Tag Archive: gluten free

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


And Me Berry !

Tarte Macaron aux Fruits Rouges | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

One cut after another the paper Christmas tree I’m crafting is taking shape. I’m excited and going to share it with you soon…
But for now let’s speak about the dessert I told you about in my previous post. Not a conventional Christmas dessert, a tart. But not any kind of tart, a macaron tartlet. And the dessert Paprika and I agreed to have on our table for the Christmas eve dinner- even if I know I’ll prepare a beigli too.
Summer fruits and berries are plentiful right now and this tart makes a good use of them.
The original idea was found in a bakery in Paris, during our trip last July. We were invited for a dinner and we brought the dessert. We knew that our host is very fond of strawberries, so we chose a tart nicely garnished with fruits rouges -mixed berries.
The dessert was a hit. Not so keen on berries (except for blackberry) and macaron myself, I was the first surprised to say that I like it. So much that I thought of recreating the tart back in my kiwi kitchen this summer.

Mixed Berry Macaron Tartlets | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

And here it is. It was not that obvious though. After a first failing attempt to make the macaron base, I’ve read and watched different resources over the net and in books before giving another try. Here’s a medley from my readings. I was all excited when I saw the little pied forming under the macarons and the shells remaining intact. All this -endless- sifting time was finely rewarded !

Once you are done with the base, the tart is easy to assemble. And the macaron shells can be made one or two days ahead and kept in an airtight container. On the day, I advice you to dress the tartlets a couple of hours before and let them rest in the fridge.

I promise you that you’ll like this tart and your guests too !

Mixed Berry Macaron Tartlets | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi

Mixed Berry Macaron Tartlets
(Makes 6)

Macaron Base

3 large egg whites at room temperature
65gr / 5 tbsp granulated sugar
85gr / 2/3 cup ground almonds
150gr / 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder

In a food processor pulse together ground almond, powdered sugar and cocoa to a fine powder. Sift the mixture through a sieve and keep aside. Prepare two baking sheets lined with baking/ parchment paper. Draw 10cm / 4 inches diameter circles on baking paper, allowing large spacing between each circle (3 circles on each baking sheet). Turn over the baking paper on the baking sheet. In a clean and dry mixing bowl, using an electric beater, beat egg whites on high-speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites. Keep beating until the meringue is stiff, firm and has a glossy texture. Gently fold in the sifted almond mix and using a spatula stir to incorporate the almond mix. (This video tutorial was helpful for the macaronnage step). Fill a piping / pastry bag with the batter. Pipe the batter onto the center of the circles drawn previously on the baking paper. Keep in mind the batter tends to spread so pipe a smaller circle of batter to reach the final wanted diameter. Rap firmly the baking tray on the work surface a couple of times to even the surface. Let dry the macaron at room temperature for 30 minutes or more until the batter does not stick to your finger when you touch it (mine took more than one hour). Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 150˚C / 302˚F. Place the baking sheet on an oven grid above the oven rack and bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow macaron shells to cool for a couple of minutes on a wire rack before removing them from the baking paper. Proceed with the second batch the same way.


270gr mascarpone
350gr (about 3 cups) mixed fruits rouges (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry…)
Icing sugar for sprinkling.

Spread mascarpone on the macaron shell and lay over fruits (sliced if necessary). Let rest the tartlets in the fridge and remove them 10-15 minutes before serving. Sprinkle icing sugar on top and serve.

Mixed Berries Mascarpone and Macaron Shells | At Down Under | Viviane Perenyi