The Food Junkie

Taste, texture & tales. Inside the mind of a chef.

Personal blog of The Food Junkie, Rebecca Clark. Discover stories of taste, texture and tales inside the mind of a chef that's travelled the globe in search of her next food hit. Bec sports a private cook book collection to rival the British Library and Harvard and shares her cooking wisdom with practical tips and humour. She's co-owner of Fish D'vine and The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach, Australia. An iconic award winning restaurant in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

Food for the mind

As a chef and food junkie my knowledge and memory of food surprises me. I read a recipe, get taught something on the job and it sticks, forever. Many moons ago when I did my apprenticeship as a chef, I qualified 6 months early, before everyone else and was a straight A student. However, the rest of my schooling days were very, very different. Dropping out of high school at a very young age was, quite frankly all for the best. My grades were shocking and my theory learning skills certainly not my strong point. I did however go on to receive a qualification at something that has not only carried me through life but has become my passion. Not only have I continued to learn, as I’ve said many times before the knowledge of food never stops giving. I have also passed on my passion and knowledge onto my apprentices over the years and to students in my cooking classes.

Often get a giggle if any of my teachers in school knew I have been holding my own classes.


So anyways, as my life has progressed, so has my need and want for more knowledge. More so than being able to cook a dinner service for 200 plus. Going into management of restaurants, to now owning my own. These years taught me a hell of a lot and the knowledge continues to grow and I absolutely love it. Keeping the mind sharp and on the ball, I believe is what not only keeps us young, but also essential to not growing too old.

I came across a course on line, super brain quest course. How to improve your memory and I decided to sign up and the journey so far has been fricken amazing. Not that I would change my life for anything, it has been and is an amazing ride but some of these skills I’ve been learning, if I’d known back then; Wow, who knows. One of the classes is about super brain foods and as I’ve heard from some of my fellow students that out of the list of 10 superfoods, turmeric and walnuts are two that people don’t like, or don’t know what to do with them. I’m not a huge walnut fan, eating them on their own, but in salads or dipped in dark chocolate, another Super brain food. Not to mention stuffing’s and here we go pesto, they work a treat.

So, my fellow brain quest friends, this one is for you

Turmeric, walnut and lemon pesto


1 cup walnuts

50g peeled fresh turmeric

¼ cup grated Parmesan

½ cup olive oil

1 tsp fresh chopped garlic

1 tsp celery salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

2tbsp fresh Lemon juice, more might be nedded depending on taste

1 tsp Sea salt, more might be needed, depending on taste

2 tbsp fresh chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tsp Greek oregano (optional)

1 tsp sumac (optional)


Place walnuts, turmeric, olive oil, garlic, celery salt and black pepper in a food processor and blend to a paste. Transfer to a bowl and add chopped parsley and stir through. Salt and lemon juice I think are best to add a little, taste and use what’s required for your taste buds. As it is a pesto it needs to pack a fair punch. It will be added to other dishes, generally not just eaten on its own, although I have been known to have a cheeky spoon full. Personally, I like it quite zesty, the lemon really works for me. So season to your own taste. Sumac and Greek oregano are optional, taste good, but won’t make or break the dish. Sumac is a zesty berry, the purple spice you see on dips in a Lebanese restaurant, a fabulous spice. If you don’t know it, buy some, trust me you will become friends. I prefer a Greek or Mexican oregano and if you can find it in a deli still on the branch, bloody fantastic. Once again, trust me.

So, this works so well as a condiment to meats, chicken and seafood. Fantastic as a pasta dish, just add a bit of the pasta water and check the seasoning. Under seasoned pesto pasta, huge pet hate. It also works well as a stuffing seasoning, on a antipasto platter, with cheese. Let the imagination go wild. Last night I had it on rice crackers with sardines, so good and extra brain food. Tasty, healthy and so versatile, go for it and as always if you’re not sure ask me. Always happy to help a fellow foodie.