How To Decipher British Cooking Terms

Demystifying Recipe Conversions

recipe conversion

It’s no secret that I love to watch Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals on Food Network and make his recipes. Food that is fresh, fast, and healthy will be a welcome addition to your cooking repertoire! But sometimes converting recipes from other countries can become a little tricky if you aren’t up on all the language or products. But never fear—I’ve compiled a list of commonly used terms or ingredients in Jamie Oliver books to help you.

Aubergine: Eggplant

Courgette: Zucchini

Rocket: Arugula

Chicory: Endive

Double Cream: Cream with 48% fat. I don’t know if there is something similar here, I usually use whipping cream in that case.

Heavy Cream: Cream with about 38% fat. You can use whipping cream, which usually has about 36%, or use old fashioned whipping cream, which has 38%.

Single Cream: Cream with 5-18% butterfat. You can use Dairyland light cream, creamo, or coffee cream.

Passata: Strained, uncooked tomatoes, usually sold in tall glass jars and in the tomato or pasta aisle. You can substitute crushed tomatoes, but be sure to use Italian ones so that the mixture is thick and not watery. Don’t substitute tomato sauce, as it often has other vegetables, garlic, and spices that you don’t want in it.

Prosciutto/parma ham: Paper-thin slices of Italian ham that is often served uncooked. You will find it in the deli section of the grocery store, often pre-packaged in vacuum packed containers like luncheon meat. You can substitute regular bacon in a lot of cases.

Chile: You’ll notice Jamie Oliver uses a lot of red chiles in his cooking. I have used tiny Thai bird chiles in his recipes with great success.

Coriander Leaves: Fresh cilantro

Spring Onions: Green onions or scallions

Butter Beans: Lima beans. Here in Canada we tend to eat them in the green an immature stage, where they can taste unpleasant and many people don't like them, but you can get them dried and beige at the store. Soak and cook them like you would any other dried bean, and they can be really delicious.

Minced pork/beef/chicken: Ground beef/pork/chicken

Powdered or Confectioner’s Sugar: Icing sugar

Demerara Sugar: Light brown sugar with larger crystals, a bit stickier from the molasses.

Muscovado Sugar: Dark brown sugar that has more molasses flavour which has larger crystals and is slightly stickier than regular brown sugar. You can find it in the sugar aisle.

Caster sugar: Superfine sugar that is often used in meringues. You can put regular granulated sugar in your food processor and give it a whiz to break it down if you can't find any. Don't use icing sugar. In BC, you can get berry sugar labeled as superfine, and this works well.

Greaseproof paper: Parchment paper

Do you ever have to convert recipes? Any success stories or hilarious mistakes? Spill it and add your own discoveries or ask questions below and soon you'll be rocking the kitchen!

She may go by the name Scatteredmom online, but Karen really is anything but scattered when it comes to the kitchen.  Churning out tasty treats within view of the Georgia Strait on Canada's west coast, Karen will hand you an organized weekly meal plan or teach you how to make meals from scratch.  As Mom to a teenage boy, she knows exactly what it takes to keep kids full and happy-which has really come in handy with her job as the Food Editor at Yummy Mummy Club.

A strong supporter of Food Revolution who has been endorsed by Jamie Oliver himself, by day Karen can be found working as a special education teaching assistant, running a kitchen and showing teenagers how to cook nutritious meals for themselves.  By night, when she's not chatting on Twitter and answering cooking questions,  she writes her popular blog Notes From the Cookie Jar, or posting mouthwatering recipes over at Chasing Tomatoes.  Not afraid to give her opinion and passionate about community, Karen spoke at Blissdom Canada 2010 and her writing has been published in Canadian Living magazine, as well as in various online publications. 

Follow Karen on Twitter @scatteredmom