Boiling is a fast cookery method in which foods are added to a large quantity of boiling water, and kept at a boil until cooked.
In Grandma's day, vegetables, for example, were boiled for longer than is recommended today, and she often added bicarbonate of soda to the cooking water. This is an old-fashioned method for preserving the vegetables' colour, but it destroys vitamin C. Meat generally becomes tough and dry if boiled, although some meats can be successfully cooked by slow simmering or poaching.
Braising is similar to stewing, but generally is used for larger and slightly better cuts of meat than stewing. The meat (or poultry) is usually fried briefly to brown it all over, and is then placed in a casserole dish on a bed of vegetables with enough stock to come about halfway up the meat.
The pan is then covered tightly and the meat or poultry cooked slowly on the stove or in the oven until tender and juicy. Good-value, suitable cuts include chuck, blade, skirt (or meat sold as braising beef), shoulder of lamb or neck fillet, pork spare-rib, chops, lamb's liver and chicken.
Poaching is a very gentle cooking method, suitable for delicate foods such as tender cuts of meat and seafood, as well as eggs and fruit. Fruit is often poached in a liquid flavoured with sugar, wine and spices, which is then served as a sauce with the fruit. When poaching, the liquid should be barely moving, otherwise the food may break up.