Meals in a Mug by Wendy Hobson

meals-in-a-mugGenre: Cookbook
Publisher: Robinson
Publication Date: July 2014

Sometimes one wants a quick and tasty snack or meal that doesn’t require extensive prep, cooking, and clean-up time. For that reason, Wendy Hobson’s Meal in a Mug intrigued me. It provides a variety of recipes one can rustle up with a few basic ingredients, a mug, and a microwave. Though excited to try it out, I confess I had my doubts. I wondered how flavorful or filling a meal in a mug could be.

When the cookbook arrived, my expectations dropped even lower. Simply bound and with only a few drawings of key ingredients at the beginning of each chapter, it reminded me of a puzzle book one might find at a dollar store. However, once I started trying the recipes, I was happily surprised.

Covering everything from breakfast to dessert, and pasta to meat, Meal in a Mug offers a recipe for every taste, need, and time of the day. While the portions aren’t large — no one will overeat with these — I found them to be satisfying. Though the book is British and includes some ingredients that might not be readily found elsewhere, they were all easy to either substitute or find an equivalent.

Here are my thoughts on some of them:

Sweet and Sour Prawn Noodles: (Disclaimer: I made this with chicken.) I love the sweet and sour combo, but rarely get it unless I make a special meal or go out to eat — until now. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve pulled out this recipe. The sweet and tangy burst takes me to flavor-heaven every time.

Cauliflower Cheese: The cheese and bacon give the sauce a nice flavor that makes me dread seeing the bottom of the mug. Depending on how well done you like your veggies, you might have to play around a bit with the microwave time. As is, the veggies come out a bit on the crisp side.

Rushed Mushroom and Rice: I liked this one because of its similarity to risotto. However, it could have benefited from some spices and herbs to kick it up a notch. With only the cream, black pepper, and parsley it lacks flavor. Thankfully, that’s simple enough to tweak.

Quick Chicken in Wine Sauce: I enjoyed this one and will definitely make it again, but not without adjusting the quantity of wine. As is, the wine is too strong, overpowering rather than enhancing.

Apple and Blackberry Nutmeg Crumble: (Disclaimer: I didn’t have blackberries.) Apple crumble is one of my favorite desserts and can therefore be tempted to eat more than I should. Having a mug-sized portion keeps me from over indulging. On the other hand, this recipe does make it too quick and easy to whip up at any time. The mouth-watering oats, brown sugar, and nutmeg topping makes it especially hard to walk away from. As with the Cauliflower Cheese, one might have to adjust the cooking time depending on the preference of crispy or soft apples.

Meals in a Mug makes a great gift for someone living alone or college students in a dorm with limited resources. My teenage brother, who rarely steps into the kitchen, immediately jumped to borrow this cookbook, describing it as exactly what he needs when he wants something quick, easy, and good to eat. So, with his seal of approval, I’d recommend Meals in a Mug to anyone looking for those three things.

Review copy provided by publisher. Thanks!

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