Cooking Stories December 15, 2014

As a dedicated fan of kitchen gadgets, a Bluetooth scale linked to a companion iPad app that walks you through recipes step-by-step was too much to resist. Besides, it was a chance to bake some cookies and call it work (though I’m not entirely convinced the taxman is going to allow me to deduct the cost of the ingredients).

The scale is very compact – a little under 6.5 inches across with the front lip, and around 5.5 inches wide. There are no visible controls or display, but the lip contains a button and a hidden LED which lights up briefly when the scale connects to the app. Otherwise, it’s entirely featureless …  expand full story

Cooking Stories November 21, 2014

The latest contender for your automated kitchen: the $200 smart frying pan

I’m a big fan of home automation gadgets – right down to my kettle – but even I would have thought a smart frying pan was a bit of a stretch. Seems not: a Kickstarter campaign for the $199 Pantelligent pan is almost fully-funded.

Frying pans have barely changed in thousands of years, but Pantelligent is the next evolutionary leap in the kitchen: a frying pan that actually helps you cook. Pantelligent has a temperature sensor inside it that communicates with the Pantelligent smartphone app. Together, the pan and the app guide you to cook everything perfectly, just the way a professional chef (or your mom!) would cook it. No more overcooked, undercooked, or burned food. You’ll know exactly when the pan is at the right temperature, when it’s time to flip or stir, and when your food is perfectly done.

It works in a similar way to the Connected Scales we mentioned recently, the accompanying app walking you through recipes step-by-step. The Pantelligent pan has a built-in temperature sensor, so it knows how hot it is and how hot it should be for the food you are cooking, letting you know when you need to adjust the heat up or down, and telling you when the food is properly cooked.

There are only a few dozen recipes in the app at present, but more are promised – and you can also enter your own, complete with temperatures and timings so that the app can alert you in the same way it does for the supplied ones.

The rather lengthy video below provides a complete, unedited demo. If you want to grab one, you can back the project for $199 and expect to receive your smart pan in January.

Cooking Stories November 14, 2014

If you enjoy baking but need close supervision from a grown-up, Drop’s Connected Scale and accompanying recipe app for the iPad may be just the thing. A clever combination of interactive recipes and automatic weighing means that the iPad effectively supervises you as you work.

You can use the Connected Scale on its own, displaying the weight of ingredients on your iPad screen, but it’s when you use it with the free recipe app that it comes into its own …  expand full story

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

Cooking Stories October 28, 2014

Favorite apps: How to Cook Everything, the (almost) perfect iOS cookbook

We write reviews when a great new app comes out, but there are also older ones that we think worthy of recommendation, and How to Cook Everything is one of those.

I’m a decent enough cook, but not an instinctive one: I follow recipes to the letter. If it says to put something in the oven at 170 degrees for 15 minutes, you’ll find me carefully setting the dial and starting a timer, not casually spinning the dial to roughly the right temperature and glancing in ten minutes later to decide that’s good enough.

But there are times when first I need to decipher exactly what the instructions mean. What’s the technical difference between dicing and chopping? Is sautéing the same thing as frying? And what exactly does it mean when it says ‘prepare the chiles’?

If you find yourself empathising with these types of questions, How to Cook Everything may just be the perfect iPad based cookbook for you too.

It attempts to be the only thing you’ll need in your kitchen when planning and cooking a meal. You can choose a recipe and, with one tap, add all the ingredients to a shopping list, sorted by aisle. If you’re not sure what a term means, you can click on an illustrated explanation. And whenever that recipe tells you to cook something for, say, 15 minutes, you can tap the instruction to automatically start a timer for the correct period.

It’s not the slickest-looking app by a long way – it has a distinctly old-fashioned appearance, especially in the b&w illustrations. But it has a great range of recipes with all the extra help you might need to cook them.

At $9.99 from iTunes, it seems expensive for an app – but it’s a cheap price for a decent cookbook. Recommended.

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