Donal Skehan
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  • 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
  • We had a bit of an audience for filming earlier- Vietnamese kids in the hills of Sapa! #DonalVietnam
  • Breakfast in Vietnam! Beef Pho- deep broth with noodles, herbs and thin slices of beef! Bloomin delish! #DonalVietnam
  • These lovely ladies cooked us dinner this evening- just left Hanoi and on our way up towards Sapa! #DonalVietnam
  • First meal after 36 hours traveling: Lau ga! A big dig in soup with noodles, tofu, veggies, herbs and eh... chicken feet! :) 🍗 #DonalVietnam
  • A little vlog from London feat. @mycupcakeaddiction plus HUGE NEWS: My youtube channel just hit 100K SUBSCRIBERS! Huge thanks for all the support- link in my profile! X
  • Truffled goats cheese with honey and almonds @copitatapas for lunch today- life just got better! 🍴
  • Peanut butter snicker squares from filming yesterday with @mycupcakeaddiction! Coming up on my youtube channel very soon! :)
  • My mom's creamy white wine chicken on the blog today! Great mid week meal! :)
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The Pepper Pot’s White Yeast Loaves

feast-pepperpot-cafe_1511

Saturday is a great time to be in Dublin city and I love spending the best part of the day there. My go-to brunch spot has to be the Pepperpot Cafe in Powerscourt Town House, with their mismatched tea sets and epic sandwiches–Mount Callan Cheddar, Bacon, and Roast Pear being my favourite! Their sandwiches are served on thick, doorstep style home-made bread and I couldn’t believe it when I got my hands on their secret recipe….

Makes three x 1lb loaves
1.5k strong white flour
30g salt
30g butter
50g yeast
875g water

Preheat the oven to 210ºC. Line three 1lb loaf tins with silicone paper. Sieve flour and salt together and then rub in the butter with your fingertips. Make a well with your hand, forming a large space in the centre with a wall of flour surrounding it. Crumble your yeast into the well and add the water. Dissolve the yeast by swirling your hands in a circular motion.

Begin to incorporate the flour, a little at a time. Knead, stretching the dough as you knead. Knead until you develop a smooth dough. Set aside and cover with a large bowl and allow to ferment for 45 minutes during which time it will expand. After 45 minutes knock the dough back, this releases the gas the yeast have produced. Quickly mould back into a round shape and set aside for a further 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes divide the dough in three and use a weighing scales to measure out each third into 800g. (Or divide again if making mini loaves). Shape into three round balls of dough. Cover again. After 5 minutes flatten with your knuckles, fold in from the sides, left to right, into the middle and roll from the top towards yourslef into a Swiss roll type shape. Place in lined tins. Dust with flour and place on top of your oven, which usually has residual heat form the warming oven, alternatively use your hot
press. Leave for 30 minutes to rise.

After 30 minutes, cut the bread with a knife giving it three traditional vertical slits and place in the oven. After a further 30 minutes remove from the tins and allow to crisp up in the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove breads and place on a wired rack to cool.

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Ever Been A Tourist In Your Own Town?

It’s not often you get to feel like a tourist in your own town, following a tour guide blindly, but that’s what I was last weekend and I loved every minute of it.  A few weeks ago I got a lovely email from the ladies who run Dublin’s Fab Food Trails asking if I might join them on one of their guided food tours around Dublin.  Intrigued by the idea, I gladly accepted with the promise of lots of foodie treats and tasters along the way.  So early on Saturday we marched along to the top secret meeting place from where the tour would begin.  We were greeted by the extremely welcoming Eveleen who has an extensive background in food and has even written her own cookbook, The Irish Potato Cookbook.

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