Cook.Taste.Autumn.Smile by Alex Yandell
Recommended to me via the Guild of Food Writers member’s forum, Cook.Taste.Smile is a series of books for use on the iPad. The author, Alex Yandell, has produced two in the series so far, and I was curious to discover a new form of cookbook. If you are unsure what an iBook is, it as an e-book application by Apple for their operating system and devices. Cook.Taste.Autumn. Smile is available to download via iTunes. See details below
I would normally review a book for the accuracy of the recipes and quality of writing. With this format, I have reviewed both the content and the ease of use.
Once I’d sorted how to view the book (see below) I set about leafing through it. The book is divided into 10 chapters,(30 recipes) which is about right for this style of book. Chapter Four gives three Autumn menus with a wine recommendation for each, and tips on how to make the menu cheaper and healthier. The photographs in the book are stunning and far better viewed on the iPad than in any conventional cookbook. It is this that gives you the urge to replicate the food. The recipes are well written and easy to follow and based on classics with a twist.
Some highlights include Shredded Duck and Roast Plum Salad with sesame, soy and pomegranate dressing, Roast Cod with Puy Lentils and Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette, Porcini and Chestnut Mushroom Soup, Beetroot soup with horseradish crème frâîche, Pan-fried Sea Bass with potato rosti and tapenade sauce, Slow-roasted Belly of Pork with braised fennel, caramelised apples, and cider gravy and Honey and Five-spice Duck Breast with carrot and cardamon mash and red wine jus.
These demonstrate the style of the book, for keen cooks wanting to impress their friends at weekends. Further Autumnal suggestions are for three preserves, three warming desserts, three afternoon indulgences and three savoury baking recipes. Savoury baking includes a couple of breads, and Mature Cheddar Twists
Do they work?
I tried the Porcini and Chestnut Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Crisps and Sticky Stem Ginger and Prune Cake. Both the recipes were well written and easy to use with clear instructions. The results were excellent, and delivered perfectly judged flavours and textures.
Ease of use
For those of us who have become visually challenged, the real advantage is not having to wear glasses to read the recipes whilst cooking. However it takes a bit of time to get used to. Looking back at the “How to use this book section” right at the beginning, I realised that portrait or landscape modes differ in their presentation. The portrait mode shows whole recipes, as in a print book, so you can view the ingredients and instructions on one page prior to cooking. The landscape mode is designed for reading the large (without glasses!) step-by-step instructions guiding you through the recipe. It is advised to set the screen to full brightness and to switch on the ‘Auto-lock’ setting to ‘Never’. You can also make notes and highlight parts of text and also add a shopping list, which you can then print or email to yourself. Once you get used to not flipping pages, the user interface is very easy to use and there aren’t too many buttons or confusing functions. In fact, Alex says the book is very attractive to older buyers, as well as the young professionals they originally aimed the book at.
You can see a demo of the book being used here:http://www.youtube.com/user/CookTasteSmile
About the Author
Rather impressively Alex is still a student at Durham University, studying French and Classics. Alex is in the process of writing and testing recipes for the final two books in the series (‘Winter’ and ‘Spring’) which will be launched over the next nine months. He is also working with Edward Taylor (the series designer and photographer) to bring the books to the iPhone.
Follow Alex on Twitter @cooktastesmile
To sum up:
This is a stylish, good-looking book with recipes for indulgent treats. It is a perfect book for those who enjoy taking time and care with their cooking. The joy of cooking is to use good produce in season to it’s best advantage. This book embraces this philosophy with aplomb. It is not a whizzy app, but strives to produce a beautiful book which is easy to use, and offers helpful functions not available in traditional book form.
Would I recommend?
Most definitely. I can think of a number of iPad-wielding friends who would love it and I will be trying more recipes from it very soon.
How to buy:
The book is now selling for £2.99 on the iTunes store and is an excellent price for the amount of work that has gone into it and much cheaper than the majority of iBooks on the store. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/cook.-taste.-autumn.-smile./id556390316?mt=11