Helpful holiday season apps

Author: Maya Kerthyasa

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.







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