The key to success in the kitchen is being organised. Here are a few tips from the pros at Sprout Cooking School!
Tip 1: Carefully read your recipe from start to finish before you start cooking. This will ensure you understand how long the dish will take to prepare, and allows you to think ahead and plan your movements around the kitchen.
Tip 2: Before you start cooking ensure you have all the ingredients you need and that they are portioned and ready to use. There’s nothing worse than realising you don’t have an ingredient half way through the recipe! Get all of the equipment you need out of cupboards and ready to use, this includes lining baking trays and doing anything you can before you start cooking to make your actual cooking experience much easier and stress free.
Tip 3: Get all of the equipment you need out of cupboards and ready to use, this includes lining baking trays and doing anything you can before you start cooking to make your actual cooking experience much easier and stress free.
When you read your recipe you may also need to understand some unusual cooking terms. To help out, we have provided a list of common cooking terms below. If there is a word in a recipe that you are not familiar with, and it is not in the list below, ask an adult to explain. It could be important to the recipe and you will likely see it again the more you cook!
- Bake: Food is cooked in dry heat without direct exposure to a flame, typically in an oven.
- Boil: Food is placed in a pot of vigorously bubbling water.
- Cream: Working together butter and sugar to make a smooth mixture.
- Deep Fry: Food is fully submerged in very hot oil for cooking, colouring or crisping.
- Fry: Food is cooked in a frying pan with a small amount of oil over high heat.
- Grill: Food is cooked on a plate and exposed to very hot direct heat from below or above.
- Poach: Food is placed in a pot of barely bubbling water to slowly cook through.
- Shallow Fry: Food is partially submerged in very hot oil for cooking, colouring or crisping.
- Simmer: Food is placed in a pot of gently bubbling water to cook through.
- Steam: The food is placed in a container with a lid and holes in the bottom. The container sits above boiling water.
- Stir-fry: Food is cooked quickly at high temperatures in a wok to retain its colour and texture.
- Sweat: Food is fried lightly and then cooked over a medium heat in its own juices that are released during the cooking process.
When you first start learning to cook, measuring ingredients with accuracy can be the difference between a fantastic meal and a complete flop. This is especially true with baking or desserts, but you often don’t need to be as precise with savoury dishes.
For beginners, measuring can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re new to maths and units of measure. Don’t be afraid to ask an adult for help, but also don’t be surprised if they aren’t an expert either. You can both learn together!
Liquid or solid?
Liquid ingredients, like milk and olive oil, are typically measured in volume such as millilitres or litres. Solid or dry ingredients, like margarine and flour, are typically measured in mass, such as milligrams, grams and kilograms.
Choose the right tool for the job
Having a range of measuring equipment will help. But knowing which equipment to use is the skill of the master measurer.
Scales: Used to measure specific amounts of ingredients, usually solid or dry. Scales measure ingredients in weight or they can also convert measurements to volume. Scales are the most specific method for measuring ingredients and are often important when baking desserts.
Measuring spoons: Used to measure small amounts of ingredients (less than ¼ cup) for example 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. Usually used for solid or dry ingredients but can be used for liquids too.
Measuring cups: Used to measure amounts of ingredients in moderate to large quantities where the exact amount of an ingredient is not important for example ¼ cup of roasted almonds. If you accidentally added a little more than ¼ cup of almonds as a garnish to a panna cotta, for example, it would not ruin the recipe.
Measuring jugs: Used as a more practical way than cups to measure larger volumes of liquids. For convenience measuring jugs often reference cup measures and also millilitres.
Know your abbreviations
Take a look at any recipe’s ingredients list and you’ll probably see words like tsp, tbs, g, L and ml. These are called abbreviations and they indicate units of measure.
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