Donal Skehan
My instagram
  • Filmed at one of Hanoi's oldest and most famous restaurants today, Cha Ca La Vong, where they have been serving the same one dish for over 100 years- turmeric fish which is marinated for 12 hours with galangal and fish sauce then threaded onto bamboo skewers and chargrilled over hot coals- the fish pieces are then fried in shallot oil and served to the table on a hot plate where diners mix in dill and spring onions and serve over rice vermicelli noodles with peanuts, coriander, chilli and shrimp paste. Hugely popular here and I can see why! #DonalVietnam
  • 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
Blog Archive
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007

Beef and Guinness Pie

The Method


Continue reading >>

Dennis Cotter- For The Love Of Food- Cookbook Competition

No foodies cookbook collection could be considered complete without a Dennis Cotter book in the mix.  Not only are they beautifully written and illustrated, they are full of inspiration for meat free meals and more.  Dennis runs the fantastic Café Paradiso in Cork city where diners are treated to his creations including dishes like “sweet chilli-glazed panfried tofu with asian greens in a coconut & lemongrass broth, soba noodles and a gingered aduki bean wonton” and “rosewater & almond baklava with cardamom yoghurt ice cream and passionfruit syrup”. His latest book, “For The Love Of Food”, does not disappoint and after eating in Cafe Paradiso earlier this year, I was dieing to get my hands on a copy.  The book is broken up into simple straightforward chapters like “Risotto”, “All Wrapped Up”, “Bowls” and “Sweetness” which not only offer up a delicious selection of tempting recipes but are also packed with advice from Dennis.

Continue reading >>

Filming with Xposé at the Waldorf Barbers…

Yes I am aware I am missing a fringe in the above photo but don’t panic I still have it and I can explain!  Nothing makes me more excited than discovering funky little spots in Dublin that I never knew existed.  This happened to me yesterday, when I headed down to the Westmoreland Street in Dublin for an interview with the bubbly Karen Koster from Xposé.  The lovely folks from Xposé said they wanted to talk about all things Kitchen Hero while I was treated to a hot shave.  I hope there was no sniggers out there as you read that, I do realise that I look like I could barely grow a bit of facial fuzz, but I do have to shave once a day! :)

Continue reading >>

Vanilla & Coconut Risotto with Spiced Mango and Pistachio

You can think of this as a risotto for breakfast, which sounds strange, or rice pudding for breakfast – less weird and only a little naughty.  Or you can think of it as rice porridge for breakfast, for what is risotto anyway but rice porridge? This procedure follows the classic risotto method of absorbing liquid into rice in stages, though I would be inclined to let the rice cook a bit more than for a savoury risotto. The recipe calls for sweet wine. This doesn’t mean you have to crack open your precious expensive dessert wines. A slightly sweet Riesling or Muscat is what’s needed, though you might get away with that Liebfraumilch you’ve got hidden away for visiting aunties.

This recipe comes from Dennis Cotter’s “For The Love Of Food”.

Serves 4

For the spiced mango
100g/3oz caster sugar
1 star anise, coarsely ground
4 cloves
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 large ripe mango

For the vanilla and coconut risotto
400ml/14fl oz milk
1 x 400ml/14fl oz tin of coconut milk
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
15g/oz butter
200g/7oz Carnaroli or Arborio rice
4 tbsp sweet white wine
finely grated zest of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lime

To serve
2 tbsp shelled pistachio
nuts, coarsely chopped
nutmeg, for grating

First make the spiced syrup for the mango: put the sugar, star anise, cloves and ginger in a small saucepan with 5 tablespoons of water and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to cool and infuse. Pass the syrup through a fine sieve. Peel the mango and slice the flesh from the stone.

Put half of it in a food processor, add 2 tablespoons of the spice syrup and blend to a purée. Add a little water, if necessary, to get a pouring consistency. Check for flavour and sweetness, and add a little more syrup to taste if it needs it.

Slice the remaining mango into matchsticks and put them in a bowl with a tablespoon of the mango sauce.

To make the risotto: put the milk, coconut milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to at a simmer. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the pulp into the milk. Heat the butter in a wide, heavy pan over medium heat, add the rice and toast it, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer until it has been absorbed. Add a ladle or 2 of the hot milk mixture.  Stirring often, let this simmer until it has been absorbed, then add more of it.

Continue in this way for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender and you have a nice porridgey texture. Stir in the citrus zest.

Serve the risotto in shallow bowls. Pour over a little mango sauce and place some of the sliced mango on top. Scatter over the pistachios, grate over a little nutmeg and serve.

Continue reading >>

Top 8 Autumn Warming Recipes!

I’ve been trawling back through old blog posts from the past 5 years and I’ve come to the conclusion that I cook far more during the colder months.  I don’t know whether I like heartier food, or whether I just tend to have more time indoors but either way, I have a whole heap of Autumn and Winter dishes to choose from!  So I decided to pop up some of my favorites here in a bit of a recipe roundup for your viewing pleasure.  Hopefully there will be a few dishes of interest to keep you well fed as the days get shorter and if you have any Autumn warming dishes you’d love to see a recipe for by all means leave a comment below! Enjoy! :)

Continue reading >>

Postcard from a Swedish Summer…

Most of my summers over the past five years have been spent in Sweden and having suffered through a miserable, freezing cold winter there myself, I can completely understand why the Swedes make the most of life during the warmer months.  Like everything in Sweden, when it comes to summer there are of course tradition celebrations for everything and the two main ones of the summer being midsummer celebrations and the obligatory crayfish parties.

Continue reading >>

Cookery Demo At Catherine Fulvio’s Ballyknocken House!

I headed down to Co. Wicklow yesterday afternoon to give a cookery demo at Catherine Fulvio‘s fantastic Ballyknocken House and cookery school.  We had a lovely group of people attending who I got to have a good chat with after the demo.  I cooked up lots of dishes from the TV show and books including, spatchcocked chicken, thai chicken stew, Asian pork lettuce cups, blueberry and white chocolate cheesecake and some lovely apple and cinnamon muffins!  Here are a few shots from the day! :)

Continue reading >>

Tune in to Four Live on RTÉ today!

I’ll be cooking up a tasty pasta dish using some fantastic Irish cheese.  The lovely Elizabeth Ryan from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers will be joining us to chat about a selection of different cheese available.

Continue reading >>

Big Ball Of Autumn Fun…

So I admit it, after all my complaining about the summer coming to and end, I have finally embraced the autumn! I’ve been out picking blackberries, baking up a storm with lots of autumnal ingredients and best of all, I’ve been making soup. One of the biggest lessons you learn when you cook a lot is to understand the seasonality of produce. As a home cook, learning to buy fruits and vegetables which are in season is not only ultimately satisfying but you also get the pick of the crop! At the moment there is so much in season to get excited about; wild mushrooms, blackberries, apples, elderberries are just some of the key ingredients you should try to make the best of over the next few weeks.

Continue reading >>

Apple and Cinnamon Crumble Muffins

This has to be the ultimate Autumnal muffin!  Soft apple in a light and fluffy batter lightly spiced with cinnamon and then finished off with a buttery crumble topping! You won’t be able to resist!

Makes 12 Muffins
75ml of olive oil
200ml of buttermilk
Zest of 1 lemon
2 large free range eggs
150g of caster sugar
250g of self raising flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
250g of peeled and diced cooking apple (Approx 1 large cooking apple)

For the crumble topping:
50g of vanilla sugar (or substitute with caster sugar)
50g of plain flour
50g of butter

Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Line a muffin/cupcake tray with paper cases.

Measure the oil and buttermilk in a pyrex jug and then stir through the lemon zest and set aside.

Using a handblender with a food processor attachment, blitz the ingredients for the crumble topping until you get left with rough crumbs. You can also do this by hand in a bowl using your fingertips to combine the ingredients together. Set the crumble topping aside.

In a standalone mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the oil, buttermilk and lemon zest and whisk until combined.

Gently fold in the flour and cinnamon until just combined. Fold through 3/4 of the diced apple until combined. Be sure not to over mix the batter.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, top with the remaining apple and about a teaspoonful of the crumble topping.

Place in the oven on the middle wrack to cook for 20 minutes until brown on top.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire wrack to cool.

Continue reading >>

Raspberry Goddess Pie

This recipe is adapted from an old Swedish cookbook which I found in the basement of Sofie’s grandmothers house. This pie is wonderfully moist and has a tasty crust. You can adapt it with any berries you wish.

Serves 6-8
225g of plain flour
125g of caster sugar
125g of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking powder
250g of raspberries
200ml of creme fraiche
Vanilla ice cream to serve

Whizz together the flour, sugar, butter, vanilla extract and baking powder in a food processor until it forms a dough. Press the dough into a lined baking tin with a removable base. Pop in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 225˚C. Mix together the raspberries and creme fraiche in a bowl and then spread over the base of the pie dough.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 150˚C and bake for a further 15 minutes. Allow to cool and serve slices with vanilla ice cream.

Continue reading >>