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Well Seasoned

 © 2011 Viviane Perenyi GF Choco & Pear Clafoutis

The weather has been so unpredictable these last days.
It’s Spring.
Thunderstorm and hail one day and big blue sky the next one.
Lunching on salad today and soup yesterday.
Wooly in the morning and tee-shirt in the afternoon.
No time to be bored.

The change of season is more than welcome though and means introduction of new ingredients in the diet. I personally can’t wait for asparagus to appear on market stalls.
Fruit wise, we’ll have to be more patient and stick with the usual suspects for a while until exciting summer fruits arrive…


As I write these lines, it’s a perfect day. A granite kind of day. So different from the one when I baked the chocolate and pear clafoutis.

In the middle of the afternoon, suddenly, it felt like someone switched off the light. Thunderstorm. Soon followed by hail. Very intense and strong. Hailstones noisily smashed against the roof. In minutes, the pathway to our house, the deck and surrounding roofs were all white. Like a déjà vu.

Everything seemed so quiet afterward.
In the oven, the clafoutis was slowly baking and releasing a comforting smell of chocolate…

 © 2011 Viviane Perenyi Pears Still Life
 © 2011 Viviane Perenyi Choco Pear Clafoutis
© 2011 Viviane Perenyi GF Pear and Chocolate Clafoutis

Adapted from that recipe, this version is made of buckwheat flour which goes really well with chocolate and give an interesting texture too.

Chocolate & Pear Clafoutis

- 100g buckwheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 70g brown sugar
- 1tbsp cornstarch, sifted
- 1tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 25cl milk (1cup)
- 70g dark chocolate melted
- 60g unsalted butter melted
- 2-3 pears, cored and sliced
- A pinch of salt
- 1tbsp of rum
- Lemon juice to sprinkle pears

Preheat oven to 175°C.
In a bowl mix together the flour, salt, cornstarch and cocoa. In an other bowl whip eggs and sugar for a minute. Add the flour mix step by step and keep on whisking. Add melted butter mix well and then add melted chocolate and rum. Pour milk and stir.
Pour batter in a well greased cast iron skillet or individual ramekins. Top with pears slices or wedges. Bake for 45 minutes or 35 minutes if small portions.

La suite en français…

Makara

 © 2011 Viviane Perenyi Makara Coastline

Let’s go down a narrow and winding road to a little village called Makara.
The interest of this seaside village is not really the pebble beach, but rather the view to enjoy after walking along the coastline and then climbing up the steep hills.
On a clear day, you get a glimpse of the Marlborough sounds on the other side of the strait. And to fully enjoy the serenity of the place, always choose a windless day, as it can be very exposed.

© 2011 Viviane Perenyi Makara Diptych Buffalo and Bush

For me, what gives also some charm to this place is the little valley where the road passes along green pastures and follows the gentle stream running to the sea.
It’s just half an hour from the CBD, but you feel totally immersed in the country.

Depending on the season, I like to see how the light, vegetation and colours give a different feeling to this place yet with a constant sens of harmony.

 © 2011 Viviane Perenyi Buffalo
© 2011 Viviane Perenyi Poney Makara

La suite en français…

In the Kitchen With Mike

Born and raised in Wellington, Mike Eastwood is the proud resident of the capital of New Zealand.
Mike is also the generous and creative mind behind Tuesday Night Dinner, a potluck dinner with a weekly theme. Hosted for more than a decade by Mike himself, the dinner now moves from place to place around Wellington.
Entrepreneur by day and passionate cook the rest of the time, Mike agreed to be portrayed doing one of his favourite past time.

And I’m particularly happy to open this series of Face & Place with Mike.

So please follow me in his kitchen for the making of a delicious three course meal for 7 lucky guests.

* Smoked Eel Caesar salad * Fettuccine with Mushrooms & Cream Sauce * Poached Rhubarb and Strawberries with Vanilla Ice Cream *

Partly assisted by Grace, Mike shared and patiently explained to his lovely and young sous-chef about ingredients and tastes throughout the cooking process. Always casual, his approach involves all the senses.

Meanwhile guests were chatting, having a drink and appetizer with the freshly made chicken liver mousse on slice of bread…

Chopping red onions and flambeing chicken livers for the making of mousse

Cooking with the heart. Tasting and testing

© Viviane Perenyi Dry Oregano and Egg ShellStill life

The props

Polishing mushroom and coating salad leaves with mayonnaise

 Mike’s speciality: fresh pasta

Cheers !

La suite en français…

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