Vanilla extract vs. essence
Vanilla essence is a synthetic flavouring, whereas the extract is taken directly from the vanilla bean. The essence is the cheaper alternative, but the flavour of real extract is infinitely superior.
Sauce vs. jus vs. gravy
Sauce is a blanket term and a sauce can really be made from anything: think of a pepper sauce, a chocolate sauce and everything in between! Specifically, a jus is a sauce made by reducing the pan juices of a roast. A gravy is a jus thickened with flour or cornflour.
Simmer vs. boil
Knowing the difference between these two can make a huge impact on a dish. A simmer is identified by pockets of fine but constant bubbling that give off occasional wisps of steam. A boil occurs when large bubbles come from the bottom of the pot and quickly rise to the surface, producing constant steam. A rolling boil is a vigorous state of maintained boiling in which large bubbles erupt continuously on the surface of the liquid and cannot be disrupted by stirring or adding ingredients, while clouds of steam roll off the surface of the water.
Crumble vs. cobbler
While these popular autumn desserts are very similar, there is a distinction. A crumble (also sometimes called a crisp) is baked fruit topped with a mixture of some combination of flour, nuts, cereal (such as oats), butter and sugar, which generally covers the fruit completely. A cobbler consists of baked fruit topped with a batter, which is usually dropped or spooned in small clumps over the fruit, allowing some of the filling to show through.
Broth vs. stock vs. consommé
Creating a broth usually involves using large amounts of meat – such as a whole chicken – rather than the meat scraps and bones usually used to make a stock. Furthermore, a stock is usually made to be used in further cooking, whereas a broth is designed to be eaten as is. Consommé is similar to broth, but has been clarified and concentrated.
Roasting vs. baking
Roasting and baking are both dry heat cooking methods which brown the exterior of the food, adding flavour. However, roasting involves cooking foods that already have a solid structure, such as meat and vegetables. Baking involves that foods that lack structure early on, then become solid during cooking; think cakes, breads and scones.
Cornflour vs. cornstarch
These are the very same thing. We know the handy, naturally gluten-free thickener as cornflour, while our American cousins call it cornstarch.
Olive oil vs. extra-virgin
The different varieties of olive oil are set apart not by the type of olives that are used, but rather the process used to extract the oil. Both extra-virgin and regular olive oil can be used in baking and cooking, but extra-virgin has a much lower smoking point. Because of this, we recommend using regular olive oil for cooking, and saving the more flavoursome extra-virgin for dressings and dips, for dipping bread into and drizzling over pasta dishes.