Donal Skehan
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  • 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
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Vodka Penne

Vodka Penne_2This recipe is inspired by the fantastic Lorraine Fanneran who runs the equally fantastic and award-winning La Cucina in Limerick with her Italian husband Bruno. She is an expert at delicious little pasta dishes and this one definitely proves that. Parents, don’t worry: the alcohol burns off in the cooking, and anyway, the kids will be mightily impressed that you’re giving them vodka. Lorraine suggests 4 tablespoons of vodka (plus a few in a glass for yourself depending on how bad your day has been!).

Serves 4
350g dried penne
25g  butter
125g pancetta or bacon bits or 2 slices cooked ham, chopped
4 tablespoon vodka
200ml  double cream
3 tablespoon tomato purée
A small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan according to the instructions on the packet. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the bacon and fry for 3–5 minutes until golden. Add the vodka and allow to simmer for a minute before adding the cream, tomato purée and parsley. Simmer gently for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the sauce and mix through. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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Cookbook Review and Competition: Two Greedy Italians

In terms of a television format, couples cooking on TV together works beautifully. First came The Two Fat Ladies, then The Hairy Bikers and now we have The Two Greedy Italians.  Although the format is the same, two different cooks, on the road, cooking similar food with different takes on it, for me there is so much more going on in Two Greedy Italians.  It’s packed full of Italian history, touching personal stories, beautiful scenery and most importantly fantastic food.  I had read about the pairing of these two, old, Italian chefs a couple of months ago and couldn’t wait to see what the outcome would be.  Antonio Carluccio, the godfather of Italian cookery for many years and Gennaro Contaldo, the man made famous as the mentor to Jamie Oliver, combine forces to create one of the warmest and most fascinating on screen duo’s TV cookery has seen.  Sure there might be set up shots, but at the heart of their TV show, there is a genuine friendship and a real warmth.

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