Tag Archive: fall

An Apple a Day

Apple | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

I like the crunch apple provides to my morning fruit mix with freshly toasted rolled oats. I’ve come to truly appreciate the different flavours and textures of this popular fruit since I’m here, in New Zealand. And my favourite is a kiwi native, Braeburn. But when it comes to baking with fruit, I seldom think of apple.

Yet the fruit is very versatile, the moisture and slight tartness it brings to bake goods make them delicious and comforting.

And I was reminded so this past week as I used apples in my cooking. Thinly sliced on pizza; sautéed in butter with warm goat cheese, crisp sage and prosciutto; diced in crumble and ultimately baked in sourdough bread.

Goat Cheese on Wam Apple Slice with Crisp Sage and Prosciutto | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

It’s been a while since my last loaf of homemade bread. The warm summer we had did not encourage me to knead much…

Now that days are cooler and a real autumnal weather has settled in with the rain, I crave fresh bread.

And I thought of trying a sourdough bread with grated apple. I was pretty excited about the idea, yet unsure about the outcome. So on Sunday morning, I woke up early to shape and let proof the bread rolls.
And later on, the comforting smell of fresh bread was filling the air…

Apples | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

The result is reminiscent of a macatia in taste and texture. The apple lends a sweetness to the bread and nicely balance the sourness. The crust is thin and the crumb is soft and not too dense.

I used the usual 1,2,3 method from Flo Makanai. I slightly lower the quantity of flour because the dough was drier than usually with water. And I used Braeburn apples, which are very juicy.

And now, I’m curious to try a pear version as well…

Apple Sourdough Bread | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Apple Sourdough Bread Rolls
Makes 6 small bread rolls

110g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
220g grated apple (2 medium size apples, peeled and finely grated)
300g flour (2/3 AP white + 1/3 wholemeal)
1 tbsp salt

In a large bowl mix together the sourdough starter, the grated apple and the flours. On a work surface knead the dough for 8 minutes. Add the salt and knead for two additional minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and leave it to rest at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight in a greased bowl covered with cling wrap. Remove the dough from the bowl and on a lightly flour dusted surface divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. To shape each piece, bring the four corners in the centre and pinch. Take the piece in your palm dusted with flour and twist the centre. Place each piece face down (pinch side down and smooth side up) on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Be sure to position the rolls on the baking paper so that they fit into the dimension of your baking/pizza stone. Let them rest for one hour and a half (covered with a clean tea towel). Preheat oven to 240°c with the baking/pizza stone and the dripping pan inside. Prepare 250ml hot water in a jug with a pouring spout. With a blade slash a cross on the top of each piece. Slide the baking paper directly on the baking stone and then cautiously pour the hot water in the dripping pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until nice and golden. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack.

Apple Sourdough Bread | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

All images © 2013 Viviane Perényi



Ode à la Châtaigne

Chestnuts | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

There’s a kind of nostalgia settling when comes autumn. The light gets subtler and days shorter.

I don’t have any childhood memories related to autumn since I grew up in a tropical island, where the only chestnuts came in a box usually around Christmas time: Les marrons glacés. There was also the chestnut cream. This tube filled of pure bliss…
It’s much later in Paris, that I had a taste of roasted chestnuts and ate my first dinde aux marrons -roasted turkey with chestnuts- prepared by my aunt.

If you are a long time reader, you may know already that I’m a real chestnut lover.

Chestnuts | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Each year is the same.
First, the excitement at the sight of these plump, shiny, deep brown nuts. And the anticipation of their sweet taste.
Then, the procrastination, knowing how long it takes to peel them…

The second never stops the first though.

Better choose a rainy day, with no interesting book to read, plenty of time and a helping hand. The task is tedious, but it’s worth the effort.

Roasted Chestnuts | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

For once, I went the savoury way with chestnuts. And I made a velouté. Fairly simple, served as a starter for dinner.

If you like butternut and sweet potato for their sweetness, there are chances you’ll like this chestnut velouté with a strong nutty taste. I suggest to serve it in small portions as it’s rather filling. Roasted bacon would make a nice addition too.

Peeling Chestnuts | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Chestnut Velouté | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Chestnut Velouté

400g / 14oz whole chestnuts
1 onion, finely diced
25g / 1 1/2 tbsp butter
750ml / 3 cups vegetable stock
100g / 1/2 cup crème fraîche
Salt, pepper and nutmeg

In a deep saucepan over medium fire, melt butter and add onion. Stir constantly until soft. Add chestnuts, pour stock and season with salt. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce fire and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the chestnuts are soft. Using a blender mix the chestnuts and the stock into a thick and smooth velouté. Transfer into the sauce pan, add crème fraîche and stir over medium-low fire for a couple of minutes. Adjust seasoning to your liking. Serve with freshly grated nutmeg and cracked pepper.

Chestnut Velouté | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

All images © 2013 Viviane Perényi


Autumn Upon us

Grapes | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

As I removed March from the wall calendar, I realised that the first quarter of the year’s gone.

Just like that…

I hope April and the coming months will be as good as March was.

Indeed, I was challenged and went out of my comfort zone, but in the end I had a great time shooting lovely people in interesting locations.

Chicken and Grapes Salad | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Weeks slipped by and we are now in autumn.

The wind, the rain – so awaited after the summer drought- and the cool mornings are some of the indicators of the change.

A look at the produce and one can notice the transition as well. Welcome plump chestnuts, aromatic quinces and delicious grapes…

Grape Financiers | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Each year I anticipate the appearance of these grapes.

A delight !

They are the perfectly sweet touch at the end of a meal.

I also tossed several in a chicken salad for lunch the other day. And lately I baked some into financiers. They impart a nice flavour to this traditionally plain cake, lightly crisp on the edge and moist inside.

To satisfy your craving I recommend you to follow Hélène’s recipe.

Grape Financiers | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi