Having followed MOB Kitchen on Instagram for years, I was intrigued to see how their cookbook would shape-up in comparison. The answer: very accurately. The exuberant enthusiasm you get from Ben on his social media is just as prominent on every page of the book.
He describes each recipe through a string of superlatives so that you’re not just eating orzo, you’re eating the ‘ooziest orzo’, the ‘sweetest, squidgiest aubergine’ and the ‘freshest veggie burger about’. What you get from the book is a replica of the brand you know and love on social: budget-friendly recipes delivered with fun-loving zeal.
Every recipe has a scannable Spotify suggestion which you’re encouraged to listen to while you make your meal, while recipes demarcated by a star symbol are the ones that are most-loved on their channel.
The book is divided into six sections: brunch, fresh, speedy, fuss-free, flashy and fakeaway mob.
How good are the recipes?
The book includes lots of veggie-style family favourites such as moussaka, korma, quesadillas, risotto, macaroni cheese, burgers and more. I opted to make the oozy butternut squash orzo, a comforting and suitably autumnal combination of roasted butternut squash, orzo pasta and cheese. The method was straight-forward to follow: simply roast the butternut squash, blend to a purée, then simmer with orzo and vegetable stock until soft and ‘oozy’. It was a little off-putting having to scan through the recipe to find out how much was needed of each ingredient (the ingredients list doesn’t detail any amounts). However, the finished dish looked exactly like the picture and is definitely one I’d make again – you can’t really go wrong with pasta and cheese.
I did notice with this recipe, and a couple of others, that the amounts Ben uses are very generous and, likely, designed with hungry families in mind. This dish in particular calls for two butternut squash and 500g of orzo to feed four people, which seems like a lot, although great if you want leftovers.
As a self confessed noodle-addict, I had to give the veggie satay noodles a go, too. The dish had all the flavour and texture of a great pad Thai-style dish: soft egg noodles, a rich and creamy peanut sauce, slightly crunchy vegetables and crisp pickled spring onions. It required a few pans and bowls for each element but each part was really quick and easy to do. The sauce was the best bit – just peanut butter, coconut milk and soy sauce – so I’d certainly give this a go again, perhaps as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or crispy tofu. The recipe sauce says it takes 20 minutes, but I’d allow 30 next time to be safe.
How’s the photography and design?
The food-styling is unfussy and fairly rustic. There is a strong focus on feeding lots of people, with images featuring big sharing platters, hearty one-pots, piled-high ‘brunch bagels’ and multiple plates and bowls, as a strong nod to the feed-a-crowd theme.
Who’s the book suitable for?
The book is well suited to students on a budget and families who are looking to expand their vegetarian repertoire. Most of the recipes are great for weeknight cooking as they don’t take too long to make, plus there’s a nice balance between healthy and indulgent dishes.