Donal Skehan
My instagram
  • 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! :)
  • Maxie Theresa... #maxthedog
  • This morning over on my youtube channel I'm cooking with... MY MOM! Creamy white wine chicken on the menu! Head over and subscribe! Link in my profile! 😃🍗
  • Ricotta hotcakes with apple syrup glazed bacon! Happy Saturday folks! :)
  • Roast pumpkin and ricotta ravioli with chanterelles, prosciutto and sage butter in my weekly column in tomorrow's Irish Independent Weekend Magazine! :)
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Triple Chocolate Muffins

These muffins are simple to prepare and easy to adapt. Try other variations using ingredients like fruit or nuts. The muffins can also easily be frozen once cooked.

Makes 12 muffins
100g butter, melted
200nl buttermilk
2 large free-range eggs
150g caster sugar
250g self-raising flour
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
3tbsp good quality cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.

In a bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, orange zest and set aside. In a standalone mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the butter mixture and whisk until combined. Gently fold in the flour and cocoa powder until just combined. Now, stir through the white and dark chocolate until combined.  Be sure not to over mix the batter.

Spoon the mixture into the papercases and place in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes until brown on top.Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before transferring to a wire wrack to cool further.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Muffins

These rich dark chocolate muffins are beautifully balanced with ruby red raspberries.  This mix is incredibly easy to prepare, make sure to prepare all your ingredients in advance and all it takes is a little mixing and you have a fudgy dark chocolate muffin mix.

Makes 12 Muffins
100g of butter, melted
200ml of buttermilk
2 large free range eggs
150g of caster sugar
250g of self raising flour
250g of fresh raspberries
200g of dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 175oC. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.

In a bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk and set aside.

In a standalone mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the butter mixture and whisk until combined. Gently fold in the flour until just combined.

Stir through the fruit and dark chocolate until combined. Be sure not to over mix the batter.

Spoon the mixture into the papercases and place in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire wrack to cool.

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Apple and Cinnamon Crumble Muffins

This has to be the ultimate Autumnal muffin!  Soft apple in a light and fluffy batter lightly spiced with cinnamon and then finished off with a buttery crumble topping! You won’t be able to resist!

Makes 12 Muffins
75ml of olive oil
200ml of buttermilk
Zest of 1 lemon
2 large free range eggs
150g of caster sugar
250g of self raising flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
250g of peeled and diced cooking apple (Approx 1 large cooking apple)

For the crumble topping:
50g of vanilla sugar (or substitute with caster sugar)
50g of plain flour
50g of butter

Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Line a muffin/cupcake tray with paper cases.

Measure the oil and buttermilk in a pyrex jug and then stir through the lemon zest and set aside.

Using a handblender with a food processor attachment, blitz the ingredients for the crumble topping until you get left with rough crumbs. You can also do this by hand in a bowl using your fingertips to combine the ingredients together. Set the crumble topping aside.

In a standalone mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the oil, buttermilk and lemon zest and whisk until combined.

Gently fold in the flour and cinnamon until just combined. Fold through 3/4 of the diced apple until combined. Be sure not to over mix the batter.

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases, top with the remaining apple and about a teaspoonful of the crumble topping.

Place in the oven on the middle wrack to cook for 20 minutes until brown on top.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire wrack to cool.

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Gingerbread Muffins with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

The smell of these muffins straight out of the oven instantly creates that feel of Christmas. Warm spices wafting around the kitchen doesn’t get any better! The cinnamon cream cheese frosting is an absolute must and completely takes these muffins to Christmas heaven!

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Cranberry and White Chocolate Muffins

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You have to try these absolutely delicious cranberry and white chocolate muffins. They make the best of leftover cranberries, but you could also use any other berry you wish. The sweetness of the white chocolate really balances out the sourness of the cranberries… utterly delicious!

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Big Boy Apple Breakfast Muffins

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I made these lovely muffins when we were in Sweden skiing. They are like a whole breakfast in one muffin, with everything you could need, porridge oats, raisins, apple and yoghurt oh my! To make the cool paper cases in the photos, cut squares of parchment paper, wrap them around a tumbler glass and tie them tightly with some kitchen string. Then simply remove the glass and your left with really cool homemade paper cases!

Makes 12-16 muffins
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
150g of flour
150g of rolled oats
4 eggs
125ml of natural yoghurt
240g of honey
4 apples, cored, peeled and chopped in small chunks
110g of raisins
A few slices of apple and a sprinkle of brown sugar to top the muffins

Preheat the oven to 190oC/Gas Mark 5.  Place baking cases on a baking tray.

Sift the flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl and stir through the rolled oats.

Mix the natural yoghurt and honey in a large measuring jug until combined.  Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a large steel bowl and the yolks in with the yoghurt and honey.

Make a well in to the oats and flour bowl and pour the yoghurt, honey and egg mix  and raisin and apple chunks in. Using a wooden spoon mix gently until everything is combined.

Using a whisk, beat the egg whites until soft white peaks form, then gently tip this in to the muffin mix and fold through gently until it is evenly incorporated.

Spoon heaped tablespoons of the mix into the paper cases and place a slice of apple and a sprinkle of brown sugar on top.  Place in the oven to bake for around 25 minutes.

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