The kitchen is one of those places within a home that can conjure all kinds of emotions including joy and trepidation. Confidence is everything, especially if you are aiming to impress the opposite sex with your mastery of food. The clattering of pans, jangling of utensils and sizzle of sauces is only part of the story though as we often refer to the trusty cookbook to aid us in our tasty delicacies.
We are now in the digital age and what better way to experience this advancement in technology other than to purchase the appropriately named iCookbook app for your Apple iPad.
As soon as you open the iCookbook app, you notice immediately how delicious not just the recipes are, but the entire view in which you navigate this interface. The iPad is known for its lovely touch-screen and iCookbook makes full use of both the size of the display and sleek animations throughout the presentation.
Once installed, I immediately jumped into the Store – a place where you can purchase additional themed recipes, however each month a special selection is released entirely free. Spending a little time downloading the free goodies and found I had a total of over 2200 recipes available for my culinary aspirations.
With so many choices a set of filters are provided to easily locate the dishes that are appropriate for your needs. Sorting by the dish, ingredient, theme, cuisine and even occasion. This reduces the list to a more manageable level and a filter can be easily knocked off if you wish to revert back.
Once you select the dish that interests you, you are presented with a very tasty looking image of the food prepared to its final impressive state, a guide of how much it will cost and how difficult it is to prepare within a scale of one to three, ingredients required and of course the preparation instructions.
There are certainly a lot of product placements within the app, as recipes often ask for ingredients that require branded items. Not a major issue, but certainly one to note.
Dishes can be saved into an easy to reach ‘Meal Builder’ section, ingredients can be sent to a convenient shopping list and printing is also possible if you have a compatible AirPrint device. Dishes can also be emailed with full details included and if you wish, you can even brag about your endeavours by sharing them over Facebook.
By selecting the ‘Prepare’ button, you then view an easy step by step, large text guide of the dish – perfect for viewing whilst actually in the process of preparing your meal.
You can also write notes alongside each of the recipes listed as well as access tools that will convert common dimensions and amounts, set a timer that will count down your required cooking duration and finally a substitution area will detail alternatives to the ingredients if any don’t take your fancy. You can even create your own recipes if you are confident in your skills.
While your head and heart are deeply immersed in the art of cooking, inevitably your fingers will become infested with stray crumbs, splashed sauce and all manner of messy nasties. The last thing you want to do with all this dirt is to then operate your iPad. To get around this sticky situation the app can be operated by a simple selection of voice commands, which when enabled can step forward or back along a recipe, jump straight to a particular section and more besides. For the most basic commands, the voice operation worked fine however even with no background noise – I struggled to enable all of the functionality but hopefully this will improve over time.
Priced at £2.99, iCookbook is a collection of extremely easy to follow recipes that are gloriously presented in a simple tactile view. The robust features and voice activated controls allow for a far more pleasant cooking environment where your skills as a chef are encouraged to grow.
So don your apron, launch iCookbook and cause a stir at your next family meal by impressing them with your new found mastery of food. There is nothing left to say other than bon appetit!
Rating: 4.5 / 5
iTunes App Store Link: iCookBook