The Culinary Alphabet …The letter B

THE Culinary Alphabet collage letter B

Hello from sunny Thailand and welcome to my monthly post on the Recipe Hunter… I do hope that you enjoyed last months post which was the first in my culinary tour through the alphabet…This month is the letter B.

The foods or recipes which I choose will all be made from scratch..from foods readily available and if they are not I will suggest substitutes…Some of the foods or recipes will also be alternatives to some standard foods either because it is what I prefer to use or to offer you a healthier option.

I will also be including some culinary terms and ingredients as I have frequently come across things in recipes either terms or ingredients which are not always familiar to me. The internet has opened up a whole New World for us cooks and as with all things it is easy if you know the answer and if you don’t or haven’t heard of it or can’t get it…Then it can be the difference between not making a recipe or being able to make when you realise that it is a different name but the same thing…

Today I have chosen to start with Bain Marie…

Bain Marie is the French term for the cooking technique we call a water bath. It consists of placing a container (baking pan, bowl, etc.) of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a cooker. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and mousse without breaking or curdling them like my favourite Creme Brule.

It can also be used to keep cooked foods warm.

Blind Baking is a term used for baking a pastry shell (pie crust) before it is filled. There are two methods used. Either the unbaked shell is first pricked all over with a fork to prevent it from blistering and rising and then baked or the unbaked shell is lined with foil or parchment paper, then filled with dried beans or rice, clean pebbles (a French practice) or speciality pie weights made of metal or ceramic.

N.B…using clean pebbles are something I have adopted here as I cannot get ceramic beans and to import them is too costly so cleaned pebbles it is…

The weights and foil or parchment paper that you use should be removed a few minutes before the baking time is over to allow the crust to brown evenly.

Viola you now have a lovely tart case to fill will your favourite filling.

Baking Powder is a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and one or more acids, generally, cream of tartar and/or sodium aluminium sulfate which is used to leaven baked goods.

Baking Soda


Is sodium bicarbonate, an alkaline compound that releases carbon dioxide gas when combined with an acid and moisture; used to leaven baked goods and is also used to create the bubbles when making honeycomb.

Quite similar in ingredients but not in all it’s uses.

Barding is a thin piece of fatty bacon or lard used to cover too-lean meat while it roasts. I often use bacon to wrap a lean piece of meat or wrap some chicken drumsticks it just gives that crunchy exterior and a lovely flavour I  did however only recently come across the term Barding…a term I hadn’t heard of.

Also sometimes caul fat is used which is a lacy membrane of lard that surrounds the stomach and other organs of cows and pigs and quite popular with celebrity chefs.

bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks

Recipe for Brown Sugar Bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks.

14 Chicken Drumsticks
2 lb of streaky bacon
2 tbsp of chilli powder
2 tbsp of fresh garlic finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
1 tbsp of black pepper
1 tsp salt ( the original recipe) called for 1 tbsp but for me, that seemed too much as bacon is salty.
1 cup of brown sugar… light or dark

Let’s Cook!

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the chilli, garlic, onions, salt and pepper and set to one side. Put the sugar in a separate dish and put to one side.
Make sure your drumsticks are dry and roll the drums around in the chilli mixture.
Roll two pieces of the bacon around each drumstick and secure with a cocktail stick.
Roll each drum in the brown sugar and shake off the excess sugar.
Bake for about 50 minutes until the meat is cooked if the bacon is not crispy enough then put under a hot grill for 2/3 minutes turning until crispy.
Serve with your favourite dip.
I also add some chunks of sweet potato and a quartered onion to the pan ( optional)

Next, we have…

Béchamel sauce which is one of the “Five Mother Sauces“,  made by thickening milk with a white roux and adding seasonings; also known as a cream sauce and white sauce.

Black Butter which is butter, melted, clarified, and cooked until it is nut-brown in colour which can be drizzled over fish or vegetables and imparts a beautiful flavour to a dish.

Buttermilk is a fresh, pasteurized skim or low-fat cow’s milk culture (soured) with Streptococcus lactis bacteria; also known as cultured buttermilk.
Traditionally, the liquid remaining after the cream was churned into butter.

Here is a recipe to make your own Buttermilk..

Brine is a solution of salt and water used in pickling vegetables.

pickled winter vegetables

Brine draws natural sugars and moisture from foods and forms lactic acids which protect them against spoilage. Usually, the strongest brine used in food processing is a 10% solution, made by dissolving 1.5 cups of salt in 1 gallon of liquid, or 6 tablespoons of salt for each quart of liquid.

Bananas available around the world and a very versatile fruit. Here I always have many bananas and use them in a variety of ways…I freeze them to use in smoothies, Koftas made from the green banana are a lovely thing and of course, Banana Bread or muffins always go down a treat… Here the banana flower is also eaten with a spicy Thai dip…

banana flower 1

Have you got a recipe for Bananas which you can share???

That’s all for this month I hope you have enjoyed my trawl through the culinary alphabet and the letter B…

Until next month stay safe and cook lots and if you do then please share with us over on The Recipe Hunter we all love new recipes to try…

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