x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

App teaches you to cook the 20-minute Jamie Oliver way

App of the Week With 60 easy recipes in your hand that are meant to be made in 20 minutes, there is no longer an excuse to avoid the kitchen.

Jamie Oliver - 20 Minute Meals app.
Jamie Oliver - 20 Minute Meals app.

Some people cook to relax, while others do it out of necessity. Then there's the flip side of the pan: millions of people who are unable to boil so much as a pot of water, let alone pop some bread in the toaster without burning it. They are the ones who spend most of their time ordering in or eating out. A great boon for restaurants, but not so good for their health. But, hey, everybody has to eat, they argue.

Not all of us are lucky enough to be a five-star home chef in the making, à la Come Dine With Me, the British television programme that has its own fair share of disasters, or live at home with our mums.

And deciphering a cookbook when you've just come in from a hard day's work is enough to see you beat a hasty retreat to the cereal cupboard, hands thrown in the air in surrender as you try to decide between yet another bowl of Cornflakes, muesli or Coco Pops, which are probably best left for the dessert course, anyway. But it doesn't have to be this way.

The app

Enter Jamie Oliver, our knight in shining armour when it comes to what we eat and our cooking habits, or lack thereof in this case. Oliver fights the good fight when it comes to educating us on food and how to prepare it, and has used a variety of media in the past to get his message across, from his television shows, such as The Naked Chef, to cookbooks and his School Dinners campaign.

These days, he's embracing the world of apps to widen his audience. The Jamie Oliver - 20 Minute Meals app (Dh29; iPhone) is a handy portable cookbook that boasts 60 supposedly easy recipes that can be made, well, in 20 minutes.

Each recipe includes a step-by-step guide, which should see you in good stead if you are one of those people who just can't seem to get it together in the kitchen, or remember where it is in your house.

The details

Oliver's app is based on his cookbook of the same name and includes video hints and tips from the man himself, such as how to use a knife (a good start), or cooking the perfect pasta or rice. You can also create your own grocery list by clicking on the shopping icon, ensuring you won't forget a key ingredient, which is often a key issue for many amateur cooks.

It won't be long before you start impressing friends and family with your new-found cooking skills. Just remember to switch off the app before your guests arrive, much in the same way that you used to hide the take-out boxes when you had friends over for dinner. Now those were the days of old.

Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at cbrandao@thenational.ae