A genuine problem faced across the culinary world is the conversion aspect. We love to try out recipes from various parts of the world..but a look at the recipe and there you go again...pounds, ounces, grams, cups...Gosh! that looks complicated...Lets try the recipe some other time....
Tired of this..one day I went to the local market and got myself a kitchen weighing machine with a maximum capacity of 5 kgs. If you don't have one already, try and get one here..trust me its quite something!!! The weighing machine helped me to have a common platform to work on..GRAMS/KILOGRAMS! I always prefer to convert the recipe to grams because that way I cannot go wrong with the measurement. When measuring using cups, there is always a possibility to "add more" or "add less" than what the actual recipe calls for. For example, when a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, we don't know whether it should be 1 leveled cup or 1 heaped cup. Adding more or adding less, drastically changes the end result of product in its texture and taste.
Now that I had a kitchen weighing machine, the next thing I needed was to convert the recipe to my desired platform...Honestly, there are lots of conversion sites available when you google it..however, not every conversion site gives you the appropriate information.
One site that I have always referred back is Diana's Desserts. Diana is a wonderful baker and her site has a beautiful collection of Bakes and Desserts. One of the sections in her website is called Conversion Calculator. I visit here often and I haven't seen a better conversion site than this one. It has everything that we need while baking or cooking. Its very user friendly and conversions for weight, volume, butter, length, oven and grams to cup conversion. What I love the most is the butter conversion to "stick". I was so unaware of this "stick" concept when I started baking a few months back. But Diana's Desserts solved my first problem. The site has lots of useful information...Have a look!!!
Another problem that we all face is substitutes for ingredients. I had a tough time until I found this interesting section in allrecipes.com. This section is called Common Substitutions where they have an ingredient wise table and gives you the exact measurements of substitutes. I find this very useful and handy when I run out of ingredients or I don't want to include an ingredient such as brandy or egg.
Most of you, by now, must have started to think that I'm the newly appointed Marketing Head for the above sites, but let me assure you..this post is just an attempt to help many others who have faced similar situations like me. I hope the Conversion Calculator and Common Substitutions sites help you as much as they have helped me in all my kitchen endeavours :-)