Donal Skehan
My instagram
  • Happy Halloween!!! What are cooking today? Lots of Halloween recipes up on my blog including these creepy chocolate eyeballs! 🎃👻
  • Myself and @JohnTorode1 are back with a brand new series of #JuniorMasterChef kicking off on the 10th of November on CBBC! Lots of a brilliant young cooks showcasing their cooking skills! :)
  • Sweet and savoury sticky rice dumplings: sweet green bean paste coated in sesame seeds and aromatic pork mince- deep fried until crisp and bloomin delish! #donalvietnam
  • Last lunch in Vietnam- delicious Bun Cha- a feast of chargrilled pork, rice vermicelli noodles, lots off fresh herbs with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce! Will so miss the street food here! #donalvietnam
  • Have met a load of lovely people who have been watching my youtube channel here in Vietnam! So cool! Xin Chao! #DonalVietnam
  • Met some crazy #GrandmasBoy fans today in Hanoi! So excited to hear it's been showing here in Vietnam! #DonalVietnam
  • 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
Blog Archive
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007

Sweet Pumpkin Baking…

It’s definitely all about pumpkins this week with Halloween just around the corner.  We have a lovely homemade Halloween wreath on our door made from decorative gourds, hay and lots of string and there are four big pumpkins which are sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be carved.  One of my favourite things growing up was carving pumpkins and we used to plead with my dad to bring home the biggest ones we could find.  I love the whole process of cutting the top open, diving into the squelching flesh and seeds and then ripping and scooping them out.  Once the seeds are clean I toss them in a little melted butter sprinkle over some sea salt and then pop them in a hot oven until golden and crisp, they make the perfect little Halloween snack.

Continue reading >>

Maple Glazed Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

This muffin recipe is incredibly easy to make. You basically combine wet and dry ingredients, spoon the batter into muffin cases and bake! You can make this same recipe without pumpkin puree and instead use milk. The tinned pumpkin purée is made by Libby’s and comes in 822g tins. Many good speciality food shops carry them at this time of year and they are perfect for seasonal baking. If you want to add more texture to the muffins add some of the nuts throughout the batter.

Makes 12
240g of plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
200g of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon of all spice
80ml of sunflower oil
400g of pumpkin purée
2 large free range eggs

For the glaze:
90g of icing sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup
40g of walnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180˚C.  Line a muffin tray with paper cases. Place the dry ingredients into bowl and make a well using the back of a wooden spoon. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter. Don’t over mix. Divide the mixture amongst the 12 paper cases and place the whole tray into the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

While the muffins are baking, prepare the glaze by whisking the maple syrup and icing sugar together until you have a stiff yet runny mix. When the muffins have cooled completely on a wire wrack, drizzle with the maple syrup glaze and scatter over the nuts.

Continue reading >>

Blood Red Mummy Cupcakes

These spooky mummy cupcakes have a secret blood-red inside made from a wonderfully rich red velvet batter.

Makes 12 cupcakes
225g caster sugar
225g of plain flour
180ml buttermilk
90g of butter
2 medium free range eggs
2 tablespoons of red food coloring
1 tablespoon of good quality of cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
90g of icing sugar
1 teaspoon of red food coloring
1/2 pack of ready to roll icing

Preheat the oven to 190˚C, place the oven wrack in middle of the oven and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it becomes light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time until they are incorporated in the mix.  Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Mix through the vanilla extract.

Sift the cocoa powder and flour into a bowl and then mix thoroughly into the batter in 3 batches alternating with the buttermilk until you are left with a smooth mix.  Mix through the red food coloring.

In a separate small bowl whisk together the bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar which will give a good fizz and then stir through the red velvet batter.

Using two dessert spoons, divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcake cases.  Bake the cupcakes for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the oven allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a wire wrack and leave to cool completely.

In a bowl mix the icing sugar with a few drops of cold water and the red food coloring until you you have a smooth icing.  Spread the icing over the cupcakes and place 3 smarties on each for the mummy eyes and nose.

Dust a clean work surface with icing sugar and roll out the fondant icing to 2mm in thickness and then cut out 1cm wide strips the size of the cupcakes.  Drape the fondant strips over the mummy’s nose and then continue to pile on the strips to form the bandages.

Make sure to leave space for the eyes which you can give a quick brush with black food coloring for character!

Continue reading >>

Creepy Chocolate Eyeballs

Are you looking at me? These creepy little eyeballs stored in a jar are a perfect addition to any Halloween spread. Not only do they look impressive but they’re also incredibly easy to make.

Makes 30 eyeballs
400g of bourbon biscuits
300g of white chocolate
115g of cream cheese

Equipment:
Red, Green and black Food coloring
skinny paint brush

Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Whizz the biscuits in a food processor until you have small crumbs.

Tip the biscuit crumbs into a bowl and add in the cream cheese, mix with a wooden spoon until a dough comes together.

Using your hands roll 30 little balls and place them on a baking tray and pop in the fridge while you melt the chocolate.

Melt the chocolate in a large bowl sitting over a pot of gently simmering water until it’s smooth. Remove from the heat.

Toss the balls in the melted white chocolate until they are completely covered then lift out using a fork and place on a lined baking tray.

Allow to set in fridge and then carefully decorate the eyeballs with food coloring.

Allow to dry and then place in a large jar. The eyeballs will keep for about a week in the fridge.

Continue reading >>

Back Of The Pack Retro Recipes and Pumpkin Pie

It’s another pumpkin recipe this week, but while last week’s was a savoury offering, this week’s is all about sweetness and the kitsch factor! I love collecting old recipes and one of my absolute favourite cookbooks is one I robbed from my aunt, a compilation of recipes from the backs of American packets and tins. Half the book is made up of recipes that would make the Masterchef inside you cry a little, but hidden amongst them are true gems which are not to be sniffed at.

Continue reading >>

Halloween Barmbrack

This recipe makes a really beautiful moist loaf which is packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which sits overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness. You can drop the whiskey if you wish but I think it adds another flavour kick…

Continue reading >>

Chocolate, pumpkin and pecan brownies

These pumpkin brownies are so delicious, you just have to try them. I didn’t manage to get my hands on pumpkin puree so I made my own. I slowly roasted the pumpkin until it was soft, scraped out the flesh, then I puréed the mixture and passed it through a sieve.

Continue reading >>

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

These seeds are my perfect little Halloween snack and they are far more healthy than your average Halloween treats! Try experimenting with flavours, I have yet to make a sweet version of these but I’m pretty sure they would work good too.

Continue reading >>

Pumpkin and Crispy Pancetta Risotto

I absolutely love this recipe, it is a real cosy dish, which leaves you full, satisfied and warm. Risotto may seem a little tricky, but it’s just a case of giving it your full attention and slowly incorporating the liquid, so give it a go! If you can’t get your hands on pancetta slices, use smoked streaky bacon.

Continue reading >>

Nacha’s Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

My parents are in the fruit and vegetable business, this meant we always had two massive pumkins every Halloween, when my brother and I were growing up. Carving pumpkins became an annual tradition and everyone had a role. My brother and I would draw the faces, my mom would gut the pumpkins, and my dad would carve them. There was always huge arguements over choosing the right pumpkin and even more competition when it came to drawing the best and most scary face!

I picked this recipe up from our first au-pair from France, Nacha, who taught us never to throw away any of the precious seeds. They are so tasty toasted with butter and sea salt. Here’s the simple recipe.

Continue reading >>