Donal Skehan
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  • Egg coffee for breakfast in Hanoi! Sounds very strange but a combination of egg yolks, condensed milk, sugar, butter and laughing cow cheese is whisked until fluffy and thick and served with hot coffee! Incredible rich taste- like a liquid tiramisu! #DonalVietnam
  • 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
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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

For parties and get-togethers ahead of the big day, these little duck rolls not only make great canapes but are also an easy Christmas day starter if you want to do something a little different. They make a wonderful and slightly alternative Christmas day starter.

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