Imperial & Metric

We’re old enough to remember when all recipe ingredients were in Imperial measurements of pounds and ounces. It’s a term redolent of Britain’s Empire days when Victoria sponges were baked wherever the map of the world was pink with British colonies. It will be interesting to see if – with a ‘Hard Brexit’ – the nostalgia-politicians start demanding a return to ounces and pounds and pints.

“Nigel Farage is never going to give up his pint”- Judi

So we’ve opted for metric but if you need to convert, see the table below.

The art of cooking does involve a fair amount of craft, and being precise with measurements is a good place to start, but with experience you can get by on ‘feel’ – a pinch of this, another spoonful of that. You see how the ingredients meld together and judge whether it’s too dry, too sloppy, or just right.

For me, the important thing to remember is proportion. When I’ve been cooking where there were no scales or measuring jugs to be had, I’ve used the principle of keeping proportions consistent and found it works pretty well. The classic example would be the proportions for shortcrust pastry which is ‘half fat to flour’.

This is very much the principle behind the American ‘cups’ which I have always found very frustrating – until I actually bought a set of USA cup measures. But the idea remains the same; choose your cup and then stick to the proportions for the ingredients based upon that cup. I would also recommend buying a set of measuring spoons – well worth the investment.