Cooking Conversions Confusion

scales

One of the things that I find the most confusing about following recipes from the Internet is the different measurements used. Some are imperial, some in metric and others in cups.  I always want to ask if it is a big cup or a small cup?

This isn’t something that bothers me too much as I am not a strict follower of recipes. I have more of a tendency to use my senses, such as taste, sight and touch, to decide if a recipe is going well or not. I also have enough cooking experience to tell if the processes look right and if the quantities will do what they are supposed to be doing in a dish, whether this is adding flavour, thickening a sauce or changing the colour. 

To make things easier for other people who use recipes off the Internet, I thought I would add in this simple guide for cooking conversions.

Volume

  • 250 ml = 8 fl oz = 1 cup
  • 180 ml = 6 fl oz = 3/4 cup
  • 150 ml =5 fl oz = 2/3 cup
  • 120 ml=4 fl oz =1/2 cup
  • 75 ml = 2 1/2 fl oz = 1/3 cup
  • 60 ml = 2 1/4 fl oz = 1/4 cup
  • 30 ml = 1 fl oz = 1/8 cup
  • 15 ml = 1/2 fl oz = 1 tablespoon

Weights

  • 1/2 oz = 15 g
  • 1 oz = 30 g
  • 2 oz = 60g
  • 3 oz = 90 g
  • 4 oz = 110 g
  • 5 oz = 140 g
  • 6 oz = 170 g
  • 7 oz = 200 g
  • 8 oz = 225 g
  • 9 oz = 255 g
  • 10 oz = 280 g
  • 11 oz = 310 g
  • 12 oz = 340 g
  • 13 oz = 370 g
  • 14 oz = 400g
  • 15 oz = 425 g
  • 1 lb = 450g

The US cup measurements are more complex for weights as it depends on the ingredient. You can find an easy online guide here: http://allrecipes.co.uk/how-to/44/cooking-conversions.aspx

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RECIPE: Funky Red Cabbage Slaw

red cabbage slaw

Although I make the regular slaw, my kids really love my funky red cabbage slaw as there is something fun about having such a colorful side dish on the plate. It is quick and simple to make and is a great way of getting the kids to eat a variety of vegetables. Here is a quick guide on how to make funky red cabbage slaw. It makes enough for approximately eight good-sized side dishes to accompany a meal.

Ingredients for Funky Red Cabbage Slaw

  • 1/2 red cabbage grated or finely sliced
  • 4 large carrots grated
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 8 heaped tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons of salad cream
  • 100 ml double cream
  • Salt and black pepper

How to Make Funky Red Cabbage Slaw

  1. Grate the carrots and red cabbage and finely slice the red onion.
  2. Add the grated and sliced vegetables to a large mixing bowl
  3. Add the mayonnaise, salad cream, and double cream to the bowl.
  4. Stir well until all the vegetables are coated.
  5. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Tips

  • Extra ingredients– you can add extra ingredients if you want a little variety. Try adding chopped apples, sultanas, or walnuts for a twist. 
  • Spice it up– this is delicious as it is, but you can also spice up this dish. Adding a teaspoon of curry powder or smoked paprika are just two ways you can change the flavor of this accompaniment.
  • Reduce the fat– it is easy to reduce the fat content of this side dish. Simply use low-fat mayonnaise and salad cream and omit the double cream from the recipe. 

 

 

RECIPE: Shortcrust Pastry

pastry 1

It never ceases to amaze me that people do not make their own pastry when it is such a simple thing to make. Here is how to make shortcrust pastry with the ingredients, instructions, and some helpful tips. 

flour and butter

Ingredients for Shortcrust Pastry

  • 8 oz/ 225 g plain flour
  • 2 oz/ 60 g butter
  • 2 oz/ 20 g lard
  • Good pinch of salt

rolling pin

Instructions

  1. Weigh out the ingredients.
  2. Sieve the flour and the salt into a bowl.
  3. Chop the lard and the butter into the bowl.
  4. Rub the flour and the fat between your fingers to form a crumb.
  5. Add a small amount of water to the bowl and stir the crumbs with your hand to bind them together. Continue to add small amounts of water until you have a firm pastry dough.
  6. Wrap the pastry and put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  7. Dust the work surface with a little flour and rub some flour into a rolling pin.
  8. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator, remove cling film and place on the floured surface.
  9. Take the rolling pin and roll backward and forwards on the pastry, pressing down firmly.
  10. Turn the pastry 90 degrees and repeat.

Tips

  • Vegetarians– Replace the lard with an extra 2 oz of butter or use margarine.
  • Sweet Pastry– Add 1 oz of caster sugar and do not add the salt.
  • Sticking pastry– If the pastry is sticking to the rolling pin, simply sprinkle a little flour over the pastry and rub some flour into the rolling pin.
  • Lifting the pastry– If you are finding it tricky to lift the pastry without breaking it, then use your rolling pin. Lie the rolling pin across the centre of the pastry. Take the edge furthest away from yourself and lift over the rolling pin until the back edge meets the front edge. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry.
  • Glaze- If you are using the pastry for a pie crust, you should add a glaze. Use a pastry brush to cover the pastry with either milk or a whisked egg.

 

 

Hot to Get Kids Eating Vegetables

veg stall

Vegetables are an essential part of a varied, healthy and balanced diet.  It is important that your child eats vegetables daily so that they remain healthy and develop normally.  One of the biggest challenges parents face is getting their children to eat vegetables. This is sometimes because they don’t like the taste, texture, or color and occasionally because they have choked on a particular food when they were younger and this has developed into a phobia.  Here are some tips on how you can get your children to eat vegetables.

Start As You Mean To Go On

It is important to introduce a wide range of vegetables from the start.  This can be done even in the early stages of weaning your child as vegetables are ideal for mashing pureeing.  They are also fantastic finger foods when your child moves to the next stage.

Set an Example

Children mimic their parent’s behaviour  If they see you eating a variety of vegetables daily, then they will see this as being the norm and follow your lead.  If they only see you eating junk food, then vegetables will become an alien concept that they be unwilling to eat. 

Make It Fun and Involve Them

Making mealtimes and the food that is served can help the meal to seem more appealing.  One way of doing this is to turn the food into pictures.  For example, top a pizza with cherry tomatoes and slices of pepper arranged into the design of a face.  Children also like to be involved in the cooking process and if they have made the food their selves or helped to prepare it, it can make the vegetables served more appealing.

Grow Your Own

Seeing the whole process of the creation of vegetables, from seed to serving on a plate, can make the food seem interesting. If they get involved in this process, they will feel pride in what they have achieved.  It is also a great way to educate children about how plants grow and the sources of different food types.

Disguise the Vegetables

If you are really struggling to get your child to eat vegetables and want them to benefit from the nutrients, then you can disguise the vegetables.  One way is to dice them up very finely in foods like casseroles, chilli con carne or spaghetti bolognese.  Soups are also a great way to disguise the vegetable content as they are usually pureed.  Similarly, making homemade pasta sauces with ingredients such as tomatoes, peppers and onions is a good way of disguising what their meal contains.

How to Make Pizza Bases

pizzeria

I love pizza, but my pet hate is frozen pizzas. The base always tastes like cardboard and the cheese topping usually resembles melted plastic. My children also love pizza but were only usually treated to it if we are eating out as I hated keeping pizzas in the freezer.

Instead, I decided to learn how to make delicious homemade pizza bases just like the Italians. There were many fantastic recipes and guides online with great tips on how to make the perfect pizza base.

The children loved it when I started making homemade pizza bases as it meant they could choose their own toppings and decorate the pizza themselves. My kids love getting involved in the kitchen and are more likely to eat all their meals when they have contributed to the preparation. Cooking is an important life skill to learn, a fun way to spend time with children and a great way to teach them about science and maths.

If you want to learn how to make pizza bases so you can make them yourself at home and get the kids involved in cooking, then this is a great video to watch:

Watch: How to Make Pasta

pasta

In my house, pasta is definitely a staple part of our diet. Not only is this because we love Italian food, it is also because it is such a versatile ingredient that you can include in such a wide variety of meals. Two further reasons we love pasta dishes is that it is a cheap food item and because it is so quick and simple to cook.

When I first had my own home, I would simply buy bags of dried pasta and use these in several dishes a week. However, once I realised how simple it was to make your own pasta and how much better it tastes, I started to make my own. While I have done this using a rolling pin to roll the pasta dough thinly for several years, I was recently lucky enough to receive the gift of a pasta making machine. This has quickly become my favorite kitchen gadget.

It occurred to me that there are many cooking novices out there who are not aware how good homemade pasta tastes and how simple it is to make. If this applies to you, then you may want to watch this quick tutorial to help you become a master pasta maker.