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Shades of Green

Tagliatelle and Asparagus | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

There’s something special about seasonal food.
There’s a sense of anticipation knowing it should arrive soon; excitement as it finally graces the table and ultimately satisfaction after the first bite.
So did I feel last night when I tasted the first artichoke leaf with the base dipped in vinaigrette.
I rarely prepare a starter for our daily meals, but this time was a simple and delicious exception.
And for a second, I remembered the appeal that it was to eat artichoke as a child. An attraction mainly due to the process of peeling each leaf, dipping them in the dressing, discarding the choke to finally reach the heart…

Artichoke | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Asparagus | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

So no spooky food in sight last night for us, but a main colour scheme -green. After starting with artichoke, we continued with asparagus, featured in the main.
I loose count of the number of times I have eaten asparagus since the beginning of the season.
With pasta, baked on pizza, on bruschetta or in savory clafoutis, asparagus always satisfies my taste buds.
So it feels just right to showcase it here after all.
I’ve made this clafoutis a while back, when I found purple asparagus. The dish is straightforward and makes a good starter, served with a green leaf salad.

Asparagus Clafoutis | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Asparagus Clafoutis
(Serves 2 as a starter)

1 bunch asparagus (6 medium size), rinsed and cut into 3cm / 1 inch pieces
90gr crème fraîche (4 tbsp)
2 eggs
Salt and pepper
30gr (1/4 cup) grated cheese (gruyère or parmesan)

Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F). Grease well the bottom and sides of a shallow dish (16x23cm). In a bowl whip together cream, eggs, salt and pepper. Add cheese and stir. Pour the batter in the dish and place asparagus. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden. Serve with a green leaf salad.


On Citrus

 Orange and Mint Couscous Salad | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

I know, it’s been a while… I hope you are fine and enjoy the best your season has to offer…

Right now for us here, there are plenty of citrus. All shape and size. From mandarin, tangelo, grapefruit to orange, the choice is wide. Aromatic zest, bright cheerful colour and a taste ranging from sweet to sour.

Naturally, they end up on our plate.
Blood orange and navel with a vanilla syrup make a fresh and simple dessert to finish a meal.
And I’ve made a couple of times a couscous salad, with orange wedges, mint and finely sliced red onion, drizzled with a lemon vinaigrette. Quick and good, this dish is like an invitation to sunny days…

 Orange Salad and Vanilla Syrup | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi
Kumquat | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

I also spotted a bag of kumquat at the farmers market last week.
First attempt at making candied kumquat that turned out more like a compote… Lesson learnt, I will follow a proper recipe next time. The taste was good though and reminiscent of a bitter orange marmalade, which I like.
The failed fruit candy did not deter me from making a batch of mini crêpes. I thought the taste and size would match well. And they did.

Still food related, I was pleased to be interviewed by SBS Food recently. You can read all about it here.

And as you can see, the season called for a little spring cleaning on the blog…

Kumquat and Mini Crepes | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Orange and Mint Couscous Salad | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Orange and Mint couscous Salad (Serves 2)

1 cup of couscous
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp of olive oil
2 oranges, peeled and cut into in wedges
1 bunch of mint leaves, rinsed
1/4 red onion, finely sliced

4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt, pepper

Place couscous in a large bowl. In a glass mix together salt and olive oil and add 1 cup of boiling water. Then pour it on the couscous and cover with a plate or a lid. Let it rest for 3 to 4 minutes until all the water was absorbed. Prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a little bowl. With a fork mix couscous and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before adding orange, mint and red onion. Add dressing just before serving and adjust seasoning to your liking.


Season of Renewal

Rhubarb Tart - © 2012 Viviane Perenyi | At Down Under

If spring had legs, they would be long and pink like a rhubarb stalk.
Or would they be slender and green like an asparagus ?
The cheeks surely would be plump and rose as a radish.

A graceful girl, Spring, with a delicate floral scent and an optimist mind.

Rhubarb - © 2012 Viviane Perenyi | At Down Under
Rhubarb Tart - © 2012 Viviane Perenyi | At Down Under

Spring the season of renewal.
We are enjoying all the best of it right now.
New food in the plate, first lunches on the deck, trees in bloom and arrival of ducklings

Lately when it comes to dessert, it often includes rhubarb. Crumble, tart, compote… I put it everywhere.
I like it. And the good thing is that I’m slowly converting Paprika to the particular taste of these pink stalks…

Noodle Salad - © 2012 Viviane Perenyi | At Down Under
Rhubarb Tart - © 2012 Viviane Perenyi
Rhubarb Tart

140g flour
75g unsalted butter, diced
30ml water
1 pinch of salt

4 large rhubarb stalks, rinsed and cut in 45° angle slices
3 tbsp brown sugar + 1 vanilla tsp for sprinkling

In a large bowl mix together flour and salt. Add butter to flour and mix with your finger tips to get a fine sandy texture. Add water and mix quickly but lightly with your hand to form a ball. Do not overwork the dough. Flatten the dough into a thick disc and wrap it in cling wrap. Let it rest for one hour in the fridge.
In the meantime, toss sugar over rhubarb slices, mix and let marinate.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Roll down the dough on a dusted flour surface. Place the pastry in the tart pan and trim the edge. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Line over it a baking paper and fill it with baking ceramic pie weight or dry beans. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove ceramic weights. Place rhubarb slices into the shell tart. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn out of the tart tin. Let it cool on a rack. Best served lukewarm.



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