Food for thought – new Annabel Karmel app review

The weekend before last we were invited along to the Apple Store in Regent’s Street on a hot and sunny saturday afternoon to meet Annabel Karmel and hear all about her new app.

I was a bit dubious about how much an app might add to our inspiration experience, since we already have most of the books and I couldn’t see what else we might find of use – the recipes on the app are mostly also in the books, after all.

Listening to Annabel talk, we didn’t just hear about the app though, but also an overview of why she decided to start writing about weaning and children’s food in the first place. What came across was a passion for cooking great, tasty food that little ones will enjoy, as well as a bit of (perhaps well deserved) immodesty about being the Queen of fish pie…

Bubby D and I didn’t really get a chance for an individual chat with Annabel, which was a little disappointing, but what we did get was the opportunity to try out the app ourselves and find out how it adds to our inpired cooking experience.annabel karmel app

I have to say, I wasn’t sure I would but I do actually quite like it!

The recipes are – as I expected – very similar, or even the same, as those we know and love. But what is great about it is that once you’ve flicked through all the options (and every recipe has a picture too, unlike in the books, which adds to the experience) you can add the ingredients for your chosen meal to a shopping list.

And then, you can delete from the shopping list anything you already have – before emailing it to yourself for easy reference, if you like.

This makes planning for a few meals over the course of a week much easier than usual, as I can see at a glance what I need to pick up from the supermarket. It works the other way too – if I happen to have some prawns lying around, I can search for ‘prawns’ and all the relevant recipes with that ingredient will come up.annabel karmel app screens

I actually did have some prawns lying around, so I searched, perused, and decided on Tiger Prawn and Roasted Vegetable Pasta, which was made and enthusiastically eaten within the space of half an hour.

I liked that as well as setting out the ingredients list intially, as you move through the recipe steps it reminds you how much of each ingredient you need – I’m generally really bad at remembering quantities so that was a great feature.

The next night we used it again, and had Rice with Chicken, Sweetcorn and Peas. Again, prepared, cooked and eaten in half an hour. I only had dark soy sauce and I did add quite a lot more peas and sweetcorn than the recipe suggested, but this is another thing I like about these recipes – you don’t have to stick rigidly to them if you don’t want to.

Every time I browse so far I find something new and interesting (I’ve just seen Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding, yum!), and I’ve noticed that there are videos you can cook along with too, if you’re not such a ‘stick it all in and see what happens’ cook as I am!

My one frustration was that it took a long, long time to install – so if you’re in a hurry to get food on the go then wait til another time before downloading this app! It’s not really surprising, given the amount of content in it, but it did take absolutely ages, far longer than any other app I’ve ever had.

And one last feature I’ve found is that is has a planner, which I think I would definitely have found useful when I was weaning the Wee Man, and for now will come in handy when I’m in organised meal planning mode.

All in all, its an app worth getting – even if you do have the books.

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