cooking with james

All recipes have been developed and tested in James’ kitchen to ensure that they work. If you have any problems, please get in touch by using the contact form on this site and James will do his best to help.

All sorts of measurements

All recipes have been developed and tested in each type of oven stated using metric measurements. Avoid mixing metric and imperial when cooking or the recipe will not work. I have ensured that all recipes are shopper friendly. For example, I might list 1 x 250g tub Mascarpone because the major supermarkets in the UK sell them like that.
All recipes are developed and tested using ingredients purchased from UK supermarkets. Unfortunately, due to differences in ingredients in other countries, especially flour and milk, I cannot guarantee best results outside the UK.

Volume measurements

Cup measurement conversions cannot be given successfully. Believe me; I’ve battled with this for years. A cup is the amount of food that fits into that shape and not the weight. Spoons can be easily converted, as displayed in the table below. All spoon measurements are flat unless stated otherwise.

Spoon

Coffee spoon

csp

2.5ml

Tea spoon

tsp

5ml

Desert spoon

dsp

10ml

Table spoon

tbsp

15ml


Oven temperatures

The table below gives temperature equivalents for ovens but it is always advisable to refer to the directions provided by your oven manufacturer. For example, a fan oven cooks much faster than a single element electric oven. I’ve cooked on all sorts and have found this to be true. Generally speaking, with a fan oven you can turn it down by 10-20 degrees Celsius* and it will be fine. Remember: more heat does not cook food more quickly, it burns it! Therefore, check that the oven is preheated before the food goes in. Most ovens are up to temperature when the warning light outside the oven goes off.
For Aga and Rayburn cookers, see the Aga and Rayburn section.

Metric °C

Imperial °F

Electric Fan Oven °C

Gas

250

475

200

9

230

450

190

8

220

425

180

7

200

400

170

6

190

375

160

5

180

350

150

4

170

325

140

3

150

300

130

2

140

275

120

1

130

255

110

½

100

220

100

¼

*As all ovens are different, refer to your manufacturer’s guide book.

 

A quick note on ingredients

Always remember that dried ingredients can be used instead of fresh ones. However, as the flavours concentrate during the drying process, it is better to use a bit less, especially with chilli and strong tasting herbs like tarragon. Stock cubes can be very salty, so don’t season the food until you taste it – with a clean spoon of course that has not been dipped back in the pot!

For fish recipes, one round white fish can generally be swapped for another.
Cheaper cuts of meat and fish take longer to cook. Always buy the best you can afford.
In my recipes, both books and on this site, I refer to medium-sized eggs, unless stated otherwise. It’s always best to cook with room temperature eggs. Ensure they are bought fresh, and remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

Preparation

Let’s face it; preparing ingredients is much less fun than actually cooking. I’ve tried to cut down preparation time in many of my recipes by giving hints and tips, and using food processors, blenders and mixers.
The French have a term in cookery: “Mise en place” - it literally means “set in place” It’s about being as organised on your worktop as you are in your head. In short, read the recipe before you start and think about what you are doing.

To safely thaw food, place in into a dish and cover, leave in the refrigerator overnight. Never refreeze food after thawing.