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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

Bakewell tart – a tart consisting of a shortcrust pastry shell, topped with a layer of jam, another of frangipane, and a topping of flaked almonds.

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 NouveauBeaujolais 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

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