Chocolate & Zucchini Forum Index >> Back to Chocolate & Zucchini <<

 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages 
 RSS feedLast posts feed   RegisterRegister   Log inLog in 

U.S.A. equilavents vs. The WORLD
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Chocolate & Zucchini Forum Index -> Cooking & Eating
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:27 pm    Post subject: U.S.A. equilavents vs. The WORLD Reply with quote

I checked back several pages to make sure that there wasn't already a thread like this, and couldn't find one, so I'm boldly going forth and starting this for all the Global Community at C & Z.

This is where we can jointly ask questions about foods, ingredients, and other things that we can't figure out or locate on the web.

Someone HERE, will surely find the answer! I have faith!

Let me start this out with two questions, but first, the back story.

My partner, Sally, wants to make a formal 'tea' for her British friend's birthday in May.

Because Sally has virtually NO cooking experience, she can NOT explain to me "what" her ingredients are that she needs; she just knows what they are called in the U.K.

1) Castor/Caster Sugar: She's having me make "Fairy Cakes", which I guess (through the Internet) are plain ol' American cupcakes with a cooler name. But, all the recipes that I found, require "caster" sugar. What is it? When I did searches, all on U.K. sites, they said it was Super-Fine Sugar.

WHY is this used?
If I'm making a U.S. recipe and it calls for 1 cup of sugar, do you use [u]less[u] if it's Super Fine?
I've read that I can just stick common granulated sugar in a blender and whip it up; is it the same thing or has an additive been added to Castor Sugar?

2) "Cress". I've got it in quotation marks because Sally doesn't know what it's called in America. It is NOT Watercress, which is called that in the U.K. , but, for making Egg and Cress sandwiches, she needs cress.

Her best description of it, is "My Mum used to buy wee pots of 'cress' at the market, all potted up in soil. Then, she'd snip off the top bits of the plants and use it for 'cress.'"

Huh???? It sounds like "sprouts" in America, particularly alphafa sprouts, but we don't have ours growing in "wee pots"; we sell all of ours HERE in plastic bags.

Also, if it IS sprouts, than what kind? Whole Foods sells Buckwheat, Alphalfa, Radish, and loads of other sprouts, and because Sally wants to make these as accurate as she can, we need what the U.K. recipes ask for.

I've Googled, I've msn'd; I've recipe searched and am coming up empty handed and frustrated.

Help, please!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
creampuff



Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 104
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try Domino's baking sugar, it is a finer grain sugar and will work fine. Around me most supermarkets have it by the sugars in a 5 lb bag
You can substitute regular granulated sugar without problem in the fairycakes recipe. If the superfine texture is important, give it a whirl in the blender first. Superfine sugar is also sold in a 1 lb box for use in making sugar syrups and drinks (anything where it needs to dissolve quickly in liquid.) I haven't shopped for it in a while, but I imagine a better supermarket would have it.

I hope you will decorate the fairy cakes with millions and thousands (I think I have that right) which is what the British call sprinkles!

As to cress, I'm a bit stumped. I suggest taking your beloved on a foodie trip to the best produce resource in town and showing her the choices. I don't think she means sprouts, though.

Good luck.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
creampuff



Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 104
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops, I just checked in my pantry. The baking sugar is by C&H, not Dominos.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah bless the good ol' Oxford Dictionary.

caster/castor sugar-finely granulated white sugar. So yes, it would seem tossing some regular old garden variety white sugar in the blender and giving it a good whiz would do the trick. You would measure fromt he whizze amount I would think.

Now cress provides a problem;
cress-any of various cruciferous plants usu. with pungent edible leaves, e.g.-watercress. So it isn't sprouts to be sure. Further hunting the net found reference to "common European garden cress (lepidium sativum) So i don't know we any the wiser here except it is definately not sprouts. But I'm sure my English grandma used watercress.
_________________
Vivant Linguae Mortuae!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

creampuff and David: That was some FAST replies! Thank you!

creampuff: I have all the access in the world to C & H sugar, so no problem using that variety.

Question: Are you, personally, familar with "Fairy Cakes"? Do they routinely have sprinkles or "Millions and Thousands" on them? When I did a Google image search for Fairy Cakes, I came up with 1000's of hits, and they all just looked like decorated cupcakes.

But, Sally insists that they are "wee cakes, with a bit of butter-cream frosting in the center, and two cake rounds inserted into the butter-cream to look like a butterfly."

I'm wondering if, like Macaroni and Cheese or Meatloaf, that you remember what YOUR Mum did, and everyone's Fairy Cakes were totally different from any other Mum's.

David: The Quest for Cress: Well, if you've been to the Oxford Dictionary and it didn't fully answer it, than maybe this "cress" is NOT a food sold in America...ya think? This weekend, I'll bring Sally to the biggest Whole Foods we have, and if the stuff isn't there, than it can't be found in Chicago. They have a huge Indian, Asian, Hispanic and English vegetable section, so I"m hoping that something rings some bells.

If "cress", according to the O. Dictionary is a cruciferous plant, maybe her Mum was using broccolli sprouts? Or califlower sprouts?

The party isn't until May 3rd, so we still have time to do research.

So, we have one down: caster sugar. Now we still need cress and the 'proper' decoration of Fairy Cakes.

(I'm beginning to think that 'ordering in' sounds better and better for this silly tea party...pfffft!)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good evening!

If the recipe is an english one, you should use the castor sugar. I have quiteoften just whizzed up regular white sugar in the blender if I am out of castor sugar. The reason is to do with the quicker baking time and lighter texture of a fairycake. Normal sugar grains require slightly longer to bake and if you don't the texture will not be so light and fluffy.

Not sure what your partner remembers about her fairycakes, but ours always had the top cut out and whipped cream put into the small cavity and then the top sat backon top and the whole lot dusted with icing sugar. Another version is to make butterfly cakes by cutting the top out and putting whipped cream in the cavity, then cutting the "peice" in half and putting on an angle into cream so it resembles wings. Dust with icing sugar.

We always used watercress, and it was always referred to as simply "cress" in sandwiches. You used to be able to buy it in pots and cut it as needed. Now days I think it is in bags.

If you want to get a bit fancy, you could make a tea cake or cupcakes. Make up early grey tea (quite strong) and add that as the liquid to your fairy cake batter. You also add some orange zest (or lemon if you really desperately have to) and you ice them with a pale pink icing that has orange juice and/or zest added to it.

Do you have the recipe for crumpets? They are really easy to make and are an afternoon tea staple. Let me know if you can't find a recipe and I will try and track one down. My cookbooks are back in Australia, but I will email a friend and see if she can dig the recipe up for you.

Good on you for doing this tea party! My business partner and I used to hold tea parties quite often. We are both avid tea fans (the proper stuff - none of this horrid tea bag supermarket stuff) and have more teapots and tea accessories between us than most people would see in a life time. She even has a samovar and we have had a Russian afternoon tea, which was heaps of fun and very different to the English version. (They put raspberry jam in the tea instead of milk or sugar or lemon)

Perhaps "tea-leaves" may see this forum and add her valuable 2 cents worth? Maybe you could track her down a ask her opinion on recipes for the tea party?
_________________
If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We seem to be posting at the same time.....

Had another thought. What about chocolate? Ifyou melt really good quality chocolate (70% at least) with butter and 2 tablespoons of really strong tea (of your choice), mix together till well combined and chill slightly and roll into balls. Dust with cocoa or coconut or crushed nuts or sprinkles etc. Otherwise you could spoon mix into chocolate cases and put something on top like a glace cherry etc. Chill for at least 6 hours in fridge but make sure you cover the container so they don't absorb odours or go mottly in colour.

Enjoy!
_________________
If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
creampuff



Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 104
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One person's fairy cake ...
I am only familiar with the more current fairy cake recipes I've seen in BBC Good Food and Delicious magazines. I have a feeling that depending when and where you grew up there may have been preferences for decorations. I would be partial to a pretty pastel buttercream frosting and candied violets or roses. However, whenever I had cream teas in England, nothing so "homey" was ever served. I think you have some leeway in this in terms of what is "done" in Great Britain. You may not have that kind of leeway with Sally's memory!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are pikelets an English tea item or are they specifically Antipodean? I used to love them with tea in Australia. Little sweet pancake type things with a smear of butter.
_________________
Vivant Linguae Mortuae!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Debbie: Are you British? Your wealth of information makes more "sense", so far, than anything that Sally has told me! Laughing

She keeps mixing up "fairy cakes" and "butterfly" cakes in her description, so I became thoroughly befuddled and began to think of them as the same thing! To quote you, "Not sure what your partner remembers about her fairycakes, but ours always had the top cut out and whipped cream put into the small cavity and then the top sat backon top and the whole lot dusted with icing sugar. Another version is to make butterfly cakes by cutting the top out and putting whipped cream in the cavity, then cutting the "peice" in half and putting on an angle into cream so it resembles wings. Dust with icing sugar. "

Odd, that not one single photo that google came up with showed anything as "plain" as icing sugar cakes. They had what looked like buttercream icing, posssibly sprinkles, but most decidedly wee flowers and colored sugars on top, which to me, makes it far more festive. If I was a kid, I'll tell you, plain "sponge cake" with powdered sugar on top wouldn't be making me run to the dessert table!

"We always used watercress, and it was always referred to as simply "cress" in sandwiches. You used to be able to buy it in pots and cut it as needed. Now days I think it is in bags. " I'm counting on Sally's childhood memories of her British teas, so I think the girl has a bit of too many cobwebs in her noggin! If, in the "old days", watercress was "potted up" in the stores, and now it's been streamlined into pre-packaged bags, than I think, Debbie, that YOU"RE more on the money than Sally with what I'm looking for, to make these egg and cress sandwiches. I did a search on msn.uk.com for cress recipes, but all they list is "cress", as we would "celery", not a description of the plant. If a visit to a giant food mart won't solve this, than I think she'll have to go with watercress, which Sally is positive is NOT the cress in question.

Now, Debbie, some more questions, if I may:
1) What is "early grey tea"? Is that a tea made from baby-sized leaves of tea?
2) Many British sites that I looked at, suggested adding tea to recipes, but NONE of them said "how" to do it: do you substitite tea for the milk? What ratio, 1:1, like 1/2 cup of tea to 1/2 cup of milk? What if the only liquid is oil, than how does the tea go into the cakes?
3) Both fairy cakes and butterfly cakes: what size are they? I ask because you mentioned "tea cakes and cupcakes". Sally remembers these cakes being wee, or cup cake sized. I'd like to really miniature them, down to tiny cupcake size, making them truly look fairy-like.
4) How ubiquitous are crumpet? When I suggested them, Sally laughed and said, "We're not inviting Mary Poppins!" My grocery store sells both Devon Cream and Clotted Cream and I've read that you're supposed to serve one or both, with raspberry jam and crumpets.

Below, I've posted a recipe (U.K version) for what Sally calls a Victoria Sandwich cake. I have NO idea where sandwiches come into play, unless it simply means a "split-layer" cake. Can I use the recipe for the Victoria cake and simply pour it into little cupcake liners?

Also, how important is it to WEIGH the ingredients?? In the U.S., we use cups vs. weights; I can certainly find a plain American cake recipe that uses U.S. measurements, but, I'd really like to make this tea very British, so if I must weigh things, I will. And lastly, I know this sounds dumb, but.....is "9 ounces of flour" the same in both the U.S. and the U.K.?



VICTORIA SANDWICH

4 medium size eggs
9 ounces of butter
9 ounces of caster sugar
9 ounces of self-rising flour
½ teaspoon of vanilla essence
strawberry jam
half a pint of fresh double cream
1 teaspoon of caster sugar

Preheat your oven to 375F. Grease and flour the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans. Put the butter in a bowl and beat it until it is soft and creamy. Add in the 9 ounces of sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and mix very thoroughly. Add in the vanilla essence and mix. Sift in the flour slowly, folding into the mixture with a metal spoon. Divide the mixture equally between the two cake pans. Place the pans in the center of your oven and bake the sponges for 30 minutes until the sponge is well risen. Remove the pans from the oven and allow the sponges to cool for 5-10 minutes in the pans. Remove the sponges from the pans and allow them to cool down fully on a rack. When the sponge is cold, take one and turn it upside down on a serving plate (a delicate cut glass plate lined with a doily is very good for this purpose.) Spread the sponge evenly with jam and place whipped cream on top. (See page 7 of this Chapter for how to whip cream in case you forgot.) Cover the jam and whip creamed sponge with the second sponge and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of caster sugar.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

creampuff wrote:
One person's fairy cake ...
I am only familiar with the more current fairy cake recipes I've seen in BBC Good Food and Delicious magazines. I have a feeling that depending when and where you grew up there may have been preferences for decorations. I would be partial to a pretty pastel buttercream frosting and candied violets or roses. However, whenever I had cream teas in England, nothing so "homey" was ever served. I think you have some leeway in this in terms of what is "done" in Great Britain. You may not have that kind of leeway with Sally's memory!


I don't mean to double-post but several posts for this were coming in at the same time and I didn't see yours, creampuff. I think that I may have walked into something "too deep" for me...Sally's memory! It's one thing to "do" a British tea, if you're mimicking one, but, when you're supposed to reproduce one from someone's memory, and they are remembering them from their childhood....not of the good, me thinks! It's rather like asking a native Tibetan to recreate YOUR childhood Thanksgiving Dinner, the way that Grannie used to make it, not the way Bon Appetit suggests!

I would certainly think that little cupcakes, with buttercream frosting and a pretty rose or candied violets would be much more tasty, to the tongue and sight, than a plain old cupcake with powdered sugar on top. But, I may be totally wrong on this. I'm sending Sally the link to this thread, in hopes that it jogs some memory cells lose and we can come up with a consensus.[/b]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lady Amalthea



Joined: 18 Dec 2004
Posts: 136
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dairy_Queen wrote:
Also, how important is it to WEIGH the ingredients?? In the U.S., we use cups vs. weights; I can certainly find a plain American cake recipe that uses U.S. measurements, but, I'd really like to make this tea very British, so if I must weigh things, I will. And lastly, I know this sounds dumb, but.....is "9 ounces of flour" the same in both the U.S. and the U.K.?


Do you have a copy of Joy of Cooking, or can you get ahold of one? At some part in it, they always have a table of conversions, such as ounces to cups, etc. Ounces are the same in both countries, but don't confuse ounces with fluid ounces; I made that mistake once and it turned out terribly. Good luck!
_________________
Don't forget the cannolis!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And Lady Amalthea rides to the rescue! As a Christmas gift, I requested from friends, a true, vintage, Joy Of Cooking, including recipes for bear and armadillo. And I have it! But....haven't used a single recipe, yet, as it's still so foreign to me!

But, on page #592 there's the British-Metric Conversion table, with ounces, cups, gills and other strange beasties...all neatly converted!

For all of you Anglo-philes aiding my interpretation of Sally's Tea Party needs....a GIANT Thank You!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
creampuff



Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 104
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, Dairy Queen. I'm sorry for the length of this post, but I hope the info is useful.

This is one of the easiest things to bake.
Your only concern should be the fun you have decorating the fairy cakes (which we would call cupcakes). Mayve make a practice batch and try the different ways of decorating them from plain sugar to cream and butterflies to frostings and toppings.

I checked Nigella's site www.nigella.com and a search for fairy cakes brought up this recipe which she calls both fairy cakes and cupcakes. She gives both British and U.S. versions of the recipe. Following this post is her U.S. version. I have many qualms with Ms. N, but one thing I do like about her is her passionate yet relaxed approach to cooking. I can tell you have the passion for cooking and food, and I can tell you are methodical and will do a good job with any recipe. Nigella uses royal icing which will give a smooth and shiny look to the top of the fairy cakes. If that is not what you want, just use something else.

One decorating suggestion I just thought of -- glitter sugar or dust for a truly fairy like appearance. King Arthur's Flour sells it if you don't have a good local source for bakery supplies.

Okay, here's Nigella's recipe. If you decide to adapt a cake recipe like that one mentioned earlier, please note you'll have to cut the baking time. I've made a few notes on it for you. Good luck and have fun. Oh, by the way in case no one else responds, Earl Grey tea is a black tea flavored with bergamot (a citrus) which is very flavorful.



half cup unsalted butter, softened
half cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs
three-quarters cup self-rising cake flour (careful, you want sel raising flour, not regular cake flour. It should have the baking powder added in. If you can't find this, let us know and I'll get you the substitution.)
half teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk
18 ounce package instant royal icing (Wilton's makes this which you can get at Michael's Craft stores in the U.S.)
12-cup muffin pan lined with 12 paper baking cups

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

It couldn't be simpler to make fairy cakes: just put all the ingredients except for the milk in the food processor and then blitz till smooth. Pulse while adding milk down the funnel, to make for a soft, dropping consistency. I know it looks as if you'll never make this scant mixture fit 12 cupcake cups, but you will, so just spoon and scrape the stuff in, trying to fill each cup equally.

Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the fairy cakes are cooked and golden on top. As soon as bearable, take the fairy cakes in their cases out of the tin and let cool on a wire rack. I like my cherry-topped fairies to have a little pointy top, but for all floral and other artistic effects, darling, you need to start with a level base, so once they're cool, cut off any mounded peaks so that you've got a flat surface for icing.

I've specified a whole package of instant royal icing because the more colours you go in for the more you use, though really 9 ounces should be enough. I make up a big, uncoloured batch, and then remove a few spoonfuls at a time to a cereal bowl and add, with my probe (a broken thermometer, but a skewer is just as good), small dots of colours from the paste-tubs, stirring with a teaspoon and then adding more colouring, very slowly, very cautiously until I've got the colour I want (pastel works best here, whatever your everyday aesthetic).

I then get another spoon to spread the icing on each cake (it's important to use a different spoon for icing than for mixing or you'll end up with crumbs in the bowl of icing) and then I leave it a moment to dry only slightly on the surface before sticking on my rose, daisy or whole bouquet of either.

Makes 12

(Another note from Creampuff -- be sure to read up in Joy of Cooking about how to tell when your cakes are finished.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing creampuff: I thought my "deja" had been "vu'd" when I read your cake post...twice! Then I realized that you had posted in another thread, too! I've done the same thing, too many times, too many boards! Embarassed

Brilliant information!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And....how did you know that I'm putting in an order to King Aurthur this week??? Peeping in my lounge windows again, are we?! Wink

You've got a pretty good read on me; my compliments to you on your natural intuitiveness. Yup, "methodical" is a compliment that I'll take anytime; naysayer's would say "persnickety" or "exacting". I'll take an exacting Doctor or Airline Pilot ANY day of the week!!! Methodical can be a Good Thing!

It's after midnight right now, so I don't have the brain left to visit Nigela's site, but I promise I'll reward your research and check it out tomorrow, when there's a spare brain wave in there!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Chocolate & Zucchini Forum Index -> Cooking & Eating All times are GMT + 1 Hour
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group