some types will give one crop in early summer and another as late as the end of October. Delicious raw with cream or made into jam (added pectin is needed).



Wafer-thin pastry covered with sweet or savoury filling, rolled up and baked in a hot oven. In this country it is usually sold as a sweet. As a savoury the filling may be cooked fish and cauliflower, cabbage and egg, etc. The pastry is of fine flour, water and a little egg, pulled out on a floured cloth. The uncooked dough should be thin enough to read through.



A mixture, originally intended for flavouring purposes, which is introduced into the natural cavities of poultry, meat or vegetables before cooking. The mixture is minced or chopped and spiced, generally pork or veal sausage meat, with herbs, rice, breadcrumbs and vege­tables. It is also called force­meat, or farce. When it cannot be cooked with, as for instance with jugged hare, it is fried separately and served with the dish.



A fish which, although really Russian, is occasionally caught in Britain. Any sturgeon caught in British waters is traditionally offered to the monarch and is therefore known as royal stur­geon. It is a sea fish which, like salmon, returns to rivers and lakes to spawn, its roe being the source of caviar. Sturgeon grow as big as 18 ft long, with a long snout and dragon-like appearance and their flesh is more like meat than fish. A few shops in Britain sell smoked sturgeon flesh. Isinglass is pro­duced from the gelatinous blad­der of the fish. See also Sterlet.



Originally a dish made by the American Indian, a sweetcom hash or cream sometimes inclu­ding lima beans, to be served with poultry or meat.


Sucking pig

A piglet up to the age of about 5 weeks which is cleaned, scalded and stuffed before being roasted whole on festive occa­sions such as Christmas.



A fruit, generally a stone fruit like plum or apricot, made into a purée and set in a mould with gelatine; served with custard or cream.



The French verb to sweat: in cookery it means the process of sweating meats like chicken, veal or vegetables, to whiten them and draw out the juices. The meat or diced vegetables are placed in a heavy pan containing a little butter or fat, a piece of buttered greaseproof paper sometimes put on top, the lid tightly closed and the pan placed on a low heat for 10 minutes before other ingredients are added.



The non-greasy, dry and firm kidney fat of beef or mutton. Used in pastry and puddings. Now sold shredded and ready for use in packets, but if bought fresh should be cleared of all membranes and chopped finely with a little flour to prevent sticking. Beef suet is the best and can be rendered down for deep-fat frying. In the rendered form it will keep for some time, but to keep fresh suet, old-fashioned cooks used to bury it in the flour bin.



The main sweetening agent used in cooking, generally obtained either from cane or sugar beet, but it can also be extracted from many plants. Main types are:

White Sugar:-

Granulated: Commonest and cheapest form of sugar, used for most purposes. It is sugar refined into coarse granules.

Lump: A refined sugar which has been compressed into lumps which vary in shape and size in different places; used for the table and very good for preserving or for producing a clear syrup.

Caster: A finer form of granulated sugar, used for the table, cakes and puddings.

Icing: A powdered form, for glacé icing or with egg white, for royal icing for wedding and birthday cakes, etc.

Brown Sugar:-

Candy: Large crystals, mostly used for coffee, made from string sugar. Soft or Sand Consistency of damp sand, pale brown colour, used for cakes.

Demerara: Useful wherever a sugary crust is needed, on baked ham, bread doughs, etc. Also for table use. Smallish crystals with a honey colour.

Barbados: Soft, moist, dark-brown sugar, sometimes almost black, for baking soda fruit cakes, ginger cakes, etc. Foot A raw sugar resembling Barbados, but coarser and with a good deal of molasses present in it.



One of the best-known dried fruits, a dried seedless white grape. In its fresh form the grape is small, has a pleasant, slightly acid taste and is usually imported into Britain late in summer.


Summer pudding

Stewed and sweetened soft fruits such as raspberries, black currants, blackberries, with plenty of juice are placed in a basin lined with pieces of bread, the whole pressed lightly overnight and turned out and served chilled, with cream.



A dish of American origin in which ice cream is served with a nut or fruit sauce in a glass coupe.



1. A fillet of chicken flesh removed in one piece from the breast and wing.

2. A special manner of cooking and presenting a dish, a term used in haute cuisine to denote that only the finest materials have been used.

3. Sauce suprême is a velouté enriched with eggs and cream.



One of the varieties of turnip, with creamy yellow flesh, firmer, bigger and less watery than ordinary turnips. Cut into manageable-sized pieces and boiled, then seasoned and mashed with butter or served with a cream sauce.



An offal, delicate and easily digested, which can be cooked in many ways. There are two sorts, the pancreas and the thymus gland (from the throat), the latter being smaller than the 4-6 inch long pancreas and suitable for fricassées or for including in bouchées or vol-au-vent cases. Before being cooked in any way sweetbreads should be soaked for 12 hours or more in water that is lightly salted and changed several times, then blanched with a slice of lemon in the water in which they were soaked. The ducts, any gristly parts and skin are removed, and the sweetbreads are pressed lightly until cold.


Sweetcorn [See Indian Corn]


Sweet and sour

A flavour which, as the name suggests, is both sweet and sharp, and which was imported into Europe with Chinese cookery, which favours it with pork and fish. Usually in the form of a sauce, the sweet being provided by sugar or honey, the sharp by vinegar and the whole seasoned with a soy sauce.


Sweet potato [See Potato]


Swiss chard

See also Chard; a variety of spinach beet.


Swiss roll

A thin sponge cake which, while still warm, is rolled up round a filling of jam or butter cream.



A mixture of cream with sherry, or sherry and white wine, flavoured with lemon and served in individual glasses as a dessert.



Sugar dissolved in water; lump or granulated sugar gives the clearest syrup. One pound of sugar dissolved in ¼ pint of water makes a good and useful stock syrup. Degrees of sugar boiling, their temperatures and names are given below:-

220°F 'Short thread', for ices, sabayon, butter creams.

230°F 'Long thread' or 'Feather'.

240°F 'Soft ball', for fondants and frosting.

325°F 'Hard crack', for dipping fruit.

380-390°F 'Caramel', for flavouring sauces.

400°F and upwards 'Black Jack' or 'Burnt caramel', for colouring, eg. gravy.