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.


Elixir Charnel Oriental Brulant by Sylvaine Delacourte and Christine Nagel for Guerlain 2008

Hello Fellow Fumies,

Another split that has taken me a while to get my review sniffer onto, thanks again Ruth K from FFF, and Sydney has turned inexplicably cold just so I could feel really comfortable rocking a fully fledged glorious Oriental in Summer (honestly! Who am I kidding? I wear anything ANYTIME the mood grabs me!). For all the Northern Hemisphere people this will be a super dooper winter WINNER!

Oriental Brulant by Guerlain 2008

OrientalBrulant fragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Tangerine
Heart: Almond
Base: Tonka bean, styrax, vanilla

Tangerine? Nope. Nougat? YES!! Maybe some citrus but it is a soft counterpoint to almond essence and vanilla/tonka beans. MMMM This is gourmand but not sweet, sweet. Bakery but the combined smell of a bakery, not the foodstuffs themselves. Maybe the dream of a bakery or a cartoon one. What does happen though is a fabulous fragrance that has enormous scent bubble and sillage while not being a punch in the face. Oriental Brulant is a sheer, seductive vanillic force of nature that makes even me feel pretty and feminine, like the seductress below. Less confrontational than its older sister Shalimar yet still with that enthralling super waft of vanilla cleanness. Like a very fit athletes skin after a shower, but even more delicious. Quite linear but with a little extra warmth and depth through its long dry down, over 6 hours.

Also very girlish, young and accessible scent that would be a super great Sweet 16 or 21st Birthday first fine fragrance, if you can meet the price tag. There is also an underlying sophistication to Oriental Brulant that will appeal to the more mature woman and a nod back to the old days of perfumery while being bang up to date. Now that it’s gone onto my skin it’s surprising how quickly the decant is emptying, I think 4ml of 10 is gone. I think a likeable, loveable, cuddly, delicious, sensual, easy, go-to scent for cool weather but wearable even in Sydney summer.

Underneath the review you’ll find a recipe that will give you a very similar scent, if you like the cake then the fragrance will bowl you over.

Woman layOutSparksPhoto Stolen LayoutSparks

Further reading TheNonBlonde and OlfactoriasTravels
PoshPeasant starts at $6.50/ml
From your Guerlain counter you can grab 2.5oz/75ml for $250, not sure about Australia

Have you tried Oriental Brulant? Any of the Charnal Elixers from Guerlain? What did you think? Would you like to? Why?

Till tomorrow I wish only the good stuff for you,
Portia xx

Carrot, Almond and Orange Cake

CarrotAlmondOrangeCake Taste.com.auStolen from Taste.com.au

  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 1 orange, unpeeled, coarsely chopped, deseeded
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 (about 320g) carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
  • 1 x 110g pkt almond meal
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 50g (1/2 cup) flaked almonds
  • Double cream, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a round 22cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and side with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the orange in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the butter, sugar and eggs and process until well combined. Add the carrot, flour, almond meal and baking powder and process to combine.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Top with flaked almonds. Bake in oven for 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 1 hour to cool. Cut into wedges and serve with cream.

Passage D’Enfer by L’Artisan Parfumeur; Vegan Curry

Hey Y’All,

Easter is over, Jesus has risen and I have added kilograms of chocolate to my super sized figure. It was worth it. Yummy, YuMmY, YUMMY! We had a lovely, lazy 4 day break and felt refreshed and ready to return to the world yesterday.

Saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Monday at the cinema with TSO & BFF. Oh my! You must get out to see it. I am a massive Indiaphile but it is a wonderful film; aside from its reminding me of extraordinary years of holidays in India, spent with a hotelier love and his family & friends. Dames Maggie Smith and Judy Dench were the only 2 who could get me back into the cinema, which I abhor. Thanks Kath and Jin for making me go. Cried tears of joyful reminiscence through much of it. Did I mention popcorn?


This 1999 release from L’Artisan Parfumeur begins like a very expensive, freshly opened packet of incense, you can even smell the wood stick that the incense is on. The lily is quietly flowing around but barely there. Passage D’Enfer is very cool and quiet on me. Although it does get louder as it warms up it never really does much more than make me smell better if you are nuzzling me, lots of people like that, I want to be able to smell myself though. Honestly, I wear perfume 100% selfishly. Good for you if you can smell me but I really want to enjoy an olfactoric ride. Passage D’Enfer is gorgeous, I wonder if a second or third try would help me to notice it more? I shall do so at my leisure, if anything changes you guys will be the first to know.

Photo Stolen from L’Artisan Parfumeur

A perfect fragrance phobic work scent. I have to douse myself in Passage D’Enfer by L’Artisan Parfumeur to know that I am perfumed but I do get delicate and wonderful little whiffs on and off.

UPDATE: Funnily, I have read that this fragrance does not last, but on my usually scent-hungry skin I’m getting 3-4 hours and it is MUCH lovelier now than when I first applied. At the 8 hour mark there is the same whisper that it started with. I have underestimated and misread this perfume and will definitely be giving it another go. It’s almost as if my nose had to become accustomed to the quiet dignity and fragility of this sheer but lovely scent.

So that was Monday, on Wednesday morning I have given myself another spray and this perfume seems more robust in the 10 degree celsius that it did in 20 degrees on Monday. Interesting. I am getting a whole panoply of nuances that I just didn’t detect on first application. OMG! This is a gem, so subtle and SEXY. I can now imagine this as a dinner or, um, you-know-what scent. It definitely has a whisper of the temptress or hunter about it. Warm, spicy, woody and deep. I am LOVING Passage D’Enfer on the revisit. As you know i think all perfume is unisex but this one is so wearable by both sexes that if you are in a mixed sex relationship you’ll both be fighting for the bottle.

Photo Stolen from peter-pho2.com

I really enjoyed the review by Now Smell This and Fragrantica has the notes, accords and reviews.

Vegan Curry

This has nothing to do with perfume and I am a total meat eater but this is my go-to curry, it’s also good just in case you are unsure of your guests dietary requirements, and excellent for ready meals that last a week in your fridge. And SO CHEAP!


  • 4 washed small potatoes cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 large onion cut into wedges
  • 1 cup split peas (any colour but I used yellow last night)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets in 1-2cm pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms sliced
  • 2 zucchini halved and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1 teaspoon iodised salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 4 fresh green chillies slice thinly across, keep seeds
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon prefab crushed ginger ginger
  • 1 tablespoon prefab lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran oil
  • 1/2 cup boiling water


  1. Prepare all ingredients; leave vegetables in bowls of lightly salted water.
  2. Wash, rub and drain split peas 3 times or till water is clear-ish.  Add 4 cups water to split peas and bring to boil on med heat. Skim foam.
  3. Drain potatoes and add to peas. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered 5 mins.
  4. Stir in drained broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms with salt. Return to boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 10 mins.
  5. Heat oil in pan over med-high heat. Add cumin seeds 20 seconds, stir in garlic, chillies and turmeric 1 minute.
  6. Stir the cooked vegetables into garlic/chilli mix in pan.
  7. Whisk flour in mug with some boiling water until smooth. Stir into vegetables.
  8. Add ginger and lemon juice.
  9. Increase heat to med-high and stir continuously 1 minute.

Serve with Rice and Roti (we buy our Roti frozen and pan fry)