Donal Skehan
My instagram
  • 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
  • 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
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Crisp Gingerbread Biscuits

gingerbread_11This recipe makes perfectly crisp gingerbread biscuits which snap and crumble in the mouth.  The smell of these biscuits baking in the oven will instantly transport you to Christmas heaven!

Makes around 100 biscuits
150ml of golden syrup
250g of sugar
200g of butter
150ml of cream
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
700g of plain flour

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Swedish Gooey Chocolate Cake

The Method


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Christmas Mince Pie Star Slices

These mince pie slices are a wonderful alternative to the traditional mince pie. Use your own mince meat recipe here if you have one, if not most supermarkets stock handy jars of the stuff!

Serves 4-6
For the pastry:
170g flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
100g cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of water

For the filling:
420g jar of mince meat
1 large cooking apple, peeled and cored
A sprinkle of brown sugar

Place the flour and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.

Add the butter and rub in using your finger tips until you have a rough breadcrumb like mixture. Don’t worry it will come together!

Add the sugar and the egg yolk and mix through with a spoon.

Add the water slowly until a dough comes together.

Form a ball with your hands, cover in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for at least 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200oC/Gas Mark 6.

Chop the apple into small rough slices and combine in a bowl with the mince meat.

Roll the pastry dough out to about half a centimetre in thickness and line a fluted tart tin with it. Make sure to cut out little stars from the pastry to decorate with later!

Prick the base with a fork and fill with baking paper and ceramic baking beans. Place in the oven and blind bake for 10 minutes, remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Fill the pastry base with the apple and mincemeat mixture and top with the pastry stars and a sprinkle of brown sugar.

Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the pastry turns golden brown.

Serve cut into slices with a drizzle of cream!

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