What’s cooking, good looking?
…ahem, just talking to the iPhone there. Over the last few months, I've been making a concerted effort to improve my culinary prowess. I'll confess I'm not a naturally skilled chef, but I have enthusiasm, and - thanks to the smartphone at my side - a wealth of information that can turn even the likes of me from kitchen nightmare to glamorous gastronomic genius.
With that in mind, here are my picks for the best iOS apps out there for wannabe Gordon Ramsays:
BBC Good Food, free (in app purchases)
Many food magazines have an app, but we think it's hard to go wrong with the good ol' reliable BBC Good Food. While the app's free, and gives you a selection of 'classic' recipes, from vegetable curry to peanut butter cheesecake, you'll need to pay to add more cookbooks. Packs are themed - 'healthy meals' for example, or 'sandwiches', and each costs £1.49.
What we really like about the app is that it's full of sensible touches - for example, you can tick off ingredients in a checklist as you buy them to make sure you don't miss something vital, and every step of the recipe also has an optional timer to ensure you don't annihilate the broccoli, so to speak.
Add in useful cooking tips, a tool for converting imperial measures to metric, and lots of nutritional information for the carbs avoiders or carb loaders, and you have an all-round well-considered app that's worth having on your handset.
Gojee Food and Drink Recipe App, free
Gojee is a website that aggregates food and drink recipes from bloggers all around the world, and its app is one of the slickest around.
Not only does the app give you access to loads of interesting - often oddball - recipes, but it's strikingly beautiful to boot. Every recipe and menu is accompanies by big, bright and mouth-watering images - you won't find a better-looking food app, that's for sure.
What really puts it at the top of the pile, however, is the navigation and customisation options. You can select dislikes, to eliminate meals featuring a particular ingredient you can't stand - for me it's peppers…ick - or search for recipes to fulfil a particular craving. And navigation is a breeze thanks to the superb interface - it never takes more than a few swipes to find what you want.
So you're holding a dinner party, but you have a problem: one of your guests has quite particular dietary requirements and it means you can't make that incredible meal you were planning. What a sticky wicket that is.
That's where Substitutions comes in. You pick the items that you can't use, and the app will suggest appropriate alternatives. It's very to the point - it presents the information quickly and cleanly, without lots of extra information or unnecessary waffle. In certain situations, it can be a lifesaver.
You've cooked, you've eaten and you're feeling pretty full. Maybe too full - how many calories did you just cram into your body? If you want to find out, MyFitnessPal has millions of food items in its lists.
It's designed to encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle, but it works as a reference tool too, so you can check whether your diet each day is nutritionally balanced and monitor any weight changes. Planning on having a take-away curry and beers on Friday? No problem, we'll juuuust check the calorie content and…ah…erm, maybe we'll start the healthy eating plan tomorrow…
What cooking app do you recommend? Let me know in a comment below.