Your very own DIY spa

 

Your DIY guide to getting the spa feels at home, courtesy of our interior styling expert, managing director of Dammer Interiors, Louise Dammer.

 

“The important thing is to keep it simple and think about how all five of your senses can be stimulated,” says Dammer. Think about the type of bath you like the look of, a chair you feel comfortable in and the oils you enjoy the smell of.

1. Keep the space clean and free of clutter to reflect your mind. Achieve this by restricting the amount of furniture to essentials only.  Clear bench tops, and keep things out of sight in storage or organised on shelves.

Hint: Multi-function furniture such as a stool with in-built storage will allow you to keep products and supplies hidden away.

2. Opt for dim lighting to encourage rest.

If you don’t have lights that can be dimmed, try candles or tea lights.

“Lighting is a major element in opening up a space. Recessed spot lighting is perfect for a small space and a feature light hanging over the bath is lush! Making switches dimmable is handy but there are other alternatives,” says Dammer.

3. Have natural oils burning for the joy of smell and relaxation. Peppermint evokes clarity and lavender is calming. Research has also found that lavender improves quality of sleep, promotes relaxation, elevates the mood and reduces anxiety. According to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, aromatherapy has a beneficial effect on heart rate and blood pressure in both men and women, and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, it was found that over-exposure to essential oils of more than one-hour might be harmful to cardiovascular health. So perhaps don’t go OTT.

4. Play soothing music as background.Think classical or sounds of nature.

5. Have room temperature filtered water on hand.

In a jug, or a teapot of jasmine tea for cleansing is ideal.

6. Go for natural elements such as wood (cedar smells fab FYI), stone, green and water. Stick with neutral colours for a fresh look and steer clear of bright colours. Paintings and prints also look busy and avert calming effects. Keep the walls a light colour, as dark walls will make a bathroom look small. Light also creates a sense of calm and peace.

Hint: Mirrors will create an illusion of space.

 

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Top tips to bring your holiday glow home with you

 

Ditch the holiday blues and bring the holiday glow back to your home zone with these tips and tricks from our experts:

 

Maintain the holiday frame. “To keep the benefits of your skin after returning from a holiday continue to get enough sleep, try to avoid stress, get some sun exposure avoiding too much sun, and continue to regularly moisturise,” says Dr Saras Sundrum from cosmetic medicine clinic Dr Saras and Co in Sydney.

Detox. You can maintain your detox and recreate a sense of the ocean at home by bathing in epsom salts, a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. Alternatively, treat yourself to a flotation tank session. You’ll get all the benefits of an epsom salt bath, with additional sensory deprivation to have you emerge a truly relaxed individual.

Rearrange the furniture. You don’t need to be a master at Feng Shui to know that the way you place items in a room can brighten or dull a mood. For a spark of creativity and a sense of purpose all you need to do is spend an afternoon ensuring you’re using your space the best way you can – and throw in a couple of blue pillows for an extra sense of calm.

Meditate. “Lots of people try to meditate and find it’s not for them. In that case I say don’t give up, keep trying and try a range of different approaches – yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, slow breathing exercises – the list goes on and on. There are now a range of apps that can be downloaded which help structure and guide these types of practices, so it’s just like you’ve got an instructor with you.” says clinical psychologist Dr Rosalind Case.

Vary your diet. “The different seasons deliver the perfect foods for each climate. Eating seasonally has many benefits including both nutritionally and environmentally,” says qualified nutritionist Tracie Connor.

Take some time for yourself. Even if you’ve only got time for a cup of tea it will help to dampen stress levels. “Stress causes a flood of the hormone cortisol in our body which attacks our immune system and makes us more susceptible to allergens  and bacteria,” says Dr Sundrum. “We also know that stress decreases our lipid barrier and causes it to dehydrate and lose moisture. All this causes us to look dull, dryer, older and blotchy.”

Focus on what’s important. “If you draw a pie chart and divide up the time spent between work, recreation, family, friends, exercise, spirituality and whatever else is important to you, how much of the pie chart would be taken up by work? We need to consider our values, goals and options,” says Dr Case. Your mood will be all the better for it.

A stay-cation is just as good as getting away. Boost your morale by simply giving your body time to rest. Dr Case agrees: “Think about what elements of a holiday you really benefit from. Is it the increased sleep? The time to relax and reflect? Reading books in the sun? Drinking wine with friends? Whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed and restored when you’re on holiday, think about how you can build more of that into your ‘real’ life.”’

 

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Beauty talk with health and fitness blogger Amy Lee

We caught up with health and fitness blogger Amy Lee to get an insight into how she maintains her glowing skin on-the-go. 

 

ON MORNING BEAUTY ROUTINES

I drink one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with warm water every morning (no matter where I am in the world) to detoxify my system and aid digestion.

ON TRAVEL BEAUTY ESSENTIALS

An eyebrow pencil: it makes all the difference to the structure of your face. I use Bare Minerals brow pencil. A hydrating face mist with lavender can also be a quick and soothing fix for dehydrated skin when travelling.

ON MY TOP TRAVEL TIP

I sleep with a silk eye mask (Jurlique is my pick). It doesn’t stretch or irritate the skin, which is especially good for those of us who lie on our sides to sleep.

ON MY TRAVEL MAKE-UP KIT

A tinted mineral moisturiser with SPF 30+ protection. It keeps my skin hydrated, while still allowing my skin to breathe – it’s especially good in the dry atmosphere of a plane.

ON TRAVEL HAIR

I prefer a fish braid – sometimes I get a headache from having a tight ponytail!

I use Moroccan oil on the ends of my hair but because I get oily roots, I love the Klorane dry shampoo as a quick fix.

ON SKIN CARE

I wear sunscreen with at least a SPF 30+ every day, even in winter. Whatever the season, we must always protect our skin from damaging UV rays!

Even when travelling, I cleanse morning and night using an organic moisturiser.

ON WINTER BEAUTY FORECASTS

I think natural looking and effortless hair will be making a comeback – good news for those who oversleep on weekends like me!

Check out her stunning Instagram @amyleeactive for more.

 

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Fat burning full body workout

 

Burn fat, build muscle and lean lean lean with this efficient 30-minute full body workout courtesy of trainer, Amber Bloom. 

 

This full body workout takes just 30 minutes to complete and requires minimal equipment – so it can really be done absolutely anywhere! This training session will target your upper body, lower body and abs, while still incorporating some cardio to keep the heart rate high.

Each set has three exercises to be performed one after the other, followed by one minute of cardio (one round). Repeat each set three times before moving on to the next set. Take a one-minute break in-between each set (or between each round for beginners). As with any exercise, warm-up and cool down is always recommended.  

P.S: No skipping rope? No problem! Just jump in place, mimicking the movement.

 

Model: Amber Blom
Photographer: James Patrick

 

Set One

This first set focuses on your upper-body. You may want to choose a lighter weight since you will performing a high number of reps, or you can always drop the weight down as your muscles fatigue.

Repeat this set three times. Rest for one minute before moving on to the next set.

Bicep curl x 15 reps 

Make sure to keep your elbows in by your side, your hips tucked under and your core tight. Start with the weights fully extended down, then curl them up, squeezing at the top. Release the weight down to the starting position (resist the momentum and control them all the way down). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Military press x 15 reps 

Start with the dumbbells under your chin, then rotate them out and up to an overhead press. Bring them down below your chin and that’s one rep.  Make sure not to arch your back as you press them up – always keep your core tight.

 

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Push-up x 15 reps

The beauty of push-ups is that they can be modified to accommodate your fitness level.  You can do tricep push-ups, wide push-ups or push-ups on your knees (I like to do a mix).

 

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Cardio

Jump rope for 60 seconds.  You can do alternating single leg jumps, jumps using both feet or any other combination you like.  This cardio burst between each set keeps your heart rate up and the calories burning! 

 

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Set two

This second set of exercises focuses on your lower-body. You may want to use a heavier weight for this set.

Repeat this set three times. Rest for one minute before moving on to the last set.

Deadlifts x 15 reps. 

For this exercise, hinge at the hips with a slight bend in the knee. Stand up and squeeze the glutes. You should be able to feel the glutes and hamstrings on each rep. Keep your shoulders rolled back throughout the exercise.

 

 

 

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Squat jumps x 15 reps

Start in a squat position. Jump up, extending the arms to your sides, before returning to a squat position. That’s one rep. Make sure form is not compromised on this exercise: your knees should not fall inward when you squat. 

 

 

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Alternating walking lunge with glute squeeze x 15 reps per leg

To perform this exercise, extend one leg out in front in a lunge position. As you stand up, raise the back leg and squeeze the glutes. Lunge forward with the opposite leg and repeat on that side. You should complete 30 lunges in total (15 on each side).

 

 

 

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Set Three

This set is all about your abs and core.

Repeat this set three times.

Russian twist x 15 reps per side

This exercise hits the oblique muscles. Find a comfortable seated position with your feet elevated off the ground. You may have your legs bent for more stability or extended if you’re more advanced. Hold each end of the dumbbell in your hands and twist your body to one side then the opposite.  Complete 15 reps per side.

 

 

 

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Glute bridge x 15 reps

Lay on your back with a dumbbell on your abdomen.  To perform this exercise, raise your hip bones up as high as they can, squeezing the glutes.  Lower your body back to the ground. This is one rep. Ensure your knees don’t fall in or out as you perform this exercise.  

 

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One minute plank

This exercise helps cinch in the waist and stabilise the core. Rest your elbows and forearms on the ground, raising your hips to form a straight line from your neck to your ankles. The key to this exercise is to squeeze all your muscles! Think about your glutes, your core, your quads – they should all be activated. As you fatigue, it’s common to sag the lower back; resist this by squeezing all your muscles. And yes, it’s normal for your muscles to shake.

 

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Strengthen your immunity with these top foods

Lifestyle factors such as exercising regularly, reducing stress and avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking, all have a positive impact on your belly bacteria. However, food should be your top priority and is the best first-line treatment to boost the health of your microbiome and, in turn, strengthen your immunity.

 

 

Eat resistant starch: “This kind of fibre resists digestion and when it reaches the colon it is fermented by the bacteria there to produce by-products called short chain fatty acids,” says Dr Jane Muir, head of Translational Nutrition Science in the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University. “In particular, it increases the production of a short chain fatty acid called butyrate, which is very important to keeping the lining of the gut healthy. Butyrate also has a range of other effects, which indicate that it may help to prevent inflammation and reduce the risk of colon cancer.” Foods high in resistant starch include oats, lentils, bananas, cashews and potato that has been cooked and cooled.

Plate up with plant foods: Bad bacteria can multiply super fast. In fact, after just two days of eating an animal-based diet of meat and dairy including bacon, ribs and cheese, people show a growth in potentially problematic bacteria in their gut, shows Harvard research. They also experience higher colonisation of fungi and viruses, and more microorganisms that can trigger inflammatory bowel disease within 24 hours of eating excessive meat and diary. By contrast, the levels of good belly bacteria rapidly improve when individuals are placed on a vegetable-only diet for several days. The take-home? Opt for the broccoli.

Enjoy natural prebiotics: Think foods such as asparagus, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, chicory, onions, leek and garlic. “Prebiotics are fibre compounds that pass undigested through the stomach and small intestine,” says Muir. “When prebiotics arrive in the large intestine, they promote the growth and activity of beneficial (probiotic) bacteria that live there. Having a healthy balance of gut bacteria benefits your digestion, absorption of minerals and immune system function. In short, it’s a win-win for your health.”

Serve a little sauerkraut: Fermented foods are high in probiotics – live bacteria that can help prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to your gut lining and growing there. They can also destroy toxins released by certain ‘bad’ bacteria that can make you sick. If that’s not enough,  probiotics send signals to your cells to nourish the mucus in your intestine, helping it act as a barrier against infection.

Fermented foods can also help to trigger proteins that protect the lining of your gut, shows research from Yale University. “But make sure you listen to your body – if you get symptoms of belly discomfort in relation to certain fermented foods, they may be upsetting your microbiome,” says naturopath and natural health consultant with Doctor Earth in Sydney, Sarah Luck. “Rotating your ferments can ensure a good balance. So during the week on different days, include sauerkraut, lacto-fermented cucumbers, miso (if you tolerate soy), kefir (a probiotic milk drink) and kimchi (a fermented Korean vegetable side dish) in your diet.”

You might also want to take probiotic supplements. “The improvements for digestive complaints usually start to become evident after a week or two of taking probiotics,” Luck explains. “Benefits to skin, mood and general health take a bit longer but usually kick in after a few weeks.”

Eat less carbs: Carbs are the preferred source of fuel for unhealthy bacteria, so loading up on sugars or refined carbs such as white bread and sweet biscuits can compromise your gut health. Instead, opt for wholegrains, and when you eat bread go for a rye sourdough, which is high in fibre and also contains beneficial bacteria from its starter culture.

Cut the chardonnays and coffees: Alcohol can increase the levels of gram-negative bacteria in your belly, which are notorious for causing immune system reactions. This family of bacteria causes an increase in endotoxins, which can be absorbed via the intestine into your bloodstream, then taxied via the portal vein to your liver. Once there, endotoxins can overload the Kupffer cells that help your liver do its filtering work. This can lead the Kupffer cells to activate inflammation in the liver too. Just one episode of binge drinking can cause enough damage to trigger leaky gut, shows research from the Massachusetts Medical School.

On the other hand, your morning espresso can increase acid production in your gut (even if it’s decaffeinated) and also irritate the lining of your stomach, getting in the way of leaky gut repair. The good news is that once you cut the coffee, the mucosal lining of your gut can start to repair and regenerate in as little as 48 hours, shows research from Charles University.

 

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5 exercises for at-home reformer Pilates

 

Want to bring your Pilates sessions home with you? Here are five ways to bring some reformer moves into your home workouts.

 

If reformer Pilates sounds like your kind of deal, you better be prepared to part with a pretty penny. An hour-long private lesson can set you back hundreds of dollars, while group classes are still quite pricey. But for those without the watertight income, exercise physiologist Jennifer Smallridge and physiotherapist at Sportsmed biologic, Rebecca Huppert put together five spins on classic reformer moves to have you reaping all the benefits in the comfort of your own home:

 

1. Reformer lunges

This move is traditionally performed with one foot on the carriage, one foot on the stable platform, and the lunge pushes the carriage back (creating instability). This can be reproduced with XR Slides on a carpeted area (xrslide.com) by placing one foot on the ground and the back foot on the slide, lunging and then swapping sides. You could also use a book to gain the sliding motion.

2. Hands in straps – pullovers

Without a reformer, a resistance band can be wrapped around a steady object (table leg, tied tightly around a door handle). Lie with your body facing away from the band, ensure there is tension in the band, extend both arms up to the ceiling and pull the band down towards your sides while keeping your pelvis neutral. Challenges to this move include putting the legs up in tabletop, and/or adding an abdominal curl.

3. Leg press

This is one of the foundation moves in reformer Pilates. Without the footbar to put the feet on, you can lie on a mat and place your legs in tabletop, then try to keep the pelvis level as you tap one foot down on the mat at a time. You must engage your core muscles for this to be effective and safe. Add difficulty by straightening the leg each time it lowers, or lifting up the head and chest.

4. Reformer row

Again, wrapping a resistance band around a fixed object will allow a row type movement to be performed. The reformer works well by challenging the core, so to get the same benefits, stand on an unstable surface (BOSU, cushion, one leg stand) or complete a squat at the same time, with your core muscles active.

5. Scooter

This exercise involves one leg firmly on the floor and the other on the carriage, pushing it back against resistance and challenging the gluteal muscles on both sides. Without a reformer, arabesques are a nice way to work these muscles. Stand on one leg, hands on hips and lower your chest/lift your back leg at the same time, so that you feel it working all of the stabilisers of your stance leg. Rise up and repeat.

NEXT: Looking for more home workouts? Try this 20-minute workout today.

 

 

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Ultimate protein pancake recipe

Squash sweet cravings and give your workout a boost with these decadent (yet healthy) recipes, courtesy of Goddess Nutrition.

 

Ingredients

  • 100g blended oats
  • 2 egg whites
  • 200ml almond milk
  • 1 scoop Goddess Nutrition™ Complete Recovery Lean Protein in Vanilla Milkshake flavour (or a flavour of your choice)
  • Plain yoghurt
  • Sliced fresh fruit
  • Honey

Method

1. Add blended oats and egg whites to 200ml of almond milk then whisk until smooth.

2. Stir in Goddess Nutrition™ Lean Protein until smooth.

3. Fry your pancakes in a shallow pan until golden.

4. Place your cooked pancakes onto a plate and spread a layer of plain yoghurt on top then fill with fresh fruit.

5. Roll up your pancake and drizzle honey over the top.

Top with more fruit and enjoy!

 

Nutrition

Calories 182kcal // Protein 12g // Carbs 25g // Fat 4g (per pancake)

NEXT: Looking for more healthy, protein-packed recipes? Try these raspberry and coconut protein truffles for a treat.

 

 

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How to avoid ingrown hairs

 

Ever wondered why you can’t seem to avoid pesky ingrown hairs? We turned to the team at Brazilian Butterfly to help! Here are five things you might be doing that promote ingrown hair.

 

 

1. You aren’t exfoliating:

The most common cause of ingrown hairs is a lack of exfoliation. Whilst we have all heard the advice of exfoliating after a wax, many of us ignore this advice and don’t bother. It is critical to exfoliate after a wax to not only minimize those pesky ingrown hairs but to maintain that smooth post wax feeling. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, which clears the way for the newer skin underneath to appear. By removing the dead skin cells you minimize the chance of hairs being caught underneath and thus becoming ingrown.

The Brazilian Butterfly team recommends using the BB Body Scrub with a BB exfoliating mittglove or puff in the shower several times a week. To rehydrate after exfoliation try either the BB Tea Tree body lotion or for those with delicate skin the BB Delicate body lotion.

 

2. You aren’t using aftercare products:

While we have all felt pressured into buying recommended products when it comes to post wax care, the after products are crucial for maintaining your skin and ensuring ingrown hairs don’t appear.

On top of the items mentioned above they highly recommend all waxing clients to regularly use the BB Soothe post treatment, which has been specially formulated to relieve and prevent the discomfort of ingrown hairs. For males this product is great at treating male shaving rash as well! The BB Soothe is recommended as an application for any lumps and bumps that may occur in the open hair follicles and the best part is, it isn’t alcohol-based meaning it works for even the most delicate of skin. It contains an active ingredient, which helps to exfoliate the skin, bringing ingrown hairs to the surface for easy removal and also contains aloe vera and chamomile, which in conjunction work to reduce the swell and discomfort of ingrown hairs. 

3. You are waxing too frequently

It can be tempting to remove hair as soon as it starts to grow, but scheduling a wax too early will hurt you in the long run. If you wax your hair when it is shorter than 1/4 of an inch, the wax doesn’t have enough hair to grip onto which means your hairs will break instead of being pulled out at the roots. Having your hair break will result in ingrown hairs and irritation so it’s best to practice patience and leave your hair to regrow before waxing. 

4. Staying in active wear for too long after a workout

Activewear is fast becoming an everyday outfit for most of us. But staying in tight clothing and synthetic fabrics such as nylon leggings, skinny jeans and polyester underwear will only exacerbate ingrown hairs. These fabrics rub against the skin and don’t allow the skin to breathe, meaning more ingrown hairs for you. Combine this with perspiration during a workout, and it’s the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. After a wax try to stick with light, breathable fabrics.

5. Overactive sebaceous glands

Sebaceous glands, which are located at the base of the hair follicles, sometimes become overactive and release too much oil. This, combined with dead skin cells, tends to clog pores, which provides a wonderful environment for bacteria to form. It also means the hair regrowth becomes trapped under the skin forming an ingrown hair. Make sure you are exfoliating regularly; if symptoms persist it is best you contact your doctor or dermatologist.

As specialists in waxing, the team at Brazilian Butterfly make sure you are in good hands and can provide you with further advice on minimising ingrown hairs tailored to your skin and hair type. To book head over to their official website.

NEXT: Due for a waxing appointment? Here’s how to How to Make your Brazilian wax less painful make your experience less painful. 

 

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Healthy turmeric latte recipe

Want to make sure you reap the benefits of wonder-spice turmeric? Try making your own turmeric latte to ensure you get the nutritional values while knowing exactly what’s in your cup.

 

Ingredients (Makes 10 cups)

  • 5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2½ tsp ground ginger
  • 2½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Note: you might want to start off with ½ tsp unless you’re already used to turmeric lattes – for a newbie, five tsps might be a bit strong!

Method:

Mix spices together. Store in an air-tight container.

To serve, take 1 tsp of the powder. Mix into ½ cup of hot milk of choice and ½ cup hot water. Sweeten with ½ tsp honey or some stevia if you need.

Nutritional value
(per serve):

Without milk

• 55kJ

• <1g fat, sugar, etc

With full-fat milk

• 416kJ

• 8g sugar (naturally occurring from milk)

• 5g fat

With skim milk

•303kJ

•7g sugar (naturally occurring from milk)

• 2g fat

With almond milk

• 242kJ

• 3g sugar

• 4g fat

With (carton) coconut milk

• 233kJ

• 2g sugar

• 4g fat

Recipe courtesy of Samantha Gemmell.

 

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Kaffir green curry recipe

 

Keep your belly warm and healthy this winter with this mouth-watering green curry courtesy of Broth of Life.

 

 

Curry:

  • 4 chicken breasts without bone and skin – cut into large pieces (Vego option: your favourite vegetables or tofu)
  • 1 x 400ml can of organic coconut milk
  • ½ cup of pistachio nuts – chopped to garnish
  • 4 teaspoons of Broth of Life Dehydrated Chicken Broth
  • 1 red chilli – thinly sliced to garnish
  • 1 handful fresh coriander – to garnish
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves – to garnish

 

 

Curry Paste:

  • 3 teaspoons of Broth of Life Dehydrated Chicken Broth
  • 4-5 Kaffir lime leaves – torn discarding the stems & central veins
  • 4 medium green chillis – deseeded & finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of galangal or 1 tbsp of ginger – peeled & chopped finely
  • ½ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 6 spring onions – washed & chopped
  • 4 medium limes – zest & juice
  • 2 lemongrass stalks – trimmed back & chopped finely
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil or ½ a bunch Thai basil with stalk
  • 1 bunch of coriander with stalk

 

 

Method

1. Place all of the curry paste ingredients into a food processor and mix until a smooth paste forms.

2. Use half the paste to marinate the chicken for at least 30 mins. Allowing more time gives an extra seasoned and aromatic flavour.

3. Add olive oil to a hot wok or casserole pan and fry chicken for 5 mins, then add the rest of the marinade.

4. Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered for about 10 mins until the chicken is cooked.

5. If you do want to add more salt, you can add another ½ tablespoon of fish sauce to the dish.

6. Serve into 4 bowls and add a teaspoon of Broth of Life Dehydrated Chicken Broth on top of each.

7. Sprinkle each bowl with pistachio nuts, fresh coriander leaves, Kaffir lime leaf and red chilli to garnish.

8. Serve with organic brown rice, if desired.

 

Photography: Emma Sheldrake


NEXT: Looking for more healthy recipes? Head to our extensive recipe collection for more.

 

 

 

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