Donal Skehan
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  • Happy Halloween!!! What are cooking today? Lots of Halloween recipes up on my blog including these creepy chocolate eyeballs! 🎃👻
  • 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
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Salmon, Avocado & Rocket Salad with a Miso Dressing

Salmon And Avocado Salad

Some of the most vibrant food to prepare can be the simplest and my highly impressive summer salad of salmon sashimi, creamy avocado, rocket, coriander and toasted sesame seeds is a perfect example.  The whole salad is brought together with a pale green dressing humming with heat from wasabi paste, a Japanese staple ingredient made from Japanese horseradish, often used as a garnish served with sushi.  It makes for an incredibly light and bright salad and makes an ideal treat if you’re dining solo as it is simple to prepare.

Serves 4
250g of fresh salmon, skin removed
2 avocados, sliced
A small handful of rocket leaves per person
A small handful of coriander
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, toasted

For the dressing
1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of wasabi paste
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 teaspoon of ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon of caster sugar
3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

To prepare the dressing, place all of the ingredients in a small jar and with a lid firmly sealed shake until completely combined. Taste to check the seasoning.

Thinly slice the salmon and arrange on a plate along with sliced avocado. Drizzle the dressing over salmon and avocado and dress with rocket leaves, coriander and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds to finish.

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Blushing Beetroot Burgers

Beetroot Burgers_1

Beetroot are easy enough to grow, and there is a huge selection of varieties to choose from like pale pinks, candy-striped and even golden yellow ones. These vegetarian burgers are a great way of showing them off. I have served them here in baps but they are just as delicious served on their own with a healthy bulghur-wheat salad.

Makes 6 burgers
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 raw beetroot, peeled and grated
1 courgettes, grated
2 large carrot, grated
100g porridge oats
400g tin chickpeas, drained
3 tablespoons tahini paste
1 large free-range egg
4 spring onions finely sliced
3 tablespoons chopped coriander

To serve
Lettuce leaves
Red onion
Tomatoes
Really good bread baps

Heat about 1tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for 4-5 mins or until softened. Add the grated vegetables and cool, stirring, for about 5 mins until wilted, then drain off any liquid.

Place the oats, chickpeas, tahini paste and egg yolks in a food processor and pulse to combine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir through the grated vegetables and coriander, and season generously.

Form the mixture into 8 patties and chill for about 3 mins (or up to 24 hours). Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and cook the burgers, in batches if necessary, for about 2-3 mins each side until golden.

Serve the burgers in pabs with a dollop of sour cream and some lettuce, red onion and tomatoes.

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Griddling lettuce? Sounds wrong but it’s so right!

Simple summer dishes using in-season ingredients feel so right they just can’t be wrong! This wonderful little dinner came about when I had very little in the kitchen to cook with apart from a few potatoes, some baby gem and some beetroot. If I’m left with a glut of tomatoes I always roast them in the oven, it’s a great way to make them go further. You can use them straight away while they’re still warm from the oven or store them in a jar with olive oil to be added to pasta or in sandwiches.

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Simple Summer Entertaining…

My garden at home is finally bursting with colour and lots of things to keep me interested. This year my main aim was to have an abundance of different varieties of salad leaves. I have staples like rocket and cos but the most exciting leaf this year has been grown from a packet I bought from Brown Envelope Seeds (brownenvelopeseeds.com) in Skibbereen. The very dramatically named Oak Fire Mustard leaves look wonderful and have a deep purple colour with a fiery coloured stem and an incredibly strong mustard taste!

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Quick and Zingy Supper and Storecupboard Stockup!

This week we were in dire need of a serious food shop, to stock up the fridge, freezer and kitchen presses. It’s probably one of the most important things a home cook can do because with a little bit of imagination and some simple ingredients on hand, wonders can be created! For me it’s the little star ingredients that will sit happily waiting for until you’re inspired. Things like halloumi, feta and goats cheese, different cuts of pasta, tinned beans, tomatoes, chickpeas and store cupboard stars like anchovies, olives, and capers, can really make a dish sing.

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Summer Berry Sweet Pizza and a change of seasons…

At the moment life is sitting quite happily in limbo, as we fall between the seasons of late Summer and early Autumn.  There is still warmth in the air, yet I’m beginning to be drawn back to the more heavy and slow cooked dishes.  While it can easily be argued that Ireland got a fairly awful Summer this year, I haven’t been left short on Summer produce.  My tomatoes, while slightly late are starting to turn a rich red and my proud pumpkin patch which has long been developing a personality of its own, now sits watching our living room overlooking slightly ominously, ready to engulf the house with ever expanding tendrils, the moment we turn our backs.  While everything is in full bloom and plants are still growing, said pumpkin patch is a great reminder that, it won’t be more that a month or two, before I will be cutting the stalks of what I hope will be heavy orange fruits, reminding me further of the fact that the days are getting shorter and colder.

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There’s Something About Salads…

I’ve always had a love of salads ever since I was in my teens.  I spent a summer in the south of France with French family friends who made it obligatory to eat a big bowl of fresh, crisp salad leaves tossed gently in a light dressing.  I remember avoiding it for the first two days being there until the lack of greenery on my plate was made the main topic of conversation, which forced me into salad submission!  Not completely sold on it after my first few trys, helping out in the kitchen to prepare it was what actually converted me!  I loved the process of washing and drying the leaves and then making the dressing by mixing a few drops of white wine vinegar, with a little Dijon mustard, crushed garlic and whisked together with some extra virgin olive oil.

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To Spatchcock Or Not To Spatchcock That Is The Question!

As I have probably mentioned a million times before, I grew up eating a roast chicken every Sunday and it has since become my favourite way to cook the bird! However during the summer months, when I just feel I can’t bring myself to eating it alongside roast potatoes I like to mix it up and cook it just a little bit differently. Technically speaking I think the term spatchcocking specifically refers to flatten poussins but basically for me it’s the process in which you remove the back bone of a chicken and flatten it out, which makes it easy to cook on the BBQ and to cut into portions once it’s cooked.

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Alfresco Eating Inspiration: Mediterranean Mackerel with a Tomato Panzanella Salad…

The Irish summer is well underway, and despite the rain-cloud dodging most of us are forced to do, we still tend to get a nice stretch of sun that shows our fine country in its most beautiful light. Which leads me quite nicely to the subject of al fresco eating. While the opportunities might be limited, when the sun eventually decides to shine an Irish summer can be magical.

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Asian Pork Lettuce Cups

YouTube Asian Pork Lettuce Cups_2

I want to introduce you to what is easily one of my favourite little dinner-party treats. This dish tastes amazing and I hope it will become one of your staple entertaining recipes. The meat mix is full of really light and aromatic flavours and is served in baby gem lettuce leaves, making it perfect finger food.  Vegetarian option: use Quorn mince which works quite well here.

Serves 4
1 tbsp sunflower oil
250g (9oz) lean pork mince
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp caster sugar
5 spring onions, finely chopped
8 fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
A small handful of coriander, roughly torn

To serve
2 baby gem lettuces, separated into leaves
Thai sweet chilli sauce
Juice of 1 lime

Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add the pork mince and fry for 2–3 minutes or until the mince is tender, breaking the mince up with a spoon as it cooks.
Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a further minute.
Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar and stir through, frying for another minute until you have a good colour on the meat.
Finally add half the spring onions, coriander, mint and the lime juice and fry for 1–2 minutes until the spring onions are just tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until just warm.
Place 1 heaped tablespoon of the aromatic pork in each baby gem lettuce leaf, top with a drizzle of Thai sweet chilli sauce and a garnish with the remaining spring onions, coriander and mint.

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Ever Been A Tourist In Your Own Town?

It’s not often you get to feel like a tourist in your own town, following a tour guide blindly, but that’s what I was last weekend and I loved every minute of it.  A few weeks ago I got a lovely email from the ladies who run Dublin’s Fab Food Trails asking if I might join them on one of their guided food tours around Dublin.  Intrigued by the idea, I gladly accepted with the promise of lots of foodie treats and tasters along the way.  So early on Saturday we marched along to the top secret meeting place from where the tour would begin.  We were greeted by the extremely welcoming Eveleen who has an extensive background in food and has even written her own cookbook, The Irish Potato Cookbook.

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