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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Prosciutto-Wrapped Cheesy Chicken With Wild Mushroom Sauce

Stuffed Mushroom Chicken_2

This is a warm and comforting supper that doesn’t take too much time to prepare. You can serve it with either steamed rice or a simply dressed salad, but the two key components are the crisp prosciutto-wrapped chicken oozing with cheese and rich and creamy mushroom sauce. You won’t be able to say no!

Serves 4
100g Gruyère cheese, finely grated
100g frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed of excess liquid and finely chopped
4 chicken breasts
8 slices of prosciutto
1 tbsp olive oil

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Simple Summer Feast

Meals which take little preparation but are totally delicious are always a plus in my book. This simple supper uses lots of fresh ingredients which, once assembled, look really beautiful on the dinner table. Once everything is prepared you can get your guests to dig in!  I spatchcock the chicken here to speed up the cooking time.  Once the chicken is roasting in the oven you are left with time to assemble the salads to accompany.

For the chicken
1 free-range chicken (about 1.1–1.4kg)
1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil
2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning
Sea salt and ground black pepper

For the tomato salsa
1 small punnet of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely Chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt and black pepper

For the Avocado Salad
2 ripe avocados, in thick slices
1 red onion, sliced in half moons
A generous handful of coriander
Salt and pepper to season
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

For the Salad and Dressing
1 tablespoon of apple balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Sea salt and ground black pepper
A generous selection of mixed salad leaves

For the chicken:
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6.

To prepare the chicken, place the bird breast-down and, using a knife or a sharp scissors, cut along either side of the back bone to remove it.

Open the bird out and flip it over breast-side up and, using your fist, push down hard on the breast to break the bone.

Place the chicken in a large roasting tin and coat with oil. Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning over and roast the chicken for 50–60 minutes or until cooked through. When cooked, carve in to wings, breasts, legs.

For the Avocado Salad:
Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl and set aside.

Assemble the ingredients for the salad on a serving platter, start with the slices of avocado then top with the red onion slices and then the cherry tomatoes.

Pick off little leaves of coriander and sprinkle all over the top of the salad. Drizzle over the dressing and then season with sea salt and a good grinding of black pepper.

For the tomato salsa:
Prepare the salsa by combining all the ingredients together in a bowl and tossing to combine.

For the salad:
Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.

Wash and dry the salad leaves and assemble on a large serving platter. Drizzle over the dressing when you are ready to serve.

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Cranberry Stuffed Chicken Wrapped in Pancetta with Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts

This dish is full of festive flavors and makes life simple for anyone not completely convinced on tackling a full traditional Christmas dinner this year.

Serves 4
2 tablespoons of butter
4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalk of celery, finely chopped
100g of bread crumbs
60g of cranberries
60g of walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of all spice
Zest of 1 orange
4 chicken breasts on the bone
8 rashers of pancetta
600g of brussel sprouts, washed and outer leaves and stalk removed
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Rapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Place a large frying pan over a medium high heat heat, melt the butter until it foams, then fry the bacon until golden.

Add in the onion and celery and cook until tender.  Add in the breadcrumbs, cranberries, walnuts, rosemary, thyme, all spice, orange zest and season with sea salt and ground black pepper.  Stir through until combined.

Using a sharp knife, slice open the chicken breasts just enough to make a little pocket big enough to add the stuffing too.

Fill each of the chicken breasts with the stuffing and then wrap each one with pancetta.  Place the chicken breasts in a roasting tin and give a final seasoning of sea salt and ground black pepper and a drizzle of oil before popping in the oven.

Cook the chicken breasts for approximately 45 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

Remove the chicken from the oven and cover with tin foil while you prepare the brussel sprouts.

Place a large frying pan over a high heat and add a knob of butter and melt it until it foams.  Add in the brussels sprouts and cook until they are tender and have a nice golden colour.

Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and serve alongside the chicken breasts.

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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

The Method


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Electric Picnic Here We Come and Addictive Chicken Cravings…

Today we are all about checking lists and packing the car ahead of this weekend at Electric Picnic!  I’ve never been down to it before and my only lasting impressions of a music festival were from Oxegen a few years ago.  At the time I was working for the now defunct Bubble Hits, producing snappy little interviews with the artists.  Now that might sound glamorous, but part of the job was to head down to the campsite to capture some of atmosphere from the festival goers on camera.  In theory that all sounds fine, but late on a Saturday afternoon, after a good days drinking on behalf of the campers, bringing a camera man into a festival camping ground, is essentially the equivalent of shoving a gazelle into cage full of lions! What is it with drunk people when they see a camera, that makes them think that it will gain them instant access to an appearance on telly?

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Spatchcocked Buffalo Chicken with Rosemary Roast Chips and Red Cabbage Coleslaw

This is a proper beast of a weekend meal, ideal for a crowd! The buffalo sauce can be used on chicken wings. The coleslaw mix makes quite a lot, but will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge. If you want you can skip the step of blanching your potato chips in boiling water, but this will result in less fluffy insides.

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Boozy Bum Chicken

I made this recently and I am a complete and utter convert.  My  regular poultry dish for barbecues is spatchcock chicken,  but this   method leaves you with beautifully moist and tender meat because of the   steam created by the can of booze. And because the chicken stands  upright, you get left with amazing  crispy skin. You do, however, have to  share the very awkward moment of  preparing this particular recipe,  which I can tell you no bird will be  prepared for!

Serves four to six
2 tbsps rapeseed oil
1 x 1.2kg chicken
2 tbsps cajun seasoning
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1 large can of either beer or cider

Rub the oil all over the bird and season with the cajun seasoning and a generous pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper.

Open the can of the booze and sit the bird on top. It should now be standing to attention!

Stand the chicken upright on a hot barbecue at 200°C for about one hour and 10 minutes until cooked all the way through.

Using a large pair of tongs, remove the bird and can from the barbecue and then remove the can from the bird.

Carve up and make sure everybody gets a piece of crispy skin when serving.

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Mediterranean Spatchcock Chicken

My mega way of serving chicken in the summer, it looks absolutely  fantastic served and carved at the table. You can experiment with  different flavours for the marinade, I love different combinations like  garlic and mixed herbs or even a spicy cajun mix!

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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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Sweet Chilli Chicken Maki

Maki is one  of the most common types of sushi, and it’s known by its outer layer of  dried green nori seaweed. This is the best starting point for first-time  sushi rollers.  For the less adventurous sushi samplers among your  guests, this sweet chilli chicken maki is a little less daunting.  You can poach the chicken breast in water until cooked through and then it will be quite easy to shred; otherwise, simply use leftover cooked chicken.

Ingredients
1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 tbsps sweet chilli sauce
1-2 sheets nori
Cooked sushi rice
50g rocket

In a bowl, mix the chicken with the sweet chilli sauce.

Take a sheet of nori and place it shiny-side down on a rolling mat with the longest end facing towards you. Using wet hands — this will prevent you having a fist coated in sushi rice — spread one-sixth of a portion of the rice in an even layer on the nori, leaving 2cm of nori visible at the end farthest away from you. Don’t squash the rice or make the layer too thick — you should be able to see the nori through the rice.

Spoon the chicken mix in a line across the nori, about half way through the middle of the rice. Top with a few leaves of rocket.

To roll the sushi, fold the mat over, starting at the end where the ingredients are and tucking in the end of the nori to start the roll. Keep rolling, lifting up the mat as you go and keeping the pressure even but gentle, until you have finished the roll. Moisten the top edge of the nori with water to seal the sushi roll closed. Don’t worry if anything falls out the sides, just push it back in. The edges may look ragged, but it doesn’t matter.

Remove the roll from the mat and cut it into four even-sized pieces with a very sharp, wet knife. If you do not use a sharp knife the roll will squash as you cut it. Arrange the rolls on a plate. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

Variation:

Spicy tuna maki
1 fresh sushi-grade tuna steak, chopped roughly
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tsp schimi powder
1 tsp soy sauce

In a bowl, mix the chopped tuna with the spring onions, schimi powder and soy sauce. Then follow the same instructions for making up the sweet chilli chicken maki.

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Fragrant Thai Chicken Stew

This is very similar to a Thai green curry but it’s a lot lighter in terms of spices, sticking mainly with the fresh ingredients like ginger and lemongrass. I use Kaffir lime leaves here, which some supermarkets carry in the herb section, Asian markets are also bound to have them. Improvise with finely grated zest of lime. If you haven’t used lemongrass before it’s a fantastic little ingredient which is responsible for giving this dish that wonderful light and fragrant flavour. To prepare, slice off the woody ends and the root, you should be left with about 2-3 inches. If you don’t have a food processor, just chop the paste ingredients until they’re as fine as you can get them.

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