It’s Holidays Week here at Android.Appstorm! We will dedicate our time this week to bring you the best apps for the year-end festivities. From gift shopping to games, cooking and hosting, managing your to-dos, decorating your phone, it will all be about spreading the cheer and reducing the stress of the Holidays season.
One of the reasons I was really excited about purchasing a Google Nexus 7 was that I’d finally be able to carry a ready reckoner of recipes and cooking videos right into the kitchen to follow along — you know, just to make it look like there’s a method to the madness. But sometimes, I don’t even know what to cook or how to achieve certain results, and that’s where an app like BBC Good Food – Recipes comes in handy.
Culled from the eponymous British magazine, this is a beautiful collection of recipes, cooking tips and tools that are infinitely helpful for both experienced and amateur home cooks. Every recipe is clearly detailed and accompanied by a beautiful photograph, and the app includes a few extra features that make it a must-have in your culinary arsenal. Plus, it’s loaded with a ton of recipes that are perfect for this holiday season.
BBC Good Food – Recipes combines recipes, tips, and several helpful tools that are essential in the kitchen. The app is a free 33MB download and works on devices running Android 2.3.3 and up, but looks particularly good on tablets. It comes with 20 recipes and allows you to download additional books which, at the time of testing, were all available for free.
Right off the bat, BBC Good Food looks gorgeous, with lovely photos, tempting captions and great layouts on every page. When you load the app, you’ll be presented with a selection of recipes for the day, as well as a list of downloadable cookbooks. Above these is a two-button toolbar to search for recipes and reveal the app menu.
The cookbook that comes with the app, called Classic, contains 20 delicious recipes, including savory pies and bakes, desserts, steak, seafood, and a few vegetarian dishes. By downloading the additional cookbooks, you can have up to 1,280 recipes at your disposal! Each book contains over 160 recipes and weighs in at an average of 20MB.
Whether you’re looking for something healthy, quick to prepare, suitable for get-togethers or holidays, or even something seasonal, you’ll find it all here. The recipes span various cuisines, including European, American and Asian, and are all mostly easy to follow. There’s even a Festive cookbook filled with recipes for the holidays when you have loved ones over that you’d like to impress. All the content is available to you offline, and you can view measurements in Metric or Imperial scales.
You can browse all the recipes in a book by selecting them and tapping the Reveal button on the main screen. You can also tap the app logo and select Inspire Me, or navigate through recipes by popular ingredients. These views show you how long each dish takes to make, how many servings they’ll yield and how many Kcals you’ll take in per serving.
Recipes are displayed in a dual-pane layout, with the method on the left and ingredients listed on the right. You can quickly add these to your shopping list, share the recipe via Android’s system menu, or add it to your favorites to easily find it later. Tags indicate whether recipes are freezable, make-ahead ready, vegetarian, healthy and/or low-fat.
Every recipe is well detailed, and includes individual timers for every step that requires you to watch the clock as you cook, which I really appreciated. I also liked that each step was explained such that one wasn’t left with any doubts as to the process. Plus, you can also see nutritional information for every recipe right below the ingredients.
Be sure to always read recipes in full beforehand so there aren’t any surprises when you’re actually cooking, such as a minimum marination time of 4 hours — it has happened to me!
I love apps that help users do more than just complete basic tasks, and BBC Good Food is a perfect example: it packs several little things that make cooking —and not just navigating through the app’s contents– easier. Apart from being able to find your last-viewed, favorite and random recipes, you can also set a standalone timer, convert weights and volumes and even pull up a handy shopping list.
The list can be populated with ingredients from recipes within the app, and also any others you add to it. You can sort ingredients by recipe or by grocery store aisle. There’s also a great roast timer that you can set by entering the kind of meat and desired doneness. I’d recommend getting this app just for these useful tools!
Tips and tricks
When you’re trying to cook up a storm, the last thing you need is a recipe throwing you a curve ball with a term or technique you’re unfamiliar with. BBC Good Food includes several illustrated cooking tips for every downloaded recipe book, a lovely glossary of ingredients, and a bunch of video tips that you can stream to brush up on basic skills and learn new ones.
The content here is all well produced, so if you end up paying for the cookbooks you’ll certainly get your money’s worth.
Cooking With BBC Good Food
Given over 1,200 recipes in total, you’re bound to find something you’ll want to cook. I was glad to find a simple guide for making mayonnaise at home, and great recipes to satiate my love for meat, such as Beef Massaman Curry, 20-minute Pork Pan-Fry, Cheesy Chicken Bake with New Potatoes, and a lovely Chicken and Ham Pie. I really love the fact that every time-bound step has its own timer and I don’t have to look elsewhere to keep track.
I also loved the simple ideas for soups, salads and starters — stuff I mean to prepare but never get around to. Most of the recipe books list a number of Quick dishes that can be made in 20 minutes or less, which are great for when you’re under pressure to put something on the table. I can’t wait to try the recipes from the Cake book — there’s an entire section dedicated to Chocolate! If they’re as easy as they sound, I’ll probably never leave the house again.
Good Food During the Holidays
With the holidays just around the corner, the time to put something special on the table for dinner is nearly here again. The app’s Festive cookbook includes a number of great recipes to wow friends and family:
- Drinks like mulled wine cocktails and Drivers’ punch for the teetotaller in your group
- Starters like Crunchy Christmas Crostini
- A variety of fancy roast turkeys — my favorite being the classic roast with a red wine baste
- Sides to go with them such as crispy and crunchy roast potatoes, and spiced red cabbage with prunes)
- Desserts in the form of puddings, cakes, cupcakes, bread and cookies.
BBC Good Food – Recipes is a delightful app that’s very well thought out and put together — from the range of recipes to the legible layouts to the convenient tools, everything you’d want from a cooking app comes baked in. The content covers a lot of ground, including basic salads and dips, easy everyday supper dishes, showy entrees and beautiful desserts, which means you won’t have to often look beyond the app for new ideas.
It’s particularly useful around this time of year, given the great collection of recipes suitable for ringing in festivities and celebrating seasonal ingredients. This is a must-have for your tablet that comes at the great price of free. Download it from the Play Store today and make something wonderful. Bon appetit, and happy holidays!