Frost Bites

Welcome to Frost Bites, a simple easy to use site that will take you through a few of my favourite recipes; which I have compiled for publication.

I will show you on an ongoing basis how to:

– Prepare
– Cook
– Enjoy

your food.

Let us eat, drink and be merry!

Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Ken Frost, a trencherman of the old school. I have travelled and worked around the world (I am a qualified accountant), and have a passion for food.

I believe that food should satisfy the following requirements, my five guiding principles:

– It should be wholesome.
– It should be well prepared and cooked.
– It should not be “drizzled” in a sauce that masks its natural flavour.
– It should not consist of one very small grated vegetable placed on top of an even smaller piece of undercooked meat.
– The cooking and eating should be enjoyable.

I am self taught in the fine arts of eating and cooking. The former began when I was a baby, the latter when I was seven.

I believe that modern cuisine and celebrity chefs have become, much like supermodels, fascinating to watch; but unattainable to the “average Joe”.

I would like to share, with those of you who agree with my view, my favourite recipes and tips. You can rest assured that the recipes are perfectly possible to cook by anyone:

I have cooked each one myself.

I have cooked all of them in a perfectly normal apartment kitchen.

They have all been eaten, and enjoyed, by my friends and relatives (no paid for “casting company friends” have been used, or harmed in any way during the compilation and testing of these recipes!)

I have collated 120 of my favourite recipes, together with anecdotes of my travels, in a book Accountants Can Cook.

Enjoy your food, enjoy your life!

The recipes, and other food related information, can be accessed by clicking on the relevant tab:



This make an ideal starter for a dinner party, it can be prepared in advance then put into the oven 15 minutes or so before you need it; allowing you time to spend on other matters or indeed even talking to your guests.


This recipe serves 6.

– 3 large, ripe avocados. Make sure they are ripe by pressing the ends of them, you should feel some “give”.
– Juice from one freshly squeezed lemon.
– 4oz of butter.
– 4oz of flour.
– ½ a pint of milk.
– 8oz of prawns, shelled and cooked.
– 1 teaspoon of paprika pepper.
– 4oz of grated mature Cheddar cheese.
– Salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste.


– Cut the avocados in half, remove the stone, and sprinkle lemon juice over them (this prevents them going brown). Place in individual avocado pots (oven resistant).
– Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, mix in the flour forming a smooth paste.
– Gradually add the milk, stirring continuously.
– Add the paprika pepper, salt and pepper, allow to thicken.
– Add the prawns, mix.
– Fill the avocados with the mixture.
– Sprinkle with the cheese.


Place in an oven preheated to 180 degrees, bake for approximately 15 minutes until browned.


Serve with wholemeal bread and butter. As an alternative to prawns you may wish to use crab.


When I was working in Simi Valley, I experienced hearty American cuisine first hand. When dining the custom there is to have a starter, followed by a soup course before the main course. American portions are not ungenerous, and to a simple European such as myself the extra course was a little daunting. However, the waiter was quite insistent that I take the soup course.

I am very glad he persuaded me to “pig out”; as it gave me the opportunity to try Black Bean soup. I now make sure that on every subsequent visit to America I have a few bowls of this marvellously tangy soup.

I have to say that the habit of having a soup course as well as a starter has stayed with me, when working away from home anyway (my excuse being that I use up more energy; therefore require more “inputs”).

The Scandinavian countries practice the concept of “healthy eating”; their Social Democratic governments have for many years pushed a healthy lifestyle, eg 100g of meat a day as being the only way to live (have you noticed how fond the so called “Social Democrats” are of telling you how to live your life?). To this end, whenever I have stayed in a Scandinavian hotel, I have experienced a raised eyebrow and query concerning my order for a starter and a soup. Ignore the raised eyebrows, the customer is always right.


This should serve 4-6 people.

– 12oz of black beans
– 3 pints of water
– 4oz of smoked gammon, diced very finely.
– 4oz of lean stewing steak, diced very finely.
– 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced.
– 1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced.
– 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper.
– 1 teaspoon of powdered English mustard.
– Butter
– Salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste.


– Soak the beans overnight in a large bowl of cold water.
– Drain.


– Melt a good sized knob of butter in a large saucepan.
– Add the meat, carrot, onion, cayenne, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir vigorously for a few minutes until the meat begins to change colour.
– Add the beans, stir, then add the water.
– Place the lid on the saucepan and simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.


When serving, you may wish to add a swirl of double cream to each bowlful.


This is a simple recipe for a nourishing, and tasty soup, that is quick and easy to prepare. Ideal for lunch, a starter or snack.


This should be enough to serve 2 people.

– 2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped.
– 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped.
– 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped.
– A good sized handful of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped.
– Olive oil.
– 1 ¾ pints of water.
– Salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste.




– Pour a little olive oil into a saucepan.
– Place over a medium heat and add the garlic
– Add the dry ingredients, stir.
– Add the water.
– Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid on for approximately 25 minutes.
– Take off the heat and blend in a liquidiser, or with a hand blender.
– Place over the heat and warm it up again, it is now ready to serve.


To add richness, serve with a swirl of double cream.

The soup can be prepared several hours before it is needed, and kept chilled in the fridge.


When people think of pate they often think of Ardennes or Foie Gras, which are time consuming to prepare or expensive to purchase. I too was under this delusion. However, as a student, I spent a year in a bed and breakfast run by a lady who used to cook in one of Edinburgh’s main hotels. She showed me a simple recipe, similar to this one, which dispelled my prejudice.


– 8oz of chicken livers
– Two finely chopped shallots
– Two cloves of garlic, crushed
– 1 teaspoon of black pepper
– 4oz of butter
– 1 wine glass of good quality brandy, eg Remy Martin VSOP


Remove the sinews from the chicken livers. This is easily done by holding the sinew of each liver between thumb and forefinger, and pulling along the sinew with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand (REMEMBER TO WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE AND AFTER, DO NOT WEAR JEWELLERY!). This separates the liver from the sinew.


– Melt two ounces of the butter in a pan over a moderate heat.
– Add the garlic, shallots and black pepper. Stir regularly until the shallots are soft.
– Add the chicken livers. Stir constantly until the livers turn pale pink.
– Add the remainder of the butter, stir and ensure it is melted.
– Add the brandy and stir in thoroughly.
– Take the pan off the heat and put the mixture through a blender.

Pour the mixture into a ramekin. Put into the fridge and allow to set. This should take approximately two to three hours.


Serve with hot toast and butter; with a side garnish of tomatoes, finely sliced cucumber and finely sliced onion


Start your dinner party as you mean to go on!


This should be enough to serve 6 people.

– 6oz of granulated sugar
– ¼ of a pint of water
– 2 teaspoons of freshly chopped mint
– Approximately ½ of a fresh pineapple, cubed.
– 1 orange, peeled, segmented and pips/pith removed
– 1 grapefruit, peeled, segmented and pips/pith removed
– 12 measures of gin
– 6 glacé cherries
– 6 mint leaves


This dish should be prepared the day before.

– Mix the water and sugar, bring to boil in a saucepan and boil rapidly for approximately 3 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
– Place the prepared fruit into a bowl, pour the sugar water over it, add the mint and gin. Stir and cover with a lid or cling film.
– Place in the fridge overnight.




Serve in sugar frosted glasses with a glacé cherry and mint leaf on top of each. I prefer this dish as a starter as is sharpens the pallet, and loosens the tongues before the main meal.

I have used fresh fruit and made my own sugar sauce. However, if you are feeling lazy then purchase a couple of large tins of good quality fruit in syrup (syrup not water!); these will be adequate.

Main Courses


A long standing drinking chum of mine in Seoul has made a special request that I put this one in writing (before senility or booze erases it from my memory cells).

To put a little bit of “touchy feely” family appeal to this one, it is a recipe passed down to me by my father.


– One smoked gammon (allow 1lb per person).
– Tinned pineapple chunks in syrup (don’t buy the unsweetened “healthy” variety, the syrup is used in the sauce and has more flavour).
– Powdered English mustard
– Cloves
– Demerara sugar


Soak the gammon overnight in cold water, make sure that it is fully covered by the water. The soaking process is important as it removes the excess salt.


Place the soaked gammon in a pot of cold water (water almost covering the gammon). Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes per lb. Should you be cooking a large piece that requires lengthy cooking, then don’t forget to keep an eye on the water and top up accordingly to prevent boiling dry.

Whilst the gammon is simmering, prepare the marinade:

– Drain the pineapple chunks and set aside, DO NOT THROW AWAY THE SYRUP THIS FORMS PART OF THE MARINADE!
– Stir in two teaspoons of the English mustard into the syrup.
– Stir in four tablespoons of demerara sugar into the syrup.
– Add water to bring the volume of liquid up to approximately half a pint.
– Heat gently in a saucepan until the sugar and mustard are fully dissolved. DO NOT BRING TO THE BOIL. Take off the heat and set aside.

When the gammon is cooked, removed from the water and place in a roasting tin.

– Gently peel off the rind (skin) of the gammon (do not remove the fat). Place this rind in the water which you cooked the gammon (you will be able to make split pea soup from this).
– Score the fat of the gammon in a criss cross fashion creating one inch squares, much like a chess board.
– Insert one clove in each alternate square, and one pineapple chunk (with a toothpick) in the non cloved square until the fat side of the gammon is fully decorated.
– Pour the marinade over the gammon, making sure all parts are covered.
– Place the gammon in the oven (preheated to 180 degrees).
– Bake for 45-60 minutes (the gammon remember is already cooked, this process serves to caramelise the marinade).
– Baste the gammon regularly to make sure it is receives the full flavour of the marinade.
– Remove form the oven place on a serving dish and allow to rest before carving. Pour the juices from the roasting tray into a sauce boat and serve with the dish.

I recommend this dish be served with mashed potatoes, pease pudding (I can provide you with recipe for this) and carrots.


I specify a smoked gammon, this is down to personal preference as to my view the flavour is superior to unsmoked. When selecting the gammon make sure that:

– It has a rind.
– It is covered in a good even layer of fat (this is an integral part to the flavour, without it the dish does not work).

I specify tinned pineapple chunks, if you want to make extra work for yourself by all means buy a fresh pineapple and cube it yourself…but tinned chunks from a reputable brand are every bit as good.

By the way for all you scientists out there, pineapple has an enzyme in it that when brought into contact with pork acts as a natural tenderiser (the dish I present here does not need tenderising, but I thought I would throw in that small piece of trivia).


Here is a dish that I would call a cross between a soup and a stew. It is my version of a tapas dish that used to be served by El Patio, an excellent Spanish restaurant in Croydon that is now sadly closed.

I heartily recommend it, but then I would wouldn’t I?


This should be enough to serve 4 people.

– 1lb of Chorizo sausages, cut into 1 inch slices.
– 1lb of belly of pork, cut into 1 inch chunks.
– 1lb of tinned cannellini beans, drained.
– 1½ pints of chicken stock
– 1 glass of dry white wine.
– Extra virgin oil
– 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
– Salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste.


Have a drink!


– Pour a good measure of olive oil into a saucepan.
– Place over a medium heat and add the garlic.
– Sauté gently.
– When the garlic begins to soften add the pork and the Chorizo.
– Sauté until the pork starts to go brown.
– Add the stock and the wine.
– Season and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes.
– Add the cannellini beans.
– Simmer for a further 30 minutes, with the lid on.


This makes an ideal starter or late evening snack, just right for soaking up the alcohol after a night out.

Serve with good quality crusty bread.


Here’s a novel combination of spaghetti and chicken which I used to cook in my pre-teen years. I rediscovered this in my student days as an economical way of producing a “romantic” dinner.


This should serve between 4-6 people.

– 1lb (dry weight) of spaghetti, I prefer the long version.
– 1 large onion, peeled and chopped.
– 3 cloves of crushed garlic.
– 2lbs of roughly chopped tomatoes.
– 8oz of button mushroom, sliced.
– 2lbs of chicken breast, cubed.
– Butter
– 2 tablespoons of sugar.
– 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper.
– 6oz of grated mature cheddar cheese.
– Salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste.


– Melt a good sized knob of butter in a large frying pan, over a medium heat.
– Add the garlic and onion.
– When the onion begins to soften add the mushrooms, stir.
– As the mushrooms begin to soften add the chicken.
– Allow the chicken to lightly brown, then add the tomatoes.
– Add the sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper; bring to the boil.
– Simmer, very gently, for 20 minutes (stirring regularly).
– Cook the spaghetti until tender, drain and put into a large (well buttered) casserole pot.
– Pour over the chicken and tomatoes. Toss thoroughly to ensure it is fully mixed with the spaghetti.
– Sprinkle the top with the grated cheese.


Place in an oven, preheated to 180 degrees, bake for 20-30 minutes until the mixture is hot and the cheese melted through.


I have used fresh chicken in this recipe. However, you can use cooked chicken; merely reduce the time that you simmer the mixture to about 5 minutes (you will need to pre cook the tomatoes in this case).


I asked Eva why this dish is called “flying Jacob”, and she said she had no idea. Her best guess is that the inventor of the dish was called Jacob. Well, whatever the real story, here is her version of this dish which is apparently popular among young Swedes.


This should be enough to serve 4 people.

– 8 fresh chicken thighs, leave the bones in and the skin on (as this gives more flavour).
– ½ a pound of smoked streaky bacon, cut into 1 inch strips.
– 1 large onion, peeled and sliced.
– 1 large fresh red pepper, cut into large chunks.
– 2 large fresh green peppers, cut into large chunks.
– 1 pint of double cream.
– 3 tablespoons of chilli sauce, a reputable brand.
– 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped.
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste.


– Season the chicken thighs and roast in an oven, set to 180 degrees, for approximately 40-45 minutes; until cooked.
– Drain the fat and keep the thighs warm.


– Pour a good measure of olive oil into a large saucepan and place over a medium heat.
– Sauté the garlic and onions until soft.
– Add the peppers and sauté until soft.
– Add the bacon and seasoning, sauté until the bacon is cooked.
– Add the chilli sauce and the thighs, stir thoroughly.
– Add the cream and stir.
– Simmer over a low heat, with the lid on, for approximately 25 minutes.


This is excellent served with rice or sauté potatoes.


This part of the lamb is the double loin taken to the tail. This is a most splendid dish to serve at a dinner party; it impresses both the palette and the eyes when served. Indeed we served it last Saturday, it was pronounced a success by all.

I was discussing it with the butcher when collecting it, and he said that it is not ordered that often these days; apparently people are too lazy, and settle for loin chops or cutlets from the supermarket. Well I say, more fool them!

As with all joints of meat, make sure you find a butcher you can trust to provide you with the quality needed for a succulent and tender joint. With this particular dish, ensure that you have him insert the two kidneys one on either side of the backbone in the part nearest the tail. This is easily done by making an incision with a knife, pushing them halfway in and securing them with a wooden skewer.


This should serve 6 people.

– 1 saddle of English lamb (trussed for roasting), approximately 7lbs-8lbs in weight (don’t forget to dress it with the kidneys for decoration!).
– Extra virgin olive oil.
– 8 whole cloves of fresh garlic, peeled.
– A handful of fresh rosemary sprigs.
– A handful of fresh bayleaves.
– 2 teaspoons of English mustard powder.
– Salt and coarse ground black pepper.


You should prepare the joint the morning before you cook it, to allow the flavours to permeate the meat.

– Place the joint upside down and insert (at even intervals), into the folds of fat/meat on the underside, the cloves of garlic.
– Turn the meat over and place into a suitably sized roasting pan.
– Using a sharp knife make 45 degree incisions to the horizontal (deep enough to accommodate half the length of a bayleaf) into the upper side of the joint, on either side of the backbone at 1½ inch intervals.
– Pour over a generous measure of olive oil, and massage into the joint (use your fingers, very sensual!).
– Insert into each slit a bayleaf and sprig of rosemary, half the bayleaf and rosemary sprig should be protruding.
– Sprinkle the mustard powder evenly over the joint.
– Season with salt and pepper.
– Place in the fridge for a good 6 hours.


Place the joint in an oven, preheated to 180 degrees. Allow 20-25 minutes per pound cooking time, depending on whether you prefer it a little pink or not.

Baste thoroughly at regular intervals. Should the meat appear to be cooking too fast, as can happen if you are using a fan oven, then turn the heat down to 160 degrees.

When cooked, remove from the oven and place the joint on a serving plate.

Allow to rest 10 minutes before carving.


Carving may appear to be a little daunting, don’t worry. Do not attempt to carve across the backbone, you will achieve nothing!

Instead carve small slices at 45 degrees to the backbone. Starting furthest away from the tail, with the sharpest end of the knife pointing outwards from the backbone but towards the tail.

Serve with rosemary roast potatoes (see recipe), peas, carrots, roast parsnips (see recipe), a good lamb stock gravy and mint sauce (see recipe).


Aren’t you full yet? Here you can access recipes to five scrumptious desserts designed to finish off the evening, and the diner!


This was one of my mother’s favourite ways to use up the glut of cooking apples we had every year from the apple tree in our garden.


This should serve between 4-6 people.

– 2lbs of cooking apples (preferably Bramleys), peeled, cored and sliced.
– Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon.
– 8 cloves.
– Nutmeg
– 4oz of butter
– 8oz of flour.
– 8oz of demerara sugar.
– Butter for the dish.


– Sprinkle the sliced apples with lemon to prevent them going brown.
– Grease a deep oven proof dish with some butter.
– Place the apples in layers (interspersed with the cloves) in the dish.
– Mix the flour and butter together in a bowl, use your hands (remember to wash them and remove jewellery first!), until it forms a crumb like texture.
– Add the sugar, and use your hands to mix it well.
– Cover the apples with the mixture, and press down firmly.
– Sprinkle the top with good measure of nutmeg.


Place in an oven preheated to 180 degrees. Cook for 45 minutes or so, until the apples are tender and the top golden brown.


Most excellent with double cream, custard or ice cream.


My mother often used to cook this dish when I was growing up, it was her way to get a healthy sugar fix.


– 1 large cooking apple (such as Bramley) per person (these apples are high in acidity when raw, if you eat them uncooked you will get a stomach ache..I know this from first hand experience!).
– Demerara sugar
– Butter


– Wash and de-core the apples.
– Place in a roasting dish, buttered on the base.
– Pour demerara sugar into the de-cored centre of each apple, enough so that it overflows down the sides.
– Put a knob of butter on the top of each mound of sugar.


Place in an oven preheated to 180 degrees. Cook for approximately 45-60 minutes until the apples are tender and the sugar has caramelised.


Serve this as a desert (or sugar snack attack) with ice-cream, double cream, custard or whatever takes your fancy.


My English readers will no doubt have mixed memories of this dish from school days. Don’t despair, I have added a couple of things (namely cream and sherry) that would not have appeared in the school cook’s shopping list (well not for the pupils anyway!).


This recipe should be enough for 4-6 people.

– Approximately six medium thickness slices of brown bread (if you need more then use more)
– Approximately six medium thickness slices of white bread
– A cupful of raisins
– Half a pint of double cream
– A quarter pint of milk
– Two eggs
– Two glasses of sherry
– Four tablespoons of demerara sugar
– Two drops of vanilla essence
– Nutmeg
– Butter


– Butter the bread and cut the crusts off (save the crusts for later).
– Cut the bread into soldiers (approximately 1 inch wide).
– Layer the base and side of a casserole/baking dish (dimensions approximately 5 inches deep, 8 inches in length and 5 inches wide) with the alternate brown and white soldiers (butter side down).
– Sprinkle the few raisins, then place more bread on top (butter side down), press down.
– Repeat the above step with layers of raisins and bread until you come to ½ an inch or so from the top of the dish.
– Mix the milk, cream, eggs, vanilla, sherry and sugar thoroughly.
– Pour the mixture evenly, and slowly, over the bread allowing it to soak in.
– Place the crusts of bread in a pattern over the top of the dish.
– Sprinkle some raisins, sugar and a generous pinch on nutmeg over the top.


Place in a preheated 180 degree oven for 45 minutes. Serve piping hot.


This dish is very good with either custard or double cream.

Any leftovers can be served cold with ice cream.


A lovely dish to end a special meal with.


This should be enough to serve 4 people.

– 3-4 ripe pears, peeled and quartered.
– 1 glass of brandy.
– Butter
– ½ a pint of double cream.
– 4 tablespoons of honey.


– Melt a good sized knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat.
– Put the pears into the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
– Add the honey and continue to sauté until the pears start to turn brown.
– Take off the heat.


– Put the pears and honey/butter sauce into an oven proof dish.
– Put into an oven, preheated to 180 degrees.
– Cook for 10 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
– Remove from the oven and put back into the frying pan over a medium heat.
– When the sauce begins to bubble add the brandy.
– Stir in the cream.

Remove from the heat and serve.


Superb on their own, or with ice cream.


A good chum of mine is very fond of this dish, and often serves it at dinner parties. I understand that it was developed for Queen Victoria, hence the title.


This should be enough to serve 4 people.

– 4oz of breadcrumbs.
– 10oz of caster sugar.
– Zest (grated rind) of 1 fresh lemon.
– 1 pint of milk.
– 4 eggs, separate the yolks from the whites.
– 4 tablespoons of raspberry jam.
– Butter.


– Mix the breadcrumbs, zest and 2oz of sugar together in a bowl.
– Bring the milk to the boil.
– Blend the milk into the breadcrumb mixture.
– Add the egg yolks to the above mixture and stir thoroughly.
– Generously butter an appropriately sized baking dish.
– Allow to rest for 30 minutes.


– Place in an oven preheated to 180 degrees, and bake for approximately 40-50 minutes until set.
– Leave the oven on, and increase the temperature to 200 degrees.
– Allow the pudding to stand for 15 minutes.
– Warm the jam and spread over the top of the pudding.
– Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until stiff, the bowl should be able to be inverted without the mixture dropping out.
– Blend in the sugar, gradually, using a wooden spoon. If you drop it in all at once your meringue mixture will lose its stiffness, as the air will be knocked out of it.
– Spoon, with the wooden spoon, the meringue over the top of the pudding.
– Place the pudding back into the oven and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until the meringue begins to turn golden brown.


This is quite a sweet desert and I would suggest you forgo the normal desert wine (which in itself is sweet) in favour of a dry alternative, say Chablis.

Meringues can be a little temperamental. Here are a few technical notes regarding the preparation of meringues:

– The stiffness of the meringue mixture is achieved by adding air to the egg white.
– Should you be making meringue on a humid/muggy day you will not achieve as good a result as on a dry day (check your barometer before making meringue!).
– When adding the sugar it should be done gradually so as not to knock the air out.
– Use a wooden spoon, or plastic spatula, when blending the sugar into the egg whites and spooning the mixture. Cold metal spoons bruise the mixture and will not get the results that you desire.



Glossary of Cooking Terms

Welcome to The Glossary section of Frost Bites. In this section I have compiled a list of many of the terms used by professional chefs when they are cooking, these are often liberally used in cookbooks and TV programmes; sometimes, I suspect, to confuse rather than help the non professional.

Learn this list by heart, and impress your friends next time that they come round for dinner!

Au Gratin

This is where the dish is sprinkled with cheese, and then browned in the oven or under the grill.


Literally, a bath of hot water. The dish, such as choux pastry, is placed in one receptacle over a pan of hot water. The water must not touch the upper receptacle, the dish is then cooked very slowly over this bath of water.


This involves covering the breasts of game and poultry with fatty bacon or pork. The meat can then be roasted, safe in the knowledge that it will not be dry.


This means spooning hot fat over a joint of meat which is being roasted. This ensures that the meat will be succulent, and turn a deep brown colour.


This term can be used in baseball or cricket. However, in the context of the kitchen it means to flatten (eg fillets of pork or steak) with a flat based object; such as a bat or frying pan. The resultant flattening of the meat makes it easier manipulate, eg for stuffing.


Taken from the French, this means to whiten; and is applicable to vegetables such as cauliflower or beans. Plunge the vegetable into boiling water for a minute, then drain. The vegetable is then ready for the second stage of cooking.

Bouquet Garni

This is a mixture of herbs such as; bayleaf, thyme and parsley. These are tied together and added to the dish during the cooking process.


This is the process of cooking less tender pieces of meat by slow stewing.


This is a small nibble, with a bread or pastry base, usually served at cocktail parties.


This means roughly chopped.

Court Bouillon

This is a light vegetable stock which is used for poaching and sauces.


This is the process whereby butter is placed into a pan over a gentle heat. When it is foaming the surface should be skimmed. After this, the butter should be allowed to cool during which time a layer of sediment will form at the bottom. The non sediment part is known as clarified butter. This is suitable for frying, where high temperatures are used, when non clarified butter would burn.


This is a slice of bread that has been fried golden brown. The croute is used as the base for dishes such as chateaubriand.


A variation on the croute. The crouton is a cube of bread that has been fried, and is then used as a hot garnish for soups.


This term refers to the preparation of vegetables such as aubergines; where they are sliced, salted and left to stand for an hour before being rinsed and cooked.


This is the fun part of cooking where you have the opportunity to set fire to your kitchen or, at the very least, singe your eyebrows. This usually involves the addition of a spirit, such as brandy, to a dish that is being cooked over a high flame. The spirit will ignite, once ignited the dish is usually balanced by the addition of wine.


This term applies to both the shiny glazing applied to cold meats, and the addition of a knob of butter or concentrated stock to a sauce to add a “sheen”.


This is a finely cut piece of vegetable, used for garnishes. The size and shape resembles a match.


The meat juices that have collected at the bottom of the roasting pan during cooking. These are ideal in gravies and sauces.


This is the same as barding, and refers to the process of adding extra fat to meat that would otherwise be dried out by the cooking process.


A piece of vegetable, or fruit, that has been diced into large chunks.


This is the process whereby a piece of meat is soaked, usually overnight, in an infusion of wine, herbs and spices. This process adds flavour, and makes the meat more tender.


This is a smooth pulp of vegetables or fruit.


This term is applied to that part of the cooking process whereby the chef has a large drink. Alternatively, it is also the action of plunging blanched vegetables into cold water to set the colour.


This is a flour and butter mixture that forms the base to many sauces.


This is the process of frying in hot fat, such as butter, until golden brown.


This is the breast of the chicken.


The Herb Garden

Welcome to The Herb Garden, a directory which lists the main herbs used in cooking my recipes (and those by other chefs as well!).


The leaves of this tall plant can be used as a vegetable, added to salads or cooked with fish. The stems can be eaten raw like celery or crystallised and used in ice creams and as a cake decoration. The root is sweet when cooked, and can be used for stewing with acid fruits such as rhubarb or gooseberries.

Balm (lemon balm)

This has green, heart-shaped leaves. It has a lemony smell and taste, it is good with fish, poultry and ham dishes. It adds a zesty flavour to plain boiled rice. It can also be used in summer fruit drinks and as a herbal tea.


This Herb has a distinctive taste and aromatic scent. It is often used with tomatoes and in Italian cookery. It is also good with salads, lamb, grilled meat, green vegetables, tomato soup and in Pesto Sauce. Basil grows for a short period in summer and needs plenty of sun.

Bay Leaves

This Herb has a strong, spicy. One or two leaves are all that is needed to flavour a dish. Bay leaves forms part of a bouquet garni. It is mainly used in meat and fish casseroles, and marinades for fish and poultry. However, it is also used in soups and stocks and to flavour infusions of milk for use in sauces such as Béchamel (used in Lasagne). Bay trees can be pruned like hedges to a desired shape.


This Herb has slightly hairy leaves, and the blue flowers have a flavour of salt and cucumber. It is mainly used in Pimms and other cool summer drinks, it can also be used in salads. The flowers can be crystallised and used as decorations for cakes and sweets.


This has a delicate, sweet flavour and is used in a similar way to parsley. It is good in salads, with a variety of vegetables, especially new potatoes; and as a flavouring for sauces such as Hollandaise. It also blends well with egg, cheese and chicken dishes.


Chives are members of the onion family. They have narrow, green leaves which are the edible part. They are best used raw to flavour salads and dressings; and as a garnish for soups and savoury dishes. They should be snipped into short lengths before use.


This Herb is mainly grown for its seeds but the leaves have an unusual flavour. They are used in Middle Eastern and Indian dishes, salads and chilled soups.


The feathery leaves (known as dill weed) are used as a herb, and the dried dill seeds as a spice. Dill weed has a mild, sweet, caraway flavour. The dried dill seeds are more pungent. Dill is used in salads, as a garnish, in scrambled eggs, white meat dishes and with salmon.


Both the feathery leaves and seeds are used in this Herb. It has an aniseed flavour, and the seed is a good aid to digestion. It is a classical flavouring for fish-especially oily fish where it counteracts the richness.

Fines herbes

This is a mixture of finely chopped leaves of chives, chervil, parsley and tarragon. Fines are used in omelettes, with fish, poultry and salads.


This is the most pungent of the onion family. It is available in three varieties, white, red and pink. Choose cloves that are hard and firm. The strong taste of garlic is held in its oil and is passed through the lungs on the breath and, if enough is eaten, through the pores of the skin. It is used widely in savoury dishes (see my recipes) and to flavour butter.


This Herb is a root of the mustard family. It has a hot, pungent taste; you have been warned! It is used raw, grated into dressings normally cream based and is classically served with roast beef. Horseradish is also good with some fish, and as a flavouring for sandwich fillings.

Lemon Grass

Lemon grass is grown mostly in tropical and sub-tropical countries. However, it is imported to the West; in fresh and dried forms and as a powder (sereh). It has thick, grass like leaves which smell and taste of lemon. It is most often used in Asian cooking to flavour curries and meat dishes. It can also be used with fish and to flavour sweet puddings.


This Herb has a sharp peppery flavour, which is good in all strong tasting savoury dishes and soups. Lovage leaves add an unusual tang to salads, and are good in cold roast beef sandwiches.


This Herb has a spicy, slightly bitter, nutmeg-type flavour. It is good in stuffing, rubbed over roast meats, in meat soups, on pizza and in home-made sausages. It can also be used in egg dishes, on buttered vegetables and in cream soups.


There are many culinary varieties of mint with different flavours and aromas including; peppermint, spearmint, applemint. It is usually sold dried, but is very easy to grow. Use fresh for Mint Sauce or jelly with lamb. Use Mint as a flavouring for potatoes, peas and other vegetables and to garnish wine and fruit cups.

Mixed herbs

A mixture of dried herbs usually; parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram and tarragon. These are used for seasoning savoury dishes which do not require individual herbs, e.g. soups and casseroles.


This Herb is a member of the marjoram family. Oregano can be used with meat, sausages, soups, pizza and other Italian dishes, tomatoes, in salads, with cooked vegetables and in egg and cheese dishes.


A mild, pleasantly flavoured herb with flat or curly leaves which makes an attractive garnish sprinkled on food. Most of the flavour is in the stalks which are used as a classic ingredient for bouquet garni and fines herbes. Parsley can be used in sauces for ham and fish, with vegetables, in stuffing and butters, salads and as a garnish. You can also use it to take away the smell of Garlic on your breath by chewing a fresh sprig.


A strong pungent herb with spiky leaves. The flavour can overpower other herbs so use it on its own and sparingly in meat, fish, poultry and some sweet dishes. It is excellent with lamb and barbecued meats.


A large leafed herb with a strong, slightly bitter taste. It is good in stuffing’s, casseroles, salads, with meat dishes such as pork and sausages and also in egg and cheese dishes.


Has a distinctive and unusual flavour. There are two main species, the French variety being better than the Russian. It is one of the herbs used in the Fines herbes mixture and is also used in Hollandaise, Béarnaise and Tartare Sauces. It is used to flavour wine vinegar, in marinades, with fish and chicken, tarragon butter and sauce for ham.


This Herb comes in many varieties, garden and lemon are the most common. Thyme has a strong aromatic flavour, and is a constituent of bouquet garni. It can be rubbed over beef, lamb and veal before roasting; and used in soups, stuffing’s, Bread Sauce, with carrots, onions and mushrooms and in dishes cooked with wine. Lemon thyme is especially good in stuffing’s for veal and with egg and fish dishes.



The Spice Rack

Welcome to The Spice Rack, a directory of the main spices used in the preparation of my recipes (and those of other chefs!).


This is also known as Jamaica Pepper. It is sold as small dried berries or ready ground. The whole spice is an ingredient of pickling spice. Its flavour is a mixture of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It can be used whole in marinades, meat dishes, pickles, chutneys; almost anything that you can think of.

Aniseed (Anise)

These small seeds have a strong, distinctive flavour. They are used mainly to flavour cakes and biscuits, but also in salad dressings or with Baked Apples. Aniseed is the main flavouring ingredient in drinks such as Pernod, Ricard, Anisette, Ouzo and Raki. It can aid digestion.

Anise Pepper

This is also called Szechuan pepper. It is a hot aromatic spice made from the dried red berries of a Chinese tree. It is one of the ingredients of Five-Spice Powder.


These are small brown seeds with a pleasant sharp, liquorice taste. It is used in cakes and biscuits and also salads and sauerkraut. It can aid digestion.


This is a member of the ginger family. It is sold both whole (either green or black) and ground. It has a strong lemony flavour, and should be used sparingly. It is an ingredient of most curry powders and can also be used in pickles, soups, beef and pork dishes, with sweet potato, pumpkin and apples and in bread, buns, biscuits and cakes, with iced melon and in custard and rice pudding.


This comes from the red pepper (capsicum) family. It is made from the smallest, hottest chillies. It is sold ground and is sweet, pungent and very hot. It is used to flavour meats and sauces, especially barbecue and devilled recipes, eggs, fish, vegetables, chicken croquettes, cheese and vegetable soups.

Celery seeds

These do not come from salad celery, but have a strong taste which resembles the vegetable. They are sold whole or ground and can be used in pickles and chutney, meat and fish dishes, salads, bread, marinades, dressings and dips.


This is a very hot spice which is used in Mexican dishes (see my recipe for chilli, which uses whole chillies), pickles, chutneys, ketchups, soup, tomato dishes, casseroles, spaghetti and meat sauces. It can be used fresh or in powdered form.


Is available ground or in sticks. It has a sweet, pungent flavour and is widely used in all sweet, spicy baking, in pork dishes, pickles and chutneys and to flavour hot drinks, Mulled Wine (at Christmas).


These resemble small nails when whole, they are also sold ground. They have a distinctive, pungent flavour and are used mainly to flavour apple dishes, Christmas Pudding, mincemeat, Bread Sauce and to stud ham (see my recipe for baked ham). They are good with pumpkin and also again in Mulled Wine. Whole cloves are best removed before a dish is eaten.


Coriander seeds have a mild, sweet, orange flavour (evocative of Christmas). They are sold whole or ground. Coriander is an ingredient of curry powder, and is also used in chutney, meat dishes, apple pies and baking.

Cumin Seeds

They have a strong, slightly bitter taste. They are sold either whole or ground. An ingredient of curry powder and some chilli powder mixtures, cumin seeds are also used in pickles, chutney, cheese dishes, soups and rice dishes, in Mexican and Eastern dishes, meat loaves, marinades and fruit pies.

Fenugreek Seeds

This spice has a slightly harsh, hot flavour. They are also used in chutneys, pickles and sauces.


This is a root with a hot sweetish taste sold in various forms. Root ginger is available fresh or dried, or it may be dried and ground. Stem (green) ginger is available preserved in syrup or crystallised. Root ginger needs to be cooked to release the true flavour; peel and slice and use in marinades, curries, sauces, chutneys and Chinese cooking. Ground ginger is used in curries, sauces, preserves, cakes and sprinkled on to melon. Preserved ginger is used in sweet dishes.


This spice is small purple black berries with an aromatic scent and pine like tang. It is used with game, pork and lamb.


This is the husk of the nutmeg. It is sold as blades or ground. It has a stronger flavour than nutmeg. It is used in mulled wine and punches, potted meat, fish dishes, Béchamel Sauce, stews, pies and some puddings and cooked fruit dishes.


This is made from the black, brown and white seeds of the mustard plant. The dark seeds give aroma and white ones pungency. Mustards are a combination of the two in varying proportions. Some English mustard is sold as a dry yellow powder made from black mustard seeds which is then mixed up with water; other mustards are sold ready mixed. Mustard is used as a condiment like salt and pepper with a wide variety of savoury dishes and also to flavour dressings and sauces, with cheese dishes, especially cheese savouries (see my recipe) and in beef, ham and bacon dishes.


Nutmeg is sold whole or ground. As the flavour evaporates quickly, it is best bought whole and a little grated when required. It is used in chicken and cream soups, in cheese dishes, fish cakes, with chicken and veal, and in bread and butter pudding (see my recipe).


This is a sweet mild spice which is sold ground to a red powder. It is good for adding colour to dishes. Some varieties are hotter than others. It is used in salads, fish, meat and chicken dishes, with vegetables, on canapés and Goulash (see my recipe).


This is the berry of the pepper tree is sold in several forms; green, black or white. Green or unripe berries are picked and either dried, canned or bottled. They have a milder flavour than black or white pepper; and are used whole as a separate spice in pates, with rich meat like duck and in sauces and casseroles. Black pepper consists of berries which are picked while green and dried in the sun which shrivels and darkens them. It has a strong, pungent, hot flavour. You will see that I use this in a great many of my dishes.

White pepper

This is made from the ripened berries, and is less hot than black pepper. It can be interchanged with it, but its main use is in light-coloured dishes and sauces whose appearance could be marred by dark flecks.

Poppy seeds

These are small black seeds from the opium poppy, don’t worry you won’t get high! They are nutty-flavoured, very hard and usually sold whole. They are used to add flavour and give an attractive appearance in baking, dips, spreads, salads and dressings.


This is a very expensive spice. Saffron is the dried stigmas of the crocus flower. It has an aromatic, slightly bitter taste and only a pinch is needed to flavour and colour dishes such as Bouillabaisse, chicken soup, rice and Paella, fish sauces, buns and cakes.

Sesame seeds

These are very small seeds with a rich, sweet, slightly burnt flavour. The flavour is enhanced by toasting or frying in butter. They are used in salads and dressings, sprinkled on fish, chicken dishes and on baked goodies.

Star Anise

This is the star shaped fruit of an evergreen tree native to China. When dried it is a red-brown colour and the flavour is one of pungent aniseed. It can be used to flavour stewed and simmered duck, beef, chicken and lamb. It can also be placed under whole fish for steaming.


Tamarind is the pod that grows on the Indian tamarind tree. It is seeded, peeled and pressed into a dark brown pulp which is sold dried. It is used to add a sour flavour to chutneys, sauces and curries.


Another root of a plant related to ginger. Pieces of turmeric are available and look like fresh ginger, but are bright orange inside. It is most commonly sold ground. It has an aromatic, slightly bitter flavour and in curry powder and relishes.


This is the dried seed pod of a climbing orchid. It is sold whole, or as a bottled flavouring. It can be infused in milk or cream when making custard. A pod left in a jar of caster sugar will pass its flavour into it. It is used in ice cream, chocolate and custards.