offal – (also known as ‘variety meats’) internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal

okra – (also known as ‘lady’s fingers’, ‘bhindi’) 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.

olive – fruit of the olive tree. Olives come in green and black and a range of colours in between, depending on when they’re picked and how they’re seasoned.

onglet – French name for a cut more commonly known in English as ‘skirt’, or ‘hanger steak’ in North America. This rather forgotten choice is a flat cut from the diaphragm or lower belly.

onion – member of the allium family and essential in the cooking of many dishes

OO flour – Italian grade of flour commonly used to make pasta

orange – popular citrus fruit with a range of varieties, commonly eaten raw or used as a flavouring for both sweet and savoury dishes

oregano – wild equivalent of marjoram, a savoury herb used to season dishes, especially in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine

orgeat syrup – sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose water or orange flower water, used in cocktails, eg mai tai

ossobuco – (Italian; ‘marrowbone’) Milanese dish of chopped veal knuckle braised with onions, garlic, carrot, celery and tomato. Sometimes turkey meat is used as a cheaper alternative to veal

oven spring – when loaves swell rapidly in the first few minutes of baking. See also burst

oyster – seafood, highly prized luxury type of saltwater shellfish

oyster sauce – a viscous dark brown condiment made from sugar, salt and water, thickened with cornflour and flavoured with a little extract of oyster, used in Oriental cuisine

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