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Helene Dujardin
Senior Editor

Helene Dujardin

Linguine With Salmon, Asparagus, Cherry Tomatoes. And Lots of Other Good Things!

Linguine With Salmon, Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. That pretty much sums up the state of my brain when Friday came around. And fried. The word I’d use if asked how my head felt. The last few weeks have been pretty packed and at the same time completely fulfilling and inspiring. It’s always Christmas morning when I head over to the studio. Even when I start feeling the week weighing me down just a tad, I can’t but look at the beautiful shots produced with my team and feel elated and grateful.



This past week was especially packed and fast paced but knowing that we all worked hard and came together as creatives to produce quality original artwork makes me forget the rhythm I imposed on myself. At the end of the day, all you can do is give yourself 100% to what you want to accomplish and be proud of. 



And, let’s face it, at the end of the day, all I want is to come home to something easy to put together for dinner and a good glass of wine. When my food stylists don’t have a care package filled with leftovers ready for me to grab on my way out, I have but the distance of the ride home to make a plan.Yes, cooking for one after a full day behind the camera has yet to leave me completely inspired. On the other hand, I cook a bunch of more elaborate/creative/fun things during the weekend. Meals I know would not necessarily jive with the husband so until he moves here permanently in June, I still have full ownership of the kitchen!!



One staple of my week days has been seafood (cooks fast) and pasta (boils fast). Tossed together with plenty of herbs from the garden, lots of seasonal vegetables and dressed with just a drizzle of extra virgin oil, lots of garlic and I am in heaven. And my stomach stops growling. My two favorite seafood/pasta combinations so far have been with hot smoked salmon, caramelized leeks and fresh asparagus or with pan seared salmon, asparagus, cherry tomatoes from my garden, a good bit of lemon zest and lemon thyme. This one is definitely a winner right now. Just plain good and good for you. 

Even as a "temporary" single gal, I still take the time to set the table and eat in peace and quiet for a few minutes. One of my little quirks. Just like starting my mornings with a cup of coffee on the back deck. Curious though, what are yours some of your "feel good" routines? A good meal? A little time out? A good piece of chocolate? Please share!

Linguine With Salmon, Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

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Jerusalem Artichoke & Ramps Vegetable Soup And Poached Egg With Potato Hash

Vegetable Soup

Picking back up where I left off… almost a month ago. I never intended to let that much time go by in between my posts but "busy" took a hold of me and would not let go. Most of my April was dedicated to workshop planning every day after work. Menus, photo assignments, logistics, etc… To make each workshop different and informative requires a good bit of planning and brainstorming. And a whole lot of organization back and forth with everyone. Don’t worry, I cooked a lot and photographed a bunch while away from the blog. Just did not have any energy left after a day on 2 sets and a load of emails and spreadsheets to edit and write.


Yes, I could have just come here with stuff but I want to be here because I have pushed myself a little harder. A new light, a new set up, a new way to look at my composition. Time to ponder and play. This is what this page is about to me. To write something that will resonate with me, because hopefully it will with you too. Not everyday is bliss, and not everyday is prose. Everyday though made me take a step away from this page and while I first I enjoyed taking some mandatory time off, the feeling of being away from my "fun" brain made me miss it even more so.


The soft and automatic music of my fingers on the keyboard. The click-clack of the camera. The clinging of bowls against surfaces. The swishing of fabrics against each other. There is something special about this space. My personal projects. This blog. It made me realize how much of a solitaire time I have lived these last eight months. I did not bother me to have the same meal days in a row. A big bowl of veggie soup, right now my favorite one on rotation is filled with sunchokes, ramps, turnips, parsnips. A drizzle of chili oil. A sprinkle of sumac. Variations upon variations of potatoes hash and an egg on top. Fried, poached, soft boil, etc…

Vegetable Soup

I did enjoy some of this time apart. It was nice to reconnect with my old self, to find the new one and make plans for the self I enjoy being around more: the one who shares with Bill all the little and big things. All the silly moments and the most frightening ones. In about a month, he will be here for good. My small rental house will have to make do for a few months while we find the place better suited for us. I am unbelievably happy to be discovering some of the town with him, all the "firsts", places and events. All in due time. Soon.



I am ready to pick back up where we left off. I can’t wait to cook for the two of us again. Have people over this Summer for backyard gatherings. Where my new friends here can finally spend some time to get to know him. And us.

In the meantime, there will be a few more meal rotations in my future and I am fine with that.

 Especially when it involves Jerusalem Artichokes & Ramp Vegetable Soup and Poached Eggs on Potato Hash.

Egg Potato Hash

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Lemon Cakelets With Vanilla Bean Cream And Olive Oil Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Creme.

Lemon Cakelets With Vanilla Cream

My life in Birmingham is nothing but a series of first. Fall. Winter. Friday nights. Weekends. Dinner with friends. Neighborhood. All a first. Living a long distance relationship with my husband. Definitely a first. Having one puppy at home as my companion. How we have come to rely on each other, the old pup and me. Another first. Which is quite nice knowing that at 16 years-old, he is giving me some precious last moments together.

Lemon Cakelets With Vanilla Cream

Everything about settling here as been new and wonderful
. I am exploring a lot on my own every chance I get. I have also started a little fun side notebook in which I jot down the places I want to discover as a first with Bill and not just on my own. They can be restaurants, parks, places…I just know him, and I know us, and I know how much more fun and meaningful it would be to do those as a couple.

Lemon Cakelets With Vanilla Cream

Spring would definitely be one of the seasons I would want us to experience together here. But, we all know one cannot stop Mother Nature. It will be Summer before he moves here for good. I just have to find the right words, the most descriptive ones to tell him how gorgeous Birmingham is in the Spring. And it is. I know one can say "but it’s the South! You know the South!" Yes. But it is a completely different South. One with seasons, tornadoes instead of hurricanes. One with a different past. One with a different food culture.

Olive Oil Chocolate Pots de Creme

A series of first everywhere and all the time…

The first time I turn my favorite sponge cake recipe into Lemon Cakelets With Vanilla Bean Cream. The first time I add deep rich and robust olive oil (from the family batch) to Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Creme.

 And guess what…there will definitely be seconds…

Olive Oil Chocolate Pots de Creme

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Poached Eggs With Sauteed Spinach & Mushrooms

Poached Egg, Sauteed Spinach & Mushrooms

For those of you who know a little about me, even just a little, you have probably heard me say many times that I don’t eat breakfast. And it’s true. Somewhat. If I don’t eat a little something mid-morning, I am about to chew my knuckles by the time 1pm gets around. But having breakfast at home before I head out the door? Highly unlikely. I have tried. It makes me want to crawl back into bed and cozy under warm blankets.


Brunch Mise En Place

Lunch is about the same story. It makes me want to take a long siesta. Don’t fall for the stereotype that every French people must have a two-hour lunch, a steak-pomme frites and a glass of wine for lunch. At least not this Frenchie, and I am far from being an exception to the rule. Like most working folks in a business that can’t wait around (food on a photo shoot is a living element, y’all!), I eat "sur le pouce" (on the go). I usually sneak in the Oxmoor House Test Kitchen to see what I can nibble on.


I live for dinner. And brunch. When I have the time to chop, dice, stir. Mix and taste. When hearing onions sizzle in the pan signal that I am making a home, not simply living the minutes between the time I had coffee and that well deserved glass of wine in the evening. The smell of garlic wafting through the air as I smash it on the counter with the back of my knife? The promise of a tasty reward in my plate as I go sit down to read on the back deck.

Acorn Squash

There is no sweeter time for me than knowing that I will have the time to enjoy the food I prepare. So, breakfast and lunch? They are so timed and methodological that I don’t want them. Dinner is my time to let me feel like my day was good and beautiful and that I had a great time whatever I was doing. Because at the end of it, I got to come home, play with the old pup, craft dinner and enjoy the rest of the day til sleep drew me under the covers. 


I feel the same about Sunday brunch. I will never pass on brunch. The promise of a leisurely morning. A moment when everything is still in planning mode. Pajamas pants and big plans.

Poached Egg With Spinach & Mushrooms

Don’t blame me for having brunch for dinner a couple of times a week. When the only few things you have to think about are whether to have your eggs poached or fried and that your bread toasted or not. Or whether you would like plenty of sauteed spinach and mushrooms with that egg or a side of roasted squash.

 And when thankfully, you do not have to decide and you can have it all…

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Seared Scallops Salad With Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Scallop Salad With Blood Orange Vinaigrette

A little update: the workshop that I am teaching with food stylist Tami Hardeman and prop stylist Mindi Shapiro is selling fast and we only have one spot available. If you are interested in more details, please read here. Thank you!

Spring is finally here. On paper for some. All around us here for sure. It’s been a couple of weeks that we have been able to enjoy the first blossoms, the first days without a heavy coat and Spring produce appearing on the stores shelves. I enjoy winter, evenings spent with a warm bowl of soup in front of a roaring fire, turtlenecks sweaters and colorful scarves. I am looking forward to zucchini blossoms and fresh peaches. And yet, I hurried to get as much of my favorite winter items in the last month. Blood oranges specifically.

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

I did cook and bake them in anything and everything I could think of this winter. And had them plain after my morning run with the old pup. Bag after bag after bag. Many a t-shirt and cutting board were splattered and stained by the colorful juice. Pile and pile of blood orange skins were dried to flavor hot brewing tea in the evening. I love this time of year. The end of warm fizzy blanket and the beginning of bare feet in the grass on crisp sunny mornings.

Blood Orange

What more appropriate way to celebrate the lead into a brighter and lighter season than with a refreshing salad of tender scallop, smooth Boston lettuce and tangy blood orange vinaigrette. After a couple of weeks of cooking from Southern Comfort, I got inspired by one of the salads in the book, took the three main components, lettuce, scallops and citrus and ran away with it. I changed their lettuce – grapefruit combination for Boston lettuce and blood orange.

Pan seared and core tender scallops nested on a bed of smooth and super fresh lettuce. All drizzled with a generous amount of tangy blood orange vinaigrette. A super fresh and easy salad when all you want to do is feed yourself right and get outside to enjoy the warmer weather. Pure good mood – good weather food.

Scallop Salad With Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Happy Spring!

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Registration for the Food Photography & Styling Workshop in Atlanta is now open!

Peaches_HD_© Helene Dujardin 2012

Registration for the 2 day Food Photography & Styling Workshop in Atlanta is now open!

To register, please visit HERE.

We are so excited to be able to bring this one to you and to share our experiences, tips and techniques with you. One photographer, one food stylist and one prop stylist in one studio over two days. Woo!

Workshop Ireland

Here is a recap of the workshop: (more details and info about it and the instructors on the registration page)

When: April 20th & 21st 2013 

Where: Atlanta Georgia 

Workshop limited to 12 

Fee is $1250 and includes:

– 2 days full of instructions with three established professionals

– lots of demos and one on one guidance

– meet & greet on Friday April 19th from 7pm til 9pm, 

– dinner Saturday night in a restaurant in Atlanta (location TBA) 

– lunch, snacks and refreshments for both days (travel costs, transportation and lodging not included)

A Two Day – Food Photography & Styling Workshop In Atlanta, April 20th -21st!

Workshop Atlanta

Have you ever wished you had someone explain in an easy way what aperture is? Depth of field? How to diffuse and bounce, highlight and contrast in the best way possible? 

Have you ever wondered how on earth you would style that big bowl of stew to make it as appetizing as the perfect slice of cake standing next to it? 

Have you ever wondered how a prop stylist layers and composes a shot to compliment the food? Where does it all start? The food? The props? The camera angle?    

How does it all come out together to create images that make your stomach growl they are so appetizing? 

Well…how about a workshop with three instructors, highly skilled in their respective fields to take you through all this? Over two days?! 


I am so excited about this workshop! For the past few weeks, I have been planning with two women I absolutely love, food stylist Tami Hardeman and prop stylist Mindi Shapiro, an awesome workshop in Atlanta Georgia. (Read more about the instructors here)

RhubarbTarts_RhubarbCrisps_HD_© Helene Dujardin 2012

Tami and I have taught workshops together and it’s always a treat to be able to have a dialogue photographer-food stylist as we teach and this time, we both are thrilled that Mindi, staff prop/photo stylist at Oxmoor house will be teaching with us. 

We all work in this field as our "real everyday" jobs but the need to come together and teach and create independently from clients fuels us with lots of energy and passion that we want to pass on to you. 

The class is targeted to all levels and all three of us will be there to take your photography, food styling and prop styling to the next level. Gently and efficiently, we will give you the tools to let you express your creativity with your styling and photography.

Garlic_Carrots _ HD _© Helene Dujardin 2012

Here are the details:

When: April 20th & 21st 2013 

Where: Atlanta Georgia 

How many students: 12 

How much: the workshop fee is $1250 and includes: 

– meet & greet on Friday April 19th from 7pm til 9pm,

– 2 days full of instructions with three established professionals,

– dinner Saturday night (location TBA)

– lunch, snacks and refreshments for both days
(travel costs, transportation and lodging not included) 


Package is all inclusive. No substitutions.
Schedule subject to change. 

There will be no refunds for this workshop – please know you can attend before you register. 

 Registration will open on Monday March 18th at 10:00am EST. Please go here to register.

Ozark Pear Cake & Feeling Home

Ozark Pear Cake

Yesterday, I packed a change of clothes, the 16 year-old pup and we headed down to Charleston for the weekend. I almost said, "home to Charleston" but home has become this "in between" where my heart resides. Charleston will forever be home. This is where I fell in love. With him. With the South. With this incredibly puzzling time of history. With a city living at a sound of a very peculiar beat. Where unbelievable friendships formed and tested time, growth and loss.


Yet, there is not much of what people would consider a home remaining for us in Charleston. Our house there is now empty and Bill moved in with his parents for the time being. But we have a home. We have multiples. They are not made of wood or stone. They have been build with our hearts, our stories, our tears and worries, our joys and laughters. While I could become completely nostalgic and sad of times passed, I just take a moment to appreciate the fact that we have made a home of wherever we are together, regardless of wherever is.

Ozark Pear Cake

Everytime I make the drive down to Charleston, my heart stops in its track at the first sign of marsh land and tall grass. There is a definite look to that part of the world. It lures you, grabs you and never lets go of you. I do miss sunsets and sunrises over the marsh. At the same time, I have fallen completely in love with the luscious foliage of Birmingham, the drives up and down the hills of the city, the genuine kindness of the people there. I was dragging feet getting out of the house yesterday morning to get down here. I felt home. I was going to the other home.

 Home is truly where the heart is and I am incredibly lucky to be able to call both places home.

Ozark Pear Cake

There is something that will always make me feel anchored to a new place and that is baking. The simple act of putting a cake in the oven and being rewarded with the scents of vanilla, pears and cake batter is enough to make anyone feel good anywhere. I could be in my grandparents' home and making an apple tart with my grandmother or with my mother next door making madeleines. I could be here or there and I would feel the same. Grounded.

If making a simple cake is any reflection of the life I lead, well, I made this cake at home in Alabama and took it home to Charleston to be shared this morning around the breakfast table at my in-laws. I am happy and comfortable in my own skin wherever I am. And right now this wherever is "in between". And I will always make a good simple cake to remind me of that (Recipe after the jump).  

Ozark Pear Cake

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Chili Oil & Blood Orange Grilled Shrimp With Marinated Zucchini Salad.

Blood Orange Marinated Shrimp Skewers

Need to start with a great little update first: 

Due to many requests and emails, Clare and I have decided to open two more spots to our Gulf Shores Food Photography & Styling Workshop, April 25th-29th. It sold out fast but we have room and plenty of brain power to accommodate and teach two more people. For more info, click HERE.

Cooking for one can be challenging. Not because recipes are often written for 4 or 6. For me they are a fast realization that I can’t share my favorite things with my mate. During the week, I live of big pots of soups filled with lots of root vegetables, plenty of herbs and a bit of protein I cook and add separately. It’s nothing glamorous but it’s good and it fills the house with familiar flavors. I also make big batches of ratatouille that I simply top with shavings of parmesan and a poached egg. Any leftover anything is greatly highlighted with an egg on top, in my opinion.

Week like this week, could prove challenging to get something nutritious on the table if I were neither a bit organized nor desiring to feed my body right. Let’s face it, and you know it, everyday can turn form nice and mellow to high pressured and brain frying. It’s always nice to come home to something one can reheat or fix in a flash. While I try to get a big pot of soup on during the weekend so I can have some ready to eat when I get home, sometimes, I find myself in the mood for something else altogether.

Blood Oranges

Composed salad are always my second best choice. Lots of greens, roasted vegetables, flavorful grains and a protein of some sort. Kale, roasted beets, quinoa, wild rice, salmon, soft boiled eggs, grilled steak. Everything makes its way into a salad. Or a soup. Small batches of Pho, oxtail stew, salmon chowder. It’s micro cooking all over again. And if you like preparing food, shopping, chopping, dicing, sauteing, mixing, well, you still like cooking for one. Even if it means, a quiet evening, one bowl and some leftovers.


Blood Orange & Shrimp Mise

Sometimes, I just get a bit more fancy with my time, especially when I get home a bit earlier than anticipated and take a few minutes to marinate, assemble and grill. And still have leftovers to come home to.

The latest issue of Donna Hay had the most tempting marinated zucchini salad and while inspired by the dish, I did not follow the recipe to a T. I paired it with some simple chili oil (from the roasted okra in this post) and blood orange marinated shrimp that I thread on fresh sugar cane sticks. They add a bit of sweet contrast to the oil in the marinade and pair perfectly well with the mint and pepper of the marinated zucchini salad.

Marinated Zucchini Salad

Dining for one may be a bit of drab at times, unless with meals such as this one when something is good and you don’t necessarily want to share…

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Seared Lamb Chops With Blood Orange Sauce and Roasted Okra With Chili Oil

Lamb Chops & Blood Orange Sauce Ingredients

So, this long distance relationship I am in with my very own husband is working alright by most standards. It’s long, afar, with very short weekends here and there but we have, without even saying it outloud, understood that every minute counts. There is no bickering, no wondering, no hint. Just plain us. I am not saying this situation, him in South Carolina until June and me in Alabama now is easy, fun or a learing experience of the "a couple’s journey through discovery and awareness" (seriously. Ugh).


How we navigate and manage the distance and absence is not only revealing of who we are in our relationship but also of what we have been building in the fifteen years we have been together. I am really proud of who we are as a couple but I am even more grateful for having such a strong partner. Call this my two Valentine’s Day paragraph a week later which is appropriate since we don’t really partake in the red and pink celebration. Except…


Lamb Chops

Except this year. I think the distance made us a little bit softer, a bit mushier than usual when last Thursday came about. He sent roses. I got him a present. We exchanged funny cards and texts worthy of first crushes. And I really wanted to head home and cook him a nice meal. I know. Easy way for Valentine’s Day. What can I say? My husband, after all this time together, still thanks me at the end of every meal. For the thought and care. For the food itself. For the nurturing of conversations and laughs around a warm plate. 

It’s the little things.

Lamb Chops & Blood Orange Sauce

This past weekend that he came to visit, I decided to splurge a little and come up with a nice meal of Lamb Chops With Blood Orange Sauce, Roasted Okra With Chili Oil and fresh baked bread. It wasn’t complicated and we sat down and caught up. We usually eat meat about once a week, the bulk of our diet being seafood and vegetarian meals. I just could not help thinking about my grandmother who used to tell me growing up how she would always regal my grandfather with grilled lamb chops when he’d come home in between two war campaign. I smiled. I headed out to the store and got natural raised lamb chops, bright red and succulent and started cooking.


Roasted Okra

A good meal. A glass of wine. Hosting our first get together with new friends and neighbors here in Birmingham. A good weekend. A lazy one too. For once, no moving boxes, no U-Haul to unload, no storage unit to visit. Just cozying up on the couch watching all movies most of the morning. Driving around town and looking at neighborhoods where we might want to live more permanently here in Birmingham.

Just taking a breath and catching up.

Lamb Chops, Blood Orange Sauce & Roasted Okra

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