Mezze To Milk Tart

Cecile Yazbek

Book Review by Franz Scheurer


This book is a tribute to the unusual, vegetarian cooking of Cecile Yazbek who successfully combines the flavours of South Africa and the Middle East. It combines the cuisine found at feasts in the Lebanese communities of the ‘old’ South Africa with the more modern interpretations from wider Africa and the Middle East. It’s fairly obvious from the book that Yazbek’s native flavours are Indian and Malay influenced (from South Africa) and all the recipes are easy and relatively quick to prepare. You won’t even miss the meat…


The book is divided into:

A Mezze Table

Cooking From The Garden

An Afro-Mediterranean Christmas

Lebanese Lore

A Pantheon Of African Cooks

Tofu And Legumes

Food For The Road

Sweet Dreams


The ‘Freekeh Patties with Rich Mushroom Sauce’ on page 11 caught my eye as did her ‘Auntie’s Pine Nut Sauce With Garlic’. A Lebanese staple, ‘Stuffed Eggplant’ does not disappoint and there are various recipes for ‘Bobotie’ (Afrikaans), which is a baked, spicy loaf, usually topped with custard and baked till set. You’ll find a solid ‘Banana Sambal’ on page 181 and you should try the ‘Date Loaf’ on page 201 if you have a sweet tooth.


This is an interesting book. If you like vegetarian food it is certainly worth investigating.


ISBN: 978-1-86254-921-0

Wakefield Press

RRP: $ 34.95