I was recently given the chance to try out Anna Olson's Recipe Maker App to review. You may recognize the gorgeous Anna Olson from Sugar and Fresh on Food Network Canada.
The App is described as 'a self-guided recipe adventure to create delicious meals suited to your biggest cravings, available ingredients or culinary desires.'
It's not a recipe book but a recipe maker that lets you add your own ingredients, make shopping lists, and customize recipes using the program's templates.
The App provides video tutorials and a recipe maker. You can either start by choosing a recipe that looks good to you, or put in ingredients that you have on hand and a selection of recipes will be offered to you.
For example, I can choose a pesto pizza recipe, and then the recipe guides me in selecting a cheese, fruit, accents, herbs and spices, and vegetables. The lists allows me to choose a certain amount of key ingredients that will combine well together so that my recipes turn out.
If I start with two ingredients, say bacon and onion, I plug those in, press 'Create', and then I'm given a list of recipes that I can choose from. Say I choose the Chicken "Club" Risotto, this allows me to create my own, showing me the essentials but letting me choose from a list of aromatics like garlic and thyme and a list of cheeses like parmesan and goat cheese.
On the downside, I tried certain ingredient combinations that produced no recipes. For example - I tried cranberry and bacon (I like bacon okay?) and tried to make a burger, but neither bacon or cranberries were an option in creating it when I went to the recipe. I tried broccoli and cheese and has the same result.
The App is limited to the recipes available, but gives you quite a few options if you stick to more basic ingredient combinations. I think it is best to stick to one or two staple ingredients you have on hand like garlic and chicken. Personally, I'm now more likely to start by searching one ingredient, like a basic protein, or starting with the recipe itself.
I've been cooking long enough to think I know enough about basic flavour combining, but I still find the pairings the App suggests to be useful. While making a pureed soup the other day I looked in the Recipe Maker for basic ingredients and realized I was missing certain aromatics to take it to the next level.
For the most part, I still like to cook on a whim, throwing things in a pot and tasting. But this simple structure can be great for beginners, or even people like me who need a little reminder every now and then. It's also nice to be able to keep track of recipes that work!
There is over an hour of videos including tutorials on how make the perfect pesto, Indian curry, pizza dough and risotto.
The recipes are family friendly and good for anyone wanting to improve their daily creations.
- Over 40 instructional video segments featuring Anna and her husband Michael Olson
- An expansive database of ingredients
- A shopping list to gather ingredients you need for your recipe
- Thousands of possible combinations spanning from curry to pizza to risotto and more…
- Combinations for spice rubs, glazes, marinades, pestos and salsas to add that finishing touch to a dish.
- A list of the 20 essential ingredients that every home cook needs to have in their kitchen.
- Use: Good for beginners or those who want help with flavour basics
- Price: $3.99 - reasonable