Donal Skehan
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  • 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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Beef and Guinness Pie

The Method


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Mega Feast Friday!

The summer really is when food comes alive. For me, things become almost effortless because the fantastic fresh produce on offer requires very little work to make it really beautiful. Eating outside also makes everything taste better! With that in mind, this Friday’s recipe is for one of the best meals I’ve had in a while…  I got very excited last week when I heard our local butcher Ray Collier in Howth had got a delivery of beef from Lambay island.  The island is a private one just beyond Ireland’s Eye and I remember being on it once or twice as a kid with my granddad.  The fact that it was private and that we were told they kept wallabies (yes, wallabies) added to the mystery of the place.  Today’s recipe is proudly made with local beef from Lambay island and some fresh Dublin Bay prawns, served alongside some salad leaves from my garden, lightly dressed, and some sweet potato chips (not so local but delicious all the same!). This a proper feast so head out, pick up the ingredients and treat yourself this weekend.

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Chimichurri Surf and Turf with Skinny Sweet Potato Chips and a Garden Salad

This is one heck of a meal, packed with flavours which won’t disappoint!  The chimichurri sauce is originally from Argentina and it’s so simple to make yourself with just a couple of simple store-cupboard ingredients. When you’re selecting your steaks try and look out for ones with an even marbling of fat and a rich red colour.  The steaks and prawns are perfect for the BBQ if you want to cook outdoors.

Serves 2
2 rib eye steaks
6-8 Dublin bay prawns
3 medium sweet potatoes, sliced into thin chips
1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil
2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning
3 large handfuls of mixed garden salad leaves

For the dressing
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the chimichurri sauce
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 handfuls of fresh flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
A pinch of cayenne pepper and sea salt

Preheat the oven to 210°C.

Toss the sweet potato chips in a large roasting tin, with the rapeseed oil and cajun seasoning.  Pop the roasting tin in the oven for 35-40 mins making sure to toss them half way through, until they are slightly charred on the edges.

Whizz together the ingredients for the chimichurri sauce in a food processor and decant into a bowl.

Place the steaks on a plate along with the prawns and spread over half the chimichurri sauce allow to sit while you prepare the salad.

In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and then toss through the salad leaves when you’re ready to serve.

Heat a large griddle pan over a high heat and cook the steaks for 2–3 minutes either side for medium and a little longer if you prefer a more well-done steak.  Remove from the heat and allow to rest on a plate under some tinfoil.

Add the prawns to the griddle pan and cook for about 2 minutes either side.

Serve the prawns with the steak, salad and some crispy sweet potato chips with a good dollop of chimichurri sauce on the side.

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Nutty Thai Red Beef Curry

This is a nice fast dish that can be cooked in the time it takes to make the rice! It’s really important to taste a dish like this, if you feel it’s missing something, add more soy sauce, more honey, or more spice from the curry paste. Cooking is all about making it taste right for you!

Serves 4
2 rib eye steaks, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons of red curry paste
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 thumbsized piece of ginger, finely minced
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
2 large pak choy, roughly sliced
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon of honey
400ml of coconut milk 240g of basmati rice
800ml of water
A handful of salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Place the rice in a pot with the full quantity of water and place over a medium heat, and simmer for about 10-12 minutes until the water has evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to sit with the lid on until you are ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking, combine the sliced beef with 1 tablespoon of red curry paste, half the garlic and ginger and the sesame oil.

Place a wok over a high heat with 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil and then stir fry the beef rapidly in two batches for about 3 minutes until just cooked.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

Place the wok back on the heat with a little extra oil and stir fry the onions with the remaining curry paste, for 2 mins, then add in the remaining garlic and ginger with the sliced pak choy. Stir fry until just tender.

Add in the coconut milk, soy sauce, and honey and bring to the boil. Taste it and once you’re happy with the balance of flavours, serve.

Fluff up the rice with a fork and then serve alongside the beef. Top with a little sprinkling of chopped peanuts.

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Beef and Black Bean Stir Fry

This is the recipe we were given along with the press release and Ken actually demonstrated the dish for us. I can tell you it is absolutely delicious and you should definitely give it a go. It follows through from what he mentioned about using different ingredients to build layers of flavours and many different notes.

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Oriental Steak Salad

You can add as many other ingredients to the salad as you want, beansprouts, or snow peas all work great in this. I used fillet steak here, but as this can be quite expensive, other cuts will work just as nicely, try sirloin or a good quality shoulder steak. This recipe can also be made ahead of time, marinade the meat in the fridge, prepare the veg beforehand and only toss with the dressing when you are ready to eat.

Serves 4
4 x 120g fillet steak
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
6 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
Small handful of chopped coriander to serve

For the marinade and dressing:
1 chilli, deseeded and minced
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely minced
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

Place the steaks on a plate.

Mix all the ingredients for dressing/marinade together and pour 1/4 of the mixture over the steaks.

Toss all the veg together in salad bowl and set aside.

Heat a large griddle pan and fry the steaks for 3-5 minutes on either side depending on their size.

Remove the steaks and allow to rest on a chopping board for a few minutes.

Add the dressing to the salad and toss to combine.

Slice the steak thinly, sprinkle with a little chopped coriander and serve with the zingy salad.

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Simple Steaks with a Rich Mushroom Sauce

Depending on the dried mushrooms you buy, you can use the water you soak them in as part of the stock added in this recipe- Simply substitute half the beef stock with the mushroom water. If you don’t have dried mushrooms, they are not essential but give a real depth to the sauce, so feel free to substitute with any fresh mushrooms available to you.

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Mini Steak and Mushroom Pie

These look great served in individual little pie dishes, but if you don’t have any to hand, simply use one large pie dish. You can cook the pie mix ahead of time, freeze and defrost when you want to use it.

Makes 6 mini pies
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 lb of stew steak or diced beef
250g of mushrooms
500ml of beef stock
250g of puff pastry
2 red onions, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A generous pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
2 egg yolks

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan, and brown the meat on all sides. You may need to fry the meat in batches in order to get a nice colour. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and fry the garlic and onions until soft. Add the beef stock, meat pieces, salt and pepper and combine. Lower the heat, cover and cook over gentle heat for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Make sure to give the mix a stir every now and then to prevent it sticking at the bottom. The aim is to get the meat as tender as possible, so you may need to add a longer cooking time depending on the meat you buy.

10 minutes before the mix is finished add the finely sliced mushrooms and stir through to combine. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 220˚C/ 430˚F/ Gas 7.

Dust your work surface with a little flour and roll out the pastry to about a centimetre in thickness. Empty the steak and mushroom filling into your chosen pie dish or dishes and drape over the pastry. Leave about 1cm of pastry over the side of the dish and then push the pastry in to the dish so you end up with a nice crust the whole way round. Using a pastry brush, coat the pastry with the egg yolk, this will produce a delicious golden coloured crust.

Place in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the pastry puffs up and turns a nice golden brown.

Serve straight away with a tasty salad and enjoy!

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