Appy Talk

Hello. My name is Claire and I am slightly addicted to my iphone.

I was somewhat sceptical about how marvellous an iphone would be, but since getting mine 18 months ago, I have barely put it down and have been downloading cookery apps (and Angry Birds).

epi coverMy absolute favourite is a free, American app called Epicurious. Linked to a website of the same name, the app has a crazy amount of recipes on it. You can search by dish or ingredient, but it also splits into categories such as ‘low calorie mains’, ‘weeknight dinners’ and ‘decadent desserts’. There are also changing seasonal categories, and when I flicked it on over the weekend the Christmas categories had kicked in. So now I can search through ‘Christmas cookies’, ‘holiday desserts’ and ‘Christmas dinners’.

epi recipeClick on a recipe and you will get ingredients, method, a photo and feedback which has been left on the website. Feedback is useful because people will often suggest their own slant on a recipe.

If there is one downside- if you can call this a downside- is that each category has so many recipes to choose from. So for example, there are 218 options in the ‘Christmas cookie’ section. Now I love a spicy festive biccie but the choice is mind boggling!

It is useful when getting inspiration for your weekday meals. I often flick through a category and just the recipe names will be enough to help get my creative ideas flowing. Recipes are in American measures so if you are following them a set of measuring cups or a conversion chart would be useful. You can save favourites and create shopping lists which are useful additions.

Another app which I turn to regularly is the BBC Good Food Cake app. I think there is normally a cost applied to this, but it was on offer for free when I got it. Cakes and puddings are split into categories, from chocolate to special dietary options, there are the shopping list and favourite options again, and also a timer.

love freshLove Fresh is an app which has a lot of potential but I think that interest has waned since it was launched. The idea is simple; users post details of food producers, delis, farm shops etc in their area. You can then search for great food wherever you are in the country. Maybe it just hasn’t caught on much in the north west, but there is very little listed for this area. But it is well worth a look if you are, for example, camping or self catering in a new part of the country, as it might just throw up a gem. However it is one of those things where you get out what you put in so I try and add places when I visit them, and would urge others to do the same.

Vouchercloud, is a discount app and useful if you fancy a discount in Pizza Express or Yo! Sushi. Hugh’s Fish Fight is useful to see what is in season/ sustainable and recipes for your chosen fillet.

I’ve seen the good the bad and the ugly of apps, and much like books, I don’t continue with one which isn’t pushing my touch-screen buttons. Those which have been filed in the deleted bin include Big Oven (didn’t like the feel, had to sign in to a ‘community’, constant emails) and Jamie Oliver (lots of locked recipes which you had to buy, videos which never downloaded, took up a lot of memory).

Others, such as Nigella Lawson, I didn’t even buy because it didn’t seem to offer me anything new.

So is the app a part of your kitchen repertoire and is there a gem which you now can’t live without?

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