Donal Skehan
My instagram
  • Very excited to be filming at this brilliant little street food market tomorrow for lunch in Hanoi! #DonalVietnam
  • I have yet to meet a film crew who trust me behind the wheel so here I am with my buddy TT biking around Hanoi! Better him than me the traffic is nuts here! :) #DonalVietnam
  • Was up at 3.30am this morning to catch these Vietnamese ladies harvest young green rice- a delicacy in Hanoi at this time of year! Here they are using a machine to separate the rice from the stems... #DonalVietnam
  • 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
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Sticky Maple, Apple & Ginger Cake

The Method


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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.

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Tarte Tatin with Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

 This recipe comes from the fantastic Ms. marmites AKA Kerstin Rogers cookbook “Supperclub”

Serves 4-6
Juice of 2 lemons
1kg (2lb 3oz)/about 8–10 eating apples (such as Cox,Russet or Braeburn)
125–175g (4–6oz) unsalted butter, slightly softened
125–175g (4–6oz) caster sugar
4–6 star anise
200g (7oz) puff pastry, rolled to a disc the same dimensions as your frying pan
Crème fraîche ice cream, to serve

Squeeze both lemons into a large bowl. Peel and core the apples, then halve them and put in the bowl of lemon juice to prevent them going brown

Smear butter generously over the frying pan, up the sides too. Sprinkle sugar over the top in a nice thick layer (this will be the toffee bit, so if you

like lots of toffee, put extra butter and sugar)

Remove your apple halves from the lemon juice and embed them in the butter/sugar mixture, with the holes (where the cores were) facing downwards.

Pack the apples in tightly. Tuck a few star anise between the apples

Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF), Gas Mark 7. If using an Aga, prepare the roasting oven

Put the frying pan over a medium flame on your hob. Keep an eye on it; this will caramelise. You have to be brave here and keep it going for about

15 minutes – you want a deep golden caramel colour and texture to develop

Once this has happened, leave the pan to cool, then plop your pastry disc on the top of the pan, tucking in the edges. Place the pan in the oven and

bake the tart for 15 minutes or until the pastry has risen

Here is the tricky bit: find a plate slightly larger than your frying pan and lay it over the top. Holding the handle firmly and keeping the plate pressed

tightly to the pan, flip them both over.

The plate will now be on the bottomand the frying pan on top. Lift the pan off to reveal a gorgeous, sticky, toffee-apple tart. If some of the apples have become displaced, don’t worry, just take a fork and prod them back into place

Cut into slices while hot and serve with a scoop or quenelle of Crème Fraîche Ice Cream.

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Frozen Fruit Smoothie

This smoothie recipe is the perfect pick-me-up for any sleepy head. It has the ideal combination of sharp and sweet and provides the ice-cold hit that could wake anybody up. Don’t be tempted to add sugar or any extra sweetness, as the banana and apple juice will balance out any sharpness from the berries.

Serves 2
100g frozen berries
1 banana, peeled and broken into chunky pieces
Apple juice, not from concentrate

Allow the berries to thaw slightly before putting them into a high-sided container with the banana.

Fill the container with apple juice up to the level of the banana, then blitz with a hand blender until smooth.

Serve in a glass with some ice.


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Rustic Apple and Blackberry Galettes

These are one of my favorite little autumnal (yes I said autumnal, it rolls off the tongue doesn’t it!) desserts, because they are really easy and make you look like a baking genius, when, realistically all you do is make some pastry and fill it with apples and blackberries. No messing around with blind baking, pie tins, or fancy latticing here, this is a no fuss dessert which you have to serve with cream or, even better, a soft scoop of vanilla ice cream!

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