CQ`S Cooking Tips #3: Hommus + Pesto


Post by Val the Cookie Queen


Cookie Queen’s Infrequent Cooking Tips No 3

Hommus + Pesto

Hungry APJs? I greet you.

I am expecting five visitors from England and have been running round like a chipmunk on speed.

Chipmunk Running SeagullStevePhoto Stolen SeagullSteve

Turning my 20 year old bodybuilding, XBox playing son`s bedroom into a room for an 8 year old girl to have for a week. No mean feat I can tell you. Changing my teenage girl´s room into a small haven for the mum and dad I was stunned to find that there was actually a carpet on her floor. I had forgotten she had one. Two young lads coming along too, but I have bunged them in the attic. Washing, cleaning and of course cooking!!
Yay!! I can do that. Fast. Simple and bloody good. If I do say so myself.
It goes without saying that I baked a few cookies in the morning, and no, I will never share the recipes for them.

Since it is still warm here, and our southern hemisphere friends are getting ready for summer, I have made hummus and a batch of pesto, perfect summer food.

HUMMUS (Hommus for Aussies)

Hommus ExclusivelyFoodPhoto Stolen ExclusivelyFood

Soak about half a kilo of chickpeas for a few hours or overnight.
Cook them for about 50 minutes in the pressure cooker. Turn off and leave to cool down.
I then swirl them around in the water, lightly running them through my fingers, to remove the skins.
Pour the skins and water away. Keep doing it until most or all of the skin is gone. It really does make a difference to
the end result.

So now ……..
About 4 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 cup of tahini (sesame paste)
Juice of 2 or 3 lemons
A hefty amount of finely chopped garlic
A decent amount of salt
7 tablespoons of iced water

Put the chickpeas into a food processor. Process until mashed up.
Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Process some more.
Drizzle in the iced water, and then process/puree for 3 or 4 minutes.

Job done. (You can do the whole lot with a fork if you don´t have a mixer. It will just be coarser.)

Put into a nice serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and decorate with whatever – chilies, parsley, cracked black pepper.

DO NOT ADD OIL WHEN MAKING THE HUMMUS ………. that is a western practice.

Serve with nice bread, raw vegetables, whatever. This is so good you will never buy it again. You can use canned chickpeas of course,
but cooking your own has the edge.

So that´s supper out the way.


Pesto Ingredients ThePleasuresOfThePalatePhoto Stolen ThePleasuresOfThePalate

Rinse out your food processor and make the pesto now. Please don´t buy pesto from the store. Ugh.

Around 2 cups of chopped basil
Maybe about half a cup of pine nuts
Half a cup of grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Crushed garlic to taste (anything fro 1 – 6 cloves!!)
Olive oil
Fresh squeezed half a lemon, maybe a little zest if you fancy


Put everything into the processor except the oil and lemon juice.
Process away, scraping down the sides.
Then drizzle the olive oil in until you have whatever consistency you like – hard to say how much, half a cup, more??
Add the lemon juice right at the end. It literally brightens it, and freshens it up. Beautifully. And fragrantly.

Put it into a jar, sealing it with a layer of olive oil.

Cook up a pot of linguine or spaghetti. Drain. Put a huge dollop of pesto into the bottom of a nice
serving bowl and put the noodles on top. Mix in well. Maybe grate some extra Parmesan on top.
Done. Serve with a large plate of sliced tomatoes and some goat´s cheese. Lunch is served.
There will be pesto leftover. Put it into a jar, and seal it with a layer of olive oil to keep it fresh.
Keeps for a while.

I suggest that when working with this much garlic, that you don´t apply any perfume until you have
finished and showered!! You all know what I think of perfume and garlic.

Let me know how you like it.


CQ`S Cooking Tips #2 TABBŪLE Variation


Post by Val the Cookie Queen




Hey Aromatic Friends!

My lunch today. With a side of avocado and grilled mushrooms. Not pictured. :)))

I spend most of the time making and baking cookies these days. That makes it kind of tough on my family as there was a time when they got awesome home cooked meals every day. Fortunately, due to their great upbringing, they all cook for themselves and sometimes even for me! But I still love to prepare food. But I want it to be healthy, quick and damn good. After all, I do have a reputation to keep up.

I love Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern food. So today boys and girls, we are going to have a tabbouleh inspired dish.

Tabbouleh is arguably, originally from Syria and Lebanon. The Levantine Arabic word “tabbūle” is derived from the Arabic word “taabil” meaning seasoning. Use of the English word first appeared in the 1950s. Useless information fact of the day – the largest recorded dish of tabbouleh weighed in at 4,324 kilos!

I throw together tabbouleh type dishes a lot, no skill needed, unlike baking where it is useful if you have an idea of what you are doing!

how-to-chop-herbs bonappetit.comPhoto Stolen bonappetit.com

Ingredients of the day:

Bulghur, couscous, or Havuçlu Piyale Kuskus* (this is fat round balls of couscous that swell up to be the size of peppercorns – totally cool!)
Feta cheese, or cheese of choice
Tons of chopped basil
Tons of chopped parsley
A good amount of chopped mint
Decent olive oil (if you can afford good perfume, you can afford good oil)
Lemon peel/zest
Lemon juice and/or balsmic vinegar (I use white but red will do)
Freshly ground black pepper
Thin slices of red pinion
Pomegranate molassess*
Tahini* (Use the white)

* get this stuff in a funky supermarket, or a middle eastern grocery store. It´s damn cheap and adds style and fragrance.

Prepare the grain according to whatever instructions are on the box. Traditional tabbouleh uses very little grain and more herbs. But use whatever you want.
Let it cool of course.

Chop the tomatoes, peel, de-seed and chop the cucumber, chop the cheese into chunks, then chuck it all into the bowl with the bulgur or whatever. Add all the chopped herbs, the more the merrier, but if you don´t have many then who cares? When all else fails you can always use dried oregano!! Stir it all up. Add a few good glugs of olive oil, throw in a little lemon zest, add some lemon juice ……… taste it, then add however much vinegar you want. Season with salt and pepper to taste, obviously. Before you serve it, drizzle it with pomegranate molasses. If you have not tried that yet, you must. It is sour and delicious and adds such a wonderful flavour. (It´s good on green salad too, and more …..) My daughter elegantly pours tahini onto everything at the moment. That works too. If you like it, do it. I decorate it with thin slices of red onion, but not too much. Onion breath plus perfume ………… Ugh.

pom molasses maresfoodandfunPhoto Stolen maresfoodandfun

Doesn´t matter if it´s winter or summer. It is always a welcome salad. I made a version for Christmas this year, and we barbecued on the balcony. Winter? Who cares.

So there you go. It is not rocket science. If you are sat there thinking, wow, that sounds nice, then get off your arses and make it. Add it to your repertoire. It never fails to impress. Off you go then.

CQ xxx

LUSH Ultrabalm + Coriander, Green Chili, Walnut and Yoghurt Chutney Recipe


Post by Val the Cookie Queen


Greetings APJ Fragrance Fiends!

Lush. British slang term to describe something pleasing or desirable.

“I had the most lush meal last night.”
“That perfume is lush.”
“Look at him/ her …….. he/she is totally lush.”


LUSH Ultra Balm VegetarianLivingPhoto Stolen VegetarianLiving


Organic Jojoba Oil
Candelilla Wax
Rose Wax

We´ll keep this short. This stuff is totally amazing. For a million things. Too long to list. You can look it up for homework.
Why am I writing about it? Well, for all you folks whose skin “eats fragrance”, or who just want their scent to last a little longer, Ultrabalm is the business.
If you know that already, then skip this and look at the recipe. For those who don´t, it´s simple.
Put a little of the Ultrabalm wherever you put your fragrance. Then put your fragrance on top. That´s it. Your perfume will last much longer. The very slight smell that the Ultrabalm has goes away.
I use it for any scent that I think of as an “anointing” scent. Rose, patchouli, amber, sandalwood, Tauer, Vermeire ………
But who cares?? Use it for whatever you want. I would never, ever be without it.




Coriander, Green Chili, Walnut and Yoghurt Chutney Recipe

CQ´s Occasional Fragrant Cooking Secrets

GreenChutney FoodVivaPhoto Stolen FoodViva

This stuff is awesome.

Good sized bunch of fresh coriander (some stems are OK)
Yoghourt of your choice (I like Turkish or Greek) – maybe about a half cup, maybe a bit more
Fresh green chiles (too taste, obviously)
10 or 15 walnut halves
(slices of thin red onion to decorate if you are feeling creative)

Plug in a food processor (!)

Chuck the whole lot (EXCEPT the salt) in a food processor. Process. Not at rocket speed. Bit by bit.
Not thick enough – add some more walnuts, not hot enough – more chiles (remembering it gets hotter over the hours and days) want it more creamy – add more yoghourt. Add the salt at the end, you´ll probably need a decent amount. Anything with chiles needs lots of salt. You don´t add it to the food processor because it makes the chutney turn runny. I like it to be thickish. But make it how you want.

This chutney dances on your tongue. Eat it with everything. Well maybe not cornflakes. Keeps in the fridge for a few days just fine. Smells lush.