a l'anglaise

In the English style, e.g. boiled and served without a sauce.

a la

In the style of, e.g. a la Russe, meaning 'in the Russian style'.

a la carte.

Can mean bill of fare from which the diner selects individual dishes, or dishes cooked to order.

a la crecy

French for puree of carrots and rice

a la creme

Served with cream or a cream-based sauce

a la duglere

French, meaning with onions, shallots and tomatoes.

a la eggs creole

Hard boiled, yolks mixed in Creole garniture, baked, served with rice.

a point

Of meat, medium cooked


Garlic flavoured sauce

Acidulated water.

The addition of lemon juice or vinegar to cold water-which prevents discoloration of some fruits and vegetables. To every 1/2 pint of water, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar.


A vegetarian alternative to gelatine, based on seaweed and used as a stabiliser or thickener in many food products. It is sold in many of the large supermarkets in powder form, as flakes and as bars.

Al dente

An Italian word to describe when pasta is cooked: tender but firm to the bite.


The white of an egg.


In the style of, e.g. alia parmi-giano, meaning 'in Parmesan style'.


An aromatic spice, also called Jamaica pepper or pimento.


Vegetable strips of matchstick length.

Almond Paste

A firm but pliable confection made of ground almonds and confectioners' sugar mixed with glucose, corn syrup, or egg white. Available in cans or tubes, almond paste is similar to marzipan, which is sweeter and softer. If almond paste seems hard, microwave


Nuts that can be bought as skin-on, blanched, whole, halved, flaked, chopped or ground.


Cooking or coating with almonds.


A tall plant with broad leaves that produces many thousands of tiny seeds.


Small Italian macaroon biscuits.

Amaretti Cookies

Hard, crisp, round Italian cookies, found at Italian grocers and specialty food stores. Often come tissue-wrapped in pairs and packed into pretty tin boxes


mini versions of the popular Italian amaretti biscuits.


These are the smallest fish of the herring family.

Anchovy essence

A natural juice concentrate from the anchovy.


A biennial herb used mainly in dessert cooking.

Angostura Bitters

Bitters refers to spirits that have been flavoured with herbs or bitter roots.


Related to the carrot and parsley families, it is the seeds of the anise or aniseed plant that are used in cookery.

Annatto seeds

Also known as ’achiote seeds’, commonly used in South American cooking.


Cold or hot Italian hors-d'oeuvre.


The Italian word, meaning ’before pasta’, for hot or cold starters or hors d’oeuvres. A mixture of antipasti could include cheese, smoked meats, salamis, olives, fish and marinated vegetables


A French term referring to a light alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite. Examples include drinks based on wine (eg vermouth) or alcohol (eg anise, bitters) and certain spirits and liqueurs


Starch made by grinding the root of an American plant of the same name. Used for thickening sauces


Starch made by grinding the root of an American plant of the same name. Used for thickening sauces

Artisan baguette

A fresh baguette finished with a criss-cross pattern and dusted with flour.


An extremely pungent spice extracted from a plant of the giant fennel family.


A clear jelly used to cover or glaze foods to prevent them from drying out and to enhance the appearance of the dish.


A seasoned relish made of sliced fruits or mixed vegetables.

au bleu

Blue; fish cooked immediately after being caught will turn blue.

au gratin

Cooked food, covered with a sauce, sprinkled with crumbs or grated cheese, dotted with butter and browned under the grill


The most common type of aubergine, also known as eggplant, is fairly large, an elongated oval shape and purple in colour. Others are white, mauve and green, some even striped.

Žle flottante

A very light dessert made from egg whites and sugar, cooked in a bain-marie, and served on a custard cream. The name means 'floating island'.

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