'Blend' is a spice blend recipe iPad app created by a Dublin based development team.
The app focuses on creating your own custom spice blends. Featuring 16 recipes to suit a wide variety of dishes, the app emphasises the benefits of fresh homemade spice mixes over shop-bought packs.
The presentation is slick, with a clean design that fits in nicely with iOS7. The user is presented with "What would you like to blend?" and four spices per page, with name, recommended food types, a picture of the ingredients and a short description. This simple no fuss approach is great for getting straight to the recipes
Once a recipe is selected, the instructions are given in simple steps.
We tested Mixed Spice in an attempt to conjure up memories of Christmas. The page is divided into three columns. The left lists the ingredients, the middle has concise directions and the right column lists videos of the techniques used.
The technique videos have a really nice quality, although the pace is possibly too relaxed for repeat viewing in the heat of cooking.
With techniques and tips kept neatly in the right column, the directions are as clear and concise as possible.
The final component on the mixed spice page was a short fact about cinnamon. This fact slider features interesting info on six of the ingredients used, lending a coffee-table book feel to the experience.
The user experience is pleasant and intuitive, making it easy to follow in the middle of the cooking.
The results were noticeably tastier than the equivalent in our spice rack and although time-consuming, there was a enough mix made for a number of dishes.
We went with the suggestion found in the tips section and added the mix to a carrot and sweet potato mash. Delicious.
A search function allows the user to search by food type and flavour theme (Indian, Italian etc,) giving quick access to the apps recommended blends.
The one element lacking was more information on each blend or even each spice, but the app never claimed to be the fountain of all spice knowledge. As an app that explains how to make different spice blends, it is very hard to fault.
Created by a team of DIT students as part of their major project towards an MSc. in Creative Digital Media, the app could teach many larger companies a thing or two about user experience and presentation.
Blend is available free on the Apple Store.
More info can be found at blendtheapp.com