baba ghanoush – Middle Eastern aubergine purée often used as a meze dish
bacon – dry or wet cured pork, which usually comes in rashers or joints
bain-marie – (French) water bath used for gentle cooking or keeping food warm
bagel – roll with a hole, a bread product originating from Poland’s Jewish communities
baguette – long, thin French bread, often called a French stick
baking powder – raising agent commonly used in cake making
baklava – Turkish and Greek sweet made from filo pastry
ballotine – meat, fish or poultry, boned, stuffed and rolled
balsamic vinegar – an artisan vinegar from Modena, Italy (see also aceto)
banana – popular tropical fruit and nutritious snack
Barbera – popular red wine from Piedmont, Italy
bard – to tie strips of fat (often bacon) around lean meat to prevent it from drying out while roasting
barigoule – a traditional Provençal dish of braised artichokes in a warm and slightly tangy white-wine broth.
barley – cheap and nutritious grain used in soups, stews and salads
barm – foam formed on the top of alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine. Can be used to leaven bread.
barm cake – a soft, round, flattish bread roll from northwest England, traditionally leavened with barm.
basil – fragrant herb with different varieties, often used in Mediterranean and Asian cooking
basmati – South Asian aromatic long-grained rice
baste – to spoon over liquid during cooking
baton – stick-shaped cut of vegetable
batter – thin dough that can be easily poured into a pan. Mainly used for pancakes, light cakes, and as a coating for deep fried foods.
bavarois – (French) “Bavarian cream” – a sweet custard made with eggs, cream and gelatine and served cold
bavette – French term for a flank steak
bay leaf – the aromatic leaves of several plants, particularly the bay laurel
bean sprouts – commonly used in East Asian cuisine, they’re the sprouts of mung beans
Beaujolais / Beaujolais Nouveau / Beaujolais Primeur – red wine made from the Gamay grape in Beaujolais, France
béarnaise – tarragon-flavoured butter emulsion sauce
beat – work a mixture energetically using a spoon, hand mixer, or free-standing mixer
beaum – measure used for sugar boiling
Béchamel – roux-based white sauce
beef – cattle meat, comes in a wide variety of cuts
beetroot – root vegetable with purple skin and pinkish-purple flesh. Sometimes used to add colour to a dish, especially salads
beignets – deep-fried fritters or doughnuts
belacan – (Malay) South East Asian fermented shrimp paste, can be sold wet or dried into a hard block
Bercy – white wine-based sauce for fish
beurre blanc – light emulsion sauce of white wine, vinegar, shallots and butter
beurre noisette – butter cooked until light brown
bhaji – Indian vegetable patty fried in batter
bhindi – (okra, lady’s fingers) a green pod with a fuzzy skin which contains rows of edible seeds that release a sticky, viscous liquid when chopped and cooked. Sometimes used as a thickener for soups and stews as well as being used in a side dish.
bicarbonate of soda – (baking soda) used as a raising agent. Used as an ingredient of baking powder.
biga – (Italian), bread dough starter made from commercial yeast, flour and water
biryani – mixed rice dish of Pakistani origin
biscuit – derived from French meaning ‘twice-cooked’. (Italian – biscotti). The word is used to describe individual small cooked pastries, both sweet and savoury. The Americans generally call biscuits ‘cookies’.
bisque – thickened shellfish purée soup, usually with tomato and cognac
blackberry – very dark purple berry fruit often found grown wild in Britain. Also known as ‘bramble’.
blackcurrant – small, purple-black berry with a tart taste
blanc – (French) flour mixed with water for simmering white vegetables such as cauliflower
blanch – to cook food briefly in boiling water
blanquette – white stew of lamb, veal or white fish thickened with egg yolks and cream
blend – mix two or more substances together using a spoon, food processor or liquidiser
blind bake – (sometimes called ‘pre-baking) process of baking a pie crust or other pastry without the filling. Helps to avoid ‘soggy bottom’.
blini – (Russian) buckwheat flour pancake
blood temperature – average internal temperature of humans 37.0 °C (98.6 °F)
Bloody Mary – tomato juice and vodka-based drink. Often used as a hangover cure.
bok choi – type of Chinese cabbage, see also pak choi
bollito misto – Italian, mixture of boiled meats
bonito – flaked dried tuna used to make Japanese broths
bonne femme – (French: “good wife”) cooked simply, usually for fish or chicken
bonne-bouche – small savoury bite often in a vol-au-vent case
börek – Turkish pastry dish made by layering several sheets of filo dough with a filling between the layers
borlotti – dry speckled haricot bean
bouchée – small sweet or savoury puff pastry bite
boudin – (French) black (blood) pudding
bouillon – unclarified meat or vegetable stock
bouillabaisse – (French) one-pot seafood stew originating from the port of Marseille, Provence.
bouquet garni – bundle of herbs such as parsley, thyme, bay leaf, used to flavour stews and casseroles
bourride – a white wine and garlic fish stew from Provence
braise – slow cook at a low temperature with a little liquid
brandade – purée of cod, olive oil, shallots and garlic from Provence
Bramley apple – large, green cooking apple, especially good for sauces and desserts
brandy – distilled spirit made from almost any fruit, but usually grapes
brasato – Italian, braised meat, usually beef
bresaola – Italian, cured (air dried and salted) fillet of beef
brik – Tunisian dish with thin sheets of filo-like pastry, like Turkish börek
brioche – rich yeast bread enriched with butter and eggs
broad bean – (US: “fava bean”), nutritious legume
broccoli – brassica, similar to cauliflower. The most familiar variety in the UK (and the one usually understood by the simple term “broccoli”) is Calabrese broccoli
brochette – (French) wooden or bamboo skewer
brodo – (Italian) beef broth or stock
broyer – (French) to crush or grind finely
brunoise – (French) finely diced mixed vegetables used as a base for soups and sauces or garnish
bruschetta – Italian antipasto consisting of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil and salt
Brussels sprouts – brassica like a miniature cabbage. Thought to originate from Belgium, hence the name.
buckwheat – the seeds of a plant distantly related to rhubarb. Although it’s often used as a grain, eg in salads or to make flour, it’s not technically a wheat or a grain.
bulgogi – a classic Korean dish made from strips of meat – usually beef or pork – marinated in a spicy sauce and then cooked on a special ridged grill plate.
bulgur – part-cooked cracked wheat
Burgundy – Region of north-eastern France famous for its wines. The most famous are dry red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes, and white wines made from Chardonnay grapes.
burst – baking term to describe when bread dough ruptures during the baking process
butter – semi-solid milk fat that consists of cream churned with lactic acid