Here's how to find some great recipes that are trustworthy too, on the Internet
If the Internet is such a great source for recipes how come my marmalade-yoghurt cake came out looking like something Shrek sat on?
With so many options out there, from YouTube to assorted food blogs, the problem is figuring out who to trust. The democracy of the Internet means anyone with a webcam, or reasonably competent mobile phone, can upload advice on anything. Even if they know squat.
Of course there are great recipes out there. But how to you find them? Here are some ways to start.
‘Videojug: Get good at life'
Ever since I downloaded the Videojug app on my iTouch, I've been addicted. With about 60,000 videos, it offers everything from a guide on how to make honey vodka (blend one part honey with 10 parts vodka) to a ‘Dinner date master class' (“some food is impossible to eat attractively — like spaghetti. Do not order”).
Unlike a lot of advice floating about the web, these videos use experts in different fields — stylists, mixologists, chefs — to give step-by-step advice on life. The tag line in fact is ‘Life explained on film.' And, it's pretty comprehensive. Learn ‘How to shake your booty like Beyonce' and ‘How to annoy a telemarketer.' With Valentine Day's coming up, you might like to check out ‘How to Get a Girlfriend If You're A Hopeless Nerd'. (Don't be shy — it's already had around 228,500 hits. You are not alone.)
Founded in 2006, Videojug's instructional, short videos include a huge number of cooking tips, techniques and recipes. From pesto sauce to apple sauce, chicken curry to jelly fish shooters, Egg Fu Yung to chicken bhuna, the site covers a startlingly wide range of food and drink, spanning cuisines and painstakingly explaining techniques.
Interestingly, Indian food seems especially popular here. This week's hottest videos include classes on how to make prawn curry, moon dal khichdi, puli inji and even phulkas.
Cookstr: Recipes you'll love from cookbooks we trust.
Trust the pros: Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey, Madhur Jaffrey, Alice Waters, Rachel Allen.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg lettuce.
A relatively new site, Cookstr was founded in New York City in 2008. Its mission statement is to provide our users with recipes from the best chefs and cookbook authors in the world.
Their hefty database of chefs and authors makes it easy to find an interesting recipe every time you log on. To encourage users to experiment, and discover new favourites, the team has chosen an eclectic collection of cooks, including talented but lesser-known names. They come from all over the world, promoting traditional recipes while introducing new ingredients, techniques and ideas.
Sam Choy, Hawaii-based restaurateur, author, and TV host, teaches you how to make a tropical marmalade, banana fritters and coconut lemongrass ribs.
Ecuador-born Maria Baez Kijac, a cooking teacher and historian, gives the recipe for a Pisco cocktail, popular in Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, made with lemon juice, Pisco brandy, and egg whites. Meanwhile, good old Nigella Lawson cooks up a ‘peanut brittle with art and soul'.
SAVEUR: Sharing the best of the web
This is the online version of Saveur, a gourmet, food, wine, and travel magazine, specialising in essays on world cuisines. You are spoilt for choice. Recipes are divided by ingredient, cuisine, course and occasion. Under each category, there is an intimidating array of options.
Type ‘potato' and, in seconds, you'll have cooking instructions for Moroccan potato salad, potato rosti, smother-fried garlic potatoes, sweet potato pie Jewish latkes, Spanish potato bravas and a Tibetan beef-potato stew, among other things.
Click on techniques to learn knife skills, roasting and cheese making. Hit the kitchen homepage for tips on design and accessories.
Or, do what I do, and travel vicariously. The site picks up great articles from everywhere. Spoon up chicken stew, called kuku wa nazi, simmering over a charcoal brazier in Mombasa, Kenya. Drink champagne in the ‘belly of Paris' over pate and raspberry tarts. Sip thick, dark hot chocolate, topped with fluffy whipped cream on a chilly night in Rome.
Food can open doors in ways that will constantly astonish you.