Help in the kitchen

(Warning: Mild tech stuff ahead) I thought I’d share with you two things that have helped me a lot in the kitchen: the Paprika Recipe Manager app, and the Plinth stand for tablets or smart phone.


People have been raving about this for a while. I tried it a couple of years back and didn’t see what the fuss was about, but it’s matured a lot since then and in its latest form is really useful. So what is it? “Paprika is an app that helps you organize your recipes, make meal plans, and create grocery lists. Using Paprika’s built-in browser, you can save recipes from anywhere on the web… Our free cloud sync service allows you to seamlessly sync your data across all of your devices.” The killer thing for me is the ease with which you can create a recipe from the web—either via your normal Safari, Chrome or whatever or using its own built-in browser, so you come across a recipe online and simply hit the blue “Save Recipe” button and it brings the whole thing into your own records, pretty neatly organized into Ingredients, Directions, Notes and the like. You may have to tweak a little (often from US cups etc to metric, or changing ‘cilantro’ to ‘coriander’ and the like), but it’s pretty painless. (Hint: If you are a Super Nerd of any stripe, you can set up a macro in something like Keyboard Maestro which allows you with one keystroke combination to copy the recipe address in your normal browser, like Safari or Chrome, and hoover it straight into Paprika—neat!)

You can also categorise recipes in many different ways: Main course, Japanese, Salad, Pasta, Sweet, Wife’s Favourite, Pressure, Kids etc.

There are some nice touches in the recipe settings, too. First, you can tap each ingredient to “grey” it out once it’s been added (saves that “Did I put the vinegar/salt/cumin in already?” moment). Secondly, the app detects time measurements in the Directions such that you can tap the time instruction (“Simmer for 5 minutes”) and it will set a timer running. You can run different timers concurrently, for different parts of the recipe.

Then you can add all the ingredients to a shopping list so you have it with you on your smartphone when you are out shopping. Tap to complete.

Finally, and I am too disorganised to use this feature much, you can use it as a meal planner. There’s a calendar to which you can drag and drop recipes for the week or month (you Domestic God/Goddess!) ahead.

All of this is available for Mac, iOS, Android, Windows and even Kindle, and the best thing is that you can sync amongst all your devices.

Which brings me to the second item…

The Plinth

a British-made small yet very robust stand for phone or tablet. About the same size as an iPhone 4 it flips out into two basic configurations which will support anything up to an iPad Pro quite happily. They are £14.95 on Amazon and come in a variety of colours. I use mine with my iPad Mini in the kitchen and it has proved invaluable. Highly recommended.

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