Using recipes

A recipe tells you what ingredients you need to make a particular dish and what you need to do with them.

Recipes can be found in all sorts of places – we have put together an essential collection and given you some suggestions for where to look for further ideas. Whatever the style of recipe you like, the following tips will help:

  • Before you start, read through all the instructions carefully to make sure that you have all the right ingredients and understand what you are supposed to do. If you don’t understand any words, try here.
  • Check that you have enough time. Many recipes give you an idea of how long the whole process should take. You may find that it takes you longer to prepare the food than the recipe suggests when you are learning to cook.
  • If your recipe uses an oven, you will need it to warm up first to the temperature stated in the recipe; this can take up to 20 minutes, so turn the oven on as soon as you have decided on your recipe.
  • Collect all your ingredients and equipment together before you begin to cook.
  • At first, follow recipes as closely as possible, weighing and measuring ingredients accurately. For baking (cakes, biscuits and bread), you will normally need to stick to the precise quantities stated in the recipe, but you may decide that you should adjust the timing or oven temperature slightly, depending on your oven. For dishes such as soups or stews, you may feel confident enough after a few tries to judge ingredients by eye or to adapt the ingredients for variety or to suit your tastes.
  • The more you cook, the more skilled and confident you will become. If things go wrong, don’t get worried, but try to work out what might have caused the problem. You could add a note to remind you next time you use the recipe. If a particular recipe works well, make sure that you will be able to find it again.