Donal Skehan
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  • 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
  • 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
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Irish Food Folk: Ballyvolane House

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Ballyvolane House was a feature for our very first issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal and continues to be one of my favourites.  Justin and Jenny Green were proud to show us their beautiful family home which has become a popular destination for tourists, in the south of Ireland.  The most exciting thing that caught my attention when we visited them last year was the strong focus on food, which both Justin and Jenny are passionate about.  Foraged cocktails, walled vegetable gardens and a small drove of rare breed pigs are all just part of the experience.  Have a read of the piece below which appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of FEAST: A Dinner Journal and keep an eye out for our Wild Atlantic Way issue which went to print yesterday and should be appearing on shelves next week.

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The first view of Ballyvolane House by the weary traveller is a welcome one, framed as it is by shimmering trees, green lawns and languishing mauve wisteria. It is a grand house, a Georgian county retreat, but not overwhelming and the simple façade feels homely and welcoming. No surprise really considering the welcome you’ll get from Justin and Jenny Green, this unique and peaceful spot is their place of work and their home so there’s a great family run atmosphere here. Guests all sit around the family dinner table for breakfast and dinner. Attention to detail is everything from the deep, cloud-like beds to the impeccably sourced food, it is a place set apart.

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Creamy Salmon Tagliatelle with Garden Peas and Sundried Tomatoes

This is a great meal to throw together in just minutes and it’s really filling. You can pick up sun-blushed tomatoes in the supermarket. They are a much brighter colour than sun-dried tomatoes and a little less intense in flavour. Alternatively roast some halved cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil with sea salt and black pepper at about 200oC for about 40 minutes.

Serves 4
300g (11oz) tagliatelle
2 tbsp olive oil

2 handfuls of peas, fresh or frozen
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
200g (7oz) low fat crème fraîche
A good handful of fresh dill, chopped
75g (3oz) sun-blushed tomatoes, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g (7oz) sliced smoked salmon, cut into strips
Juice of 1/2 lemon, to serve

 

Cook the pasta in a large saucepan according to the instructions on the packet.

In the last few minutes of the pasta cooking time, drop in the peas, then drain.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and fry gently for 1 minute.

Add the crème fraîche and heat through then add the dill, tomatoes and a good pinch of salt and black pepper and stir through.

Finally add the salmon strips and hot tagliatelle and toss everything together until coated.

Serve each portion with a generous squeeze of lemon juice.

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Salmon and Tuna Nigiri

Nigiri is probably one of the simplest forms of sushi to make, yet I  think it is the most elegant looking. You can make a wide range of nigiri using different vegetable and seafood toppings.

Ingredients
1 darne fresh salmon, cut into fine slices
fresh sushi-grade tuna steak, cut into fine slices
Wasabi

Take a small amount of cooked sushi rice and, using a damp hand, mould the rice into an ovalshaped ball.

Dot a small drop of wasabi on top.

Place a slice of fresh salmon on top and smooth it on to the rice.

Serve with pickled ginger and soy sauce.

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Teriyaki Salmon with Noodles

Salmon is an extremely healthy ingredient to cook with. It’s low in calories, has immune system boosting properties and contains omega-3 essential fatty acids which the body does not naturally produce. If you have any leftovers, this tasty sauce can also be used tossed through a crunchy Asian salad.

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