Update: April 2011: This post has been updated to include information on the new bread recipes included.
You might be thinking of trying gluten-free foods or you may have been diagnosed as intolerant to gluten. I am sure you’ve found already how many staples have wheat in them. Trying to create tasty alternatives to some of the items found in the free-from aisles will quickly seem a must.
Recently, one of my weekend guests needed to avoid all wheat. How best to tackle his requirements? Rather than purchase a special recipe book, I decided to dip into Phil Vickery‘s Gluten Free cooking app.
I love browsing through cookery books, I also use recipes from online sources but this was my first attempt at using a recipe App. I am not sure whether all Apps are so counter-intuitive (please do let me know)? Also, I am not particularly tidy when cooking, you can tell the recipes I cook from regularly – they are often rather splattered. So, using my iPhone was going to be tricky (and sticky)!
Phil Vickery’s Gluten Free App
Phil has created flour and pastry recipes that you pre-mix – then use a proportion of the pre- mixes in one of the recipes. There are 16 video recipes and around 40 standard recipes. There’s a shopping list function – you can add the items from any recipe. You can also listen to Phil giving a brief overview of the special ingredients required. Some recipes are also demonstrated in the videos.
Oh my goodness, you certainly do need a lot of different ingredients. We’re really lucky in Edinburgh to have Real Foods who stock plenty of these ingredients – however, you might have to end up getting the more unusual ones online. For example the bread mix includes: soya flour, tapioca flour, potato flour and cornflour. It’s quite a steep outlay to gather all the ingredients to start with.
Bread was very definitely on my list of food I needed to create. In its first edition, there was no recipe for the bread flour pre-mix, there are now two recipes, one using a shop bought gluten free mix and a second, more useful using rice flour and other flours. Xanthum gum is all important to make a spongy texture to make it more like wheat based bread – but this is not included in pre-mixes – do check out the recipes first!
So, what were the results like? The shortcrust pastry is a really good equivalent – it is quite crumbly and tasty – my mix needed a little more water as you can see. On the first occasion I made the bread without the proper recipe – I was going at it blind, but managed to make a passable loaf . I am looking forward to trying the new recipe out.
You’ll probably guess that I am one of those people who tends to fill in feedback forms – and I must praise the response I had to my queries – I couldn’t find the recipe method – the response came back almost by return!
What you get in the App
You have 3 different elements:
Overview – picture of the recipe
Ingredients – the + sign adds these items to your basket. Scroll down to see all ingredients
Method – you have to go back to Overview then swipe to the right and get a step per screen. Sometimes you also have to scroll down to read everything. ( I had to get help with this step!). You can switch between ingredients and method as required.
When you add ingredients it lists these for each recipe in the basket and is a straight copy of the ingredients list including all the comments such as “chop into pieces”. You would need to add up quantities of all the different elements if you were doing more than one recipe.
With the specialist ingredients needed, I think a book would probably be more helpful so you could prepare ahead. The recipes themselves are straightforward but the way you use the App seems to complicate them. It’s a nice idea to have the shopping list, but it’s not helpful when you are making more than one recipe. A nice try overall, and some enhancement have been made since the first release.
And for me personally?
- Usefulness – 6/10
- Preparation – 3/10 – so many specialist ingredients that you’d have to plan well ahead
- Customer service – 10/10
- Recipes – 8/10 for the shortcrust pastry
Aimed at: Confident cook
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It’s a novel approach to put it in an iPhone app, but my experience trying to cook from information on my phone is that it’s extremely frustrating. The only real advantage that I can see is that you have the recipes with you if you’re visiting friends – but as you say it takes so much preparation and special ingredients that you probably won’t have the necessary bits anyway.
I’m assuming this is just the same recipes that were in Phil Vickery’s gluten-free book and repackaged? If so, it’s half the price of the book, but I still think I’d go for the paper copy.
It’s some of the recipes from the book maybe it helps as a taster – would be a great way to sell the book if you got a discount
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