Donal Skehan

Top 10 Food Spots I Love In Dublin…

FEAST The Garden

With St Patrick’s Day fast approaching, I was delighted to be featured on one of America’s biggest food websites  The lovely folks on the Epicurious team asked me to collate my favourite spots to eat and shop around Dublin City, and with so many great choices, it was no easy task!

If you want to read the original post have a look here or continue below to see my Top Ten Things I Love About Dublin!

1. Perfect Dublin Day: “Saturday is a great time to be in Dublin and I love spending the best part of the day there. Brunch at the Pepperpot Cafe in Powerscourt Town House, with their mismatched tea sets and epic sandwiches–Mount Callan Cheddar, Bacon, and Roast Pear being my favorite!–followed by a stroll around Grafton St. and a stop by Fallon & Byrne for some great-quality ingredients and Sheridans for the best cheese Ireland has to offer.”

FEAST PepperPot Cafe_25

2. The Big Splurge:Chapter One. Wonderful service and incredible cooking from one of Ireland’s most widely celebrated chefs, Ross Lewis.”

3. Wallet-Friendly Meals: “One of the things I love most about the Dublin food scene is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get great-quality food. A serious sausage roll with proper Irish pork and flaky puff pastry from Lolly & Cooks in George’s Street Arcade served with a fresh salad is a great lunch. Or Skinflint in Temple Bar has a good offering of cheap and tasty dinners, and paddle-shaped pizzas with firebee [infused with chile!] honey.”

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Rocket, Pear, Parmesan and Pine Nut Salad

Toast the pine nuts in frying pan for a minute or so until they turn a nice golden brown. Make sure to keep your eye on them as nuts cook really quickly, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burnt a pan of nuts and I still haven’t learned my lesson!

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Chilli, Garlic and Lime Dublin Bay Prawns

I use a microplane grater to mince the garlic and chilli, its a really handy kitchen gadget. To butterfly a Dublin bay prawn, run a knife from the head to tail, being careful not to cut all the way through, then gently flatten it out.

Serves 2
8 Dublin bay prawns or langoustines, butterflied
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red chilli, minced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
juice of 1 lime
lime wedges and chopped coriander, to serve

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss the prawns to coat.

Heat a large griddle pan, and add the prawns.

Cook for 2-3 minutes either side or until cooked through.

Transfer the prawns to a serving plate, sprinkle with a little chopped coriander and serve with some lime wedges.

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Mojito Lime Chicken

One of my favourite cocktails is a mojito and, you guessed it, this recipe was thought up after one too many! But it was an experiment that paid off.

Serves 4
4 chicken breasts
1 garlic clove
4–5 tablespoons of rum
Juice of 2 limes
2 limes quartered
1 tablespoon of olive oil
A small handful of fresh mint
A generous pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Chop the mint and garlic finely and place in a large resealable bag. Add the rum, lime juice, oil, salt and pepper to the bag.

I butterfly the chicken breasts so they cook quicker and the garlic doesn’t burn.

To do this, place one hand on the breast and with the other slice through the thickest part, making sure the breast stays attached on one side.

Put the chicken in the bag and seal. Toss the chicken around in the bag and make sure the breasts are covered in the mint and garlic mixture.

Leave in the fridge preferably overnight, or you can make in the morning and leave for the day.

To cook the chicken, heat a pan over a high heat and fry the breasts and marinade for about 3–5 minutes on either side, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.

Tumble in the lime quarters after you turn the chicken and allow to caramelise on all sides. Serve straightaway with a tasty side salad, couscous and a final squeeze of juice from the caramelised lime quarters.

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Cherry Clafoutis

To be honest, even though I served this on a hot day, I think this dish would work better on colder one, as I find it’s a little bit heavy for the summer sunshine. You can replace the fruit with whatever is in season so feel free to experiment!

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Red Onion and Garlic Focaccia

Good homemade bread never fails to impress. There is just a freshness that you can’t compare to store bought, plus the the smell of a freshly baked loaf wafting around the house, just can’t be beaten!

Makes 2 focaccia loaves
750g of strong white flour
2 teaspoons of salt
15fl oz of lukewarm water
1 x 7g sachet of dry yeast
2 tablespoons of olive oil

For the topping:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 garlic cloves, very finely minced
1 red onion, sliced into half moon pieces

Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and with the back of a spoon make a well. Pour the water into the well, and stir through the yeast and oil. Allow to stand for 10 minutes and then slowly combine the wet ingredients with the flour, incorporating in small amounts at a time, until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for 4-5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Oil the mixing bowl, place the dough back in, cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Punch down the dough and knead for a further 2-3 minutes.

Seperate the dough into two pieces and form into a flat rectangular bread, place into two oiled baking trays. Mix the garlic with the olive oil and spread over the surface of the the bread dough. Poke parts of the dough with your thumb and then pres the onions on top. Place in an oven at 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7 for 15-20 minutes depending on thickness.

When the bread is done drizzle with a little extra olive oil and enjoy!

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Homemade Paprika Roast Potato Chips

When it comes to snack foods, everyone has their weakness, mine just so happens to be these homemade potato chips.

Makes enough for 4 portions, or one giant selfish one!
5 rooster potatoes cut into chips
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of paprika
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Cut the potatoes into chips about 1cm in thickness. Spread the potato chips evenly over two large non stick baking trays. Try and give the chips as much space as possible, this will make them extra crispy.

Drizzle the oil over the chips and toss until they are all combined.  Sprinkle over the paprika, pepper, salt and toss again.  Place in the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes or until crispy and golden.

Serve straightaway as a tasty snack or alongside a main meal.

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Sesame Honey Duck with Broccoli

With just a few simple ingredients this is an easy dish to create and is really tasty.

Serves 2 portions
1 head of brocolli chopped into florets
2 duck breasts
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
5 tablespoons of soya sauce
3 tablespoons of honey

In a small bowl, mix the soya sauce, sesame oil and the honey until combined.

Place two duck breasts in a small roasting tray and brush over half the soya honey marinade. Place in the oven at 200°C for 25-30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of the cooking time brush over the rest of the soya honey marinade, sprinkle with half the sesame seeds and finish cooking.

When the duck is ready, remove from the roasting tray and allow to rest on a chopping board. Keep the roasting tray which should still be full of tasty duck flavours as this makes a great dressing for the broccoli, try to spoon off as much fat as possible. While the duck is cooking steam the broccoli for 4-5 minutes and remove from the heat.

Tumble the broccoli florets into the roasting tray and toss gently until they are completely coated. Slice the duck thinly and serve with the broccoli.  Sprinkle over some extra sesame seeds and enjoy!

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Spinach and Riccotta Stuffed Pasta Shells

This is a delicious pasta dish, which is packed with fresh ingredients. It is a little bit tricky but the tastes are great and well worth the effort!

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Mediterranean Roast Vegetables with Bulgar Wheat

Roast vegetables are delicious enough to be eaten on their own with just a little sea salt, but pair them up with some bulgar wheat and you have the makings of a really delicious meal. You can use any roast veg here really, stuff like carrots, beetroot, or asparagus all work, but I really love the combination of aubergine, courgettes, red onion, and red pepper.

Serves 4-5 generous portions
200g of bulgar wheat
1 teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder
1 aubergine chopped into bitesize chunks
2 courgettes chopped into bitesize chunks
2 red onions chopped into bitesize chunks
1 red pepper chopped into bitesize chunks
2 tablespoons of olive oil
A good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

Place the bulgar wheat in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir through the vegetable bouillon powder, cover with a cloth or cling film and allow to sit for about 30 minutes or until all the water is soaked up.

Preheat the oven to 200oC.

Add all the prepared vegetables to a large bowl and toss with the oil, sea salt and black pepper. Arrange the vegetables on a large non-stick low sided roasting tray, making sure not to overcrowd it, as this will make the vegetable pieces become soft. Place the roasting tray in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the vegetables become slightly scorched on the edges.

Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. Add the roast vegetable pieces to the bulgar wheat and stir gently to combine. You may want to season with a little extra sea salt and black pepper at this point.

Serve the bulgar wheat as tasty side dish or a super lunch box filler.

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Broccoli Feta and Cherry Tomato Salad

I have been living on this salad over the last few weeks, so I thought I would stick it up here! It’s really delicious and full of healthy ingredients, plus it’s so easy to make!

Serves 4
1 large head of broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces.
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes. (250g)
1 packet of ready chopped pancetta or bacon.
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
A good pinch of ground black pepper.
A good handful of crumbled feta cheese.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil.  While the water is boiling, combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a serving bowl.  Add the broccoli to the pot of water and blanch for 60 seconds, you should see the broccoli turn a vibrant green.  Drain the broccoli pieces and run under cold water.  Add the broccoli to the serving bowl and set aside.

Place a small frying pan over a high heat and fry the bacon pieces until crispy.  Remove the bacon from the pan, place on on some kitchen paper and allow to cool before adding to the rest of salad.

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and tumble in to the bowl on top of the broccoli. Add the bacon pieces and feta cheese to the serving bowl. Gently toss all the ingredients in the dressing and season with black pepper.

Serve as a tasty side dish or a really tasty lunch.  You can also add walnuts or pine nuts for an extra crunch!

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