Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Cooking terms, Weight Conversions and foods names

With our global obsession with food and recipes, it can sometimes get a little confusing with measurements and the differing names for the foods we are familiar with. This week Carol Taylor clarifies a few things for us.

Cooking terms, weight conversions and foods names

I am back after a break where I have been concentrating not only on being a nanny, my son has been away working. I have also been working on my novel and my cookbook.

Writing a novel is so much easier for me than writing a cookbook…Yes I cook and I am not a bad cook…My blog I find easy to write…Not so a Cookbook.

I like the personal touch but is it too much? I don’t like pages and pages of recipes. I also find that of all the cookbooks I possess, I have only ever made a handful of the recipes from the books. I would like mine to be a well worn cook book, that is used constantly.

But how do I achieve that? It is tough to predict a post which will go viral or a best seller…

There is one thing about cooking which always bugs me somewhat. The internet is a wonderful thing and I can find a recipe from anywhere in the world with just one click. I know that and always try to make sure that wherever you are in the world you know what I am talking about…Please feel free to tell me if you don’t.

Many recipes do not …Hence I am starting this week with a little list of terms and foods which I have had to look up… Measurements as a cook that have made me think at times like the other day when a recipe stated …

A stick of Butter…

I now know that it = ½ a cup, 4 oz or 113 gm… Easy when you know isn’t it?

In the UK, metrication was introduced to replace Imperial measurements. So when we joined the EEC in 1973 we were “obliged” to set it in domestic law. Did anyone give a thought to us “cooks?” I was still a child then and cooking but under my mum’s guidance. My mum did then and still does use lbs and ounces…bless her.

I have recipes going back years from friends and acquaintances from all around the world some in lbs and ounces, some in grams and some in cups. But apart from a headache at times I manage to get by…ha-ha

Do you??? If you don’t then I hope this helps…

I have a trusty conversion chart, and here is one that provides you with all the information you need to convert from one to the other: Start Cooking/Measurement and Conversion Chart.

The outcome …I cook using all 3 measurements…..

The song from “Pink Floyd” often springs to mind and if I was clever enough I would do a mash-up and change the lyrics slightly to say  “Leave them cooks alone.

Yes, I know I am a slightly crazy, whimsical English cook with the weirdest sense of humour at times…bring back pounds and ounces I say..but then everything I buy will still be in grams so that wouldn’t work …

Good job I have my trusty conversion kit and a bit of common sense….And a tape measure…Joking ha-ha

I hope this helps you if you “can’t see the wood for the trees” (a British idiom) when you read my recipes…Next are a few differences in ingredients names…

Coriander v Cilantro:

The Latin name is Coriandrum Sativum. Cilantro is the Spanish translation so I get that.

We refer to the leaves and stalks as Coriander and the seeds as Coriander seeds.In the US it is Cilantro for the leaves and stalks and Coriander for the seeds. The word Cilantro does not even exist in the UK.

A little Tip: I store my coriander in a empty quality street jar actually…Just stand it upright in the jar and it keeps as fresh as the day you brought or picked it for a good two weeks…I have tried that with other herbs and it doesn’t work well but to store coriander it is ideal. It just sits next to the milk in the fridge. A good case of circular recycling.

Coriander is one of my favourite herbs and used in this green chicken it is awesome the dish uses a lot of herbs and was one of those which I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste but everyone loved it…

Green Chicken…


• 1 kilo of chicken pieces cut up fairly small.
• 4/5 cloves of garlic
• A piece of fresh ginger chopped finely
• A bunch of green onions chopped
• A big Handful of Coriander
• Handful of Mint
• 2 bunches of spinach
• 1/2 tsp of black pepper
• 2/3 green chillies

Let’s cook!

  • Add a tbsp of ghee or oil to a pan and while it is heating, crush the chillies and the ginger in a pestle and mortar, and add to the oil cook for about a minute, stirring as you don’t want to burn the garlic
  • Add the onions and allow to sweat but not colour too much for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the chicken and pepper, stir and lower the heat until the chicken is golden in colour.
  • Clean and wilt the spinach the spinach for 1-2 mins and set aside.
  • Once the chicken is golden add the spinach and cook for a further 10-15 mins add the coriander and mint in the last 3 mins stir to combine.
  • Check and add salt if required.

Aubergine v Egg Plant:

There is actually a colour — aubergine — that resembles the purple of the eggplant. …

Apparently, way back in the 1700s, early European versions of eggplant were smaller and yellow or white. They looked a bit like goose or hen’s eggs, which led to the name “eggplant.”

Courgette v Zucchini: I get this one we call it Zucchini as well, probably due to all these cooking shows and books…so that was an easy one.

Plain Flour v All purpose Flour:

Ever since I have been in Thailand and I have tried all ways to make dumplings with my stews….”The penny has now dropped” I have been buying ” All purpose flour” because I thought it was ” All purpose”….But No! It’s Plain ******* flour and that’s why my dumplings don’t rise….. It’s taken 5 years for this one …5 years …Of putting it to chill in the fridge, using soda water, using different fats…you name it… I have tried it ….and it’s the flour!

Well…that’s better….rant over!

And the sun is shining….

Profiterole v Cream Puff: A profiterole.

This is a Cream Puff or Slice.

I think the difference is obvious ….they are totally different although both pastries? For those of you who are watching Wimbledon and who love strawberries these delicious slices would be lovely with slice strawberries and if you are watching the fats and make my non dairy cream… I just whip a carton of chilled coconut milk and voila.

I had some lovely cream which tasted just as good as whipped fresh dairy cream…But Dairy free…How good is that? You could eat a plateful…guilt free…well…maybe two or three…

Swiss Roll v Jelly Roll:

Swede v Rutabaga:

Photo credit: adactio on Visualhunt / CC BY

The word Rutabaga is from an old Swedish dialectical word and Swede from the Swedish turnip so it is down to just being a preferred word in either country.

Swede is also one of my favourite vegetables not something I get here often I have to rely on visitors bring me some but cooked and mashed with butter and black pepper it is my favourite vegetable.

Unless we are talking Runner Beans…English runner beans which grow to about 10 inches long…I could eat just a plateful with some butter they have the most exquisite taste…Called by the same name by my American family they are totally different shorter and the beans pods/seeds are pronounced with a stripe…Here in Thailand we have long beans (snake Beans) which are round and not flat like English runner beans…

Caster Sugar v Berry sugar:

Caster sugar is super fine or baker’s sugar …Berry sugar is just another name they are one and the same.

Spring Onions, Green Onions?

Or are they scallions? There is a very slight difference… in the UK they are all spring onions however if the bulb is bigger and instead of being straight as pictured bulges out to my American family they are not scallions or green onions they are spring onions…Scallions or green onions are straight…

Capsicum v Peppers or it could even be called Paprika…

The Brits call them red pepper, green pepper or yellow pepper. In the U.S. and Canada, the large capsicum form is known as a bell pepper but bell peppers are sweet. In India, New Zealand and down under (Australia) it is just called capsicum and in some places is called Paprika which can also refer to a powdered spice made from various capsicums. I think I will stop there…

I hope you enjoyed my little foray around the differences in our languages. It would be great if you could perhaps name the above foods in your own language if it is different.

Until next time in two weeks,when the UK will have a new Wimbledon Champion as well as a new Prime Minister I will be bringing lots of summer recipes ….

©Carol Taylor 2019

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog:

59 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Cooking terms, Weight Conversions and foods names

  1. Thanks, Carol! You’re goodies all look so great. We grow our own mint and coriander–Green Chicken will soon be on the menu… So glad you included the conversion chart.I love rutabagas –must be my maternal Swedish roots! We like to boil them and mix them half and half with mashed potatoes, adding lots of cream, butter, salt and pepper. Happy Cooking & Healthy Eating! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A useful post, Carol. I have cookbooks that refer to sticks, pounds, ounces and the metric system. I can convert them in my head now as I learned the conversion rates a long time ago but I can see it would be confusing for many. I go metric in my recipes as most people know that system.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – Cooking terms, Weight Conversions and foods names — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – yazım'yazgısı (typography)

  4. Loved this Carol! Oh, and here in Canada we just call them peppers – according to their colors :), formal name Bell pepper, but don’t think I’ve ever said that lol. Yes, those measurement conversions can be a pain but the internet is our friend in that way lol. One more thing, I’m with your mom, I refuse to measure my ingredients in anything other than pounds and ounces, lol. When I go to the butcher or fishmonger, they ask how much I want and I say, ‘Let me see it’ and tell them where to put the knife. I’m a cook and a baker by eye not measuring cups, LOLOL. Now you know my secrets, but never recall cooking a bad meal! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup…Recycling, Recipes, Banana Fertiliser and so much more… | Retired? No one told me!

  6. Fantastic post. Thank you for sharing. I can’t wait to explore more of your blog. I hope you check out my very successful food and life-style blog surrey very soon. I just wrote a few posts about Dim Sum and recently passed the WSET level 1 award in wine.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Measurements and different names for the same thing can be confusing. I am constantly in consultation with the internet for translation. 🙂
    Like you, I have stacks of recipe books, and piles of ‘favourite’ recipe cards I hand wrote but rarely used more than a couple of recipes from any book. Now I don’t cook as much and use the books less often. The internet is a firm friend whenever I need to make anything.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Cruise ships, Italian Cookery, Weights and Measures and a Badger in the Rose Garden! | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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