Donal Skehan
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  • 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
  • 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
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Leila Lindholm’s Dime Bar Ice Cream Cake With Strawberries

This cake is a big favourite amongst kids and some adults too! Dime bar and ice cream are great together. And the addition of lime-sugared strawberries makes a really fresh and summery accompaniment that suits the cake perfectly.

Serves 8
4 free-range eggs
50g (2oz) sugar
200g (7oz) cream cheese
300ml (10 fl oz) double cream
3 double Dime bars, chopped to make about 150g (5oz) in total
200g (7oz) digestive biscuits, crushed

Lime Strawberries
1kg (2lb 2oz) fresh strawberries
100g (4oz) Demerara sugar
Finely grated zest of 3 limes

Separate the egg yolks from the whites.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and mix in the cream cheese.

Whip the cream until fluffy and fold it into the egg mixture.

Whip the egg whites into stiff peaks and carefully fold into the mixture.

Mix the chopped Dime bars into the mixture.

Crush the digestive biscuits and then layer the crumbs with the creamy mixture in a sponge cake mould.

Freeze the ice cream for about 5 hours, until it is lightly frozen.

Hull and slice the strawberries. Sprinkle the slices with the demerara sugar and grated lime zest and serve them with the dime bar ice cream cake.

Recipe translated by Dr. B.J. Epstein.

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Mini Strawberry Pavlova Pies

These mini pavlova pies have to be one of the best ways to show of ripe, red, summer strawberries.  The pavlova mix leaves a wonderfully crisp meringue with a chewy marshmallow interior.  Make this a day before you plan to serve them and they will happily sit in an airtight container for up to a week.

Serves 4
250g of icing sugar
4 egg whites
2 teaspoons of cornflour
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
300g of strawberries
300ml of cream, whipped
3 tablespoons of strawberry jam

Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas Mark 2. Line two baking trays with parchment. Place the icing sugar and egg whites in a standing food mixer and whisk on high for 10 minutes until glossy white peaks form.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the cornflour and the white wine vinegar. Using a tablespoon, place 3in/8cm spoonfuls of the meringue mix on to the baking tray and flatten each one gently in the centre with the back of a spoon. Bake for 45 minutes.

Heat the strawberry jam in a saucepan until it has a loose pouring consistency. Layer the meringues with cream and strawberries and serve with a drizzle of jam.

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How does your garden grow?

I am very proud to announce that my kitchen garden has just started producing the first fruit and vegetables of the season, so the recipes I want to share with you use a few of the things I’ve grown myself. They are all easy to grow and, more importantly, easy to cook.  It’s my third year growing fruit and vegetables and, for the first time since I started, my little patch is right outside my door. When we moved into our new house it came with a jungle of a garden out the back, which I had high hopes would become my little plot.  After a lot of strimming and cutting and snipping and chopping, there was finally room for some raised beds courtesy of Patchworkveg.com and, within a few months, I had a place to grow.

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Strawberry State Of Mind!

Breakfast in the summer is just way more fun -fact! I put it down to the fact it’s bright when you wake up… you’re more likely to want to be up and about when the sun is shining. Of course this means making breafast a little more interesting. Porridge, as much as I have a love/ hate relationship with it, keeps me going during the colder months.

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Summer Berry Layered Pavlova

This mix makes a chewy, marshmallow meringue, which goes perfectly with the cream and berries. Layering the meringue discs gives this beautiful summer dish fantastic texture! If you haven’t tried making meringues before, don’t be scared as this mix is fairly fool proof, just pop the icing sugar and egg whites in a mixer and whisk till you have stiff glossy peaks, add in the cornflour and white wine vinegar, pop in the oven and you’re sorted.

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Mega Strawberry Summer Cake

Strawberries really should be celebrated with over the top desserts and if you want to look beyond the simplicity and utter deliciousness of strawberries and cream then this is the cake for you! When you are assembling the layers of cake make sure you give it an extra little squeeze to ensure those mouth watering dribbles of jam down the sides.

Serves 8
3 large eggs
225g of caster sugar
50g of butter, melted
100ml of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
210g plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder

For the filling and topping:
80g of strawberry jam
300g of strawberries, hulled
250ml of cream

Preheat the oven to 175oC/Gas 4 and grease and line two x 8 inch spring form baking tins.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.

Mix the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract together in a measuring jug and pour into the sugar and egg.  Mix through to combine.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into the bowl and then using a spatula, gently fold in to the cake mix until completely smooth and combined.

Divide the mix evenly between the two baking tins and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When both cake layers are completely cooled, whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Sieve the jam into a bowl to ensure it is really smooth.

If the cake layers have a peak in the middle make sure to slice it off so you are left with perfectly flat layers.

Place one layer on a cake stand and dollop with half the cream, spread evenly and then drizzle with the smooth strawberry jam.  Carefully place the second cake layer on top and add the remaining whipped cream and strawberries.

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