Donal Skehan
My instagram
  • 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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Smokey Fish Pie

Pilgrims Choice Fish Pie

The flavours in this pie are really comforting and there is something altogether homely about the dish. I love using smoked fish but if you’re not a big fan just substitute with the regular stuff.

Serves 4-6
900g potatoes, preferably roosters, peeled and diced
a large pinch of salt
25g butter
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery sticks, finely chopped
300g smoked haddock, skinned, boned and cut into chunks
300g cod fillets, skinned, boned and cut into chunks
75g butter
75g plain flour
500ml warm milk
110g cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

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

Place the potatoes and a large pinch of salt in a large saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 12–15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and return the potatoes to the pan. Mash the potatoes with the butter then stir through the spring onions.

Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan, add the garlic, carrot and celery and sauté until tender. Remove the vegetables from the pan and place in a large high-sided baking dish with the haddock and cod chunks and set aside. Melt the butter in another saucepan and stir in the flour quickly so you have a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the warm milk and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a steady simmer and simmer for 2 minutes until the sauce becomes thick. Remove the pan from the heat and add in three-quarters of the grated cheese, (keeping the rest for the topping), the Dijon mustard and season with salt and black pepper.

Pour the sauce over the fish and vegetables and mix to combine. Gently spread the mashed potato over the top, season with a little extra salt and black pepper, sprinkle on the reserved grated cheese and bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes until crisp and golden on top.

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Lamb Sausages with Spiced Lentils, Caramalised Onions and Crème fraîche

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This is a comforting dish that will certainly fill you up on a cold evening. If you are a fan of Bangers and Mash, this recipe is probably right up your alley. Spiced lentils and sticky caramelised onions all topped off with amazing lamb sausages and creamy crème fraîche- All good individually but delicious all lovingly placed on one plate!

Serves 8

225g Puy lentils
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
16 James McGeough lamb sausages
1 leek, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
teaspoon smoked paprika
teaspoon ground cumin
good pinch ground cinnamon
300ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, extra leaves to garnish
200ml tub crème fraîche

For the Caramelised Onions
knob of butter
2 onions, sliced

Rinse the lentils in a sieve under cold running water, then place in a pan with 600ml of water. Add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until ‘al dente’- just tender but still with a little bite. Drain in a sieve and spread out on a tray to dry if not using immediately. To make the caramelised onions, melt the butter in a frying pan and cook them very slowly until golden brown and caramelised. Season to taste.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat. Add one tablespoon of the rapeseed oil to the pan, then add the sausages and sauté over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until cooked through and nicely browned, turning regularly. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a pan and sweat the leek, carrots and celery for about 10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Stir the smoked paprika, cumin and cinnamon and cook for another minute or so. Fold in the cooked lentils and then pour in the chicken stock. Season to taste and simmer for a few minutes until you have a loose sauce and the vegetables are completely tender. Finally stir in the parsley. Spoon the spiced lentil stew onto a large warmed platter and spoon a line of crème fraiche down the centre. Arrange the lamb sausages on top and scatter over the caramelised onions. Garnish with the parsley and a good grinding of black pepper.

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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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Mozzarella, Tomato and Gnocchi Bake

The Method


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Simple Spicy Tuna and Garlic Penne

The Method


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Creamy Colcannon Mash

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Colcannon is as traditional, as traditional Irish food gets, and for the week that's in it, when the whole world will be going green in our honour, what better thing to do, than serve up some of the finest! I told my granddad I was making this the other day and no sooner was it out of my mouth than he had burst into song. The dish of course, is the inspiration behind the traditional Irish song by the same name, "Oh weren't them the happy days when troubles we knew not and our mother made colcannon in the little skillet pot". This recipe is the one I grew up with, but if you want to experiment, you could also stir in a little bit of wholegrain mustard to add an extra bite to it!

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Mom’s Coq Au Vin Blanc!

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Coq au Vin Blanc was a regular winter dish in my house when we were growing up. I have distinct memories of it steaming up the kitchen windows while we did our homework on the kitchen table. It’s a wonderfully warming meal, perfect for cold evenings. Chicken joints such as thighs and legs are often far cheaper to buy than chicken breasts, and meat cooked on the bone always seems to have more flavour.

Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 chicken legs
15g (oz) butter
150g (5oz) bacon or pancetta pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
200g (7oz) mushrooms (about 10–15 mushrooms), sliced into quarters
2 fresh thyme sprigs
450ml (16fl oz) white wine (about 2 glasses)
250ml (9fl oz) single cream
Good handful of freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Place a large cooking pot over a high heat and add the olive oil. Put the chicken legs in the pot and brown on all sides until they are a golden colour. Remove and set aside on a plate.
Reduce the heat slightly and add the butter. When it begins to foam, add the bacon and fry until just crisp. Add the garlic and onion and fry for 3–4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pot along with the thyme and pour in the white wine. Bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 45–50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Turn the legs halfway through the cooking time and remove any fat or scum that rises to the top.
When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot and set aside. Stir the cream into the juices, add a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the sauce is has become a little thicker.
Place the chicken back in the pot to allow it to warm through and stir through the chopped parsley. Make sure the food is hot when you serve it at the table.

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Crispy Hasselback Potatoes

I came across the recipe for Hasselback potatoes when I was younger and they are so visually appealing that I had to make them. The traditional recipe, originally from Stockholm, calls for breadcrumbs and cheese, but I have tried to make it as simple as possible for this recipe. The potatoes go nicely alongside most dishes. If your potato slices don’t separate while cooking, increase your heat and you should get better results.

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