Donal Skehan
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  • 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
  • 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
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Fluffy and Crispy Goose Fat Potatoes

These have to be the most amazing potatoes, just the way I like them, crispy and crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.  It’s really worth getting some goose fat as it imparts wonderful flavour.

Serves 6
1.4kg of potatoes, peeled and quartered
100g of goose fat
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 220˚C and place the goose fat in a roasting tray and into the oven.

Place the potatoes in a pot and fill up with water until covered.

Bring the pot to the boil over a high heat and simmer for about 7-10 minutes.  The potatoes should be cooked on the outer edge but still raw on the inside, you can check this by pierce with a fork.

Drain the potatoes and then place back in the pot.  Place the lid on a give a gentle shake to lightly fluff the edges.

Tumble the potatoes into the hot goose fat and toss each one to coat before sprinkling with a generous amount of sea salt.

Roast for 35 minutes until golden and crisp.

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Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Soup

This recipe makes a highly nutritious soup which is taken to another level with the addition of good cheddar cheese. Try and get your hands on some good quality cheese for this one as it will make all the difference to the taste of the soup.

Serves 4

a good knob of butter

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large potato, peeled and diced

1 large head of broccoli, broken into florets

1l vegetable stock

100g cheddar cheese, grated

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Add the butter to a medium pot over a medium heat until it begins to foam.

Add in the onion, garlic and potato and fry gently until the onion is soft. Add in the broccoli and stir through.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. You check this by piercing it with a fork.

Take the pot off the heat and, using a hand blender, blitz until smooth. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and stir through half the cheddar cheese and taste.

Serve the soup in deep bowls with crusty bread and an extra sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

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Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Soup

Cauliflower soup has such a simple and pure flavour and the addition of blue cheese here really pumps up the volume and makes this soup sing.

Serves 6
A good knob of butter
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 sprigs of thyme
1 large potato, diced
1 large head of cauliflower
1 1/2 litres vegetable stock
75g of local blue cheese, crumbled
60ml of double cream

Add the butter to a medium pot over a medium heat until it begins to foam.

Add the shallots, thyme and potato and fry until the shallots are soft. Add in the cauliflower and toss through.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a fork.

Take the soup off the heat and, using a hand blender, blitz until smooth. If you find the soup is too thick just add boiling water until you have the right consistency.

Season with sea salt and black pepper and stir through the cream and half the cheese. Taste the soup to ensure you have the seasoning correct.

Serve in deep bowls with crusty bread and top with an extra sprinkling of crumbled blue cheese.

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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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Roast Garlic Shepherd’s Pie

I was never really a big fan of shepherd’s pie growing up, mainly because it was churned out most weeks (sorry mom!) so we became far too used to it, which realistically is a terribly ungrateful complaint, but it’s only in the last few years I have fallen in love with this classic little dish all over again. I make mine with a twist by stirring mashed roast garlic through the potato, to be honest I normally make it with two bulbs of garlic because I’m a bit of a garlic fiend, but if you are pushed for time skip the garlic and just make the mash, it will taste just a good. Another handy tip to remember is that once you have assembled the shepherd’s pie to the point just before you put it in the oven you can actually freeze the pie and cook from frozen if you fancy prepping a few in advance!

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Lamb Shanks with Colcannon Mash

I really am a sucker for a good lamb shank, with it’s melt-in-the-mouth texture, which literally falls off the bone, it truly is a thing of beauty! The key is to slow cook it at a low temperature. This transforms the gnarly piece of meat into a rich and juicy piece of deliciousness. You can serve it on normal mash, sweet potato mash, or with lentils, but I love colcannon and seeing as it is the season, it makes perfect sense!

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Fork Crushed Herb and Roast Garlic Potatoes

This recipe always has my mouth watering at the thoughts of it. Roast garlic has to be one of my absolute favourite roast ingredients. The process takes the pungent cloves and transforms them into a smoky, sweet and wonderfully creamy mush.

This is a super side dish which goes really well with any main course, or even on its own as a tasty belly filler!

Serves 4
750g or about 16 Baby Potatoes
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A Large handful of Flat Leaf Parsley
A Handful of Chives, chopped coarsely
A Handful of roughly chopped Dill
1 Bulb of Garlic
A Good Pinch of Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper

Before you start anything get the garlic in the oven. Cut off the top of the garlic so the tips of the cloves can just about be seen. Drizzle with a few drops of olive oil so the exposed tips are covered. Now cover in tinfoil and pop in the oven for 40 minutes at 200oC/ Gas Mark 6.

While the garlic is roasting, place the potatoes in a large pot of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, you can check this with a fork.

While the potatoes are cooking prepare and chop your herbs.  Drain the potatoes and tumble into a large mixing bowl.  With a fork roughly crush each potato and season with salt and pepper.

When the garlic is ready, pop out the cloves from their skins and mash with a fork on a chopping board. Transfer the garlic to the mixing bowl and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and scatter the dill, chives and parsley on top.

Gently mix all the ingredients to combine, and be careful not to break up the potato too much.

Serve in a large bowl with a final scattering of parsley and a drizzle of olive oil over the top.

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