Donal Skehan

December 2012 Update!

Hi guys,

As you can probably tell from my Christmas jumper, Christmas is here! This weekend we have transformed our little cottage into a Christmas wonderland.

For the last four weeks rather than beautiful Christmas decorations and a tree, my kitchen and living room have been filled with props, wooden backgrounds and kitchenalia. The reason being, we have been shooting the images for my fourth cookbook, which will be out next year. You can see some behind the scenes images from the shoot below.

Kitchen Hero: Great Food For Less has just finished it’s current series on RTÉ One but you can catch up on episodes over on the RTÉ Player (also available to international viewers). Earlier this month I headed to Austria to record the Kitchen Hero Christmas Special and you can see some of the behind the scenes images below. Tune in on RTÉ One at 8.15pm!

This year I’m cooking Christmas dinner for 12. Beetroot cured gravadlax with Swedish crisp bread, maple and orange glazed turkey, and plum and star anise ham are all on the menu and I can’t wait to get cooking!

Check out lots of festive recipes below!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!

Donal x

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Plum & Star Anise Christmas Ham

Sweet, sticky and aromatic, this Christmas ham comes with serious sophistication. Like most good Christmas ham’s this recipe is ALL about the glaze. The combination of sweet orange, sticky plum jam and Asian star anise ticks all the boxes in terms of Christmas tastes.

Serves 8-10
4.5kg of ham
2 liters of water
1 large onion
1 tbsp black peppercorns
8 whole cloves, plus extra for garnish
3 star anise

Glaze:
150g plum jam
100g brown sugar
Juice of 1 orange
5 star anise

Place the ham in a large pot and pour in the water along with the onion, star anise, cloves and peppercorns. If the water doesn’t cover the ham, add more.

Bring to the boil and them simmer steadily for 40 minutes per kg (3 hours) After the cooking time, turn off the heat and allow to cool in the liquid.

In a small saucepan, add the orange juice, jam, sugar and star anise and cook gently until the sugar has dissolved and you are left with a slightly thick glaze. Leave to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

When the ham has cooled, remove from the liquid before removing the skin, exposing the fat and scoring diagonally with a small sharp knife. Place the ham in a roasting tray and brush the plum glaze over the top of the ham. Push the cloves into each cross.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing thinly to serve.

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Orange and mint crispy duck rolls

If you’re planning a party or get-together, these little duck rolls not only make great canapes, they are also a fantastic starter if you want to do something a little different.

Makes 12 pancakes
1 whole Silverhill duck
12 Chinese pancakes
6 spring onions, finely sliced
Handful of mint, leaves picked
Handful of coriander, leaves picked
1/2 red chilli, finely sliced for garnish
Zest of 1 orange, for garnish

For the dressing:
Juice of one orange
1/2 red chilli, finely sliced
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Cook the duck in an oven at 200˚C until crisp and cooked. Mix the honey, orange juice, chilli, dark soy sauce, rice wine and sunflower oil and set aside. When the duck has cooked and rested for a bit, cut it into small pieces and mix it with the dressing. Warm the pancakes wrapped in tinfoil through on a pan over a low heat.

Assemble the pancakes by putting a little bit of duck, spring onion, mint, coriander, orange zest and chilli on each pancake, roll up and enjoy!

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