I’ll start this article off with some complete honesty: besides toasted sandwiches and the occasional omelette here and there, I’m not much of cook.
Sure, I can braai (South African term for BBQ) with the best of them, but when it comes to the kitchen, I am absolutely hopeless. I’ve always had some sort of interest in getting into cooking, but because my lovely wife is such a good cook (and is scared of contracting something fatal from my undercooked attempts), I’ve never really tried my hand at it.
Recently though, I decided that I needed to at least learn the basics and enough to keep me from setting the kitchen alight and be able to make one or two meals for us a week. So naturally, I found my way to the app store, and found the following five apps that will help me achieve my culinary goals.
You can’t start cooking without the ingredients, and you can’t buy the proper ingredients without first putting together a shopping list. This strangely titled app might be a bit on the expensive side for something as simple as a list app, but once you start using it, you’ll appreciate the cost. BMAP is basically a grocery list app that synchronises between all of your family’s iOS devices, meaning that you can add to your partner’s list when you see that you’re out of milk, instead of breaking the news once they return from the trip to the shop. Beautifully designed and highly intuitive, this app is a must have for anyone who makes grocery lists.
Hands down, Jamie has to be my favorite celebrity chef. He’s confident, cocky and makes everything just look so damn easy. His cooking shows inspire me and are all about simplicity and great tasting food.
Naturally, his iOS app is no different. Well designed and properly done, the free version comes packed with ten free recipes and three instructional videos as a taster pack, and you can then purchase extra recipe packs like ‘BBQ Classics’, ‘Date Night’ and ‘Crowd Pleasers’. His recipes are simple, easy to follow and the app is bursting with colorful food photography and Jamie’s trademark charm.
Also know as ‘The Cook’s Companion’, Epicurious is a clever twist on the traditional recipe book. Whereas you can still browse through thousands of user submitted and reviewed recipes, the app allows you to choose the ingredients you have in stock and generates recipes using exactly those ingredients, great for those end-of-month-beans-on-toast moments we’ve all gone through some time or another. It also comes with a built-in shopping list and you have the ability to add ingredients per recipe, which is very useful when you’re in a hurry.
Billed as the only app for serious cooks, Pepper Plate has all the tools you need to cook weeknight dinners (yes!) or host a dinner party for twelve (not so fast!). In a nutshell, Pepper Plate is a recipe manager, much like a digital version of your grandmother’s hand-written recipe collection. It allows you to create recipes, share them over social network and email them to friends, organize meals on a schedule and even combine recipes into menus for dinner parties or holiday meals. My favorite feature though, has to be the multitude of kitchen timers on the app, and the ability to control said timers over Wi-Fi from your other devices. This is the app I hope to be using in a few months time!
The free starter pack comes with thirty step-by-step videos (totaling just over eight hours) of recipes and cooking techniques to help you learn the basics. All presented by top chefs that I have yet to learn about; Appetites can be called an interactive cooking show for your iPad. Just start the video, do what they tell you and click next to view the next step, it really couldn’t get easier!
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