Donal Skehan
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  • Street food at the bustling market in Sapa- this lady was selling spicy pigs ear salad... #DonalVietnam
  • Morning market shopping in Sapa! On the way to Hanoi... #DonalVietnam
  • BBQ Pork with ginger, turmeric, mint and toasted sesame seeds... #DonalVietnam
  • Just can't get over the stunning scenery here! Not bad for a Tuesday! #DonalVietnam
  • On the streets of Sapa making apple wine with apples grown by the Hmong tribe... #DonalVietnam
  • Sad to say goodbye to our fantastic Red Dao hosts for the past three days... Heading to Hanoi tomorrow to focus on street food! #DonalVietnam
  • The incredible dry store at the top of a Red Dao tribe house- here they store corn, rice and pumpkins through the winter. The kitchen is just underneath so the heat and smoke helps to dry the produce out... #DonalVietnam
  • Brilliant few days filming with the Red Dao tribe just outside Sapa! #DonalVietnam with @jonnyrocksville @lenocks...
  • Best experience of the day- a traditional herbal bath with herbs picked from the mountain and steeped in boiling water! It is used to soak the muscles after a hard day in the rice paddies! Nothing like taking a bath with a big group of strangers watching! :) #DonalVietnam
  • This little girl is eating sticky rice cooked in a bamboo shoot! The rice is stuffed into the hollow shoot and sealed with a banana leaf, then boiled until tender... Then the whole rice filled bamboo shoot is grilled over an open fire- it results in a chewy sweet rice cylinder with the most incredible texture! Really special! #DonalVietnam
  • The colourful and detailed clothing the women of the Red Dao tribe wear can take up to a year to embroider by hand... #DonalVietnam
  • Incredible day spent learning from and cooking with the Red Dao tribe in North West Vietnam- their are 5 different tribes in this area and each has their own language and distinctive traditional clothing... #DonalVietnam
  • View from my breakfast table! Stayed in Sa Pa last night high in the mountains, 1500 meters above sea level... Off to spend the day with a local Red Dao family to learn more about their traditions... #DonalVietnam
  • Have just eaten from this fairly intimating platter of mystery meat! You choose what you want from pig tongue, liver, heart and blood sausage and it gets boiled up and served with a fiery hot dipping sauce with chilli, meat broth, fish sauce and spring onions. Also interesting they eat it with potato noodles rather than rice noodles, in broth and mint... Swallow the fear, get in there and eat like the locals do! #DonalVietnam
  • Chicken for sale at Bac Ha market- incredible experience, like nothing else, have whiplash from everything I have to look at! #DonalVietnam
  • Flower Hmong tribe at Bac Ha market this morning selling fresh vegetables and sugar cane... #DonalVietnam
  • Great meal this evening! Finally in Sapa after the longest bus ride ever today 8am-11.30pm! Up early tomorrow morning to film at Bac Ha Market... #DonalVietnam
  • BBQ pork and pumpkin greens at the most rocking little restaurant in Sapa! #DonalVietnam
  • Wok fried lunch today! Lots of greens including Morning Glory or water spinach stir fried with pork fat and fish sauce... #DonalVietnam
  • Rice fields on the way up to Sapa... #DonalVietnam
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Hungarian Goulash

I’m not sure how authentically Hungarian this goulash is but it’s the recipe we always cooked from and it always goes down well in my house! It’s another great recipe to make ahead and pop in the freezer for a quick and easy dinner.

Serves 4
700g of steak pieces
2 large onions, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 generous tablespoon of flour
1 generous tablespoon of Hungarian paprika
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
A good pinch of sea salt and black pepper
A little sour cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 140oC/Gas Mark 1.

Heat the oil in a large casserole pot and brown the beef on all sides.  Make sure not to put too much beef in all at once as it won’t brown.

Transfer the meat to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions and garlic to the pot and fry until soft and golden.

Return the beef to the pot and stir in the paprika and flour to coat.

Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a steady simmer.

Place the lid on the casserole pot and transfer to the oven to cook for about 2 hours.

Just before serving stir through a little sour cream to create a wonderful marbled effect!

Serve with some freshly cooked brown rice and some steamed veggies.

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Mom’s Coq Au Vin Blanc!

CoqAuVinBlanc

Coq au Vin Blanc was a regular winter dish in my house when we were growing up. I have distinct memories of it steaming up the kitchen windows while we did our homework on the kitchen table. It’s a wonderfully warming meal, perfect for cold evenings. Chicken joints such as thighs and legs are often far cheaper to buy than chicken breasts, and meat cooked on the bone always seems to have more flavour.

Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 chicken legs
15g (oz) butter
150g (5oz) bacon or pancetta pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
200g (7oz) mushrooms (about 10–15 mushrooms), sliced into quarters
2 fresh thyme sprigs
450ml (16fl oz) white wine (about 2 glasses)
250ml (9fl oz) single cream
Good handful of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Place a large cooking pot over a high heat and add the olive oil. Put the chicken legs in the pot and brown on all sides until they are a golden colour. Remove and set aside on a plate.
Reduce the heat slightly and add the butter. When it begins to foam, add the bacon and fry until just crisp. Add the garlic and onion and fry for 3–4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pot along with the thyme and pour in the white wine. Bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 45–50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Turn the legs halfway through the cooking time and remove any fat or scum that rises to the top.
When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot and set aside. Stir the cream into the juices, add a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the sauce is has become a little thicker.
Place the chicken back in the pot to allow it to warm through and stir through the chopped parsley. Make sure the food is hot when you serve it at the table.

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Visit To A Swedish Bakery!

swedishbakery11

During my visit to Sweden a few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to visit a Swedish bakery! As it so happened it turned out to be the same bakery which supplied the desserts for the restaurant I used to work at when I lived in Sweden.

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Chicken Thigh Supper

This is a super dish for a big group of people, served with a tasty salad; it’s perfect for weekday entertaining. If you can’t get a hold of chicken thighs, you can use any other cuts as long as they’re on the bone. This gives the meat a really great flavour.

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Crispy Hasselback Potatoes

I came across the recipe for Hasselback potatoes when I was younger and they are so visually appealing that I had to make them. The traditional recipe, originally from Stockholm, calls for breadcrumbs and cheese, but I have tried to make it as simple as possible for this recipe. The potatoes go nicely alongside most dishes. If your potato slices don’t separate while cooking, increase your heat and you should get better results.

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Chocolate, pumpkin and pecan brownies

These pumpkin brownies are so delicious, you just have to try them. I didn’t manage to get my hands on pumpkin puree so I made my own. I slowly roasted the pumpkin until it was soft, scraped out the flesh, then I puréed the mixture and passed it through a sieve.

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