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Everything is denoted in the metric system (centimetre (cm), gram & millilitre (ml)).
(There is the absolutely handy use of the “cup”. If you love details: there are exhaustive charts in moment in a jelly jar – a private food blog.)
How to measure?
Although I’ve got a background in science requiring a love to details when experimenting & documenting I never was in my kitchen as painstakingly precise as in the lab. Home cooking is a relaxed affair: so we should be relaxed when measuring whatever … i. e. if weighing 250 g flour it might result in 260 g … which doesn’t matter in general.
In practise I use:
- scales (no microscales!) & measuring jugs
- a tablespoon (tbsp – about 15 ml)
- a teaspoon (tsp – about 5 ml).
… & concerning the amounts in recipes:
1.500 g potatoes mean “whole potatoes with skin”
1.000 g apples mean “whole apples with skin & core & seeds“.
It’s always the “brutto” as you buy in your trusted food store (or wherever) – unless explicitly otherwise noted!
All temperature information is in ° Celsius.
Well … I don’t have a well-equipped kitchen offering all imaginable electrical or non-electrical features & gadgets for cooking & baking. Actually it’s more a minimalistic operation:
- some stainless steel pots
- some non-stick baking dishes
- some earthenware casseroles
- a wok (!)
- a ceramic coated non-stick frying pan
- a knife set (from a vegetable peeler to a big Japanese cook’s knife)
- some wooden boards for cutting & chopping
- very few special tools like a garlic press, a Parmesan grater, an egg slicer etc.
(I lack a lot of special tools – trust me: your day-to-day business can be managed smoothly by using all-purpose tools!)
- a hand-held mixer, a hand-held blender & a stand-alone blender (all electric)
- a slow cooker.
You see: you won’t need lots of specialized & expensive equipment for home cooking! There is no need to clutter your kitchen boards & cabinets with cute items you’ll use only once a year or even less.
(Of course there is an Italian espresso automat I feed continuously with beans & water to produce best espresso – remember: I can’t survive w/o espresso!)
By the way amounts of butter/oil/etc. are always consistent with my equipment (non-stick pans need far less fat than non-non-stick pans!).
Stove & Oven
I never used anything, but electricity for cooking & baking. Gas was never a (technical) option, so I don’t have any experience with gas. Consequently all my recipes refer to electrical stoves & ovens.
Furthermore I always turn on the ofen fan (if not: I’ll state this in the recipe explicitly!):
- All temperature values refer to fan use.
- If you don’t use a fan, just add about 15-20° C to the target temperature … & add about 10-15 min to the cooking/baking time.
… & I use always the nice effect that an electric cooking plate or oven remains hot even if you switch off the energy. My rule: you may switch off a cooking plate up to 5 min earlier & an oven up to 10-15 min earlier. (I don’t refer to this in my recipes – if I recommend to bake a cake for 40 min you may be sure that I switch off the oven after 35 min.)
Confession about Cooking Times
I have trouble with specifying cooking times in my recipes!
Ok: If we’re talking about how long to bake some cake or roast poultry it’s fine – I can state (rather!) good average times.
However, if it’s about preparation times …
- When preparing something in my kitchen I’m always occupied with other household tasks in parallel e. g. unloading the washing machine or filling the dishwasher.
- Furthermore I try to take lots of pictures which is somewhat time-consuming.
- Sometimes I clean & trim vegetables very fast because I’m familiar with the beast – sometimes I start from scratch with some very new approach.
- Sometimes I need a coffee break or prepare a sandwich to prevent me from starving during the day.
- … & finally: I cannot estimate how much time you’ll need for some preps because it depends on your experience & your equipment.
Any preparation time is an educated guess based on how much time I needed in my kitchen.
I use organic food if available.
(As a rule organic eggs are always in my pantry as well as most of my herbs & spices are organic. Vegetables & meat depend on supply.)
I don’t use whole-grain/wholemeal food (e g. flour, rice, pasta etc.) except explicitly stated in a recipe. Therefore all cooking times refer to non-whole-grain/non-wholemeal food: if you like to use whole-grain/wholemeal products instead you’ll have to adjust the cooking times by yourself.
Well … in this context:
I don’t use any processed food like (almost) totally fat reduced dairy products or lactose/gluten/fructose-free denoted products especially processed for the sake of whatever. (Of course: there are lots of products that are lactose/gluten/fructose-free by nature & origin … in short: I don’t care about any lactose/gluten/fructose!) If anyone has got special food intolerances pls keep in mind to change any recipe accordingly by yourself.
I rely on frozen food when fresh products aren’t available. Fresh peas are only on market during June & July – therefore I buy frozen peas for the rest of the year. The same is valid for raspberries & blueberries etc.
Fish & seafood come frozen when fresh products aren’t available.
I use pure sea salt.
In general I use mixed peppercorns (black pepper, white pepper, green pepper …) & grind them freshly in my pepper mill. If you prefer very finely ground pure white/black pepper only, use as you like.
Salt & pepper are always to taste!
Mediterranean herbs cover basil, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, sage, oregano, marjoram, parsley, chives … From spring to autumn I grow these herbs – or some of them – on the window sill in my kitchen. (I tried to grow the herbs in the garden, but unfortunately some garden species like ants & greenflies were attracted as if there were hidden magnets … so now it’s the window sill!) If fresh herbs aren’t available I use the dried version.
Over the years I assembled quite a lot of spices – most of them of the organic version. When you need some spice – which isn’t sitting in your kitchen pantry – as a rule there’s always a small container or screw-top jar on minimum offer although you’ll need only a pinch or so. Spices are very long-lasting if you keep them dry & cool & dark: so clear some kitchen cabinet to start your own assembly … and stay away from spices in paper sachets if not able to rescue the remains in a small glass container.
I use oils like olive oil extra virgin (from Southern Europe), peanut oil, dark roasted sesame oil … and all oils (or special vinegars) coming as a present from time to time.
I only use balsamico (balsamic vinegar – very dark & very rich) & a light condimento bianco.
I use all-purpose wheat flour (if not explicitly stated otherwise).
I like fine white sugar or icing/powdered/confectioner’s sugar for baking & desserts – alongside I use brown sugar. If there is no reference it’s always fine white sugar.
It’s always Italian pasta (durum wheat semolina) w/o eggs.
It’s Himalayan Basmati rice from India or Yasmine rice from Thailand – each is a long-grain rice used for cooked rice as well as fried rice. For any risotto (or paella etc.) I use a classic short-grain rice like Arborio rice from Italy.
It’s always organic free-range eggs (medium size). For conversion: 4 small eggs (XS) make 3 medium eggs (M) make 2 big eggs (XXL).
I prefer free-range poultry (organic – if available).
For dairy produkts I prefer:
- milk with 1,5% fat
- plain yoghurt with 3,5% fat
- Greek yogurt with 10% fat
- sour cream with 20% fat
- creme fraiche with 30 % fat
- whipping cream with 32% fat.
For shredded/grated cheese I prefer:
- Gruyère (I always shred by myself on my square grater)
- Parmesan (I always grate by myself…)
- Pecorino (I always…).
Pls stay away from any packaged low-calorie “shredded mixed cheese“. Always.
In general I use South Tyrolean bacon sliced very, very thinly (Pancetta if available).
I like to use fresh spring onions: they are always in my fridge! Spring onions may also be labelled “green onions” or “scallions”. Depending on season they resemble sticks or end in a bulb.
(Spring onions can be portioned far better than classic bigger onions – less waste.)
So it’s always spring onions unless explicitly otherwise noted (like red onions or white onions or Spanish onions).