Meet Jessica Nguyen, Home Cook, Recipe Creator and Lover of Masks

Melbourne-based home cook and recipe creator, Jessica Nguyen, has been filling our Instagram feeds with literally delicious feeds and we’re obsessed. Nguyen started creating recipes and food content full-time at the start of the first lockdown and it’s evolved into the career she’d always dreamt of. On the cusp of the AFL Grand Final long weekend, we asked her to inspire us with her own version of #masksnack. That is, her two loves — pasta and masks — naturally colliding. As it turns out, her spicy prawn linguine makes a perfect accompaniment to our Vitamin C & Enzyme Mask. Below Nguyen not only talks all things skin care but also shares the tasty recipe. 

ON HOW HER SKIN’S BEEN TRACKING RECENTLY

“It’s been a bit up and down (the Coronacoaster!) - I’ve been using less makeup since the pandemic and I now have the time to invest more in my skin care. Which has been a great thing! However, wearing face masks has changed the condition that my skin is under. I’m getting breakouts along my jawline and texture issues popping up more often which I wouldn’t normally get. Usually, my main issue is hormonal breakouts when it’s that time of the month. Otherwise, everything is pretty good. Someone asked me if being in the kitchen more and standing over pots and heat is having an impact on my skin! I think it’s actually good for me. It’s kind of like a steaming at-home facial!”

ON HER APPROACH TO SKIN CARE

“I’m always about hydration and brightness because I think that’s what makes your skin look healthy and youthful. I don’t really focus on anti-ageing, but I’ve always worn SPF and looked after my skin. Even when I was a young girl. That was one of the key things that both my parents — who are Vietnamese — ingrained in me. They said that my hair, skin and teeth were the three most important things for me to look after! So, that’s something that I’ve always thought about.” 

ON HOW HER DIET IMPACTS HER SKIN

“The food that I post on my Instagram is the food that I eat. It’s all very wholesome and home cooked - I believe my skin reflects that. I’m an ‘everything in moderation’ person. If I eat a heavy cheese-filled pasta, that’s totally fine for me! And then that same week I make sure that I’m balancing it out with something fresh and light. I believe that the body needs everything: carbs, oils, proteins, sugars, fats and so forth. It’s having a balanced diet that helps my skin looks its best.” 

ON SELF CARE

“Pasta plus a mask! Yes, but the ultimate self-care moment for me is a bath at the end of the day. After dinner, with a glass of wine, plus a Hyaluronic sheet mask and Netflix. We can’t go to a spa so that’s been my way of pampering myself and I feel lucky to have a bath. It’s my favourite way to decompress. I have a little stool beside the bath, and I set up my iPad and have been known to stay there for at least an hour. I’m currently obsessed with Schitt’s Creek (I know I’m late to the party on that), Dream Home Makeover (I binged the entire season while cooking one day), and The Chef Show with Jon Favreau is so great.”  

 

 

ON HER SKIN CARE ROUTINE 

 

 

Gly C Refine Facial Cleaning Wash Gel

“I like to do a double cleanse and prefer to start with a gel and finish with an oil. I’m not sure what the rules are around this but that works really well for me! I’ve noticed that this one has been great for the acne and texture issues I’ve had along my jawline since wearing a face mask.”

 

Anti Ageing Beautiful Skin Cleansing Oil

“I’m obsessed with oil cleansers and the texture of this one feels so good. I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but when I do, this easily melts off my tubing mascara and leaves my skin feeling soft.”

 

Essentials Hydrating & Healing Serum

“This one is packed with Hyaluronic Acid for when I need extra hydration. I layer this on in the morning. I really love serums and I’ve found that I tend to use them instead of moisturisers. I like the texture of this one on my face, it feels instantly hydrating and gives me that dewy look.”

 

Perfect Complexion Sunscreen Lotion SPF50

“I wear sunscreen every single day. I’m in auto-pilot mode when I apply it now, I don’t even think about it. I like this one because you don’t feel like you’re wearing a sunscreen. It feels comfortable and sits really well under makeup.”

 

 

Hyaluronic Skin Recovery Sheet Mask

“This is what I use when I want to treat myself. I keep mine in the fridge. I have a shelf dedicated to masks! I love how my skin feels after using this mask. I normally pop this on when I’m taking a bath and make sure I rub any excess serum from the pack onto my neck and chest. It’s the best way to end the day - I feel so relaxed and sleepy afterwards.”

 

 

Age Reversal Vitamin C & Enzyme Rehydrating Treatment Mask 

“This feels really soothing and cooling on my skin - in a similar way to putting cucumbers on your eyes. It’s a really thick, luxurious cream mask and I felt as if my skin soaked up all the goodness and felt super-soft after I washed it off.

 

 

 

 

Spicy Prawn Linguine

Serves- 2

Ingredients- 13

Cooking Time- 30 minutes

Skill Level- Easy

 

 

Ingredients

  • 200g of linguine
  • 300g of raw prawns, shelled and deveined
  • The reserved prawn heads of your shelled prawns (approx. 15)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of my homemade Chilli Oil or 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 can (400ml) of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of anchovy paste or 2 teaspoons of fish sauce, optional
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 small bunch of curly parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional

 

Method

  1. Heat a large pan with oil and once hot, add in your prawn heads cooking for 5 minutes or until the prawn heads are golden brown and the oil turns orange.
  2. Remove the prawn heads and cook the garlic and chilli oil for 1 minute on medium.
  3. Meanwhile boil a pot of salted water and cook your linguine till al dente.
  4. Add in the tomato paste and cook for another minute on medium and then add in the can of crushed tomatoes and bring to the boil.
  5. Add in your cherry tomatoes, half of the parsley, anchovy paste/fish sauce and cook for 5 minutes on medium or until the tomatoes start to soften and blister.
  6. Taste your sauce and season with sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes as well as some salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add in your prawns, cooking for 1 minute before adding in the linguine with some pasta water and cooking for a further minute to allow the linguine to soak up some of the sauce.
  8. Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining parsley, fresh basil leaves, and cheese.

 

 

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