Donal Skehan
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  • 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
  • We had a bit of an audience for filming earlier- Vietnamese kids in the hills of Sapa! #DonalVietnam
  • Breakfast in Vietnam! Beef Pho- deep broth with noodles, herbs and thin slices of beef! Bloomin delish! #DonalVietnam
  • These lovely ladies cooked us dinner this evening- just left Hanoi and on our way up towards Sapa! #DonalVietnam
  • First meal after 36 hours traveling: Lau ga! A big dig in soup with noodles, tofu, veggies, herbs and eh... chicken feet! :) 🍗 #DonalVietnam
  • A little vlog from London feat. @mycupcakeaddiction plus HUGE NEWS: My youtube channel just hit 100K SUBSCRIBERS! Huge thanks for all the support- link in my profile! X
  • Truffled goats cheese with honey and almonds @copitatapas for lunch today- life just got better! 🍴
  • Peanut butter snicker squares from filming yesterday with @mycupcakeaddiction! Coming up on my youtube channel very soon! :)
  • My mom's creamy white wine chicken on the blog today! Great mid week meal! :)
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Griddled Baby Gem Lettuce with Beetroot, Roast Tomatoes and a Buttermilk Dressing

This is a truly beautiful little vegetarian dinner which is so appealing you won’t even realise there’s no meat in it! Cooking the baby gem lettuce on the griddle is a little trick I picked up in America. It really adds the most wonderful deep smoky flavour to an otherwise simple salad leaf. The chive flowers are an optional extra but really make a difference to the final dish. You can grow them quite easily during the summer.

Serves 2
2 baby gem lettuce, cut in half
2 potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
2 cooked beetroot, cut in thin slices
6-8 tomatoes, cut in half
Chive flowers to garnish
Balsamic vinegar, to drizzle
Olive oil, to drizzle

For the dressing:
6 tablespoons of buttermilk
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
A handful of chopped chives
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190˚C.

Arrange the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and roast for about an hour until reduced in size and caramelised.

Toss the potato cubes in a little oil and season with sea salt on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until crispy for about 1 hour.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

Place a large griddle pan over a high heat and brush the lettuce halves with a little oil and season. Place the lettuce halves onto the griddle and cook for about 2 minutes either side until they have nice deep char marks but still hold their shape.

Arrange on serving plates by placing slices of beetroot and the tomato halves around the side of the plate.

Then add the lettuce halves, followed by the potato cubes and drizzle over the dressing. Finish with sprinkling of chive flowers and serve straight away.

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Maple Bacon Buttermilk Scones

I love the combination here of sweet and savoury, and it makes for an extremely delicious breakfast treat.

Makes 16 scones
1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil
250g of smoked streaky bacon, cut into 2cm pieces
450g flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
A generous pinch of salt
225g cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes
180ml maple syrup, plus a little extra for glazing
180ml of buttermilk
1 egg
Sea salt to sprinkle

Place a large frying pan over a medium high heat and fry the bacon in a little oil until crisp and sizzling. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and set aside to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a fork or pastry cutter press the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a mixture with resembles rough breadcrumbs. Don’t worry too much if there are still some rogue lumps of butter.

Combine the maple syrup and buttermilk in a pyrex jug and pour this into the butter mixture along with the cool bacon.

Using a fork bring the dough together making sure not to over mix it.

When the dough has come together, turn it out on to a clean work surface sprinkled with flour.

Roll the dough out to about 6cm in thickness and cut out 5cm diameter circles. You may have to roll the dough out again to use it all up.

Place the scones on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and then place in the fridge to rest for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Whisk the egg in a bowl and set aside.

Before the scones go into the oven, brush a little beaten egg and sprinkle a little sea salt on each one, and then bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the scones from the oven and brush over a little maple syrup on each one. Place back in the oven for another 3 minutes and then remove to a wire cooling wrack.

Serve the scones straight away or parcel up in paper bags for a savoury breakfast snack!

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