SITHCCC008 Prepare vegetable, fruit, egg and farinaceous dishes Assessment

Introduction

Fruit and Vegetables

There are a number of factors that will influence what fruit and vegetables are used in a commercial establishment. Among these are whether it is best to use ‘in season’ produce, or whether to import out of season produce from interstate or overseas.

Importing or producing out of season varieties may mean:

  • as a fruit is picked greener to allow it to freight better, the flavour is not as full etc.
  • transport costs will add to the purchase costs
  • they might not keep as well
  • the items may be a restricted variety

When produce is in season, they:

  • have better quality, colour, smell and flavour
  • are much cheaper
  • can be used more freely in a greater range of product
  • allow greater menu variety because of the low cost and high quality

There are some items that are less obviously seasonal. Asparagus is highly seasonal, oranges are not. Avocado varieties change according to the season. It is up to the chef to keep well-informed of what is in season and what is not and to communicate with suppliers to gather the latest information updates.

Seasons also dictate, to a certain degree, the style of food people choose to eat. For example, light food such as salads is more commonly eaten in summer while heavier foods may be the choice in winter.

Selecting fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are often primarily used as accompaniments to main dishes. They are either served on the plate, as a side dish, as a component of the main dish or, for vegetarians, can represent the main dish in itself.

Fruit and vegetables should be chosen to complement the meals textures and flavours and using the following criteria:

  • Suitability – to compliment the main dish
  • Availability – in terms of seasonality
  • Quality – must be fresh and of good quality
  • Price – must be priced appropriately for a successful selling price

As well as taste, texture and smell there is a visual aspect of shape and colour (presentation) when it comes to eating.

A balance of colour, texture and taste is, therefore, essential when choosing, preparing and presenting a dish; boiled mince, served with mashed potatoes, boiled zucchini and pureed peas do not sound appealing or would seem appetising. The food textures are all soft and mushy, the flavours have not been enhanced by a variety of cooking methods and there are no highlighting colours.

If you were to combine the mince with herbs and spices, form it into a pattie and grill it until it was golden brown, then serve it with stir-fried zucchini and fresh snow peas and sour cream and dill potato salad you would have an interesting, appetising meal with a variety of complementary colours, flavours and textures.

Eggs

Egg dishes are extremely versatile and adaptable to many dishes. Temperature control is critical in egg cookery, however, to prevent toughening of the protein and to ensure the eggs are cooked adequately to prevent any food safety hazards (covered in unit SITXFSA001). This applies particularly to fried, poached and scrambled egg as heat is more direct and so more control is needed; overcooked scrambled eggs will result in a crumbly and dry mass and will lose water on the plate as the protein toughens and squeezes the product.

For culinary uses, eggs might be whole or separated as whites and yolks and the use of eggs can include:

  • Thickening
  • Enriching
  • Emulsifying
  • Setting
  • Binding
  • Coating
  • Glazing
  • Clarifying
  • Aerating
  • Garnishing

A full description of each user is provided in the learning guide

Farinaceous dishes

Other very popular food items are those from the ‘farinaceous’ range. The term farinaceous derives from the French farina and the Italian word farina for flour and cereal. So items made from flour or cereal derivatives are classified as farinaceous. This includes:

  • pasta
  • rice
  • dumplings
  • couscous
  • tabouli
  • Asian noodles

Many farinaceous dishes have ethnic origins and are used throughout the menu; soup, entrée, main, accompaniment to the main and dessert. dishes For example minestrone, steamed dim sims, spaghetti bolognese,  buttered herb noodles and creamed rice.

Farinaceous dishes also appear in many national dishes such as:

  • Mexican burritos
  • German spaetzle
  • English dumplings
  • Asian noodles and rice
  • Indian bread and pilaff
  • Greek and Middle  Eastern pita bread and tabouli
  • African couscous
  • Italian pasta and pizza

Farinaceous dishes can be used to replace potato to add variety to menus. Many sauces are interchangeable between the various farinaceous products.

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