Appwatch: Five apps for all master chef wannabes

From searching for recipes to converting measurements these apps will lend a big hand in the kitchen

Jamie Oliver’s 20 minute meals by Zolmo for iPhone - $9.99

Celebrity chef, and serial do-gooder Jamie Oliver has put his name to this new app designed to help users create meals in under 20 minutes.

The app includes updated recipes, step-by-step photos, 21 how-to video guides demonstrating certain culinary skills to help out in the kitchen, whether you’re a novice or an expert.

While you’re following a recipe this app will voice prompt you to keep you on track and if you’re not sure what you want for dinner (something so many people struggle deciding), there is a ‘shake for random recipe’ function for a bit of fun.

Pro: The audio and video how-to instructions are invaluable when you don’t quite understand a recipe or how to execute a specific skill.

Con: Some of the recipes contain not-so-common ingredients which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to whip up a quick meal with the basics.

Epicurious Recipes and Shopping List by Conde Nast for iPhone – Free

This app originates from the Epicurious website and claims to have over 28,000 recipes, tested by magazines, cookbooks, chefs and restaurants.

It has the ability to browse for recipes based on dietary requirements or a theme ingredient, such as pork or cabbage.

The app is also likely to make your shopping easier as you can save a recipe to a list, and then mark ingredients off as they are found in the supermarket.

It has a step-by-step guide for while your following the recipe to save accidentally skipping ahead, accompanied by photos and reviews of the recipe for before you choose.

Pro: The dietary information is very helpful, especially for those who are dieting, suffering from allergies or are intolerant to some ingredients.

Con: It lacks video and/or audio instruction that can make or break the result of a meal.

Kitchen Calculator by Forward Leap, LLC for iPhone - $2.49

This app converts unit measurements while cooking, using either fractions or decimals, which will help cut down on preparation and cooking time.

When following a recipe for a specific number of people, the app scales the number up or down for you and changes the unit measurements accordingly.

Both metric and imperial measurements are available.

Pro: The ability to scale a serving portion up and down is so practical, especially when you’re cooking for just one or two people.

Con: The app needs to include more non-metric units such as ‘cups’ and 'teaspoons'.

Five in one kitchen timer by Tuscan Concept Inc for Blackberry - $US2.99

Kitchen timers are nothing new, but having an app that will time food on each burner, plus the oven, is useful.

How it works is, you sit the timer next to the oven and visually match each burner to each timer, then use the timer at the bottom to time anything in the oven.

It’s not difficult to set, with each timer allowing times to be changed according to your cooking needs, and each one has an alarm that will flash when it is signalling you.

Time can be monitored from anywhere up to one minute or four hours, should you be roasting something large in the oven.

Pro: The multitasking aspect is the best feature on this app.

Con: No repeat audio alerts -- miss the first alarm and you risk burning your food.

Nat Decants by Nat MacLean.com for Blackberry – Free

Renowned drink writer Nat MacLean has created an app unlike other recipe apps, this one pairs together food and beverages, lists glossary terms so you can understand the ins and outs, recipes, a winery directory and cellar journal.

It has wine reviews which you can search by winery, price, score, region, grape, vintage, food match, to be precise.

There is an extensive range of food including cheeses, meats, vegetarian, pastas, pizzas, foreign cuisine and desserts.

Pro: The immediacy that you can access wine information – while looking for a bottle to buy with dinner -- is a winner.

Con: Visuals: the font size and type are not ideal, especially when you have so much to scroll through.

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