cabbage – part of the brassica family, which covers a huge variety of vegetables from Brussels sprouts to broccoli
Cabernet Sauvignon – red grape variety, used all over the world to produce award-winning wine. It’s particularly associated with Bordeaux.
Caerphilly cheese – a hard, white, crumbly cheese originally from near Caerphilly in Wales
cake – traditionally a raised, baked mixture of flour, sugar (or other sweetener), fat and eggs. (Some modern recipes are for flourless cakes.) Cake usually has a moist, tender texture and a small crumb.
calamari – (Late Latin) popular culinary name for squid, particularly when used in Mediterranean dishes
calzone – (Italian) an envelope made from the same dough as that used for pizzas. It’s filled with whatever the cook fancies, usually similar ingredients to a pizza, and folded then baked in the oven.
canapé – small piece of food served hot or cold as an appetiser
cannellini or cannellini beans – (also known as “navy beans”) like small, white kidney beans
cannelloni – (Italian) cylindrical pasta tube, into which a filling is inserted
cannoli – Sicilian pastry tubes filled with ricotta cheese, chocolate and candied peel
canola – edible oil which originated in Canada and is in common use there
caper – small flower bud of the capparis shrub, commonly grown in the Mediterranean
capsicum – bell pepper, fruit of the capsicum plant. Widely used as a vegetable.
caramel – sugar heated until it browns
caramelise – to slowly brown sugar or foods such as onions and carrots over heat
caraque – chocolate curls used to decorate cakes and desserts
carbonara – Italian pasta sauce of egg, bacon and Parmesan cheese
carbonnade – (French) beef braised in beer or less usually in red wine, eg beef bourguignon
carpaccio -(Italian) originally thin slices of raw red meat, now also applied to fish, especially red fish such as tuna
carrot – versatile root vegetable used in cakes, salads, and hot savoury dishes. Can be eaten cooked or raw.
cartouche – piece of greaseproof paper used to line an uncooked pastry case before weighing it down with baking beans to bake blind. The term is also used for a dampened piece of greasproof paper placed directly onto the surface of vegetables , eg onions, to help them soften more quickly.
cashew nuts – seeds from the cashew apple tree native to Brazil and the West Indies. They’re good in salads and in Asian dishes.
cauliflower – a brassica, like cabbage and broccoli.
caviar – salted fish roe (eggs). Considered to be a luxury food.
cavolo nero – (Italian) meaning “black cabbage”, very dark green loose-leafed cabbage from Tuscany
celeriac – variety of celery, cultivated for its edible roots. It looks more like a knobbly turnip
celery – marshland plant cultivated as a vegetable. Both stalks and leaves can be eaten, depending on the variety. Can be cooked or used raw, eg in salads.
champ – Irish dish of mashed potatoes and chopped spring onions, called “poundies” in some areas
Champagne – white sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France.
Chantilly – sweetened, vanilla-flavoured, whipped cream used in desserts
chanterelle – meaty, yellow, funnel-shaped wild mushroom (see also girolle)
char siu – (Cantonese: “fork roast”) Chinese glazed pork fillet
charcuterie – (French) cooked and cured meat products, usually pork eg hams, bacon, pâtés
chard – (also known as “Swiss chard”) spinach-like leaves with thick, white or red edible ribs
Chardonnay – white grape variety traditionally from Burgundy
charlotte – moulded dessert of pastry cream, custard, mousse or puréed fruit
Chartreuse – herb-flavoured, brandy-based liqueur
chartreuse, en – (French) feathered game served with cabbage
Chateaubriand – a dish (usually for two) prepared form the thickest part of the beef tenderloin
Cheddar – type of hard cheese originally from Cheddar in Somerset. These days it could come from anywhere.
chef – (French) bread making term for a dry dough starter made with wild yeast held back from a previous batch
chemiser – (French) to line a mould
Chenin Blanc – white grape variety
chermoula – North African fish marinade, sometimes also used for meat
cherry – stone fruit from a cherry tree, eaten raw or cooked in desserts. Can also be used to make drinks, eg Kirsch
chervil – green-leafed herb with a hint of aniseed flavour
chèvre – (French) goat’s milk cheese (the original term is “fromage de chèvre”)
chestnut – shiny brown nuts traditionally used at Christmas
chia seeds – the seeds come from a flowering plant native to Mexico and Guatemala.
Chianti – famous red Italian wine made from blends of grape varieties
chicken – poultry, probably the most ubiquitous item on menus around the world
chicory – forced crop, grown in complete darkness. The leaves have a mildly bitter flavour. Also known as “endive”
chiffonade of leaf vegetables – chopping technique which results in the vegetable being cut into thin strips
chilli – small, hot, spicy variety of capsicum pepper
chine – backbone of beef, lamb, pork or venison with meat attached
Chingkiang vinegar – Chinese, dark vinegar similar to balsamic
chinois – conical strainer
choy sum – Chinese leafy green vegetable with yellow flowers
chorizo – Spanish spicy sausage of pork meat and fat flavoured with garlic and spices
choucroute garnie – French for sauerkraut dressed with cooked meats
choux – pastry for sweet fillings, eg profiteroles
chowder – stew-like soup with milk or cream and thickened with crackers, usually containing seafood or vegetables as the main solid ingredient
ciabatta – Italian white loaf said to be shaped like a slipper
cider – alcoholic drink made from fermented apples
cinder toffee – (also known as “honeycomb”, “puff candy”) a brittle toffee made from sugar, syrup, and bicarbonate of soda
cinnamon – fragrant spice made from the bark of a tropical tree. Used to flavour desserts or Middle Eastern and Asian savoury dishes.
citronella – (also known as “lemon grass”) Asian herb, particularly popular in Thai cuisine, used as a flavouring for savoury dishes although it’s occasionally found in some desserts
civet – (French) game stew
civet coffee – coffee made from bean that have passed through a civet’s (cat-like creature) digestive system
clarified – removal of impurities from butter, stock or jelly
clarified butter – (also known in S Asian cooking as “ghee”) butter from which the milk solids have been removed
clafouti – French baked batter tart, usually with cherries
cloud ears – dried Chinese mushroom
coating consistency – term used to describe the consistency of a sauce or liquid when it coats the back of a spoon lightly and evenly
cobnut – (hazelnut, filbert) edible nut of the hazel tree
cocotte – (French) lidded earthenware cooking pot for slow-cooking meat; en cocotte – cooked in a small round dish used for pot-roasting
cockle – small member of the clam family. Can be eaten raw or cooked.
coconut – large hairy brown nut with white flesh, grown in tropical countries
cod – popular, mild-flavoured, saltwater fish mainly found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Very common in British fish and chip shops.
Coeliac disease – a lifelong autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
colcannon – Irish dish of mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage
Colombard – white grape variety, mostly used for blending wines
compote – (French: “mixture”) dessert made of fruit poached in syrup
concassé – (French) roughly chopped, usually vegetables
confit – (French) preserved meat (goose, duck, pork) cooked slowly and preserved in its own fat
consommé – (French) clear soup made with concentrated meat, fish or poultry stock
coq au vin – French dish of chicken braised with red wine, lardons, mushrooms, and garlic
coque, à la – (French) cooked in its shell, eg eggs
coquilles Saint-Jacques – scallops in a creamy wine sauce, topped with breadcrumbs
coral – roe or eggs of some shellfish, eg scallops
coriander – (also known as “cilantro”, particularly in the US) fragrant herb often used in Asian cooking. Leaves, stalks, and seeds can be used.
cotechino – Italian charcuterie, pork sausage, like salami but needs to be cooked
coulibiac – (French, from Russian “kulebyaka”) salmon and rice pie with a pastry crust
coulis – (French) purée of fruit or vegetables
courgette – (also known as “zucchini”) a member of the squash family, along with melon and cucumber. It’s an immature marrow.
court bouillon – (French) seasoned poaching liquid, usually for fish
couscous – tiny granules made from from steamed and dried durum wheat. It’s a popular alternative to rice and pasta.
couverture – confectioner’s chocolate high in cocoa butter, used for coating and ornamental work
crab – edible crustacean with a hard outer shell and soft sweet flesh
cranberry – ruby-red coloured berry. Popular at Christmas as sauce to accompany turkey and enjoyed throughout the year as a drink, ie cranberry juice.
cream – the fat layer that forms on top of unhomogenised milk
cream – cooking term meaning to beat ingredients together to incorporate air, eg mixing butter and sugar when making a sponge cake
cream yeast – to mix yeast with a small amount of liquid, eg water or milk, to break it down into a creamy consistency before adding it to the dry ingredients
crème anglaise – (French) custard sauce, much beloved by the British on apple crumble
crème pâtissière – (French) rich, creamy custard thickened with flour. Used in pastries and desserts.
crêpe – (French) thin pancake with sweet or savoury filling
crépine – (French) (also known as “caul fat”, “lace fat”, “mesentery”, or “fat netting”) thin membrane which surrounds the stomach internal organs of some animals, such as cows, sheep, and pigs.
crevette – (French) a type of large prawn
croquette – (French) small ball or roll of minced meat, fish or vegetables
cross-contamination – transfer of bacteria to food from another food, equipment or work surface
crostini – (Italian) small pieces of fried or toasted bread served as canapés or starters
croustade – (French) edible casing of puff pastry or hollowed-out bread containing savoury foods, eg stew
croûte – (French) toasted bread or pastry crust on which savoury snacks can be served
crush – to reduce a solid ingredient into very small pieces, for example by using a mortar and pestle or a food processor
crystallise – coat and impregnate (fruit, nuts or petals) with sugar as a means of preserving them
Cullen skink – Scottish variation of chowder flavoured with smoked haddock
cumin – aromatic spice native to eastern Mediterranean countries and North Africa. The seeds and powdered seeds are used for a variety of culinary purposes.
curd – coagulated semi-solid protein and fat constituents of separated milk
curdle – term used to describe when the solid and liquid parts of a mixture separate
cut – to incorporate solid fat into dry ingredients until lumps of the desired size are achieved – can be done using two knives or a food processor