Will it work if I … 

Scientific changes take place when food is cooked.  There is an interaction between ingredients.  These changes are sometimes vital for the mouthfeel of the cooked end-product. The ultimate enjoyment of food whilst eating is affected by these factors.


When students make judgements about recipes and ingredients, they may start with a basic knowledge related to previous experiences, likes or dislikes.

Experience of cooking and using ingredients begins to help students to gain confidence to change and adapt recipes.  Gradually students will be able to manipulate basics to create their own recipes.

Essential knowledge includes: the function of ingredients, consequences of cooking methods, flavour combinations, texture requirements, nutritional needs and cost.


You need to consider

  • Cooking facilities
  • Predictions as to the success of the recipe
  • Prevention of food waste

KNOW YOUR INGREDIENTS and how the ingredients affect recipes


Seasonings are salt, sea salt, peppercorns, white ground pepper, mixed peppercorns

Other seasoning ingredients are dried and fresh spices, dried and fresh herbs, vinegars


Condiments such as mustards, dressings, ketchups, chutneys, sauces, fruit sauces, BBQ spices, chillies, soy sauces, rice wine, hoisin sauce, peri-peri sauce.

Aromatic Ingredients

Basic, root ginger, black pepper, vanilla pods, citrus peel, umami paste, mint, sage, marjoram, tarragon, camomile, jasmine, garlic, shallots, horseradish, coriander, mace, nutmeg, aniseed, star anise, lime leaves.


FATS Margarine & Spreads, sunflower, soft, block fats, salted, slightly and unsalted spreads, white fats: Trex, lard, dripping

DAIRY Pasteurised fresh milk, sterilised milk, cheeses, yogurts, sour cream, créme fraiche  cream (double, single, whipping), butter, ghee

DRY INGREDIENTS Caster sugar, granulated sugars, brown sugars, flour, cornflour, strong bread flour, fine pasta flour, wholemeal, granary flour, arrowroot, semolina

STAPLES (store cupboard ingredients) dried pulses – lentils, split peas, dried beans, honey, syrup, treacle, molasses, honey, jam, noodles, pasta, rice

OILS Plant oils: olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, vegetable oils

PERISHABLE Salad ingredients, fresh fish, fresh meats, ham, bacon, fresh vegetables and fruits, breads.









Adds bulk


Add colour

Add bulk

Add colour



Add texture

Add colour


Gives structure

Aid steam

Add flavour



Adds calories

Transfer heat

Add nutrients





Add bulk


Add calories

Adds starch

Combines / mix


Add flavour

Add colour

Adds energy



Add calories

Add nutrients










Add flavour




Add texture

Add calories





Add vitamins





Transfer heat






Colloids are formed when two substances aggregate and cannot be separated.  The substances are dispersed within each other, gas in solid as in a risen cake, or water in fat as in butter.


Suspensions are formed when two products are mixed by stirring but settle out after standing, like flour (starch) and water


Solutions are formed when one substance dissolves in another.  Sugar in water for example.


Concentrates have increased number of solutes within a solution.  Fruit juice concentrates are diluted with water in fruit drinks.  Meat concentrates are in stock cubes.  Reduction sauces rely on concentrating the flavours within the sauce by boiling off water.


Unlikely ingredients such as chocolate and blue cheese have enough flavour compounds in common to indicate that they may taste good together.  A flavour ‘thesaurus’ is a reference guide for flavour combinations.



Raising agents are ingredients that provide gases that will raise a mixture and make it have a light and open texture.

Raising agents can be chemicals such as sodium bicarbonate or Cream of Tartar.  Sodium bicarbonate also called Bicarbonate of Soda is an alkali.  It is used on its own as a raising agent in gingerbread, crinkle biscuits and parkin cake.  Cream of tartar is an acidic powder generally used together with bicarbonate of soda in scones and cakes.  Baking powder is a ready to use mix of bicarbonate of soda with cream of tartar and rice flour.

Raising agents can be biological such as yeast which is available fresh or dried.  In both cases given time and a food source, water and warmth, they will produce a gas called carbon dioxide.  The gas will cause a dough, or a cake mix, to rise.  Blinis, stollen, doughnuts and breads rely on yeast to create their unique textures.  Flatbreads, tortilla and fajita are unleavened breads.  They do not include raising agents or yeast in their recipes.


  • Too much sugar in cakes: the cake will sink in the middle and may get a sugary crust
  • Too little sugar in cakes: the cake will be tough and have a hard texture
  • Too much fat in pastry: the pastry will be greasy and very crumbly and difficult to handle
  • Not enough fat in pastry: the pastry will be tough, hard and pale
  • Too much raising agent: over-risen bread or cakes that collapse and lose shape and structure
  • Not enough raising agent: bread, scones or cakes that will not rise and will be hard and have a close texture
  • Too much liquid in stews and casseroles: the gravy will be runny and thin and lack flavour
  • Too little liquid in stews and casseroles: the meat/fish may be hard and tough with little juice.
  • Too much setting agent: the filling, sauce or dessert will be rubbery and solid
  • Too little setting agent: the filling, sauce or dessert will be runny and portioning will be difficult.


Basic recipes are those which use the correct proportion and type of ingredients and cooking method to ensure a successful outcome.  Once a basic recipe has been used with confidence and understood, changes, adaptions and modifications can be made.

Pastry (Shortcrust)

150g plain white flour

Pinch salt

75g butter or block margarine

2 tblsp cold water

Use Rubbing-in method

Now try

  • Adding grated cheese for cheese pastry
  • Adding fresh or dried herbs
  • Add a pinch of dried mustard
  • Use granary flour for a nutty textured pastry


225g ‘OO’ pasta flour

1 tsp salt

2 small eggs

1 egg yolK

1 tsp olive oil

1 -3 tblsp cold water

Combine and knead

Rest and chill before putting though machine or rolling out

Now try

  • Try adding beetroot powder to get red pasta
  • Try adding dried herbs to make herby pasta

Use wholemeal flour and more water to make wholemeal pasta


All-in-one method

300ml semi-skimmed milk

20g white flour

20g butter or yellow spread


Blend and stir continuously until boiling point

Now try

  • Roux method
  • Flavour the milk to make a Bechamel sauce
  • Add cheese to make a mornay sauce


Basic biscuit

125g unsalted butter

75g caster sugar

250g plain white flour

1 tsp baking powder

I small egg plus 1 yolk

Dust with icing sugar

Use Rubbing-in method

Adapt the recipe by adding 25g desiccated coconut ( taking out 25g flour)

Add 1 tsp coffee powder

Add 1 tsp ground ginger

Make a buttercream and sandwich biscuits together


Recipe proportions

The ingredients used in a recipe are in proportion to each other.  This is important if the recipe is to be successful.  Learning about the proportions helps you to make judgements when modifying the recipe.

Victoria Sandwich


100g S.R. Flour

100g Soft margarine or baking spread

100g caster sugar

2 medium eggs

Use Creaming method to prepare

Swiss Roll

3 eggs

75g caster sugar

75g plain flour


Make using Whisking method

Plain cake

200g S.R. Flour

75g caster sugar

75g baking spread or butter

1 egg plus

1 tblsp milk


Make using Rubbing-in Method

Ginger cake

100g Plain Flour

I level tsp bicarb-of-soda

1.5 tsp ground ginger

75g baking spread or butter

75g black treacle

75g syrup

1 egg

4 tsp milk

Make using the melting method


A test kitchen is where experimental work with food and recipes takes place.

This work is planned, tested and recorded. It is often called New Product Development (NPD)

New recipes need to be repeated several times with ingredients from different retail outlets to see if they work well each time.

Planning to create a NEW RECIPE of your own after using a basic recipe:

Add ingredients

Remove ingredients

Reduce ingredients

Increase ingredients

Substitute ingredients

Change the process

Skip a process

Record everything

Evaluate at every stage – review your modification – Did it work? What happened?  Did you test it?

Ask what people think.  Collect comments. Did it meet expectations?  Did it satisfy needs?


Think about the function of each basic ingredient:

Is it a main part of the structure?

Will it affect the cost?

Is it pre-prepared?

Does it add texture?

Does it affect the colour?

Does it contribute to the health profile of the product?

The importance of improving, getting better, gaining confidence and understanding ingredients comes with practical work experiences.

Here is a list to support your thinking  ‘ Will it work if I ‘ . . .

Take influence from another country / cuisine

Take influence from retail outlet products (Tesco Finest range)

Take influence from a T.V. Chef?

Change the size – go larger / go mini

Change the shape and/or colour

Use a different cooking method

Decorate or garnish

Add a sauce or dip

Add an extra layer

Alter the nutritional profile

Change genre from savour to sweet or starter to dessert

Make a different end product – pizza from scone mix