Book reviews by Mobilism's Book Review team
Jan 3rd, 2018, 6:27 pm

TITLE: A Lebanese Feast of Vegetables, Pulses, Herbs and Spices
AUTHOR: Mona Hamadeh
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Regional & International, Vegetarian & Vegan, Middle Eastern
PUBLISHED: May 3, 2016
RATING: ★★★★★

PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon iBookStore

Review: I love cooking and I am a vegetarian, so I always keep an eye out for international cookbooks that are 100% vegetarian. Nothing I love more than that. Apart from Indian, Mediterranean, and Mexican cuisines, I also have seen extensive use of vegetables in Middle-Eastern cooking but so far there has been no cookbook devoted specifically to Middle-Eastern vegetarian dishes. So imagine my surprise and delight when I found Mona Hamadeh's cookbook, a treasure trove of Lebanese recipes!

Borrowing from the blurb of A Lebanese Feast of Vegetables, Pulses, Herbs and Spices, the book truly is "a cornucopia of delicious vegetable recipes." Other than Indian cuisine, Lebanese food is considered one of the healthiest in the world, due to the vast variety of vegetables and pulses used in their cooking. In fact, a lot of vegans would love this book, as dairy and eggs are used minimally. Certainly, I prefer such cookbooks rather than those whose recipes which have been adapted or modified for veganism; I believe the original recipes have a different, more authentic taste to them.

A Lebanese Feast proves to many people that Lebanese food is more than just hummus or falafels. The passion with which Mona Hamadeh is sharing her family recipes can be beautifully felt throughout the book. There are seven sections (Dips and Starters; Soups and Salads; Side Dishes and Snacks; Bread and Savoury Pastries; Main Dishes; Sweets; Basic Recipes), each with a short introduction. One of the things I like about the cookbook is that each recipe has a corresponding picture with it.

Non-Vegetarians can equally enjoy this cookbook by throwing shredded leftover meat or inclusions of any minced meat in kibbeh. I loved the alternative to cream-cheese called labneh. It resembles cream-cheese but is actually made of plain yogurt, drained and concentrated to enhance its creaminess. There is a whole section which has a variety of egg preparations.

The recipes are very simple (though not always quick to prepare). All recipes require simple, cheap ingredients. I have tried 3 recipes from the book and I already love it. People who think this is a savoury cookbook, be prepared to be amazed by the dessert section of the book. The best part about the recipes is that most of them require no eggs or butter.
Tamreyeh (date slices)

MAKES ABOUT 20 SLICES | Preparation Time: 15 minutes

500g block of pitted dates or any other moist dates
60g melted, unsalted butter
80g Rich Tea biscuits
100g broken walnuts
40g unsweetened, desiccated coconut

• Blitz the date block in a food processor. Add the melted butter and mince the dates until they form a paste.
• Mix the processed dates with the biscuits and walnuts.
• On a smooth surface, roll the date mixture into a sausage shape, then roll on a plate of coconut to coat all over.
• Wrap clingfilm (plastic wrap) round the sausage and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, which makes it easier to slice.
• Take the date roll out of the fridge, remove the clingfilm and cut into 1cm-thick, round slices.
• Delicious served with coffee.

A Lebanese Feast might showcase just the Lebanese cuisine but the recipes use vegetables and pulses in such wonderful and different methods. If you want to include more veggies in your diet and explore a whole new culinary experience, then this book is a must-read and must-experience!
Jan 3rd, 2018, 6:27 pm