cartoon of man asking waiter "How fresh is the calamari?", as it grabs the waiter around the leg.

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

celeriacvariety 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, cheese, then browned under a grill (broiler).

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

croquembouche – (French) dessert, pyramid of choux-buns

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

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