Donal Skehan
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  • Happy Halloween!!! What are cooking today? Lots of Halloween recipes up on my blog including these creepy chocolate eyeballs! 🎃👻
  • Myself and @JohnTorode1 are back with a brand new series of #JuniorMasterChef kicking off on the 10th of November on CBBC! Lots of a brilliant young cooks showcasing their cooking skills! :)
  • Sweet and savoury sticky rice dumplings: sweet green bean paste coated in sesame seeds and aromatic pork mince- deep fried until crisp and bloomin delish! #donalvietnam
  • Last lunch in Vietnam- delicious Bun Cha- a feast of chargrilled pork, rice vermicelli noodles, lots off fresh herbs with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce! Will so miss the street food here! #donalvietnam
  • Have met a load of lovely people who have been watching my youtube channel here in Vietnam! So cool! Xin Chao! #DonalVietnam
  • Met some crazy #GrandmasBoy fans today in Hanoi! So excited to hear it's been showing here in Vietnam! #DonalVietnam
  • 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
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It’s Pumpkin Eating Time!

Halloween is trundling towards us at a fairly alarming speed. I for one can’t wait, it’s always been one of the highlights of my year. Ireland has plenty of Halloween traditions and even my own family has lots of it’s own. When we were growing up we had a French visitor who showed us the light and convinced us to save those yucky seeds from the centre of our pumpkin, which, when cleaned and toasted with a little butter and salt, make the perfect little autumn snack.

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Roast Pumpkin, Coconut and Chilli Soup

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If you haven’t cooked with pumpkin before, this is a wonderful way to  start. Choose small pumpkins as they’re easier to tackle in the kitchen.  If you can’t find pumpkins, butternut squash is an ideal substitute.  The addition of coconut milk adds a wonderfully creamy and exotic  flavour, but if you don’t want to use it you could just make up the  difference with vegetable stock.

Serves 4-6
1kg of pumpkin, peeled and chopped into rough chunks
1 tablespoon of melted butter
2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
A few sprigs of thyme
2 red onions, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons of red chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin of coconut milk
1/2 litre of vegetable stock
Sea salt and ground black pepper

The Method

Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

While you prepare the pumpkin, scrape out the seeds, clean them in a colander with cold water and then dry the in a tea towel. Pop the seeds in a roasting tray tossed with a little melted butter and roast in the oven until toasted. Remove and set aside.

Tumble the pumpkin into a roasting tin with the thyme and toss in a little oil. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and pop in the oven to roast for 45 minutes or until the edges are slightly charred and  tender when pierced with a fork.

In a large pot, heat a drop of oil and fry the onions until they are soft. Stir through the chilli flakes and fry for a further minute.

Discard the thyme and add the roast pumpkin to the pot, along with the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Using a hand blender, whizz the soup until you have a velvety smooth consistency. You may need to add more stock or boiling water to get the right consistency. Add sea salt and ground black pepper and check the seasoning.

Serve the soup in warm bowls with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

The Method


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Autumn Nesting and Sticky Maple, Apple and Cinnamon Cake!

After a few weeks traveling up and down the country for cookery demonstration we finally have some time to spend at home and I could not be happier!  It’s still not cold enough for jackets, hats and scarves but the dishes I’m cooking in the kitchen have definitely taken a turn towards warmth and comfort.  Soups, stews and roasts are back on the weeknight menu in a big way and I’m beginning to think they are some of my favourite types of dishes to cook.  I think secretly that many of us crave this sort of cooking throughout the year, especially with the sort of weather Ireland gets in the summer, but it’s only now when the days get darker that we can can wholeheartedly serve up steaming bowls of slow cooked deliciousness.

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Beef and Guinness Pie

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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Creamy Colcannon Mash

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Colcannon is as traditional, as traditional Irish food gets, and for the week that's in it, when the whole world will be going green in our honour, what better thing to do, than serve up some of the finest! I told my granddad I was making this the other day and no sooner was it out of my mouth than he had burst into song. The dish of course, is the inspiration behind the traditional Irish song by the same name, "Oh weren't them the happy days when troubles we knew not and our mother made colcannon in the little skillet pot". This recipe is the one I grew up with, but if you want to experiment, you could also stir in a little bit of wholegrain mustard to add an extra bite to it!

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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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