Helpful holiday season apps

The Ask the Butcher app

The Ask the Butcher app

Ah, the holiday season - so much fun to be had but so much to think about at the same time. For those spending Christmas at home there are trees to be decorated and turkeys to be salted and for those heading abroad, flights and accommodation to be booked and restaurants to be sought out. Lucky for the tablet- and smartphone-owning citizens of the world, there are apps to help us get through it (almost) stress-free.

Take, for example, the Ask the Butcher app ($2.99 from the App Store). It gives you the insider's scoop on all things meat-related, from which cuts to go for (and where they come from) to how they should be prepared, and with butcher extraordinaire Anthony Puharich of Vic's Meats and Victor Churchill in Sydney behind it, you know you're getting your facts from a reliable source.

The Meat and Livestock Association's SteakMate app is worth checking out, too. It's free and helps you pick the right cut of steak for various cooking methods. It even comes with a timer that takes into account the cut and thickness of your steak, telling you when to turn it, remove it from the heat and how long it should rest it for.

Another kitchen saviour is the newly released digital edition of Stephanie Alexander's The Cook's Companion ($49.99 from the App Store and Google Play). It's compatible with both Apple and android devices and offers more than 2000 recipes, with tools for making notes, compiling shopping lists and keeping tabs of your favourite recipes.

On the fancier side of the spectrum there's the ebook version of Modernist Cuisine at Home ($79.99 from the App Store). It's a more technique-driven take on home-cooking, sure, but for those looking to get a little more adventurous with their Christmas spread it offers stacks of useful information on equipment, ingredients and cooking methods, with step-by-step imagery and videos, plus 260 bonus recipes you won't find in the printed edition. Our favourite Christmas-friendly feature is the yield converter that takes the guesswork out of adjusting recipes for larger crowds.

Planning a trip? The world's most popular travel app, Kayak , can help you with that. It's free and covers everything from flight and car search to hotel bookings, with a flight tracker and a nifty My Trip function that bundles all your travel information into one place for extra convenience.

The free Qantas app is a great travel tool, too. It comes in android and Apple versions and is a quick and easy way to browse, book and track Qantas flights.

For a bit of fun, check out the free Plan and Play app from boutique accommodation aficionados Mr & Mrs Smith. The "plan" component allows you to browse and book more than 850 Mr & Mrs Smith-approved hotels around the world, while the "play" feature is all about entertaining, with games and how-to guides (truth or dare and minibar cocktail recipes among the tricks), TuneSmith - a feature that connects to your iTunes account to create mood-setting playlists- and a "get-out-of-work-excuses generator" for all your sneaky trip extension needs.

And finally, for awesome holiday eating check out GT's very own 2014 Restaurant Guide app. It covers more than 700 of the best dining and drinking experiences around Australia, with handy tools such as a wishlist to bookmark the places you most want to visit, a booking feature to secure your table at the tap of a finger and a Top Rated section so you can skip straight to the best of the best. Oh, and it's free.

'Appy holidays, people.


Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Scandi-chic kitchenware
Chopsticks for every occasion
Serving trays
This is how the founder of Aerin throws a dinner party
Outdoor dining
The Gourmet Traveller Christmas Boutique extends opening hours
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Battle of the bills

Kelly Eng rehearses her restaurant game plan, flexes her for...

Meet your maker: florist Sophia Kaplan

Tree peonies, dahlias and dogwood blossoms are on the menu f...

In full bloom

While the dining table is at the centre of any Christmas cel...

Leave it to your oven

Step back and let your oven do the work at your next dinner ...

Five Australian ceramicists to know right now

Thrown, glazed and painted all by hand, make these the star ...

Happy birthday H.A.G.

H.A.G. Imports CEO Max Grundmann talks 50th anniversaries, s...

The party planner

Melbourne’s caterer to the stars, The Big Group, is celebrat...

Dine with me

She’s issued the invitations – now Kelly Eng examines the fi...

Party principles

Here at GT we take our entertaining seriously, so we quizzed...

Alessio Alessi interview

Pulling up a chair at the table with Italy’s champion of inn...

Twelve Christmas shortcuts

With so much on at Christmas, why not take a few shortcuts i...

Saksia Havekes's tips for party flower arrangements

Saskia Havekes has one piece of advice for organising flower...

Alberto Alessi talks design

Alberto Alessi talks to Maggie Scardifield about timeless de...

50 fast party ideas

Does the idea of entertaining throw you into a mad panic? Ho...

High-tech kitchen gadgets

We might not be living in a Jetsons-easy robot-powered futur...