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
Blog Archive
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Dinner’s On with Barry Lewis…

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Barry Lewis is one of the many rising food stars on YouTube and a few weeks back I got hang out with him at the BBC Bristol Food Connections festival in Bristol.  We chatted food, YouTube and he mentioned he had his first cookbook coming out.  I’ve finally got my hands on it and it’s a super book filled with inspirational and quirky everyday dinner ideas, perfect for families.  If you watch Barry’s channel on YouTube you will know he has two young daughters and his passion for feeding his family great quality food comes shining through in his debut cookbook.

*This competition is now closed.* To celebrate the release of Barry’s new book, I have three copies of Dinner’s On to giveaway! To be in with a chance of winning a copy of this brilliant book, leave a comment below telling me your ‘go to’ dinner dish, and make sure you subscribe to my newsletter here. Entries close on Friday 18th of July 2014. The winner will be chosen at random that day- Good luck!  I’ve also got just some of the brilliant recipes from Barry’s new book below to whet your appetite…

- RECIPES -

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Piri Piri Chicken Wings… }

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Rediscovering Theodora Fitzgibbon…

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Over the past few years I have had some really wonderful opportunities in the world of food, but one of my proudest moments so far has been the release of “The Pleasures of the Table: Rediscovering Theodora FitzGibbon”.  A book which celebrates the recipes and culinary knowledge of one of Ireland’s greatest food writers.  I wrote the foreword, selected the recipes and photographed over 80 of them, which was an exciting and incredibly educational exercise in itself.  The book is one that I hope will be a welcome addition to the bookshelves of Theodora fans, but one which will also provide a great insight to her wonderful food writing for a younger generation, new to her work.

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*This competition is now closed* To celebrate my new RTE TV series ‘Rediscovering the Irish Kitchen,’ which features many of Theodora’s recipes, the kind folks at Gill & MacMillan have given me 3 copies of ‘Pleasures of the Table, Redicovering Theodora Fitzgibbon,’ to give away! To be in with a chance of winning a copy, all you have to do is leave a comment below and make sure you subscribe to my newsletter here and you could be the the lucky winner of this great book. Entries close on Friday 11th of July at 1pm 2014. The winner will be chosen at random that day- Good luck!  Check out some of my favourite recipes from the book below.

- RECIPES -

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Thomasina Miers Chilli Notes…

CHILLI NOTES by Thomasina Miers. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2014.

* This competition is now closed. * Thomasina Miers won BBC’s MasterChef in 2005 and since then, she has been catapulted to stardom, with a long list of TV series and books to her name.  She also runs a chain of highly successful Mexican restaurants in London.  Beyond all that, Thomasina is a wonderful food writer and her books are a testament to this. Her latest offering Chilli Notes is a celebration of her love of spice and heat.  Thomasina proves the many diverse ways that chilli can be used in recipes. From chickpea and mango salad with Indian spices, Turkish eggs and even a decadent  dark chocolate, chili caramel and macadamia nut tart, this book is a clever interpretation of one of the world’s most popular ingredients.

CHILLI NOTES by Thomasina Miers. Hodder & Stoughton Publishers 2014.

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Ballyvolane House Competition…

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You may have seen my Irish Food Food Folk post about Ballyvolane House this week. Ballyvolane truly is a hidden treasure and I am delighted to tell you that Justin, the owner of Ballyvolane House, has kindly offered me an amazing prize to give to one lucky reader! The winner will receive a one night stay including a four course dinner for two people! Having been to Ballyvolane myself, I have to say I am very jealous of this prize!  To be in with a chance to win, make sure you leave a comment below and I’ll pick a winner next week! :)

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Catherine’s Top 3 Brunch Recipes…

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If you are anything like me, I am sure you are addicted to cookbooks. Here in Ireland the standard of Irish cookbooks has really risen in the last few years and there are plenty of food writers to be excited about. Last week I was filming at the ever lovely Catherine Fulvio's Ballyknocken house for Bord Bia and while I was there I couldn't help but drool over her latest cookbook The Weekend Chef.

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The pages are filled with fantastic recipes for Baking Days, Sunday Brunches, and sweet ideas for Movie Nights and more. Catherine has kindly shared some of her favourite brunch recipes from the book which you can see below. The good news is we have teamed up with the lovely folks at Gill & MacMillan and have 3 copies of 'The Weekend Chef' to give away to 3 lucky readers. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me what your favourite weekend brunch recipe is. The winner will be picked at random next week. One entry per person please. Best of luck!

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SKOFF Pies Hamper Competition…

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***Competition is now closed***

After so much planning the full range of our Skoff Pies are finally out there! It's so strange to wander into Irish supermarkets and finally see our little babies on the shelves. I've been getting lots of great comments on the Skoff twitter and facebook pages with lots of people trying out the different flavours for the first time and sending me pics of their Skoff Pie dinner!

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This week I'll be launching the Skoff website which will have some great recipes and recipe videos for side dishes to serve alongside the pies to really make a meal of them.  Until then I have a brilliant competition for you to get a hamper of Skoff pies delivered right to your door!

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Bosch Shiny Red Hand Blender Competition!

It’s back by popular demand! A few months ago I had one of these babies up for grabs and it went down a storm! If you haven’t got many kitchen gadgets to your name and you want to start small, a hand blender is one of the best ones to get yourself going. It was one of the first big kitchen buys I ever made and they really do make life so much easier. Being a more lightweight appliance I tend to use it more often than the big clunky ones that hide in my presses. I get a lot of use of mine for smoothies, blending soups, whipping cream and the mini chopper attachment is great to whizz up ingredients for meat marinades!

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Annabel Langbein: The Free Range Cook!

Ever heard of Annabel Langbein? No? Well neither had I up until a few months ago.  While I was cooking away in the kitchen with Good Food channel on in the background, a soft New Zealand accent came from the tellybox and I was intrigued.  I sat down and watched the entire program and that was all it took for me to be totally taken in by this free range cook from New Zealand!  The program was full of beautiful scenery and most importantly lots of simple, fresh homecooking. A quick trip to google allowed me to see that she had a new book which I finally have in my hands and I can honestly say it’s fantastic.

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Win Tickets to My Kitchen Hero Cookery Demonstration in Donnybrook Fair!

I am very excited to be doing my very first Kitchen Hero themed cookery class later this month at the fantastic cookery school at Donnybrook Fair!  It will be a two hour class covering lots of inspirational home cooking recipes.

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Will Write For Food- Dianne Jacob- Win A Copy!

The quote on the front of this book by legendary food blogger, The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond really says it all for me.  This indeed is the book I wish I had read before I began my stumbling journey into the vast world of food writing and blogging!  I say stumbling because that’s exactly what it was, it wasn’t smooth and it wasn’t planned.  When I look back at some of my very early posts, part of me cringes at just how all over the place they are, and then a huge part of me is incredibly proud because I was so unaware that it was those very posts, which would lead me to something I can call my day job!  It’s true that the first step can often be the one most people procrastinate about, but realistically it is better to stand up and be counted than to never make any impression at all.

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Bosch Shiny Red Hand Blender Competition!

If you haven’t got many kitchen gadgets to your name and you want to start small, a hand blender is one of the best ones to get yourself going.  It was one of the first big kitchen buys I ever made and they really do make life so much easier.  Being a more lightweight appliance I tend to use it more often than the big clunky ones that hide in my presses.  I get a lot of use of mine for smoothies, blending soups, whipping cream and the mini chopper attachment is great to whizz up ingredients for meat marinades!

Continue reading >>