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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Homecooked Bakery: Orange Polenta Cake

Orange-Polenta-Cake_2 Time for another installment of Homecooked Bakery and this week's recipe is a beauty! If you have not tried baking with polenta yet, give this cake a go. It's so moist and fragrant because it's doused with a honey and rosewater syrup and the polenta gives the cake a really great texture. Then the whole cake is decorated with vibrant green pistachios and orange zest. It's incredibly easy to make and it's the one I have pulled out again and again!

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Orange Polenta Cake With Honey & Rosewater Syrup

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This fragrant and moist cake is not only visually beautiful, it also has the most delicious spiced sweet orange and honey flavour. The cake can be made gluten-free as long as you use a gluten-free baking powder. 

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Prinsesstårta- Swedish Princess Cake

Varients on the layers of this traditional Swedish cake are quite common and can also be referred to as Prinstårta and Opera Cake. This is my version and makes a wonderful celebration cake.

Serves 12
For the sponge layers:

4 large free range eggs
170g caster sugar
120g plain flour
butter for greasing the tin

For the Crème Patissière:
1 vanilla pod
450ml milk
120g caster sugar
6 large free range egg yolks
50g cornflour
50g unsalted butter, softened

For the filling and assembly:
125g fresh raspberries
750ml double cream, whipped to soft peaks
500g marzipan (use red or pink food colouring
if you can’t find pink marzipan)

Preheat the oven to 190°C and grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin with parchment paper.

Beat together the eggs and the sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift the flour in to the bowl and fold gently into the egg mixture, until you are left with no lumps in the bowl. Pour the mixture into the cake tin.

Bake on the middle wrack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin and then turn it out on to a cooling rack. When completely cool, using a bread knife, divide the cake into three even layers.

For the crème patissière, split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add this to a medium saucepan with the milk and place over a medium high heat. Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat. Scoop out the vanilla pod.

While the milk is coming to the boil, place the sugar, cornflour and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until thick and pale. Pour the hot milk into the bowl, whisking quickly and continuously until it is smooth and incorporated. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat beating continuously until it has thickened.

Transfer the crème pâtissière to a cold bowl, create a flat surface with the back of a spatula and wipe the top with a little butter (this will prevent a skin forming). Cover directly with cling film and allow to cool completely.

Place one of the cake layers on a cake stand. Use one-third of the crème pâtissière to pipe three circles around the base of the bottom layer, starting from the outside, in. Place the raspberries inside the creme patisserie circles. Mix a spoonful of the cream with a little of the creme patisserie and pipe over the raspberries. Put on the next layer of cake and spread with half the remaining crème pâtissière over the top. Put the last layer of cake in place and spread the remaining crème pâtissière on top.  Spread the cream over the top and sides of the cake, creating a smooth dome shape.

In a bowl, add a drop of food colouring to the marzipan and knead it until you have an even pink colour. Dust a clean surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan until it’s about 1mm in thickness. Cover the cake with the marzipan, trimming the excess around the edges. (You can use the excess marzipan to make the little rose on top.)

Dust the cake with icing sugar and place a little marzipan rose on top.

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Sticky Maple, Apple & Ginger Cake

The Method


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Beef and Guinness Pie

The Method


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I Like Big Buns and I Cannot Lie!

No otha’ bruthas’ can deny… and so on… What is about sweet things like big dirty chocolate cakes, drippy sticky toffee pudding, and oozing eclairs that always seem to grab people’s attention?  I could write fresh and healthy recipes everyday for the rest of my life, and they would still never get the same reaction as the oooohing and aaaahing that a great big, filthy slice of gooey, dark chocolate brownie manages to draw. Some of the first recipes I ever cooke, were baking ones, and to this day it’s one of my favourite forms of cooking in the kitchen.  I have cooked Swedish cinnamon buns to their death at this stage, but they have to be one of the best baking discoveries I’ve come across in the last 5 years.

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Have Your Cake And Eat It!

Earlier this year, many food writers made their predictions for 2011′s hottest food trends, and one of the big things mentioned again and again was the rise in popularity of home baking.  Rather than trying to find something to topple the mighty cupcake, baking in general is being made cool again.

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Lemon Drizzle Days…


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Rainy Day Mediterranean Homemade Pizza

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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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