Here’s some info about the general guidelines we use when in the kitchen with British recipes.
- It really helps to have a kitchen scale, as most recipes call out dry ingredients by weight rather than using a cup measure. If you have a digital scale that easily allows you to reset to zero after adding each weighed ingredient to the bowl, so much the better! Here is the argument made par excellence.
- We use organic ingredients as often as possible, but especially when dairy is called for. When a recipe calls for single cream we use half and half, or light cream. We use heavy (whipping) cream for those recipes requiring double cream.
- We use large eggs.
- We have both used Penzey’s spices in general, and their double-strength vanilla in particular, for years, and heartily recommend them to you. If you do use the double-strength vanilla, we recommend cutting the amount in half.
- Many British recipes call for ‘self-raising’ flour, but because it does not have a very long shelf life we recommend mixing up your own self-rising flour just in time as needed, according to the guideline set out by King Arthur Flour, provided for you here. In many recipes, we’ve already figured out the equivalencies and written them out in the recipe, saving you the bother!
- ‘Mixed spice’ as it appears in the UK is not available in the US, but you might try this instead.
- If you really don’t want to purchase golden caster sugar, you might try grinding a ‘natural’ cane sugar (that is, sugar with some color left on the crystal) in your food processor to a fine powder. It won’t be quite the same, but close. Our dark brown sugar is an adequate substitute for light muscovado sugar. — again, not quite the same, but close. There is no substitute for dark muscovado sugar. Given all of this, we are in the habit of ordering quantities of all three sugars at the same time to save some on shipping.