Donal Skehan
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  • 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
  • Flower Hmong tribe at Bac Ha market this morning selling fresh vegetables and sugar cane... #DonalVietnam
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Ginger and Cinnamon Spiced Pumkin Pie

The original recipe uses 1/2 the can of both the pumpkin pure and condensed milk, so I’ve doubled it here to make two pies. After all two pies are always better than one! I’ve also added grated fresh ginger for an extra zing, but you could add ground ginger, mixed spice and ground black pepper.

Makes 2 x 9inch pies
Each pie serves 6
For the filling:
110g of sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 large thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
1 x 822g tin of Libby’s Pumpkin Puree
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
4 large free range eggs

For the pie bases:
2 sheets of ready to roll shortcrust pastry
A little butter to grease
Tin foil
Ceramic baking beans or dried pulses

Preheat the oven to 220˚C and grease two 9 inch pie tins with a little butter.

Roll out the sheets of short crust pastry and press them into the two pie tins. Prick the bases with a fork and tidy up the edges by crimping them with your fingers, this doesn’t have to look perfect.

Place one sheet of tin foil or grease proof paper in the base of each pastry lined pie tin and tumble in some ceramic baking beans or any dried pulse will do.

Place the pie tins in the oven to cook for 10 minutes. Remove the tin foil and baking beans and place back in the oven for a further 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

While the pastry is cooking, mix together all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl.

Divide the pumpkin mix between the two tins, reduce the oven temperature to 180˚C and place back in the oven to bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the pies come out clean.

Allow to cool before serving.


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Apple and Cinnamon Crumble Muffins

This has to be the ultimate Autumnal muffin!  Soft apple in a light and fluffy batter lightly spiced with cinnamon and then finished off with a buttery crumble topping! You won’t be able to resist!

Makes 12 Muffins
75ml of olive oil
200ml of buttermilk
Zest of 1 lemon
2 large free range eggs
150g of caster sugar
250g of self raising flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
250g of peeled and diced cooking apple (Approx 1 large cooking apple)

For the crumble topping:
50g of vanilla sugar (or substitute with caster sugar)
50g of plain flour
50g of butter

Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Line a muffin/cupcake tray with paper cases.

Measure the oil and buttermilk in a pyrex jug and then stir through the lemon zest and set aside.

Using a handblender with a food processor attachment, blitz the ingredients for the crumble topping until you get left with rough crumbs. You can also do this by hand in a bowl using your fingertips to combine the ingredients together. Set the crumble topping aside.

In a standalone mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the oil, buttermilk and lemon zest and whisk until combined.

Gently fold in the flour and cinnamon until just combined. Fold through 3/4 of the diced apple until combined. Be sure not to over mix the batter.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, top with the remaining apple and about a teaspoonful of the crumble topping.

Place in the oven on the middle wrack to cook for 20 minutes until brown on top.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire wrack to cool.

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Crisp Gingerbread Biscuits

gingerbread_11This recipe makes perfectly crisp gingerbread biscuits which snap and crumble in the mouth.  The smell of these biscuits baking in the oven will instantly transport you to Christmas heaven!

Makes around 100 biscuits
150ml of golden syrup
250g of sugar
200g of butter
150ml of cream
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
700g of plain flour

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Caramel Apple Granola Pots

I admit that this is quite a sweet breakfast but it is quite filling with the addition of granola. You can buy premade granola or else toast some rolled oats with some honey, cinnamon, and raisins in the oven until golden. It will store quite nicely in an airtight jar for use throughout the week so I often make a double batch.

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Cinnamon and Raisin Breakfast Bagels

I first tried these bagels in America and have been hooked ever since. The flavours are perfect for a cosy late morning breakfast. Bagels are really easy to make and if you can master bread you can definitely give them a go.

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