Photography Technician uses talents to create cookbook

27th September 2018

The talents of Leeds City College Photography Technician, Arooj Hussain, don’t just lie in beautiful photography and dark room workshops. Her passion for spices and her mum’s authentic cooking, led to the creation of a skilfully crafted cookbook that flew off the shelves, leading to a limited second edition run.

Arooj initially wanted the book as a keepsake for herself and her mother. “My mum’s food has always been a topic of conversation. Sometimes my cousins would come round with spinach and vegetables and ask her to cook something with them.

Arooj Hussain

“I decided to collate a mix of her most popular recipes and combine them with my photography skills. Three years later, The Spice Queens was born. It garnered interest from friends, who passed it on to their friends and it wasn’t long before I ended up selling 50 books.”

The book even comes with a packet of Arooj’s mum’s special basaar and garam masala blends to get you started.

“What makes it stand out is that it’s more than just a recipe book. It’s art and home cooking combined in a sensory experience. It includes everything you need to cook delicious Pakistani/Kashmiri curry.  The key is mum’s secret spice blends and the tips and tricks will satisfy the most intense of curry cravings. For me, food and flavour is a key element of life, the things we eat are so much a part of how we feel, so here I want to share the joy inside out with you. ”

Arooj discovered photography whilst studying for a degree in graphic design. “I picked up a camera for a project and didn’t look back. I had a natural talent that led me to working in different industries from TV, design and events to commercial, weddings and portraiture.

“A few years later, I saw the advert for a teaching role at Leeds City College and decided to apply. I now divide my time between Leeds Sixth Form and Leeds Arts University, imparting my passion for photography. It gives me great satisfaction seeing students fall in love with film the way I did.”

In the near future, Arooj would like to offer cookery workshops focused on health and happiness, these are her long-term goals with a friend. She has plans in the pipeline for a second book, focused on herbal remedies. “Along with being a spice genius, I like to call my mum a ‘magic fairy’ as she enjoys creating her own concoctions of natural herbal remedies. She has an antidote for everything that I want to share far and wide.”

The Spice Queens is available to purchase and you can find out more by visiting

Leeds City College