Donal Skehan

Asian Pork Lettuce Cups

YouTube Asian Pork Lettuce Cups_2

I want to introduce you to what is easily one of my favourite little dinner-party treats. This dish tastes amazing and I hope it will become one of your staple entertaining recipes. The meat mix is full of really light and aromatic flavours and is served in baby gem lettuce leaves, making it perfect finger food.Β  Vegetarian option: use Quorn mince which works quite well here.

Serves 4
1 tbsp sunflower oil
250g (9oz) lean pork mince
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp caster sugar
5 spring onions, finely chopped
8 fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
A small handful of coriander, roughly torn

To serve
2 baby gem lettuces, separated into leaves
Thai sweet chilli sauce
Juice of 1 lime

Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add the pork mince and fry for 2–3 minutes or until the mince is tender, breaking the mince up with a spoon as it cooks.
Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a further minute.
Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar and stir through, frying for another minute until you have a good colour on the meat.
Finally add half the spring onions, coriander, mint and the lime juice and fry for 1–2 minutes until the spring onions are just tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until just warm.
Place 1 heaped tablespoon of the aromatic pork in each baby gem lettuce leaf, top with a drizzle of Thai sweet chilli sauce and a garnish with the remaining spring onions, coriander and mint.

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Simple Garlic and Rosemary Roast Lamb

Most meats really benefit from the roasting process and lamb is no different. As it is in season now, it needs very little work to bring out the really fantastic natural flavours of the meat. Roasting it with the classic combination of rosemary and garlic is simply the only way to go in my books! You get delicious, mouthwatering end results with a kitchen filled with amazing aromas! Normally I would roast lamb on the bone, so just adapt with whatever cut you can get your hands on.

Serves 6-8
1 leg of lamb, boned and rolled
A few cloves of garlic, sliced into thick studs
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
A generous sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper
250ml of lamb stock (or use beef or vegetable if you are stuck)

Preheat the oven to 180oC/ Gas Mark 4.

Place the lamb in a large roasting tray and using the point of a sharp knife make holes all over the lamb about 2-3cm apart.Β Insert some rosemary and a stud of garlic in each hole.Β  Season generously with sea salt and ground black pepper.Β Place in the oven and depending on the weight of the leg, roast for approximately 25-30 minutes per pound for medium rare.Β  Alternatively check the lamb with a meat thermometer, 145oF for medium rare.

Remove the cooked lamb from the pan and allow to rest on serving dish.

Tip the juices to one corner of the pan and spoon off the fat.Β  Place the pan on the hob and add the stock.Β  Bring to the boil and make sure to whisk all the caramelised meat juices from the sides of the tray.Β  Decant to a small jug.Β  You can add a little roux while it comes to the boil if you want a thicker sauce.

Serve slices of lamb with a little of the gravy some roast potatoes and steamed asparagus.

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Garlic and Rosemary Chicken with Roast Cherry Tomato Salad

Although I do try to buy as much in season vegetables as possible I just can’t resist using cherry tomatoes in this tasty little dish. The good thing about roasting them is that it brings out the best from even the most tasteless tomatoes. By feeding them with a little sea salt, black pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar you are guaranteed little morsels packed with punchy flavour. It’s dishes like this which are really simple and full of flavour that make mealtimes far more enjoyable and take the hassle out of cooking for groups. Feel free to adapt the recipe as you wish, try using different herbs, different salad leaves, just use what you have.

Serves 4
4 chicken breasts
6 cloves of garlic
2-3 sprigs of rosemary
4 tablespoons of olive oil
A good pinch of ground black pepper
A good pinch of sea salt

For the salad:
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
A good pinch of ground black pepper
A good pinch of sea salt
1 large punnet of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
120g of rocket leaves
1 small red onion, finaly sliced
Shavings of parmesan cheese to serve

In a bowl whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the salad.

Add the tomatoes to a large roasting tray cut side up, pour half the dressing over and toss to combine.Β  Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Place in an oven at 200oC/Gas Mark 6 for about 35 minutes or until the tomatoes have reduced in size.

While the tomatoes are roasting in the oven, in a pestle and mortar or with the back of a knife, crush the garlic cloves with a little sea salt, until you have a fine paste.

Remove the leaves from the sprigs of rosemary, and add them with the mushed garlic, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and chicken breasts to a bowl and allow to marinade while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.

On a large hot griddle pan, fry the chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes either side, depending on the size, but just make sure they are cooked through.

In a large bowl, toss together the rocket, roasted cherry tomatoes, red onion and remaining dressing.

Serve alongside the chicken with some shavings of parmesan cheese.

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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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Chunky Garlic Bread

You can use any bread for this really, but try and pick a loaf with a chunky crust. The bread on the inside will stay nice and soft and you will be left with a crunchy crust. I love garlic and have used four cloves here, but reduce the amount if don’t want to be warding off vampires for the next week!

Serves 4
1 loaf of wholemeal bread
5 tablespoons of butter at room temperature
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A large handful of freshly chopped parsley
A pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 200oC/390oF/Gas 6.

Slice the bread into slices being careful not to cut the whole way through and set aside.Β  The slices should all still be joined at the bottom.Β  Mash the butter, salt, garlic and parsley together on a chopping board with the back of a fork.Β  When the ingredients are combined scoop up the garlic butter and slather the slices on the inside.Β  Don’t be afraid to get messy here, if there’s butter on the crust all the better!

Wrap the loaf in tinfoil leaving the tops of the slices exposed.Β  You can also sprinkle the tops of the slices with a little grated Parmesan cheese at this point.Β Place the wrapped loaf in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden and crisp on top.

Serve piping hot!Β  If you can’t get through a whole loaf in one go, freeze the slices individually and pop them in the toaster when you want to reheat them!

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Rainy Day Mediterranean Homemade Pizza


Getting homemade pizza right is a real art, I used to make it a lot when I was a kid and slowly perfected it over the years! One of my favourite things to do was to try different topping combinations from Asparagus and Spinach, to Feta and Rocket. One of the great things about pizza is that it's just so customisable. I also recommend experimenting with the tomato sauce as it can really enhance the overall flavour.

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