One area where the iPad really shines is the kitchen. You can prop it somewhere relatively out of the way and consult your recipes as you go without having to run back to the computer or flip cookbook pages ... if, of course, you're happy to risk floury finger smears.
If the iPad were just a web browser, that would be handy enough for accessing favourite cooking sites, but there are a number of excellent cooking apps available that make the process much smoother for everyone.
The upsized version of the popular iPhone app, Epicurious provides you with access to Epicurious's entire database of recipes, including from Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines searchable by key word, ingredient, what's in season, user rating. If you sign up to a free account, you can also save recipes to a list of your favourites and create a shopping list that you can take with you and check items off as you go. The Epicurious iPad app also offers a kitchen-friendly recipe view so you can use it for cooking with ease. Bear in mind, though: this American-based app only has measurements in imperial.
This simple app provides you with a handy kitchen reference guide, offering three categories. Substitutions offers you alternative ingredients for those tricky moments when, mid-recipe, you realise you don't have enough of something crucial. Conversions allows you to make quick and easy measurement conversions for volumes, weights and temperatures between imperial and metric. Definitions is a dictionary where you can look up common cooking terminology.
The main page of the Dinner Spinner is a bit like a roulette wheel; flick it, and it will offer you random choices based on ingredients and cooking time (fantastic if you want to whip up something quick and easy); select what you want and you'll get a list of the top recipes as rated by Allrecipes users. You can also set search filters if you have something more specific in mind, save recipes to your favourites and share with friends. Great for those days when you're just too damned tired to think about what you want to cook...
Like a few of the other apps on this list, BigOven Pro lets you search a huge database of recipes by key word or ingredient. However, using its "Leftovers" feature, you can also enter three ingredients from your fridge and see what it comes up with, and post your own recipes for free. One of the coolest things, though, is that it can sync your lists across multiple devices; so, supposing you create a shopping list on the iPad, you can store it to the BigOven website and load it onto your iPhone so that you don't have to take the iPad on your trip to the grocery store.
Updated:Caption:Michelle StarrPhoto:BigOven.com by Lakefront Software Inc
How to Cook Everything
Like the title says, this app is kind of like a miniature, portable cooking school. It offers thousands of recipes with illustrated how-to tips and tricks; information on cooking equipment, techniques and ingredients; shopping lists; and meal planning ideas. We particularly liked the timers built into the recipes, so that you can easily time how long to cook what at each stage of the recipe. Again, though, imperial only.
You'll pay a premium for the Smug Git™ branding, but the 60 recipes in this app are great for people who don't have a lot of time on their hands. You also get Jamie Oliver videos with cooking tips and Jamie Oliver voice prompts and some really pretty pictures of food. The recipes are easy to understand, too. Love Jamie Oliver or hate him, this app is pretty good.
This is an app for beginner cooks, and it offers step-by-step photographic illustrations of each step so it's almost like having a cooking coach in the kitchen with you. All 64 of the recipes can be prepared in under 30 minutes, and you can email yourself ingredient lists to make your shopping trip easier. It's straightforward and easy to understand, perfect for those who don't cook much and are poor on time.
My Recipe Book is just that— a personalised recipe book. You can, of course, search for recipes on the web and store them in the app, but you can also enter your own recipes directly using the iPad's keyboard interface. A full-page view allows you to see the recipe easily while cooking, too.
There are some seriously serious chocolate recipes in this app, with more added every month — from delicious desserts such as rich Molten Lava Cakes to more interesting uses such as sticky chocolate pork ribs, iChocolate2 is a delicious adventure.
If you're after something a bit healthier, Good Food Healthy Recipes will give you just that. Created by the BBC, it also lets you choose between metric and imperial measurements, use an in-app cooking timer and watch videos on various cooking skills. It's simple, but it gets the job done.
You can't sit down to a delicious, home-cooked meal without the appropriate tipple for the occasion. Plus, this app is so bright and colourful, how could you not want it in your recipe book collection?