It’s already 11 years – an ingredibly long time – ago, since I’ve been to New Zealand for work and travel. Besides my memories and the hope to visit this remote (from a European perspective) country again, I kept a lasting affinity for it. Although this isn’t all, one reason for me to read
Vivianes blog @ Downunder
is to keep somehow connected to the “land of the long white cloud”.
Vivianes pictures bring together the land, its people and its food. They show the beauty of her surrounding landscape through the year, combined with seasonal recipe … of course seasonal at downunder, which means – I know this is clear, but I’m still fascinated by this fact – that you can find on her blog warming soups when all our flowers are blossoming, light salads when the leafs of our trees in Europe are turning golden and red.
Except from the seasons of nature, Vivianes multicultural heritage has a great influence on her cooking. You can find french clafoutis and madeleines, hungarian kalács, túrós táska and cabbage rolls aside with recipes that are inspired by the natural produce of New Zealand and La Réunion, where she grew up (f.ex. kiwifruit cakes, coconut cream with passion fruit). I’m so jealous that she has access to feijoa, a fruit that I haven’t seen or tasted since I’ve been to New Zealand.
@ Downunder is fusion in various ways and in its best meaning – that’s why I always come back to this blog.
That’s what Viviane says about herself and her approach to food and cooking:
You are running your blog since 2008. What is your main motivation to keep on doing this?
The readers mainly.
It’s been a lot of up and down with the blog, but readers and specially commenters have helped me maintain and grow this little blog of mine feeding it with their kind, forgiving and encouraging words.
What is your favourite recipe that you’ve posted?
I love bread and I have shared different sourdough bread recipes on the blog. The macatia is special to me because it’s from my childhood. And Flo Makanai’s 1,2,3 formula is my favourite because it works great and it’s versatile. I always use this formula when I bake my own bread.
What is your favourite ingredient?
I’m a chocolate lover. Dark chocolate.
And when it comes to cooking, I like fresh aromatic herbs of any kind.
What are the main influences of your cooking?
The way I cook is influenced by the place where I grew up (Réunion), the different places where I lived and the person I married (Hungarian). So it’s an eclectic mix.
What does cooking mean for you?
Cooking is showing love to people you care for.
It also meant independence. Five years ago I started to cook. After a lot of trial and error, I got more confident and I realised I could cook (or at least try to cook) what I fancy. It was an epiphany.
You are working as a freelance photographer. How important is the photography of your food for you?
We first eat with our eyes, so it’s important to entice the viewer – who can’t smell or taste – and portray the food in an attractive yet real way.
What is essential for buying a cook book or for visiting a food blog regularly?
I am drawn to beautiful images, but they need to work as a trigger.
For a cookbook I expect the images to inspire me to cook or alternatively I want it to work as a visual inspiration and prompt me to shoot.
For a blog, I look for personality. I want to feel connected in a way or another to come back to a blog.
What is your favourite cooking book at the moment?
I do not own a lot of cookbooks (I’m more a magazine addict), but I recently read Antonio Carluccio’s Italia. It’s like travelling through Italy and discovering specialities from each region.
Recipes and Photos by Viviane Perényi for @ Downunder.