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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Oven Temperature Conversions

I’ve noticed that American recipes often refer to a “hot oven” or “warm oven”. Call me pedantic (pedantic), but I need something more specific (least I’m left with an undercooked chook). Here’s a good guide to Centigrade, Farenheit and the more vague settings:

Description °F °C
Cool oven 200 °F 90 °C
Very Slow oven 250 °F 120 °C
Slow oven 300–325 °F 150–160 °C
Moderately Slow 325–350 °F 160–180 °C
Moderate oven 350–375 °F 180–190 °C
Moderately Hot 375–400 °F 190–200 °C
Hot oven 400–450 °F 200–230 °C
Very Hot oven 450–500 °F 230–260 °C
Fast oven 450–500 °F 230–260 °

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99 per cent by Andreas Gursky

We might not have entire aisles dedicated to salad dressing in the UK or anything like the vast stores that Andreas Gursky photographed but American supermarkets are pretty similar to Waitrose, Sainsburys, Tesco etc.

However, some simple food stuffs are labelled differently. Here are some common food translations from cooksrecipes.com:

U.S. Terms Australian/British Terms
all-purpose flour plain flour
baking sheet baking tray
baking soda bicarbonate of soda
beef cut from the rump silverside
beet beetroot
biscuit scone
blueberry bilberry
bouillon cube; granules; base stock cubes
bread flour strong flour
cake; baking pan cake tin
candied fruit glacé fruits
cantaloupe rockmelon
catsup, ketchup tomato sauce
celery rib celery stick
chops cutlets
cilantro coriander, fresh
cookies biscuits
cornmeal maize flour
confectioners’/powdered sugar icing sugar
cornstarch cornflour
cream, heavy double cream
cream, light; half-and-half single cream
dessert pudding
dish towel tea towel
eggplant aubergine
extract (vanilla, etc.) essence
farina semolina
fat from roasted meat dripping
fatback pork fat
fava beans broad beans
flank steak skirt steak
French-fried potatoes chips
graham crackers wheatmeal or digestive biscuits
ground meats minced meats
green beans French beans
green onion (spring) salad onion
halibut jewfish
ham ham or sometimes gammon
hard-cooked eggs hard-boiled eggs
heaping spoonful heaped spoonful
jumbo shrimp king prawns
large cut of meat w/bone; roast joint
light corn syrup glucose syrup
meat turnover Cornish pasty
molasses treacle
papaya papaw; pawpaw
peanut ground nut
pie crust pastry
pig’s foot pig’s trotter
pit stone; seed; pip
plastic wrap cling film
pork shoulder roast hand of pork
potato chips crisps
raisins; seedless; golden sultanas
raw shrimp green shrimp
rice flour ground rice
round steak; stewing beef chuck steak
sausage bangers
scallions; green onions spring or salad onions
seeded stoned
seeds pips
shortening, vegetable a solid white vegetable fat
shredded coconut desiccated coconut
shrimp prawns
(to) shuck (to) hull
sirloin rump steak; Scotch fillet
skillet frying pan
slice rasher
smoked haddock finnan haddie
sole bream
spatula fish slice
stew beef gravy beef
stewing chicken boiling chicken; fowl
strain; strainer sieve
(to) strain (to) sift
stuffing mixture for meat or fish forcemeat
sugar; granulated; superfine castor sugar
sweet or bell peppers capsicums
Swiss chard silver beet
Swiss Cheese Emmethaler
tenderloin fillet (of meat)
tomato catsup; ketchup tomato sauce
tuna tunny
vanilla bean vanilla pod
variety meats (liver; kidney;etc) offal
wax paper greaseproof paper
zucchini courgette

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To celebrate the safe release of our kitchen equipment and other freighted belongings from JFK customs and the arrival of our first piece of bought furniture – a table – I decided to make the H1B a good home-cooked meal, a traditional English cottage pie.

An act which neatly brings me to a blog which I’ve been meaning to write about for a while – American cooking terms and what ‘broiling’, ‘braising’ and cup measurements actually mean.

Broiling – Google tells me that broiling is “[to] become very hot, esp. from the sun: “the countryside lay broiling in the sun””, which makes me think of a short tongued 17thC pioneer fanning himself in the shade of an American oak, exclaiming, “I’m absolutely bruddy broiling…”. However, broiling actually means anything that is cooked from direct heat – say a grill or an open flame (ie: if you were cooking with a skillet or frying pan). If you broil in an oven, you use the grill setting to brown your cottage pie, for example.

Braisingfrom the French “braiser”, thank you Wikipedia. If you brown off meat by searing it before casseroling (aka the “Malliard reaction”, for you gourmands out there), that’s braising. Pot roasting, casseroles, French oven… anything that cooks in something like a Le Creuset enamelled pan, etc.

Americans will also say that braising is also done in a “Dutch oven”, but as any purile-minded Brit will know, that is something else altogether…

Cup measurements – there’s something very quaint about the cup measurement; a more honest offering than the mathematical exactness of grams and ounces. However, cups are an exact weight – you can’t just grab the nearest mug (although, in theory, you can – if your recipe is about relative measures).

Because the weight of a food differs according to its mass and density (hang on, this is all getting a bit like a science lesson for my liking), there are no standard cup measurements for everything. So, a cup of flour will weigh less than a cup of brown sugar.

This handy table is from www.hintsandthings.com:

COMMODITY

BRITISH
MEASURE

METRIC EQUIVALENT
(APPROX)
AMERICAN
EQUIVALENT
Flour 4 oz. (ounces) 115g 1 cup
Cornflour 1 oz. 30 g 4 tablespoons
4 1/2 oz. 130 g 1 cup
Icing sugar (sifted confectioners) 7 oz. 200 g 1 cup
Soft Brown Sugar 4 oz. 115 g 1/2 cup (firmly packed)
Castor or Granulated sugar 4 oz. 115 g 1/2 cup
Butter, Margarine, Fat etc. 1 oz. 30 g 2 tablespoons
8 oz. 225 g 1 cup
Stick of butter 4 oz. 115 g 1/2 cup
Grated cheese – cheddar type 4 oz. 115g 1 cup
Grated cheese – Parmesan 8 oz. 225 g 1 cup
Pearl Barley/Tapioca 8 oz. 225 g 1 cup
Semolina/Ground rice 6 oz. 175 g 1 cup
Fresh bread or cake crumbs 3 oz. 75 g 1 cup
Dried bread crumbs 2 oz. 60 g 1 cup
Oatmeal 2 oz. 60 g 1 cup
Carrot – coarsely grated 4 oz. 115 g 1 cup
Sweetcorn – cooked 4 oz. 115 g 1 cup
Celery 4 sticks 1 cup chopped
Tomatoes – chopped 7 oz. 200 g 1 cup
Apples – Cooking 1 lb. (pound) 450 g 3 medium size
Apples – Eating 1 lb. 450 g 4 medium size
Mushrooms – button 4 oz. 115 g 1 cup
Beetroot 6 medium 1 cup – diced
Cucumber 1/2 average size 1 cup – diced
Strawberries – crushed 6 oz. 175 g 1 cup
Clear Honey/Golden syrup/Molasses/Black treacle 12 oz. 350 g 1 cup
Maple Syrup 11 oz. 300 g 1 cup
Jam/marmalade/jelly 8 oz. 225 g 1 cup
Currants/Sultanas/Raisins 6 oz. 175 g 1 cup
Candied Peel 4 oz. 115 g 1 cup
Almonds – shelled 5 oz. 150 g 1 cup

Note that butter is often sold in “sticks” in the USA. Butter is normally bought in packs of a pound, with four sticks in each pack. Each stick is 4 oz. Your recipe might ask for “half a stick of butter”, thus 2 oz.

The easiest thing for a trailing spouse cook would be to ditch the Delia Smith and Jamie Oliver books and invest in some American cookbooks (The New Brooklyn Cookbook is on my Christmas wishlist, Santa baby) and buy yourself a good cup measuring device (I prefer the individual metal ones, like this one from Amazon). Or, just as easily, buy some metric scales and stay old school (I bought mine out with me but I have seen them for sale in Bed, Bath & Beyond).

One last bit of info: cups should be lightly packed and levelled off with a knife so the food is not in a mound. Don’t pack it down to lightly or bang the cup on the kitchen surface to settle the food stuff too much. Keep sieved flour aerated, for example.

> Read my post on food shopping to find out what plain flour, corn flour and broad beans (and more) are called in the USA…

> See my post on oven temperature conversions

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