Donal Skehan
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  • 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
  • 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
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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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Ginger and Cinnamon Spiced Pumkin Pie

The original recipe uses 1/2 the can of both the pumpkin pure and condensed milk, so I’ve doubled it here to make two pies. After all two pies are always better than one! I’ve also added grated fresh ginger for an extra zing, but you could add ground ginger, mixed spice and ground black pepper.

Makes 2 x 9inch pies
Each pie serves 6
For the filling:
110g of sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 large thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
1 x 822g tin of Libby’s Pumpkin Puree
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
4 large free range eggs

For the pie bases:
2 sheets of ready to roll shortcrust pastry
A little butter to grease
Tin foil
Ceramic baking beans or dried pulses

Preheat the oven to 220˚C and grease two 9 inch pie tins with a little butter.

Roll out the sheets of short crust pastry and press them into the two pie tins. Prick the bases with a fork and tidy up the edges by crimping them with your fingers, this doesn’t have to look perfect.

Place one sheet of tin foil or grease proof paper in the base of each pastry lined pie tin and tumble in some ceramic baking beans or any dried pulse will do.

Place the pie tins in the oven to cook for 10 minutes. Remove the tin foil and baking beans and place back in the oven for a further 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

While the pastry is cooking, mix together all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl.

Divide the pumpkin mix between the two tins, reduce the oven temperature to 180˚C and place back in the oven to bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the pies come out clean.

Allow to cool before serving.


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Roast Pumpkin, Coconut and Chilli Soup

roastpumpkinsoup_6

If you haven’t cooked with pumpkin before, this is a wonderful way to  start. Choose small pumpkins as they’re easier to tackle in the kitchen.  If you can’t find pumpkins, butternut squash is an ideal substitute.  The addition of coconut milk adds a wonderfully creamy and exotic  flavour, but if you don’t want to use it you could just make up the  difference with vegetable stock.

Serves 4-6
1kg of pumpkin, peeled and chopped into rough chunks
1 tablespoon of melted butter
2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil
A few sprigs of thyme
2 red onions, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons of red chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin of coconut milk
1/2 litre of vegetable stock
Sea salt and ground black pepper

The Method

Preheat the oven to 220˚C.

While you prepare the pumpkin, scrape out the seeds, clean them in a colander with cold water and then dry the in a tea towel. Pop the seeds in a roasting tray tossed with a little melted butter and roast in the oven until toasted. Remove and set aside.

Tumble the pumpkin into a roasting tin with the thyme and toss in a little oil. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and pop in the oven to roast for 45 minutes or until the edges are slightly charred and  tender when pierced with a fork.

In a large pot, heat a drop of oil and fry the onions until they are soft. Stir through the chilli flakes and fry for a further minute.

Discard the thyme and add the roast pumpkin to the pot, along with the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Using a hand blender, whizz the soup until you have a velvety smooth consistency. You may need to add more stock or boiling water to get the right consistency. Add sea salt and ground black pepper and check the seasoning.

Serve the soup in warm bowls with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and toasted pumpkin seeds.

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October Update!

Hi Folks!

Pumpkin carving, monkey nuts, lots of comfort cooking and Autumn baking are all ahead of us in October.  This month on the blog, I have lots of new recipes, competitions, and tips to make the best of all October has to offer.

After a very busy September which had me traveling up and down the country giving cookery demonstrations, I’m looking forward to settling down to start work on my third book which will be released next year.

October brings with it lots of seasonal produce to get excited about and in this month’s update, I’m focusing in on pumpkins, wild mushrooms and an Irish favourite, kale.  Of course there is much more to get excited about, so head out and scour farmers markets, butchers, fishmongers, and local shops for lot’s of seasonal inspiration.

There are two episodes left of the new season of Kitchen Hero on Monday nights on RTÉ One at 8.30pm, you can find all the details and recipes from each episode by following the episode guide.  Make sure to tune in and spread the word!

Pick up the Irish Independent the week before Halloween for some of my favourite spooky recipes and also the November issue of Food & Wine out this month for lots of delicious winter warming soup recipes.

Enjoy October!

Donal x

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Chocolate, pumpkin and pecan brownies

These pumpkin brownies are so delicious, you just have to try them. I didn’t manage to get my hands on pumpkin puree so I made my own. I slowly roasted the pumpkin until it was soft, scraped out the flesh, then I puréed the mixture and passed it through a sieve.

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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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