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Blood Orange Margarita Granita

Blood Orange Granita

Update: While the one day workshops in Auckland, New Zealand are SOLD OUT, there are still spots available for the 2 day workshops I am teaching in Rotorua, New Zealand. (more information HERE)

This winter in Alabama has been quite different than all other winters I have spent in the South so far. Colder and lingering on. After the ice and snow that paralysed the Southern states just a couple of weeks ago, we had another snow episode just last week. This one was quite different though. It snowed on warmer grounds for a few hours and by 10pm, our streets were covered with the most beautiful blanket of fluffy snow. By 10am the next morning, it was all gone.


Blood Oranges

The evening it was snowing, one big snowflake at a time, I took the old pup and the camera and ventured outside. I was sure I’d be the only one out there. But, in that perfect quietness that happens after a snow fall, where all sounds become muted, where you feel that almost undefinable peace in your soul, I started hearing soft voices emerging all around me. Within minutes, our street became alive with neighbors, kids and dogs. Our neighborhood is full of creatives and I was not surprised to see many polaroids, brownie and diana cameras as well as high tech ones and cell phones. You could tell we don’t see snow very often! I was among them snapping away, instagramming and sending shots to family and friends.


Lime Salt

As I could hear my feet onto the freshly fallen powder my mind wandered… Yep. While others were pondering snow angels at almost midnight, I was thinking about another kind of frozen fun. The edible kind. I started thinking about silky smooth whipped cream dessert, ice creams, snow cones, slushies, frozen drinks and granitas.


Blood Orange Granita

The next day after work, I picked up a whole bunch of blood oranges to make granita. I added a bit of tequila, quite a bit of lime juice and a tad bit of salt and pink pepper flakes for a little kick. The beauty of this granita is that you can make it without the alcohol for a kid friendly treat or take it a step further and turn it into a frozen margarita for an adult cocktail between friends. I admit, I also really wanted to try the new citrus juicer attachment on the new food processor the folks at Magimix by Robot-Coupe had sent me over Christmas. That thing is impressive. No more arm feeling like it’s about to fall off after juicing many pounds of citrus for juices, cakes and marmalades. I am addicted. 


Blood Oranges

There’s something about blood oranges that make me eat them non stop when they are in season while I don’t really bother with regular ones any other time. They are so much more fragrant, beautiful to look at and marry themselves equally well with lots of savory dishes.

Yes, I am a sucker for cold desserts on cold days. Makes me rush to the fireplace. There’s no logic to my logic except that it was delicious and well worth the bit of prep involved.

Ok, I confess, I still enjoyed it all weekend long even with the temperature coming back up in higher ranges. Blood oranges just make me swoon.

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Spicy Pork and Kale Soup With Harissa and A Root Vegetable Soup

Pork Kale Soup

We had an unexpected snow day yesterday and since our offices at Oxmoor House were closed, my husband and I decided to enjoy it to the fullest. Took the dogs for walks in the snow and around the neighborhoods to check if we can help anyone. Tidied up the house floor to ceiling, caught up on our reading and watched a couple of movies. Oh, and had a couple of cocktails in front of the fireplace.



Things are slowly going back to normal today and we’ll have to catch up on our photo schedule the best we can. I secretly wished the roads were still undrivable just so that I could watch the pup frolic in the snow. Bailey is like a kid with a new toy everytime he steps outside (5 year old lab-pit mix), while Tippy (17 year-old collie-sheltie) enjoys the freezing temperatures on his old bones.


Roasted Veggie Soup

It’s been a fun day also spent in the kitchen making soups to keep us warm and cozy. Lunch was an old Food&Wine recipe I had clipped a while back (Bon Appetit also has a version of it in this month’s issue that I have not tried yet), Spicy Pork And Kale Soup With Harissa. It’s an interesting blend of Asian flavors (soy sauce, galangal,..) and Moroccan ones (harissa). It works really well together and we polished off a couple of bowls with joy. The original recipe called for ground chicken but without the possibility to go the store, I used what I had in the fridge. Dinner was super aromatic Root Vegetable Soup, thick and creamy, that I served with Croque Monsieur.

A simple and good eating day…

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Announcing 3 Workshops in New Zealand – March 2014!


I am so thrilled to be able to share with you a project that has been in the works for a little while now. I will be teaching three workshops in New Zealand at the end of March. I have never been there but always daydreamed about the possibility of traveling to this gorgeous part of the world one day. And now, it’s a reality and my husband Bill is coming along to discover it all with me. 

The folks of the gorgeous magazine Nourish for which I have worked in the past is taking care of all the logistics while I focus on the finer details…such as sharing with attendees techniques, exercises and tips to work on their camera and styling skills. We will cover camera basics, how to optimize your use of natural light, basic and more advanced food and prop styling techniques and tips. 

I will be teaching two half day workshops in Auckland on Monday March 24th. Details for each session HERE. You can decide to do one or the other or join me for the whole day as both sessions will be different and the afternoon one builds on the morning one. Please head over HERE to register. 

The third workshop I will be teaching takes us to the beautiful region of Lake Rotoiti, Rotorua March 26th-28th for a complete two day intensive course (details HERE). We will be able to explore food photography and styling trends of the last few years, work on mini photo assignments throughout the day with my complete guidance along the way. Through hands on demos, I will give you the techniques and tips to improve your skills whether you are photographing for blogging, future editorial work or just for fun. A mini immersion of sort in a magical setting.
Please head over HERE to register for the 2 day workshop. 

Looking forward to meeting everyone!



A Tamarind Beef & Kohlrabi Salad and A Brand New Year!

Thai Beef Salad

A new year! Wishing you a great 2014. May it be filled with all the things you work, wish, hope for! May it be filled with creative energy, engaging people and wonderful moment! It’s been a whirlwind of a year for us. A new position, a move, living apart for most of the year. Seeing friends get married, others have babies. There has been some really tough times too, which I may come back and share with you although I am not quite ready for that yet. You have been there all along, reading and sharing with me and it has made 2013 very dear to me.



It’s been a perfect mix of busy and quiet around here. My parents arrived the week before Christmas and are staying a couple more weeks. In the middle of work and play, we have had a wonderful time with friends and family, taking short and longer road trips, dogs in tow. We’ve enjoyed long simmered meals and new restaurants, quiet reading time and effervescent card games. A nice cozying time. For sure.

Thai Beef Salad

When my parents come visit, I like to spoil them a bit and won’t let them do too much around the house. It gives them time to really enjoy each other’s company, take walks, make plans, etc… I love cooking dinner for them and making them dishes I know they don’t usually try at home. I cook from so many different cuisines that I always enjoy making them discover something new. A typical week ranges from French, to American, Mexican, Asian, Italian, Moroccan. It keeps me immensely happy in the kitchen. 

One of the cuisines I find myself cooking and craving a lot is Vietnamese. Thai is definitely a really close seconds. Can’t explain why. It comes in waves. We could have an entire month of Vietnamese and Thai dishes and dive right away in another of Italian and French or Northern African. I love spices and herbs. I love the play that each cuisines does with them, so different in taste and flavor, and yet intrinsically similar blending the sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Umami. To our palates and in our plates.


In Love With...

One of the highlights of December for me was this Tamarind Beef & Kohlrabi Salad from Luke N’Guyen’s "My Vietnam". This books is both a delight for the eyes as it is to the taste buds. This dish is great post heavy holiday party meals with the refreshing crunch of beets, carrots, kohlrabi and the deep flavors of mint and fresh coriander. It’s hard to stop at one serving, let’s just put it this way. 

Hope you enjoy it too! Best served with a cold refreshing beer I might add…

Thai Beef Salad

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Satsuma & Pomegranate Cake

Satsuma 1

Starting years ago, I always thought that by this time of the year I would get tired of anything Christmas before it is even the holiday and yet, it never happens. In the world of food photography, we tend to start Christmas photo shoots in the summer. In the world of cookbook publishing, we take full opportunity of the season upon us to shoot the next Christmas. So, when your inboxes get filled with holiday promos on Halloween day, part of me screams "no, no, no! We’re not there yet!" and part of me is already filled with ideas about menus and decorations and awaiting impatiently to put all these into action.


Satsuma Cake 1

This time of year I look forward to a little more baking, roasting veggies and long simmered soups. For loved ones, family, friends. For our little team of two also. Not a whole lot of things beat baking on a Sunday morning and filling the house with the aroma of vanilla bean, apple, quince, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc…


Satsuma 3

One thing that always get my head geared up for the season is the abundance of citrus around. Gorgeous Meyer lemons, sun bursting oranges and my favorites,satsuma oranges. Their aromas, soft skins and subtle flesh always bring me back home in a way. I find myself recreating the same full fruit bowl my mother used to bring us after dinner filled with clementines, oranges, nuts and dried fruits. That was our dessert. Simple, easy and the perfect light break in between heavier holiday meals.

Satsuma 2

I admit, I would take a citrus dessert (most) anyday over a chocolate one. Thin slices of citrus, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of fresh mint. A citrus loaded cupcake. Kumquat tea cakes. My list goes on.


Satsuma Cake 3

During the holidays, I love to incorporate every citrus I get my hands on into cakes and confections. My favorite thing to make on a short notice and when the cravings hits on the weekend is a simple creme fraiche, olive oil and satsuma cake. 

A few seeds of tart pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top and I am go to go…

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Two Favorite Salads: Fennel, Cucumber And Mint & Roasted Trout, Watermelon Radish and Dandelion Greens

fennel cuke salad

The month has been busy at work with a few really cool cookbooks I got to photograph, meetings for other books that will be shot that I can’t wait to shoot and work on. Long days at work left me little time at home, most of which was devoted to plan and execute the workshop I taught on Saint Simons Island with my friend John. Oh man…this workshop will stay in my memory as one of my favorites. Teaching with a friend is a wonderful experience, but teaching with someone you consider family is even better. We plan to do this again next year so stay tuned!


fennel cuke salad

This past weekend I got to workshop with Tami, my other sibling in a parallel universe at the Mixed conference in the mountains of Virginia. We had a special three hour workshop in addition of our session and we decided to throw the attendees a real challenge by styling brown food, a very brown chickpea stew… Ugly food turned sexy and appealing under their cameras. We were thrilled to see how they embraced the challenge!


Trout Salad

It feels good to take a few days off from work and do these. They are revitalizing to me. They are of course taxing on the brain and body but I love being able to share the experiences and resources garnered along the years. And meeting really talented folks who only need a little push to start unleashing their creativity and owning their talent. Watch out world, there are some pretty gifted photographers coming your way!



Traveling always takes a toll on the body and the diet. While I try to make good choices, I do lose my willpower once in a while and can’t always find the things that truly feed me happy such as lots and lots of veggies and fish. In between two trips and loads of late evening shooting, I make a point at eating both. Lots of salads with grilled fish, lots of soups with poached fish and variations galore.


Radish Salad

These two salads are current favorites. A fennel and cucumber salad adorned with scallions and mint with a light splash of oil and vinegar. The other one is a watermelon and dandelion greens salad right from the farmers market bounty that I find right now, topped with roasted trout and a simple vinaigrette. Easy to make, simple and refreshing. A perfect little detox on a plate in between a few road trips or a couple of holiday meals.


Trout Salad

Have a wonderful week and a cozy Thanksgiving!

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Farro and Vegetables Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Tomatoes _ Plated

I can’t say it’s the weather that pushed me to turn the oven on all weekend and bake, roast, braise, etc.. I am not nesting. I am not feeling blue. I just had the urge to crank it full blast in spite of gorgeous skies and a refreshing 85F. Yes. Anything below 95F is refreshing to a Southerner…

I can see hints of Fall peeking here and there. The leaves are slowly changing and the evening bring on a cooler breeze and a sweater. But, we are still in flipflops and tee-shirts during the day. I wore boots once last week and even that was pushing it.


Fresh Tomatoes _ table

This in-between is actually my favorite part of seasonal transition. I feel I can breathe. The new light cast by the sun is balm to my soul. The cloudless sky, crisp air and lush foliage just get me in the mood for heartier meals and dishes. Even if it’s just me and the old pup back at the house.

With the husband gone back to Charleston for a few weeks, I can’t sensibly make a large coq au vin, pot roast or lasagna without eating the leftovers for days (unless I have friends over every night)(and I have a thimble sized freezer so I can’t portion/freeze/rotate). Instead, I gravitate towards smaller, individual sized portions for most dinners.

Peppers 2

My favorite thing to do this time of year and while cooking for one most nights is to make stuffed vegetables. With one simple preparation I can have stuffed onions, tomatoes, zucchini or eggplant comforting me for dinner after a long day on set.

Les Farcis is a cultural institutions in my family. My grandmother was famous for her "petits farcis provencal" filled with ground meat, rice, onions, garlic, lots of basil and thyme. To this day, no one in the family makes them quite like she used to. And no, it’s not because of that elusive and often times nostalgic way to remember a grandmother. She had her own way of mixing ingredients in her own proportions in order to create a heavenly balanced dish.

Fresh Tomatoes _ Hollowed

My mom’s stuffed vegetables were something else too. Especially the big red peppers. Filled to the rim with a variation on her mom’s. I loved stuffed pepper night. They were generously moist, opulent in flavors and big! And I was always intrigued as a child with the idea of putting all of one’s meal ingredients (minus dessert) into one big plump vegetable. I thought there was some genius in that.

I just follow in their footsteps by cooking my own variations of stuffed vegetables. When I find them, I use little round zucchinis, known as eight-ball zucchini and fill them with leftover ratatouille and rice or local sausage I find at the farmers market (recipe here). When I am by myself, anything I throw together and stuff a vegetable remains meat free.

This time around, I used farro instead of rice and added a healthy mixed of eggplant, zucchini, onion and fiery hot peppers. A good dose of parsley and time. A little sprinkle of feta right before they went in the oven and I was in business.

The end result was perfect for sightly cooler nights and a simple dinner at home.

Stuffed Tomatoes _ Baking dish

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Red Wine Cherries With Ice Cream Or Goat Cheese & Mascarpone Mousse

Rainier Cherries

We are currently at the part of the year I love the most. When Fall is just tiptoeing at the front door and Summer decided to linger on. Cooler mornings, crisp evening and yet bright sunshine and balmy temperatures during the day. The market displays the de rigueur squash and pumpkin while the last of the tomatoes, peaches and cherries are still going strong. I am afraid I am on the last batch of cherries I had pitted and frozen this summer, devising one last treat before apples, pears and pomegranate come around full force.

Red Wine Cherries & Ice Cream

I cooked the first braised dish of the season tonight and really it was because Bill was pushing me a tad. He is less and less traveling back and forth to Charleston and we are well adjusting to being a unit again. Next week will mark one year I have moved to Birmingham. Seems like it was yesterday. Seems like I have been here longer too. Seems like I was in Charleston just days ago. Seems like it was an eternity ago. I am here and there.

Red Wine Cherries & Goat Cheese Mousse

Everyday I learn more about myself and people. About what it means to photograph for a huge publishing house, with great talents and great projects. With big dreams too.
There are issues, there is a little drama here and there but overall there is this intense desire to create beautiful imagery. At the end of a really hard day, I still wake the next morning and say "Man! I love my job". I am looking forward to what the next year will bring at work. And home now that Bill will be here more often.

Red Wine Cherries & Goat Cheese Mousse 2

Adjusting to each other is the easy part for us. We really dig each other…that helps! We have our quiet times. Our about town times. All punctuated by little indulgences here and there. Like Wine Soaked Cherries With Vanilla Ice Cream or Goat Cheese & Mascarpone Mousse. The cherries are divine on their own but flatter the most simple vanilla ice cream with gusto. They play a quieter part with soft and unctuous goat cheese and mascarpone mousse.

Red Wine Cherries & Goat Cheese Mousse 3

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Squid Ink Pasta With Stilton Blue & Fresh Figs

Pasta Plated _ plate

Feels like forever since I last posted here. Wait, it’s been forever!What can I say..There was work, lots of it and at a fast pace, summer hang outs with friends and weekend discoveries around town. A trip to France that pumped all my energy and emotions and getting back in the groove of things which has been easier than anticipated.

Mise Pasta Figs

I am spending the weekend in a cabin in the northern Georgia with my bestie Tami from Running With Tweezers and I can tell Fall is right around the bend. I am a bridesmaid at her wedding and we decided to do a bachelorette weekend all together in a serene and peaceful house. The Appalachian mountains are quite lovely and tranquil during Fall.


We are just spending a couple of quiet days catching up, genuinely talking about our hopes, fears, giving each others support and words of wisdom. Cooking, snacking, drinking wine and relaxing on the back porch doing nothing of extreme importance. A couple of days to read, relax and enjoy the sound of the river below. I needed it.

Adjusting our internal clocks.

Adjusting my own after three weeks spent in France surrounded by family, great meals, long dinners under the sun and shaded homestead was easier than I thought. I went back into the kitchen right away and cooked comforting meals every night. The husband is still back and forth between here and Charleston so it’s been me and old pup Tippy (will be 17 this coming year!), a good book in the evening and catching up on y’alls blogs and instagrams…

Pasta Plated _ Table

On the weekend, easy peasy meals have been most welcome. The weather has been hot and humid, typically Southern and there has not been much time spent baking, roasting, braising, etc… I am looking forward to those days when Sundays turn into lamb roasts, onion soup and braised chicken. Until then, it’s a loaded heirloom tomato salad, a minty quinoa and cucumber salad or better yet, a quick pasta dish with nothing else than a couple of add ons and a drizzle of olive oil.

When in France, I picked up the coolest black and white spaghetti at a gourmet store. Striped squid in gluten free spaghetti. I feel like playing Mikado with my brothers again everytime I boil a handful. My to-go lunch one hot Saturday was a simple quick toss of said pasta with Stilton blue and fresh cut figs. A little olive oil and I was in business. Simple method, simple flavors. Cooking like we do in my family.

A preview of Fall in a plate.


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Announcing a 4 day Food, Lifestyle, Styling & Cooking Workshop on Saint Simons Island, Georgia, November 4th-8th 2013!!

Workshop St Simons H&J

I am away in France at the moment for family reasons but in the whirlwind of the last 10 days, I need to focus on something positive and that allows me to share with you one of the things I love doing the most (beside my current job!) and that is to teach workshops whenever possible.

I am really excited to announce that I am teaming up with my dear friend John Ondo, Chef at Lana restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina for a 4 day workshop on the beautiful Saint Simons Island, near Savannah, Georgia, combining cooking classes and photo/styling….!

 I am seriously stoked about this one… 

I have known John for many years and have photographed him and his crew many times. His restaurant is like home to us. It’s also the one restaurant I always take workshops attendees when we teach them in Charleston. There have been many a wonderful meals there. 

One evening, we started brainstorming a workshop combining both our crafts and here we are! We will be tag teaming taking attendees through hands on cooking and photo classes.

In this workshop, I will share with the attendees my photo and styling processes. Anything from procuring ingredients, cooking for photo, styling, working with different light situations, composing a shot, and photographing it; all in various indoor and outdoor situations. Students will get to spend time with John work his craft in the kitchen through various small group cooking classes covering lots and lots of different ingredients and dishes.
Through both our personal guidance, attendees will develop their own creative process for styling, shooting and editing their own set ups.

Workshop St Simons John

We will take a day trip to Savannah Georgia,
just up the road (!) as we say here and set up a picnic in one of the city’s picturesque squares. We will take the group to one of my favorite spots there, the ever photogenic Back In The Day Bakery. I will also share with the attendees my favorite spots for prop and surface shopping and they will ample free time to shop at their heart’s content. We will conclude the day with dinner in town before heading back to Saint Simons Island. 

Throughout the workshop, I will take the group through studio/home as well as on location shoot, be it a bakery or a restaurant, a food focus event, etc…John and I will share with you the tips and hindsight we both gleaned from being the one in front or behind the camera and how to best approach light,time and space constraints. 

But the fun does not stop there! While the workshop will be spent primarily in natural light situations, I am fully aware that not all of us have the luxury to shoot natural light year-round, thus I will take attendees through a complete yet easy to understand strobe set up working with speedlights (off camera flashes) and easy to use strobes such as Alien Bees. I will give you my process and techniques to make every shot look as natural as if you were by your window in a nice cozy sunny day while using strobes as either supplemental light sources or primary ones. 

Nothing is off limits with questions, from how to pick ingredients and how to cook them, how to manage your cooking/photo time efficiently, knowing about photography for blogging, cooking for photography, photo as a hobby or even the business of photography. Both John and myself will be 100% available to all your questions.

While we are in the gorgeous setting of Saint Simons Island and Savannah, Georgia. 

Hope you will join us!

Workshop St Simon Helene

Here are the details: 

When: November 4th – 8th 2013 

Where: Beautiful house on Saint Simons Island, Ga (click on hot link for pics) (closest airports are Brunswick Golden Isle, Savannah / Hilton Head International Airport and Jacksonville International) 

How much: Fee is $1,850 and includes: 

4 nights accomodation (most rooms are shared)

3 days of technical and practical instruction with on-location shoots, natural and artificial light setups, cooking classes

1 full day of sightseeing, shooting, picnic, prop & surface shopping in Savannah, Ga. 

All meals, including a dinner out in Savannah. 

Reception cocktails and appetizers on the evening of the 4th. 

Snack, refreshments, happy hour, etc.. 

Transportation to our workshop activities (it does not include travel fares to and from the workshop) 

There will be no refunds for this workshop – please know you attend before registering. Full payment due at time of registration. 

The workshop is open to 12 people. 

Registration is NOW open!  To register please visit here.