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House Curious

Lifestyle and interior shop. Social workshops for the creatively curious.

Nourishing Asian Chicken & Vegetable Broth

Sommer Pyne


This dish really is a huge hug in a bowl but it’s more than that, oh yes….it’s loaded with nutrients to boost your immunity, fight inflammation and keep those pesky germs at bay. It’s this time of year where we can feel a little under the weather and this bowl of goodness is an absolute saviour! I invited my lovely friend Erica over from Naturally Nourished and we cooked up a storm. This is my go-to recipe that I cook up on a regular basis for my hubby and girls and now I want to share it with you. It’s an all round pleaser! Although made with chicken, Erica has given you a veggie option using delicious marinated shitake mushrooms and crispy tofu. Time to get your comfy’s on, snuggle up and slurp away. Enjoy!


for the broth

  • 1 Carrot ~ sliced

  • 8 Spring onion ~ roughly chopped (save a couple for the garnish too!)

  • 1 stick of celery ~ sliced

  • 1 whole bulb of garlic (approx 10 cloves) ~ finely chopped

  • 8cm fresh ginger ~ minced

  • 3 chicken stock cubes (use veg stock cubes for the veg version)

  • 4 organic chicken thighs (skin on)

  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

  • 2.5 Litres

  • salt & pepper to season

Note: for the vegetarian version swap the chicken for 200g of sliced shitake mushrooms

all the veg

  • ½ head of broccoli ~ cut into small florets

  • 2 carrots ~ sliced

  • 125g shitake mushrooms ~ cut into slices

  • 80g green beans ~ cut in half lengthways

  • 100g cavolo nero ~ stalk removed and finely shredded

  • 250g baby pak choi ~ ends removed and leaves left whole

  • the recipe also calls for 250g white basmati rice

for the marinade

  • 3 Tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves ~ finely chopped

  • for the garnish
    handful of fresh coriander ~ roughly chopped

  • 1 red chilli ~ finely chopped (you can use birds eye or regular jalepeño depending on your heat preference!)

  • 1 Tsp sesame seeds

  • 2 spring onion ~ finely sliced


Preheat the oven to 200°/180°Fan/gas 6

Start by making the marinade. Simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and rub into the chicken thighs ensuring they are evenly coated. For the veggie option, follow this step using the mushrooms and add a drizzle of sesame oil. Note: you can do this step the night before and store in the fridge until ready to cook.

Place the marinated chicken thighs or mushrooms onto a baking tray or oven proof dish and put into the oven for around 20 – 30 minutes until they start to brown and caramelise.

Whilst the chicken/mushrooms are in the oven you can prepare all the veg and garnish.

To a large saucepan, add the cooked chicken thighs/mushrooms along with the rest of the broth ingredients: ginger, garlic, celery, carrot, spring onion and stock cubes. Cover with water and place on the hob over medium – high heat. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, bring to a boil and let it simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes, until the chicken starts to come away from the bone.

In separate small saucepan, cook the rice according to packet instructions. Set aside.

Remove the chicken from the pan, let it cool slightly and pull the meat from the bone. It should fall off easily. Add it back to the broth. This would be a good time to taste the broth and add more seasoning if need be.

Add the chopped veg to the broth. Start with the broccoli, carrots and green beans. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the mushrooms and the cavolo nero. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes. If you prefer your veg less al dente you can cook them for a bit longer. You want to leave the pak choi until the last minute as it cooks very quickly. When you’re ready to serve up you can submerge the pak choi into the broth.

To serve up, add some rice to a good sized bowl and ladle over the broth, veg and chicken. Add a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and finish by adding the raw garnish of coriander, spring onion, chilli and sesame seeds. Et voila! Sit back and enjoy!

Note: instead of white rice you can of course substitute for brown. Another option is to use rice noodles.

For the vegetarian version, you can pan fry some cubed tofu and add it at the end along with the garnish. The vegetables can be pretty interchangeable so see what you have in your fridge already and have a play around. It’s a versatile dish!


Week 4. Tourist Against Trash

Sommer Pyne


This is the final blog post from our friend Jacqui Scruby. I have learnt so much and have picked up lots of useful tips on how I can do my bit. Sometimes it’s easier to bury our heads in the sand but now is the time for all of us to face our fears. The more knowledge we have the more power we have to make change. Our environmental issues are huge and I know it can seem insignificant making small changes but the more noise we make the more chance we have of governments and large corporations listening to our demands and ultimately making the significant changes needed.

Over to you Jacqui…

There's a huge, hidden, elephant in the room when it comes to your favourite Mediterranean island. Whilst you're saying 'no straw' in your Mojito ... every other bit of rubbish that's being generated on the island is literally being thrown over the island's shoulder to a landfill site in a hidden bay, possibly on a cliff precariously close to the ocean. Truck after truck taking tonne after tonne up to the island's landfill, dumping trash over a cliff, cascading down into a valley birth canal leading to the ocean.

Ios Landfill

Ios Landfill

From my research I have come to realise that the only way to end this problem is tourism. Tourists putting pressure on these destinations to change. Tourists telling these islands that they won't support them if these landfill sites aren't addressed. Tourists collaborating to make the world aware of the situation. That's the mission of Tourists Against Trash - an organisation I've set up that as a traveller - YOU have the opportunity to make a huge contribution by playing a small part. Read on to learn more!


How I First Came to Realise This Was a Problem

If the opening paragraph sounds like I'm being dramatic - it's the reverse - it simply doesn't do it justice. I discovered my first landfill site like this 2 years ago whilst on the island of Vis - an island we'd chosen to visit as it had been frozen in time as a military base for many years and boasted one of the world's top 10 beaches. It was also the location for Mamma Mia 2 and has it's own blue cave declared by WWF to be 'one of the last remaining jewels of the Mediterranean'.

Lefkada Landfill

Lefkada Landfill

Heading around a bend near the cute fishing village of Komiza we were faced with an illegal landfill site - in plain sight, next to the glimmery ocean. I was shocked - I got out, took photos and was very distressed, my children kept asking why it would be near the ocean and I didn't have an answer for them - this was a large island with many inland locations a landfill site could have been situated. I didn't have an answer.

Only 7km from the Blue Cave, returning we could see the landfill from the water - exactly where Mamma Mia 2 was filmed. Below it a natural spring, where tourist boats previously would stop to fill water bottles (no longer due to leachate) and a beach famous for a Sophia Loren shoot which is now covered in plastic and microplastics. I couldn't understand how everyone was so proud of showing off these natural wonders yet a landfill site was allowed to be in amongst it all. Ask any questions and the only answer was shoulder shrugs.

Vis Landfill aka Mamma Mia Landfill after the film shot just below it.

Vis Landfill aka Mamma Mia Landfill after the film shot just below it.

I took footage and got in contact with many organisations, including multiple WWFs. All answers were the same - that it was common on Mediterranean islands, and there's nothing anyone can do and it isn't an area they are focusing on. Despite this information when I researched ocean side landfills, I could find next to no information on the internet - except for one article on a landfill site on the Greek island of Andros that had collapsed into the ocean sending hundreds of thousands of tonnes of trash into the sea. A huge contributor to ocean pollution - yet completely ignored. I also didn't accept that there is nothing that can be done to improve the situation.

Fast forward a few more trips and I soon discovered that landfill sites with ocean views are ubiquitous. Much to my husband's (initial) horror, the glamorous girl he thought he married became a tip chaser - seeking out landfill sites in the most stunning holiday destinations - a far cry from our Pinterest board holiday plans.

Vis Landfill aka Mamma Mia Landfill after the film shot just below it.

Vis Landfill aka Mamma Mia Landfill after the film shot just below it.

Tilos' landfill site is over capcity - facing the ocean with debris flying out from it in the wind. Los and Lefkada sites are on hills near the water, one located next to the major harbour.

Our favourite island of Kastellorizo, which continues to shock us with the amount of plastic in the water with turtles swimming through it and locals doing nothing, a few years ago had a tip on a steep incline leading to the sea. Due to pressure from returning Greek Aussies each summer it was moved inland and regenerated - an example of some changes that can be made. However, due to the small size of the island the new landfill is still within 300m of the ocean and a trip to the old site still shows waste popping through the gravel layer - including old fridges and cars - very close to the water's edge.

Hydra Landfill aka Leonard Cohen landfill

Hydra Landfill aka Leonard Cohen landfill

The most shocking perhaps was Hydra - an island known for it's glamour, frequented by Kate Moss and home to Leonard Cohen and no-car policy, giving it an image of some degree of sustainability. The landfill site I discovered here was around the bend from the Mandraki - the major swimming beach for the island. That's right, without knowing it tourists are swimming only a few hundred meters from landfill leachate. Again - a huge island with ample inland space had a landfill site on a cliff leading to the ocean.

So why isn't anything being done? The European Commission is aware of the problem, but not of the details of it. It has fined countries like Greece who pass on fines to municaplities, who pay hundreds of thousands of dollars each year but continue to operate the landfill sites. They have had feasibility studies, alternative waste management proposals and on Hydra, funding has been approved but works never commenced. The reason nothing is done is complex - from archeological issues to locals being fearful of raised taxes. One theme that is constant is that Municipalities care only about tourism and tourism isn't effected by the landfill or even copious amount of trash on the beach.

Andros Landfill aka Leonardo Di Caprio - Leonardo Di Caprio drew attention to this island recently after it collapsed and hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rubbish fell into the Mediterranean.

Andros Landfill aka Leonardo Di Caprio - Leonardo Di Caprio drew attention to this island recently after it collapsed and hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rubbish fell into the Mediterranean.

Tourists Against Trash

Tourists Against Trash is designed to change that. We have a number of projects to let governments know plastic pollution and illegal landfill sites impact tourism. We are working with other organisations to release viral drone footage of the site to raise awareness and support a petition to Hydra and Greek Authorities to have the illegal landfill site decommissioned.

We also have a Landfill Mapping Project - our aim is to map every landfill site within 500m of the ocean, together with photos and footage by the end of 2020. We also use our Instagram account to bridge the gap between tourists and municipalities and Ministers for Tourism - making sure tourist feedback on trash in nature is being received. Finally it supports waste reduction, empowering tourists to be eco-travellers (TAT Travellers) to help drive change in these destinations and locals to make shifts towards zero waste.

Here's how you can be a TAT Traveller

1. Sign Our Petition

Head to our website and sign up to be informed when our viral drone footage of Hydra's illegal landfill site and it's supporting petition go live. We'll let you know just before it's released so you can be the first people to sign the petition!

Mapping of Landfill sites - this one is Hydra.

Mapping of Landfill sites - this one is Hydra.

2. Map a Landfill Site Next Summer

It's easy!!! If you are heading to a Mediterranean island next summer this will require no more than an hour or two of your time and will bring tremendous change - the cost benefit is huge. Your mapping of a landfill site via our website will provide the European Comission with information they do not currently have. All you need to do is chat to a local and find the location of the site and let us know through our website . If you can - catch a ride up there and take some pictures or footage - although this is not essential- even the rough location is invaluable as it allows us to find the site on Google Earth.


3. Use Instagram - Tag @touristsagainsttrash

If you see trash in nature let us know by tagging us on Instagram and hashtaging your location #TAT*yourlocation* e.g. @touristsagainsttrsh #TATMykonos . We will collate all the evidence from those locations and your comments and provide these to the Municipalities. Currently locals have no idea that tourists are disgusted by the current situation. Some Mayors are farmers who don't speak English - they really have no idea about global movements to protect the environment or your beach cleaning efforts. We translate into the local language and provide them with this evidence to motivate them to better manage waste.

4. Be As Zero Waste Traveller

Actions speak louder than words - being a zero waste traveller with water filters, own bags and saying no to straws. Be the change you want to see. Check out our previous weeks' posts on how to do this.

5. Become Imperfectly Plastic Free at Home - 6 Weeks to Plastic Free

Join 6 Weeks to Plastic Free for plastic free bootcamp for your home. You'll follow a week by week process that makes shifting to zero waste easy and efficient and satisfyingly effective. This is not about switching out a couple of items but going hardcore for a 6 Week period (like a weight loss bootcamp) to see what you can achieve and create a new lifestyle. The aim is to have hardly any plastic waste in your recycling (as it rarely gets recycled) and have your landfill waste done to almost nothing. We have a whole module on zero waste travel. Check out www.6weekstoplasticfree.comand @6weekstoplasticfree.

To get daily inspiration follow Jacqui on instagram @jacqui.scruby or if you want extra help to live a plastic free luxe life check out her 6 weeks online course to going plastic free @6weekstoplasticfree and

Also if you missed the previous blog posts in this series you can check it out here:

Week 1. Plastic Free Travel - What you need to pack

Week 2. Plastic Free Travel - Mindset and Behaviour

Week 3. Climate Change - Be Carbon Positive

Turmeric Coconut Dahl

Sommer Pyne


Looking for #meatfreemonday inspiration that will brighten up the rainiest of days? Then look no further, we’re sharing another yummy recipe the lovely Erica from Naturally Nourished., over to you Erica.

Dahl has to be one of my go-to’s for a quick, full flavoured, protein and fibre packed meal. I’m a big fan of food that has ‘scoopability’ factor where knives are not needed in the mix! The sautéed kale adds some green goodness and texture and the acidity of the tomatoes cut through the creamy coconut, adding some freshness and bringing the dish to life. Add fresh chillis if you like a little extra fire! Ginger and turmeric are very grounding spices and add a soothing, subtle warmth to your belly. 

Dahl freezes well so you can make a big batch and have some ready for those nights you don’t feel like getting your cook on!

Prep time: 15 minutes   cook time: 30 minutes   serves: 4


400g red lentils

1 medium onion ~ diced

4 cloves garlic ~ minced

6 leaves of cavolo nero kale (stalks discarded) ~ sliced

1 large tomato ~ finely diced

5cm piece of fresh ginger root ~ peeled & minced/grated

1 tsp Himalayan salt

Pinch of black pepper

1 Tbsp ground turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)

Small bunch of fresh coriander ~ finely chopped

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1L water

400ml coconut milk

2 Tbsp natural unsweetened yogurt (or coconut yogurt if vegan)




1.    Add most of the coconut oil (save some to sauté the kale!) to a medium/large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, ground coriander, cumin, black pepper and onion. Cook for 3 minutes until onions becomes translucent and the spices smell fragrant. Stir regularly.

2.    Add the lentils and salt and cover with the water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat. Add the coconut milk and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.    Then place a small frying pan over medium heat, add the remaining coconut oil and the kale. Cook for 5 minutes and stir regularly.

4.    Serve up in bowls and top with the tomato, kale, a swirl of yogurt, the fresh coriander and a sprinkle of nigella seeds. Sit back and enjoy!

Recipe and words by Erica Rodriguez - Naturally Nourished