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.

Share this with your fellow foodies!