abaisse – (French) sheet of rolled pastry
abalone – name of several species of sea snail prized in Pacific Rim cuisines
abat-faim – (French, archaic) preliminary course to satisfy hunger
Abondance – semi-hard, fragrant cheese from south-eastern France
absinthe – an unsweetened green anise-tasting liqueur, flavoured with botanicals, primarily oil of wormwood
aceto – (Italian) see vinegar
achaar – Indian pickle
ackee – red-orange fruit originating in Africa and popular in Caribbean cuisine as a vegetable
advocaat – traditional Dutch drink made from eggs, sugar and brandy
adzuki bean – small reddish brown bean, popular in Japan
agar-agar – powder used as a thickener or setting agent. Often used in place of gelatine for vegetarian dishes.
agave syrup – honey-like sweetener extracted from the agave plant
agrodolce – Italian sweet and sour sauce
aiguillette – French term for a thin strip of meat from a premium cut
aïoli – emulsion made from garlic and olive oil, originally from Provence. Similar to mayonnaise but sometimes made without eggs.
ajoblanco or ajo blanco – Spanish cold soup of bread, garlic and crushed almonds
albacore – species of tuna also known as the longfin tuna
Albariño – Spanish white wine, especially good with seafood
al dente – (Italian) pasta, vegetables, beans, rice cooked until firm to the bite
alloro – (Italian) bay leaf
allspice – a spice made from the dried, unripened berry of the tree, pimenta dioica
allumette – (French) to cut into matchstick shapes, usually potatoes or other hard vegetables, and sometimes pastry
allumettes – (French) matchstick shapes, e.g. baked puff pastry strips with a sweet or savoury filling or garnish
almond – sweet nut, can be used in desserts or with fish or chicken
amaranth – pseudo-grain (like quinoa). Rich in protein and gluten-free, the seeds are ground into flour and can be used for baking.
Amaretto – sweet almond-flavoured Italian liqueur
amaretti – (Italian) almond-flavoured macaroons or biscuits
anchoide – (French) paste or sauce of garlic, anchovies and olive oil from Provence
amuse-bouche – (French) bite-sized savoury hors d’oeuvres, a non-menu item typically served before starters as a gift from the chef
anchovy – small, silver fish. Usually filleted and salt cured, then canned in oil or salted. Usually used for adding flavour to dishes.
angelica – sweet herb of the parsley family. Thought to aid digestion. Sometimes used to flavour drinks and desserts
anguille – (French) eel
antipasti – Italian first course or starters
apple – widely cultivated tree fruit grown in temperate climates
apricot – relative of the peach with a soft texture and velvety skin. Grown in warmer climates
Arborio rice – short plump grain rice of Italian origin. Often used for risotto.
arroser – (French) in cookery, to baste (it has other non-culinary meanings)
arrosto – (Italian) roast
arrosto misto – (Italian) mixed roast, meat and/or vegetables
artichoke – two similar-tasting but unrelated plants used as vegetables. (See globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke)
arugula – peppery salad leaf. More commonly known as “rocket” or “rucola”
asafoetida – gum made from a giant fennel plant. Also known as “hing”, it’s commonly used in Indian cooking.
asparagus – a herbaceous perennial plant. Used as a vegetable.
aspic – a clear jelly made from meat stock and gelatine
assiette – (French) a plate or platter. Now commonly used in English to refer to a serving platter
aubergine – fruit with many varieties which is used as a vegetable. Also known as “eggplant”
autolyse – bread baking technique of mixing the flour and water together and leaving it to rest before adding the other ingredients
avocado – technically a fruit but mostly used as a vegetable.