Donal Skehan
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  • 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
  • Rice fields on the way up to Sapa... #DonalVietnam
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Boned and Rolled Maple and Orange Glazed Turkey with Apple and Smoked Bacon Stuffing

Not your traditional Turkey but an absolute must for any of those with a fear of carving. By removing the bones and rolling the meat with the stuffing, it becomes easy to slice. Your butcher will happily bone and roll the turkey for you, just be sure to bring the prepared stuffing with you and they can pop it in for you, tie it up tight and send you home with a perfect little packet.  I love the combination of maple, orange, smoked bacon and apple, but you can easily adapt this with your own favourite flavours.

Serves 8-10
4.5kg boned and rolled Turkey
50g of soft butter
75ml of maple syrup
Juice of one orange
Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the stuffing:
30g of butter
150g of smoked streaky bacon
1 medium onion, finely chopped
250g of breadcrumbs
400g of cooking apples, peeled cored and chopped into small cubes
Zest of one orange

To prepare the stuffing melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium high heat and when it begins to foam add in the streaky bacon and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add in the onions and fry for a further 4-6 minutes until soft.

Add in the apple and fry for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir through the bread crumbs. orange zest and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Allow to cool before covering and storing in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Once you’ve brought your stuffing down to the butcher and he has stuffed and rolled the turkey, place it in a large roasting tray and rub with the butter. Season generously with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 190˚C.
Roast the turkey until a meat thermometer reads 150˚F for approximately 2 1/2 hours. If the skin is looking too brown, just cover with tin foil.
Whisk together the orange juice and maple syrup and pour a little over the bird every now and then to baste.

Save half the mix to add to the gravy.
Remove the turkey from the oven and brush with maple syrup and place back in the oven until a meat thermometer reads 160˚F about 20 minutes more.
Place the bird on a chopping board with deep grooves and cover with tin foil.

Scrape the juices from the bottom of the roasting tin into a small sauce pan along with the remaining maple syrup and orange juice and bring to a steady simmer until it reduces a little.

Sliced up the bird and serve with the hot gravy.

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Spicy Chicken and Avocado Salad

I constantly go back to this salad dressing, I can make it in my sleep! I  get annoyed at myself for using it so much at times, but it really does  taste good and it’s a cinch to make. Opt for streaky rashers, as the  more traditional ones won’t crisp up and crumble into the salad.

Serves 2
2 chicken breast fillets
2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 ripe avocado, stone removed and cut into thick slices
About half the leaves of a cos lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bitesize pieces
1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced in half
4 streaky rashers

For the dressing
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed through a garlic press
A generous seasoning of sea salt and ground black pepper

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl, or pop into an old jam jar, stick the lid on and give it a good shake!

Sprinkle the chicken with the cajun seasoning on a plate, and then place a frying pan over a medium high heat with a little olive oil.  Fry the chicken on both sides for about 4 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.  You can check if they are cooked by slicing through the thickest part of the chicken breast, if there are any signs of pink, throw it back on the pan.

Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a chopping board.  Keep the pan on the heat and fry the bacon until crispy.

Slice the chicken and bacon thinly.

Place the cherry tomatoes and torn lettuce leaves in a bowl and toss with half the dressing.

Assemble the salad on serving plates, topping with with the chicken, avocado and bacon.  Drizzle over the rest of the dressing, sprinkle with a little ground black pepper and you are ready to eat!

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Good Auld Bacon and Cabbage

This dish would have been traditionally served quite regularly in homes all over Ireland, as the ingredients are quite readily available. It’s real comfort food for me and I love the fresh flavours of the veg.

Serves 4
900g of Shoulder of bacon
1/2 head of savoy cabbage, sliced finely
2 Carrots, chopped
1 onion sliced
2 tablespoons of butter
A good pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Creamy Leek and Parsley Sauce:
2 tablespoons of butter (a generous knob)
2 tablespoons of flour
2 large leeks, sliced finely
100-150ml bacon stock
1 teaspoon of English mustard
A good handful of parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh cream

Remove the bacon from any packaging and place in a pot of cold water over heat.  Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 40 minutes or until cooked.  Remove from the water, place on a plate and set aside.  Save the bacon stock.

To make the creamy leek and parsley sauce, melt the butter in a sauce pot and sweat the leeks until soft but not coloured.  Add the flour, mixing to combine, then add a little of the bacon stock stirring until the sauce thickens.  Judge the consistency of the sauce by eye, and you may want to use a little more or less to your taste. Season with a little sea salt and black pepper and stir through the English mustard.

Keep warm until you have the consistency you require and then stir through the chopped parsley and tablespoon of cream.

To make the cabbage, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion and carrots, cooking until soft.  Add the cabbage to the pan and allow to wilt down slowly, turning every now and then until it has wilted down and become tender.

Serve the bacon in slices topped with the creamy leek and parsley sauce alongside the cabbage.  Enjoy!

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Bacon Avocado and Sundried Tomato Sandwich

Try and choose some tasty bacon from your butchers, it will make all the difference!

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