Tag Archives: ingredients

British and U.S. Equivalents

Separated by a common language, sometimes following recipes in the US / UK can prove difficult if you’re apparently not familiar with the ingredients mentioned.  Here is a simple run-down of equivalents that I hope will help.  Please let me know, by leaving a comment below, if you come across any more and I will include them.

BRITISH VERSION                       AMERICAN VERSION

Aubergine                                        Eggplant

Beans, Broad                                   Fava Beans

Beans, Soy                                       Edamame

Beef, Flank Steak                           London Broil

Beef, Rump Steak                          Beef, Top Round

Bicarbonate of Soda                      Baking Soda

Caster Sugar                                    Granulated Sugar

Cheese, Emental                            Swiss Cheese

Clotted Cream                                No equivalent  (The closest equivalent to this would be to use stiffly whipped heavy cream)

Coriander                                         Cilantro

Cornflour                                         Cornstarch

Courgette                                         Zucchini

Cream, Clotted                               No equivalent  (The closest equivalent to this would be to use stiffly whipped heavy cream)

Cream, Double                                Heavy Cream

Cream, Single                                  Half and half cream

Cream, Whipping                           No equivalent  (Whipping cream has the consistency of single [half and half] cream but with a higher fat content it can be whipped into peaks)

Digestive Biscuits                          Graham Crackers or similar

Flour, Plain                                     All Purpose Flour

Flour, Strong                                  Bread Flour

Flour, Wholemeal                         Flour, Wholewheat

Gelatine                                            Gelatin

Glucose Syrup                                 Light Corn Syrup

Golden Syrup                                   Corn Syrup

Icing Sugar                                       Confectioners’ Sugar

Madras Curry Powder                     Curry Powder

Mince (meat)                                    Ground meat

Mincemeat (for cakes)                    No equivalent  (A ‘preserve’ or mix of finely chopped fruits like apple, raisins, sultanas and citrus peel, with shreds of suet – often used in ‘Mince Pies’)

Pastry Case                                         Pie Shell

Pine Kernel                                         Pine Nut

Plain Flour                                          All purpose flour

Polenta                                                 Cornmeal

Salad Onion                                         Spring Onion, Scallion

Self-raising flour                                No equivalent  (Substitute All Purpose Flour with a raising agent)

Swede                                                   Rutabega

Tomato Puree                                    Tomato Paste

Vanilla Essence                                  Vanilla Extract

Vegetables:  Beans, Broad                 Fava beans

                              Beans, Soy              Edamame

                               Courgettes             Zucchini

                               Swede                     Rutabaga

Whipping Cream                                Heavy cream  (Whipping cream has the consistency of single (half and half) cream but with a higher fat content can be whipped into peaks)

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Cooking with the seasons – Summer*

Summer BerriesSummer is, of course, the best and easiest season in which to source fresh, locally grown produce.  However while supermarket shelves are heaving under the weight of fresh fruit and vegetables at this time of year, you need to be aware that many are still sourced from way beyond your direct area.  It’s quite possible that there are smaller, local producers selling many of the same products fresh from the fields and this is why I’m a fan of farm shops.  Seek them out and you will often be rewarded with the best fruit and veg money can buy and the satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting traders in your own community.  

It may be that supermarket shopping is easier for you and that buying locally produced goods is less of a priority.  Whatever the case, Summertime gives us an enormous variety of fruit, veg, fish and meat which is at its best at this time of year.

SUMMER

Seasonal Vegetables

Artichoke, Asparagus, Aubergine, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn-on-the-cob, Courgettes (Zucchini), Fennel, Green beans, Green peas, Herbs (Basil, Chives, Dill, Fenugreek, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme), Jersey New Potatoes, Kiwi Fruit, Marrow (Squash), New Potatoes, Peppers, Rhadishes, Rocket, Runner beans, Salad ingredients, Sorrel, Spring Onions, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress

Seasonal Fruits

Apples, Apricots, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Blueberries,   Cherries, Gooseberries, Elderflowers, Loganberries, Melons, Nectarines, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Raspberries, Redcurrents, Red water melon, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Tayberries,

Seasonal Meat & Game

Lamb, Wood Pigeon

Seasonal Fish

Cod, Clams, Crab, Dover Sole, Grey mullet, Haddock, Halibut, Herring, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Lobster, Mackerel, Pike, Pilchards (Sardines), Plaice, Prawns, Salmon, Sardines, Scottish Squid, Sea Bass, Sea Trout, Trout

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*(Seasons and availability of produce obviously varies from country to country depending on geographical location.   This list is primarily based around location in the UK & western Europe).

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Cooking with the seasons – Spring*

salad-bowl1To cook the best food you need to use the best ingredients, but this needn’t involve huge expense if you buy with the seasons.  Local produce is obviously the freshest and most cost effective but even food that has to be imported from elsewhere follows seasons when it is at its best, is more readily available and therefore cheaper. 

SPRING

Seasonal Vegetables 

Asparagus, Avocado pears, Beetroot, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Butter beans, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Chicory, Chives, Courgettes, Leeks, Mint, Mushrooms, New potatoes, Parsley, Peas (beginning in May), Peppers, Purple sprouting broccoli, Radishes,  Salads, Spinach, Spring greens, Turnips, Watercress

Seasonal Fruits

Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Gooseberries, Grapefruit, Grapes,Pears, Pineapples, Rhubarb

Seasonal Meat

Hare, Rabbit, Lamb

Seasonal Fish

Cockles, Crab, Lobster, Mackerel, Mussels, Oysters, Pollack, Salmon, Sardines, Sea Trout

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*(Seasons and availability of produce obviously varies from country to country depending on geographical location.   This list is primarily based around location in the UK & western Europe).

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Marinating

Making a marinadeIn our health conscious world, fat in meat has received a bad press and is largely shunned by the consuming public.  The fact of the matter is that fat is an essential element in good meat, providing both flavour and moistness.

If you’ve bought a very lean piece of meat you may need to be careful how you treat it and cook it if you want to avoid chewing on something akin to shoe leather!  One way to help tenderise it before cooking begins is by ‘marinating’ it.  Marinating breaks down some of the fibres in the meat and the more acid the marinade, and the longer you leave it, the greater the effect.  Just bear in mind that the process draws nutritious juices out of the meat so don’t throw the marinade away once you’ve used it!  Either baste the meat with it as you are cooking or make an accompanying sauce out of it.

A marinade is typically a combination of three elements:

  • an acid ingredient, such as wine, sherry or vinegar
  • oil – infused oils such as chilli, garlic etc., olive, walnut and sesame oils – which help to impart flavour and retain moisture
  • seasoning –  from basic salt and pepper, to herbs, to spices, to other ingredients like honey, lemon, good old ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.

If you’re experimenting and making your own marinade just try to balance the three elements and use ingredients that are complimentary to the meat.  For instance, lamb and rosemary is a classic combination, pork works well with either sage or rosemary, and chicken with lemon and thyme.

The process is very simple: Put the meat in a shallow glass or pottery dish – not metal, because the acid ingredients may react with the metal and taint the food.  I find sturdy zip-lock bags very useful for marinating. Pour your marinade ingredients over the top and turn the meat a few times to coat.  (This is where a zip-lock bag comes in useful because you can just pop the whole lot in the bag, zip the top and toss the bag over and over a few times to thoroughly coat).   If using a dish, cover and then, whatever the container (including zip-lock) you need to put it in the fridge for the alloted time.  If your marinade doesn’t completely cover the meat, turn it every half hour or so.   Pork and poultry will take 2-4 hours happily in the fridge, red meat and game, 4-6 hours.

Marinating is not confined to meats.  Both fish and vegetables can be given the same treatment but bear in mind that fish, in particular, is a far more delicate meat and if you overdo the marinating time the whole lot could become mushy.  For fish and veg therefore I’d recommend just half an hour to an hour in the marinade.

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Sausages with salami and lentils

Le CreusetThis is a hearty, comforting and full-of-flavour rustic meal – perfect for cold winter nights.  Easy to make, and the ingredients won’t burn a hole in your pocket.  What more could you ask?

Sausages with salami and lentils

Serves 4  / Prep: 20 mins  / Cooking time: 45 mins

Ingredients:

2 onions – peel, cut in half then cut each half into four or five pieces, cutting from root to tip

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

200g salami (or chorizo), in one piece

8 fat sausages (about 1 kg)

500g chopped / crushed tomatoes or tomato passata

150g green or brown lentils

500ml water

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (= about a tablespoon of fresh leaves or a teaspoon of dried)***

Crushed black pepper

***Rosemary is a herb that I love and goes very well with pork so I tend to put in a little more than this.  The amount I’ve noted above is a suggestion that won’t be overpowering – add more next time if, like me, you feel you’d prefer it.

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Method:

Put the oil in a heavy-based casserole and brown the sausages.  You want them to colour on the outside; they will do most of their cooking once they are in the sauce.  Remove and set aside.

Add the onion slices to the pan and let them cook over a moderate heat until tender.

Meanwhile, peel the garlic, slice it thinly and add it to the onions.  You’ll need to stir them regularly so that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Peel the thin skin from the salami and cut the inside into fat matchsticks.  Add this to the softening onions and leave for a couple of minutes, during which time the salami will darken slightly.

Tip the crushed tomatoes (or passata) into the onions, add the washed lentils and stir in 500ml water.  Bring to the boil.  Tuck the sausages into the casserole, together with the sprigs of rosemary.

Cover the pot with a lid and leave to simmer gently for about half an hour, until the lentils are tender.  Stir the lentils and seaso0n with black pepper.  You may find it needs little or no salt.

(This is one of those very forgiving dishes where timing is not crucial.  You can leave this very gently bubbling on the stove for a little longer – just keep the pot covered and keep an eye on it to be sure that it isn’t drying out).

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