Donal Skehan
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  • 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
  • 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
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Cheats’ Picnic Pork Pies!

These pies can be served with salad or coleslaw and a pint of cider, for a hearty lunch. These pies will keep for several days in the fridge, so make a larger batch and stock up.


Makes 12 individual pies
100g of pancetta or streaky bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
A small handful of parsley, finely chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
450g of sausage meat
A generous pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
2 sheets of ready to roll shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten to glaze

Preheat the oven to 200oC/gas mark 6.

In a large frying pan, over a high heat dry fry the pancetta until it is crisp and golden.

Remove and pop in a bowl, leaving the oil from the pancetta in the frying pan.

Add in the onion and garlic and fry until soft and golden. Add to the bowl along with the herbs and sausage meat.

Season with salt and pepper.

Cut out 12 circular discs, from the pastry, to fit in a cup cake tray and then 12 smaller discs for the lid.

Press the larger pastry circles into the greased and floured tray and fill each pie with the pork mixture.

Top with the small discs and press them together with a fork.

Brush the tops with beaten egg and place in the oven, cooking for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

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Pea, Mint and Pancetta Soup

A true classic, but it never fails to get me excited. The combination of mint and peas is unique and it’s a really fresh flavour for a soup in the summer. You can, of course, make this with frozen peas, and unless you can pick some from your own garden, the frozen pea route is actually the better option. I add pancetta to my soup for a salty kick.

Serves 4
1 tablespoon of olive oil
200g of pancetta pieces
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 litre of vegetable stock
500g of frozen or fresh peas
1 small bunch of mint, about a handful
sea salt and ground black pepper to season
Crème fraîche to serve

Place a medium-sized pot over a high heat and fry the pancetta in a drop of olive oil for about 4 minutes until crispy. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

You should be left with enough oil and pancetta fat in the pan, if not, add a little more olive oil and fry the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Then, add in the potato and vegetable stock. Bring to a steady simmer and cook until the potato is tender when pierced with a fork. It should take about 10 minutes.

Add the peas and mint and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes. Then, blitz with a hand blender until smooth.

Taste and season with sea salt and ground black pepper as required. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and crispy pancetta pieces.

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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.

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