The Culinary Alphabet …..Series 3… the letter A…

Welcome to series 3 of the Culinary Alphabet…

Nothing is as it seems here…this new series is the brainchild of Chel Owens who writes at A wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing…my followers are so good to me they think up all sorts of permutations of the Alphabet…not sure if they want me to call it quits or what they will come up with next…Chel like Pete however will be called on to make her contribution every two weeks…they don’t get off scot-free…haha

So what’s in store? In this series the A, B, C, etc will be the middle letter, for example, Brawn, Cabbage, and Yucca… how easy that will be who knows I am sure  some of the letters of the alphabet could cause the grey matter to rebel or implode…haha


Are fragrant citrus fruit the size of an Orange…depending on ripeness they are a yellow or green colour similar to a lime. Often confused with the kaffir lime but it is not wrinkled like the kaffir lime. It is common throughout the Mediterranean and anyone who is familiar with Earl Grey tea knows the fragrant, citrusy scent and distinct flavour of bergamot.

It is also used in essential oils.


Is Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “roast” …Similar to a BBQ a Braai seems to be more of a social event as well…

The main difference between a braai and a BBQ has to be the fire. A braai just isn’t considered a braai if cooked on a gas grill. The fire also remains lit for the duration of the braai, even after the food’s been cooked. Guests will gather around the fire after eating and spend the rest of the day or evening there.


Brawn, I remember my mother making brawn for my father a recipe passed down from her mother made from the meat from a pig’s head or calf’s head the meat is cooked and then pressed in a pot with the cooking liquid…the result is meat in jelly.


Champ is made by combining mashed potatoes and chopped scallions with butter, milk, and optionally, salt and pepper. Sometimes by the uninitiated, it is confused with colcannon which has the addition of cabbage and sometimes some herbs.


A large stalked green leafy vegetable…the leaves and stalk are often prepared separately. Sometimes called Swiss chard or rainbow chard it is a relative of the beet and often overlooked in its own right. Unlike the traditional beets which put their energy into growing roots, the chard produces big tender leaves and crunchy stalks.


Is a finger food and should be eaten in one bite…a type of hors d’œuvre often served before a main event or party.


Who doesn’t love an eclair..made with choux pastry with a custard filling and a chocolate top…Similar to a profiterole but piped into an oblong shape… The eclair originated during the nineteenth century in France where it was called “pain à la Duchesse” until 1850. Eclair means “lightning” in French. Many people believe that eclairs got their name from the glistening sparkles from the frosting that resembles a lightning bolt


Falafel is delicious balls of chickpea and herb goodness that you find in Middle Eastern cooking. Traditional falafel is made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, herbs and spices. The mixture is then formed into balls or patties and deep-fried for a texture that’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, sort of like a fritter. It’s a classic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean recipe that’s enjoyed as street food and often served up as part of a mezze (a group of small meals).


Chocolate and cream …a deliciously smooth, shiny, silky filling, dip, spread, frosting, topping, or layer in a cake…with freshly chopped mint leaves it is absolutely delicious…


A clear, colourless, flavourless food ingredient derived from collagen from animal parts…for many years there has always been controversy around the use of gelatin although there are alternative like Agar-Agar made from cooked pressed algae.


I think of two things when I see the word glace the glace cherries my mother puts in her Christmas cake and a nice demi-glace which is a rich brown sauce…served over meat…


A large sandwich filled with a variety of ingredients such as cold cuts and cheese or sausage and peppers with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a variety of condiments in Britain is called a submarine…A very popular take out…


Ingredients for meat sauce.

  • I kilo minced beef or pork
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 250 gm mushrooms sliced(optional)
  • 3/4 cloves garlic
  • 5/6 Fresh Basil leaves.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • I large tin tomatoes or 6/8 fresh tomatoes blitzed ( I always make a batch of tomatoes for spag bol/chillies and freeze in portions.
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree.
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs 
  • 1 tsp sage or fresh leaves if you have.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s Cook!

Heat a glug olive oil in a pan and saute onions and garlic.
Add the mince and cook until browned
Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes then add tomato puree and mixed herbs, bay leaf, oregano, balsamic and Worcester sauce.
Cook on a slow simmer for 20 minutes and then add mushrooms if using, cook for another 10 minutes and stir in fresh basil…
Meanwhile, make a white sauce.
When spaghetti is ready starting with a layer of mince then pasta sheets, Then mince, white sauce, pasta until you have completed 4 layers finishing with the white sauce.
Grate over your favourite cheese… I use cheddar or a mix of mozzarella and cheddar.
Cheese can be difficult to get here so if I have plenty then I also use some between my layers for a cheesier lasagne.

I think lasagne is the type of dish where anything goes really sometimes I add bell pepper to my sauce it depends on what I have in my larder/fridge.

Cook lasagne at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until pasta is cooked and cheese is golden and bubbling.




Oxtail stew was one of my fathers favourite dinners…cooked low and slow with onions and carrots with pearl barley and dumplings he loved it on a cold winters day…It is in fact the tail of a cow.

Shank and Flank:

Both are cuts of meat from the cow…The beef shank is the leg of the animal’s thigh. Each side of beef has two shanks, one in the forequarter and one in the hindquarter. It is extremely tough and full of connective tissue.

Beef shank is used in making the luxurious Italian dish osso buco.

Beef Flank has tough muscle fibres and is lovely cooked low and slow…it is quite lean and has little fat and can be cooked on the grill if it is marinated and cooked quickly then sliced against the grain if cooked correctly it is delicious if not it can be as tough as old boots.


To scald is to heat the liquid to just below boiling point and blanch fruit or vegetable when the aim is to remove the skin as in tomatoes.

It also applies to milk and makes better food for yeast…which means faster proofing, larger volume, and a fluffier product. It also makes for a smoother dough with better moisture retention…it is milk brought nearly to the boil and then cooled.


Something I have not eaten they are a traditional Mexican dish made with a corn-based dough mixture that is filled with various meats or beans and cheese. Tamales are wrapped and cooked in corn husks or banana leaves, but they are removed from the husks before eating…I must admit they sound delicious.


Is one of the 5 basic food tastes…very in vogue now and popular…

That’s all for today I hope you have enjoyed the letter A…

Thank you so much for your visit today I hope you have enjoyed the read…Please feel free to leave a comment as you know I love to chat…Love Carol xxx

32 thoughts on “The Culinary Alphabet …..Series 3… the letter A…

  1. OIKOS™-Editorial

    I am loving a big plate of canapes, for me alone. Lol Brawn i know from here too. Here its a very archaic looking one. While still hot poured into plates, with coarse pieces of meat, a pickle and half a boiled egg, as a decoration. Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…7th March-13th March 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes | Retired? No one told me!

  3. Chel Owens

    I’m out of my element and you know it. 😀 When you do eat a tamale, ensure it’s a good one!

    Antipasto, banana bread, cinnamon, Dreamsicles, … you’ve probably covered many of those but I tried. Furthermore, I tried to list ones I’ve consumed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I agree the best steak I have had was cooked over an open fire in a Thai village ..amazing and I don’t eat steak often but this I did 🙂 x


  4. petespringerauthor

    Wow! You are a glutton for punishment, Carol. I’ll try to contribute three each time if I don’t have too much else going on. Here my three for today: guava, pitanga, and nectarine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I know, Pete.. I am always up for a challenge… None of family ever dare me as they know I will do it… It keeps me in blog posts though… A is an easy one there are so many but I am sure some of the other letters may be different… Pitanga Is a new one on me so well done Pete.. This is fun… 😀 x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. CarolCooks2 Post author

        I’ll hold my hands up to that one…I have never eaten a tamale…but do know what umani and champ is…sigh I suppose now you will tell me I haven’t lived…x

        Liked by 1 person

  5. johnrieber

    Brawn sounds like “head cheese” here in the US…a bologna type roll with bits of all the stuff you won’t eat held together with gelatin and some green olive slices and pimentos in there for color! Also, I made two Lasagnas last night: one traditional and one with zucchini slices instead of pasta! Love this series!

    Liked by 2 people

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