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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My NYC Foodie Guide

Following on from my NYC report last week, I couldn’t move on with my life without telling you about the long list of places we visited during our stay. To be honest we didn’t eat out at as much during the evenings because we were so full from all the eating we did during the day.  The main eateries I recommend here are great little lunch and breakfast stops which are ideal with the amount of walking you’re likely to be doing. If you’re a food lover and are planning a visit to the Big Apple, I hope this guide provides you with lots of great places to try.

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Mega Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

This batter makes really delicious and moist cupcakes which will give you more reason to have just one more! The batter is a lot more runny than normal cupcakes batters, but will rise so just make sure not to overfill the cases, halfway up is just perfect.

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Basic Cupcake Recipe

This recipe again comes from aunt Erica, and is adapted from her fairy cake recipe. If you are making these to decorate with kids, and want to limit the time it takes to put everything together, it may be easier to make the cupcakes ahead of time

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Christmas Cupcake Recipe

These cool Christmas cupcakes knock the socks of Christmas pudding any day! This recipe also works super for normal cupcakes too!

Makes approximately 8 cupcakes.
175g of self raising flour
110g of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
110g of soft margarine or butter
2 large eggs
50ml of water/milk

To decorate:
Ready to roll icing
6 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar
1-2 teaspoons of water
Red and Green Food Colouring
A holly leaf cookie cutter

Preheat the oven to 180˚C and line a cupcake tray with paper cases.

In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center of the bowl and break in the 2 eggs and add the butter in small pieces.  Using an electric hand mixer beat all the ingredients together until combined.  Add in half the milk/water and beat again until combined.  You are looking for the batter to be light and creamy.  Add the rest of the liquid if you need it- you may not.

Divide the batter evenly into the paper cases and place in an oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm and light brown on top.

Allow to cool on a wire rack before applying the frosting.

Combine the icing sugar and water until you get a thick icing, you may need to add more sugar or water depending if it’s too thick or too thin!  Spoon a little amount on the top of each cupcakes and allow to set while you get on with the holly and berries!  Make sure to leave a little aside to attach the rest of the decorations.

Knead a small amount of the green food colouring into a little of the ready to roll icing until you get a nicely coloured dough.  Repeat this with the red food colouring.  Roll out the green icing and with a holly cookie cutter cut out two leaves for each cupcake.  Dusting the worksurface with icing sugar will prevent any sticking.  With the red icing dough, roll out little balls.  With a spoon add a little dollop of the icing to the bottom of the holly and the berries and place on top of the cupcakes.

Allow the icing to set before eating, if you can wait that long!

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Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

This recipe makes delicious, light and moist cupcakes with a fruity taste.

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Cookies and Cream Chocolate Chip Oreo Cupcakes

This is my aunt Erica’s cupcake recipe and it could not be easier to make. You can easily adapt this recipe to make a regular plain cupcake mixture also, simply remove the cocao powder and chocolate chips from the ingredient list.

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