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App Friday: Food, glorious food

As Homer Simpson would invariably say: mmm, food. Food is good. Generally, we eat three times a day, every day – that’s 1,095 meals in a year. Yikes. Things could easily get boring in the kitchen – but don’t let them! Let your smartphone take you on culinary adventures with our top food apps.

Dine out!

Why cook when you can let someone else do it for you? Using the free Qype Radar iPhone app, you can do a location search for restaurants near you, then check out the user reviews to see if they’re any good. It’s great for finding little-known gems and avoiding dives. Save yourself a few bob with the free TopTable app which lets you search for nearby offers like two-for-one meals, or free side-dishes.

If you’re on Android, Layar is worth a go for a quick augmented reality scan of nearby eateries and Urban Spoon has also recently launched an Android app – you can use it to seek out new places by gambling on the Urban Spoon slot machine then check out user reviews, just to be on the safe side.

Feed yourself!

Unless you’re a millionaire or eating on expenses, you can’t eat out for every meal. Get yourself in the kitchen and get cooking – there are plenty of apps to give you a headstart.

If you’re intimidated by the prospect of measuring and weighing ingredients and ending up with a big sludgy mess where you were supposed to have a nice bouncy dough for kneading, then Ratio (£2.99) is the app for you – it breaks recipes down into simple ratios to make everything clear and easy. You can also calculate ingredients needed based on figures you input as well – so if you only have 24g of flour available, you can pop that in to the app to convert the other ingredient quantities, saving you a trip to the shop.

The Epicurious app for iPhone is also a must-have. Not only does it give you access to literally thousands of recipes, it also allows you to build digital shopping lists and plan your meals for the week in advance by creating lists of favourite recipes. All this, and it’s totally free. Worth a look, even if you hate all food except broccoli.

Time-strapped iPhone owners might like Jamie Oliver’s 20 Minute Meals (£4.99) – imaginative dishes with clear instructions all presented in a good looking package, with photos so you know if you’re on the right track or not.

Android users should check out Digital Recipe Sidekick which reads recipes out to you so you don’t even need to sully your handset with whatever dough, raw meat juice or onion residue is all over your hands as you cook.

[Image credit: Masahiro Ihara]

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