Tag Archives: substitute

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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All about butter

Butter CurlsI don’t think anything compares to the taste of real butter in cooking. Butter-based spreads have come into existence to try to provide healthier alternatives but they are not always ideal for cooking.  Here is a quick low-down on the basic versions of butter available, plus a few facts and hints:

Salted butter – Salt is a preservative so that the addition of salt to butter gives it a longer ‘shelf-life’.  Salted butter will last about a month in the fridge, six months in the freezer.

Unsalted (or ‘sweet’) butter is the freshest butter available, with an accordingly fresher taste – largely because the natural sweetness of the product isn’t masked by salt.  However, without that extra preservative it will not last as long.

Given the above, good traditional bakers usually opt for unsalted butter in recipes – the flavour is better, there is the option to decide just how much salt should be added, and too much salt tends to produce a tougher dough.  At a pinch (no pun intended), ready salted butter can be substituted in baking recipes, but remember to reduce, or cut out entirely, any extra salt noted separately in the ingredients list.  (If you have to use salted butter in a recipe because that’s all you have, the rule of thumb would be to cut salt by 1/4 tsp for every 4 ounces, or half a cup of butter that is in the recipe).

Light / reduced calorie butter is made with half the fat of regular butter and in order to approximate the consistency of the full fat version, water, skimmed milk and gelatin are added.   As a consequence, it will give different results when used for baking and frying and is therefore not recommended.

In some countries whipped butter is also available.  Its’ whipped texture makes it lighter and more spreadable but the process of whipping means that it is actually 30 – 45% air.  For this reason it also is not generally  recommended for baking.

When frying and sauteing,  it is better to use unsalted butter.  If you wish, the addition of just a teaspoon of oil will allow you to heat the oil to a slightly higher temperature before it begins to burn but both salted and unsalted butter have low smoke points (the point at which the butter burns).

Clarified butter is used widely in fine cuisine as the basis for sauces and, as most of the milk solids and water is removed during preparation, allows for cooking at higher temperatures without burning (useful for frying and sauteing) . 

To clarify: gently melt a quantity of butter in a pan and, using a metal spoon, skim off the solids that begin to foam up on the surface.  Be careful not to allow the butter to burn. When you feel you’ve removed as much as you can, pour the melted butter through a sieve which has been lined with cheesecloth or muslin, into a bowl beneath.  (These solids can be thrown away but are also considered a delicacy in Northern Indian cuisine, being eaten with unleavened bread). The clarified butter in the bowl will last in the fridge for up to a month.

Ghee is very similar to clarified butter, the differences being that all the water content has been evaporated off, all the milk solids removed and the remaining butter has been allowed to brown slightly, giving the ghee a nutty flavour.  Pure ghee will keep at room temperature for months and, as with clarified butter, can be heated to high temperatures.  The process of preparation has removed casein, lactose protein (often a problem to those with allergies) and oxidised cholesterol, whilst still retaining valuable vitamins.  Its’ more intense, nutty flavour also means that you will probably use less of it in cooking.  Ghee is available in Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores, as well as in some supermarkets.

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  • Butter absorbs the flavours around it so is best stored in an airtight container or wrapped carefully in foil.
  • Store in the coolest part of the fridge (which is generally not the door)
  • To soften butter quickly for baking, cut into small cubes and leave at room temperature.
  • Frozen unsalted butter can be grated into pastry mix for a nice, light and flaky crust

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Lemon Drizzle Cake

This is a lovely cake for those of us who like quite plain cakes, in other words no cream and other frou frous.  Perfect for afternoon tea…although you may want more than one slice, and that just might spoil your dinner!

I make this using a food processor, and this is how it goes …

LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE

Lemon Drizzle CakeMakes a cake for 8-10 servings and is best eaten freshly baked, although it will keep for 1 week under refrigeration in an airtight container.  Freezes up to 3 months.

Ingredients

2 large eggs

175g (6oz) sugar

150g (5oz) soft butter

Grated zest of 1 lemon

175g (6 oz) self-raising flour, sifted***

125ml (4fl oz) milk

A pinch of sea salt

For the lemon syrup

150g (5oz) icing sugar

50ml (2 fl oz) fresh lemon juice (about 1-1/2 lemons)

*** Re Self-raising flour (For American readers) – self-raising flour is simply flour to which raising agent has already been added.  There are several ‘recipes’  for making your own self-raising flour.  Here is one: For every 225g (8 oz) of plain /all purpose flour add 2 level teaspoons of baking powder.  Sift together 3-4 times to thoroughly mix.  Can be stored in an airtight container.

You will also need a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf tin for this recipe, together with a small amount of baking parchment or greaseproof paper

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Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4.

Line the bottom of a well greased loaf tin with baking parchment.

Put the eggs and sugar in the bowl of the food processor and process for 2 minutes, scraping the sides down once with a rubber spatula.  Take off the lid and drop spoonfuls of the soft butter on top of this mixture, together with the lemon zest, then pulse until it disappears.  The mixture should now resemble mayonnaise.

Add the flour, milk and salt, cover and pulse just until the mixture is smooth in texture and even in colour, scraping the sides down with a rubber spatula if necessary.  Don’t over-beat or the cake will be tough.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown on top and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and stand the tin on a cooling rack.

To make the syrup: Gently heat the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan, stirring until a clear syrup is formed – about 3 minutes.  Do not boil.

Prick the warm cake all over with a fork, then gently pour the syrup over it, until it has been completely absorbed.

Leave until cool, then carefully ease the cake from the baking tin and remove the baking parchment.

Just before serving, sift a little more icing sugar on the top.

Serve in generous slices!

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Cooking dilemmas: Plain / All purpose / Self-raising flour

What now?!Anyone who bakes fairly regularly has probably come across a situation where your recipe calls for ‘self-raising flour’ and all you have is plain.  (Plain flour is ‘all purpose flour’ in the United States).  Self-raising flour is simply flour to which raising agents have been added during the packaging process.  So…to make your plain (or all purpose) flour into self raising flour:

UK VERSION:

Add 1-1/4 level teaspoons of baking powder to every 8 oz of flour (and a pinch of salt if your recipe doesn’t already include that).  Sieve well to mix before adding to your recipe.

US Version:

Add 1-1/4 level teaspoons of baking powder to every cup of all purpose flour (and a pinch of salt if your recipe doesn’t already include that).  Sieve well to mix before adding to your recipe.

To reverse the situation, i.e. you have self-raising flour when what you need is plain flour, use self-raising but reduce the baking powder and salt that it states in the recipe.

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