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Peanut and Sesame Candy | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

The idea of making this treat came when I was browsing the aisles of an Asian store. The original candy was wholly made of sesame seeds and reminded me a similar confection from my childhood made of peanuts. Because my love of nuts is not a secret, my version combines both sesame seeds and roasted peanuts.
Sticky, crunchy and totally sweet these little treats are perfect to get a sugar fix.
Except the caramel that may be delicate and requires full attention, the candies are pretty simple to do.
I will experiment around the idea with different nuts and a salted caramel version too. I think, they will make a good Christmas gift.

Peanut and Sesame Candy | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Are you already on a Christmas mode too ? For me, I mainly look forward the summer days and the end of year vacation we have planned. I can’t wait to visit a new region of New Zealand and share it here with you all…
But until then, here’s the recipe for this sesame and peanut candy…

Peanut and Sesame Candy | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Peanut and Sesame Candy
(makes 15)

50g / 1/4 cup sesame seeds
50g / 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
200g / 1 1/3 cup raw peanut
290g / 1 1/2 cup sugar

On a tray lined with baking paper spread peanuts and bake in the oven at 175°C/350°F for 10-15 minutes. Remove the peanut from oven and let them cool. Chop the peanuts roughly and add them to the mix of sesame seeds. Prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper. To make the caramel, I advice you to follow the step-by-step from David Lebovitz. Pour the sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Let the sugar melt slowly and stir gently when it starts to melt and until the desired colour and texture is achieved. Mix in the peanuts and sesame seeds. Remove from fire and with two spoons quickly and carefully scoop the mixture on the baking tray. Let cool completely.



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.