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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life


You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Jackie has also written several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too. Why not email her


October 2009


This month, I want to cover one area relevant to everyone – cooking - where I would suggest that, sometimes, using the Web is far better than turning to a book. Although I personally have over 100 cookbooks (yes, really!), I find that there are three specific times when I will turn on my computer:

1. To find recipes for cooking a combination of ingredients
2. To watch a demonstration of something tricky or unfamiliar
3. To give me ideas for dishes very quickly


If you find you have half a chicken and a pack of mozzarella cheese in your fridge that need using up, it’s unlikely that your tried and tested recipe books will be able to offer you many recipes that include both these things. Instead, you can go to the BBC. The best website is the official (They also have a food magazine website where you can only search for recipes using a single ingredient but you can limit you search by length of cooking time, the calories it contains or the level of difficulty.)

On their main website, I was offered 24 recipes combining my two ingredients, and you can put in up to three at a time.

recipe 1


In a recent column, I mentioned the value of You Tube for watching videos. Sadly, many of these are filmed by amateurs who don’t understand that the presenter is not of interest and that, for cooking, you need a list of ingredients and clear instructions. (If you are ever tempted to publish your own videos, please watch a few first to see what errors to avoid.)

There are a number of better sites offering help and many include clear lists of ingredients or the whole recipe typed out and ready to copy and paste into a word processed document. Carry out a search using keywords such as “mozzarella recipe demonstration” or “video”. When I did this, I found the following which were all worth following up:

recipe 2



It is amazing what people can do with a few simple ingredients, particularly when they come from another country, and the Web is brilliant for suggesting new ways of cooking.

There are hundreds of websites containing the word ‘recipe’ and they will all offer lists of recipes including one or more of your suggested ingredients.

If you make sure you don’t click the UK-only link in your search engine, you could also get American, Mexican, Spanish, Chinese and other exotic recipes. You may need to be flexible about ingredients and weights and measures, but you will certainly add a zing to your next meal.

Conversion charts

When you have a foreign recipe, you will want to convert the amounts into UK measures. Again this is where the Web is excellent. Go to for example, to find out what American cup measurements are in ml or g.

conversion chart


View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

For a wealth of books on the web and IT generally, visit Amazon and under the books section select Computers and Internet.

Don't forget to visit the general laterlife features section called laterlife interest


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