If the internet changed the way we share information, then the Ipod changed the way we consume it… Personaly, its the best bit of electronic hardware I ever owned, and I somehow cannot imagine my life without it. I wake up with it as an alarm, read the news over morning coffee, keep schedules and reminders on it, do all my reading with Kindle for iphone, watch youtube, update this blog, and lately, use it for cooking. There are some great apps which I refer to whenever there is a cook-out looming on the horizon, or whenever Im in the thick of actually cooking up that very storm. All the apps are really handy, and most of them are free. And even when they are not, at around $4, the most expensive app compares favorably to the price of a seductively delicious white chocolate mocha latte at Starbucks.
Here is a selection of my favorite cooking apps.
RECIPE APPS :
Cooking with Betty on your iphone is a bit like cooking with an all out, wired, e-granny from the 22nd century. She is traditional, safe and reliable, but hey, she designed a supercool app with an entire library of electronic recipes which she has been collecting since she popped onto the food scene in 1921. What I like about Betty, is not only the old world feel her name evokes, (how 1940 is that logo?) but also how handy this app is for coming up with recipes for things you already have on hand. Enter a few ingredients, say whether you are making breakfast, lunch or supper and Betty will instantly come up with a bunch of hip food ideas, without a moments hesitation. No Alzheimer’s here…
What a great little free app! Its kinda like asking a Las Vegas slot machine to come up with your dinner plans. Choose a few main ingredients, spin the categories and see what comes up. Of course you can also search for dinner using conventional categories, such as High fibre, Low Fat, Low Sodium and so on, or simply search by ingredient. Most recipes are created by ordinary people, and then rated by the general public, so even if you only have basic cooking skills, it will be simple enough to follow. There are tens of thousands of recipes, and for $2 you can add more functionality, like sync it to your pc and other devices and hold all the recipes hosted on the site in the palm of your hand. (Just in case it slipped your mind that you can do that anyway by visiting the site in your browser…)
- Grilled Mains
- Picnic Ideas
- Main Course Salads
- Quick and Easy
- Lunches Kids Love
- Weeknight Dinners
- I can Barely Cook
- I Cook like a Pro
…to name a few
There are thousands of recipes, and what I like most about it, is that you can search a main ingredient, for example chicken, and 1668 chicken choices appear. Wow thats a lot… So how about a chicken dish from somewhere exotic? No problem, you can drill down to Cuisine, and you can choose a region, for example Cajun/Creole or Greek, and recipes from that region will appear. Pretty nifty…
Non-Recipe Cooking Apps
Cooking Blog Reader free
Though this is a great idea, and free, it does not always work as well as I would like it to, but it is an easy way of keeping track of all your favourite food blogs. You can totally customise your favorite blogs and they don’t even have to be about food. Cooking blog reader will fetch the latest entries when opened. Best of all – you can read them offline as well, so I often use this app when Im commuting. It could do with a redesign of the artwork, to make it look less than a thermal explosion in a small refrigerator, but its a handy app none the less.
Sous Vide $1.99
I only recently started Sous Vide Cooking, and though there are lots of information on the internet, I wanted one place where I could check for temperatures and cooking times. I downloaded the Sous Vide app from Itunes, and it turned out to be $1.99 well spent. Though the menu design is a little clumsy, it does tell you the cooking temperatures for most foods you will be trying out when beginning this revolutionary new cooking technique. The app is divided into the 2 main food categories, meat and veggies, and has extensive information about each ingredient. Meat is divided into Chicken, Duck, Lamb, Beef, Pork, Shellfish, Fish, Turkey, and there is good information about cooking different cuts. There is other handy information, like introducing each ingredient to Sous Vide, as well as important safety information so that you don’t end up poisoning your loved ones with sous Vide Chicken Cordon Bleu.
This app is hightly recommended if you are new to Sous Vide, and you need an inexpensive, yet informative, starting point.
Since my nanny dropped the electronic kitchen timer, it would suddenly and without warning make un-well noises, as if someone had woken it up from a deep coma. So I dispatched it from the kitchen to my kid’s toybox in the hope that it would be permanently silenced. Since then I use the timer on my mobile to time arbitrary cooking times, but it has been less than ideal. This all changed when I discovered Cookit.
CookIt is a handy app for timing multiple stuff cooking at the same time. You know how tricky it can be if you have various things going in the kitchen and you want them finished at the same time. This is the app for that. Lets say you are making potatoes which has to roast for 40 minutes, chicken that has to be sauted for 10 mins and veggies that has to be steamed for 15. Enter each ingredient and its cooking time, and CookIt will sequence each event, telling you when to start the next component. All finishing at the same insane cooking moment. So nifty!
Food Network free
I have a lovely 700 inch television, which is permanently tuned to some kids channel. I don’t really mind, cause I don’t care much for tv, but would love to have access to a Food Channel of sorts. This complication has developed another little complication, because there is no way I can have access to such a luxury, unless I get a satellite system installed specialy for a cooking channel to be beamed into my lounge. But even if I was mad enough and throw a whole bunch of money at getting a Food Channel, I am aware that the complications will deepen to a further level, as sporadic fights ensues over holding rights to the remote, and really I do not want to put my tv through all that.
The Food Network Ipod app changes this. The only snag is, you need an American iTunes account to get it. What is surprising though, is that the Food Network actually streams beautifuly, even if your IP adress comes from outside the US, which is just dandy if you want to watch the shows as far east as the Far East. Finaly, a Food network, in my bed, on demand, on my little ipod, free of charge!
and the winner is…
Kitchen Calculator PRO $3.99
I needed something to convert Celcius to Farenheit, when I stumbled upon this indispensable little app. The conversion of temperature is a minor convenience compared to all that is hidden inside its well designed interior. You think of something you need converted in your kitchen, and this app will work it out for you. You need to know how many teaspoons is in a kilo of dried basil, and this app will tell you its just over 666. You have a recipe in cups, but you would prefer to have it in oz or grams ml, quarts, tablespoons, you name it, Kitchen Calculator Pro will work it out in a flash. The app is a little ‘pricy’ at $3.99, but really, the time Ive saved just on the first day using it, has been worth it. Instead of running to the pc in my lounge to google a temp converter, forget what the temp was I had to remember, run back to double check, and doing this several times on a typical cooking afternoon,has been worth breaking the bank, saving me the horible fears of having to deal with losing my mind somewhere between the lounge and the kitchen.
I love gadgets, and I do love things that make my life a little more fun in the kitchen… Nowadays, there is no excuse for not being able to be something of a pro in the kitchen. Not only are there a billion recipes out there on the internet, there are as many videos and apps showing you step by step how to do it. And if the measurements are in a unit confined to planet Zoe, you can convert it or scale it down to feed your 9 month old triplets, or alternatively make heaps in the form of an authentic local lunch FEDEXed to each staff member slaving away in a different corner of your partner’s (now worldwide) multinational operation…!
Gotta love the 21st century…