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Conchiglie With Roasted Beets and Pineapple Sage & Watermelon Shiso Sorbet

Conchiglie With Roasted Beets & Basil  © Helene Dujardin 2011

Catching up. Been wanting to catch up with everything since I came back this weekend. With both our schedules on the “busy on repeat” button in August and September, catching up is done on the fly. Early morning chats. Late night chats. With a text. Or a note left intentionally in a back pocket.

We pass each other often lately. We catch up. We appreciate the early morning hours when the pups are still snoring and we can talk seriously or giggle like children. I am traveling a lot for work lately, with his blessing and support. He’s been so busy rehearsing and playing gigs that he’s had very little to notice I was gone. Sort of…

Edible Summer Rainbow

I love that we both feel well enough in our shoes that the investment we are making in our works and creativity, the time apart working in different cities, the long nights playing music, all this is never tough. It makes us sigh and we do miss each other but it’s the kind of absence that makes us keep focused and positive.

It’s not always rosy, easy peasy and always fun but it is what it is. The best part is that our choices let us combine what we need to do with what we absolutely love to do. We are ok with it until we crave that catching up time. I see a couple of date nights in our near future and if you have any movie recommendations, send them along by the way!

Roasted Beets © Helene Dujardin 2011

It’d be easy to let good meals be forgotten or to let nutrition be a distant thought. Meals on the go or TV dinners are not something I usually keep around. Not only do I love to cook but there are a few little health issues that have us stay away from made up meals. I love to shop the farmers market too much and stock up more than I should even before I head out of town.

To make sure we get good foods in our bellies in the midst of everything else going on, I like to fix big bowls of pasta bursting with lots of fresh vegetables we just picked at the market. I love adding roasted beets, lots of fresh herbs. My pineapple sage and basil are growing wild so they end up in almost everything we cook. A drizzle of pungent olive oil. I might add a bit of chorizo or leftover shredded roasted chicken depending on what we have that needs to be used.

Conchiglie With Roasted Beets & Basil  © Helene Dujardin 2011

It’s nothing fancy but it’s wholesome and packed with everything we need to keep going. Another staple is this soup I posted recently. I think I make it about two to three times a week right now. It is so silky and so easy. Whether we cross paths or have the time to sit down and eat together, a bowl of pasta for lunch and a bowl of soup for dinner have been good sound choices to have ready.

Shiso Sorbet  © Helene Dujardin 2011

One thing though…we can’t park away our sweet tooth. Given the temperatures above the 100s here, I tend to shy away from the oven. The ice cream machine has been churning pretty much non stop. Lots of frozen yogurts, sorbets and other experiments have been going on in the frozen department. It’s been fun and interesting to say the least.


One of our latest concoctions and addictions has been Watermelon Shiso Sorbet. I never would have expected to find Shiso at the market but the same vendor who had purslane one week also brought in shiso and I got giddy as a five year-old given a new toy. I’ve been reading and hearing lots about it and could finally experiment on my own. A new find at the market and I am happy. I am easy that way…!

This sorbet is the perfect ending to a long day. It packs a punch of interesting flavor combining the summer flavor of watermelon and citrus with the minty touch of the shiso. Slightly exotic. Highly refreshing. A few spoonfuls shared at midnight is everything the doctor ordered after a long hard worked day…

Shiso Sorbet  © Helene Dujardin 2011

Conchiglie With Roasted Beets and Pineapple Sage:

Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish

3 small red beets
3 small golden beets
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
one bag (14oz) gluten free conchiglie (or your favorite shell pasta)
1 small red chili pepper, chopped
freshly chopped pineapple sage or basil

Preheat the oven to 375F. Peel and halve the beets. Layer them on a baking sheet and drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for about 15-20 minutes until the beets are soft and a little brown on the edges. In the meantime, boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and place in large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, add the chopped pepper, the beets and the chopped herbs. Toss and eat right away. This is perfect at room temperature.

Watermelon Shiso Sorbet, adapted from Tara’s Plum Shiso Sorbet on Tea and Cookies.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh shiso leaves
One pound watermelon, cubed

In a small saucepan, cook the sugar with the water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the shiso leaves. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
In a blender or food processor, puree the watermelon with the syrup until smooth. Process in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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london bakes August 31, 2011 um 4:08 pm

You make even a simple bowl of pasta look spectacular! I hope you manage to enjoy some well-earned rest and time at home before you're off again!

Hilary August 31, 2011 um 4:19 pm

You are seriously the best. I am always so inspired by EVERY SINGLE POST. I follow a bazillion food blogs (all of which I love) but your styling and photography is art. Thanks for sharing. You always make me want to get snapping with my camera.

Sandy August 31, 2011 um 4:32 pm

Dear Hélène, you speak from the bottom of my heart (I don't know, if this is right english, I hope you understand what I mean). Since weeks my husband is far away but we are looking forward to our vacation near Perpignan late September.
Pasta is soulfood for us and I 'll test your recipe soon when my husband will be back.
The Shiso sorbet is extraordinary, guess I couldn't get Shiso here in germany.
Thank's for this wonderful post, greeting, Sandy

Heidi / foodiecrush August 31, 2011 um 4:32 pm

Beet, beet, be still my heartbeet. Am making this for the holiday weekend to counteract my grill fest fullness. Love.

la domestique August 31, 2011 um 4:53 pm

My husband and I are both very active and passionate about our projects these days as well. I often find myself tossing vegetables from the garden into pasta when I'm exhausted at the end of the day. Your beet pasta looks delicious!

Godbey & Gant: Blog August 31, 2011 um 6:18 pm

This looks lovely. I'll have to try it this weekend for my veggie loving houseguests!
Just discovered your blog, and I can't wait for more!

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 31, 2011 um 6:49 pm

The food, the simplicity yet elegance, the photos…just…stunning!!

And I adore beets!!! Love them!!

healthyforbetter August 31, 2011 um 7:55 pm

I absolutely adore the photographs. I even bought your book recently and I am re-reading it already. So much to learn and so much to try!

Maia August 31, 2011 um 9:03 pm

Those beets look too beautiful… almost like little Christmas lights!

Olivia, Australia August 31, 2011 um 11:14 pm

Very inspiring as usual. May I ask what brand/type of ice cream machine you use? Thank you.

Natashia September 1, 2011 um 12:38 am

That pasta dish is just so beautiful to look at!

Unknown September 1, 2011 um 2:07 am

The sorbet looks great. I never heard of shiso leaves.

Unknown September 1, 2011 um 3:28 am

these look amazing! I love the mix of colors and all the fresh ingredients incorporated into what looks to be a very healthful meal! great menu!

Ewelina Majdak September 1, 2011 um 7:39 am

Love your site! Always so optimistic, full of stunning pics and yummy recipes!

Nieves September 1, 2011 um 9:16 am

OOOOHHHH those colors!!!

Winstrol Stanozolol September 1, 2011 um 12:57 pm

I love the pictures. They look so vintage and country. Though in combination with food? I don't know.

Dmarie September 1, 2011 um 1:31 pm

wow, gorgeous!

frédérique chiron September 1, 2011 um 1:33 pm

Des photos magnifiques…..comme toujours…Bravo.

Michelle Stiles September 1, 2011 um 3:27 pm

All of your hard work is shinning through. Keep up the positive attitude!

Valérie ( France ) September 1, 2011 um 5:20 pm

Une assiette qui est un véritable tableau je suis fan
Je te souhaite une très belle soirée

Shelby September 1, 2011 um 6:54 pm

I love your contagiously positive posts filled with inspiring thoughts, recipes, recollections and beautiful photos, thank you!!

Nina September 1, 2011 um 8:03 pm

each picture is a treat to the eyes. You make it look so beautiful.Wonderful,you inspire me.Love your blog:)

Mary September 1, 2011 um 10:05 pm

Thanks for the beet/pasta/basil suggestion for these hot days!

I read the book of "The Help" and then went to see it on Monday! It's one you don't want to miss. I STRONGLY recommend it to everyone!

Mary in Oregon

Adriana@mouthtomouthfood September 1, 2011 um 11:42 pm

Amazing how you have transformed the humble beet into something fresh and interesting. A must to ty here in Melbourne. Coming into spring this watermelon shiso is perfect for our hot summers. Cant wait to try. 🙂

ChichaJo September 2, 2011 um 8:14 am

Although we do fall into the fast food trap every now and then we love staying home to healthful home-cooked meals like this — you continue to be an inspiration!

Anonymous September 2, 2011 um 12:52 pm

The sorbet looks delicious, and i love this serie of pictures: it's fresh and classy !

Nic@diningwithastud September 2, 2011 um 10:48 pm

Love beets! Date nights are important 🙂 a good chick flick that my man loved too was Going The Distance – see what you think

helen September 3, 2011 um 12:44 am

Your food invariably looks so natural and effortless and earthy and fresh and nourishing and vibrant. I can't think of enough adjectives to describe how it makes me feel, or maybe there isn't an adjective to describe the feeling. Looking at your photos, reading your text and planning my cookery for the week ahead…well, it almost feels like that Christmas-y feeling… but in the strangest way that makes me relish every season and the different foods that accompany them. I love your blog. It's so beautiful and inspirational – and not only in regards to food. Thanks for sharing it with me, I'm so glad to have found it. It's such a treasure.

From a dedicated reader and cook in Dublin, Ireland.

Julie September 3, 2011 um 2:37 pm

I just bought and read (in almost one day!) your book "Plate to Pixel>" It's fantastic!

Maureen September 4, 2011 um 12:17 am

There's nothing more important than spending time with the person you love. It's even better when you can eat pasta and sorbet like these!

Looks delicious!

Y September 4, 2011 um 7:02 am

Looove shisso! Wish it was more readily available. Mmm now I'm craving watermelon too 🙂

Nieves September 4, 2011 um 1:28 pm

HAve you seen ¨El secreto de sus ojos¨. It's an argentinian movie. I loved it.
never heard of Shisso! I'll see if I find it in the market!

Nise en Scène September 4, 2011 um 11:05 pm

The watermelon sorbet looks awesome! Definitely worth a try soon 🙂

Unknown September 5, 2011 um 1:18 am

Great date movie "Crazy, Stupid Love" Trust me on this's fabulous and my hubby who hasn't joined me at the movies in years loved it too…might mean he'll join me more often 🙂 lovely photos and recipes as always 🙂

Jocelyn Jiang September 7, 2011 um 12:42 pm

i love beet! these looks so yummy!! another great mouthwatering post!!

Yue Jiang September 7, 2011 um 12:45 pm

Looking good as always!

Barbara September 7, 2011 um 11:48 pm

My MIL grew pineapple sage. I miss it. When Bryan and I are apart I leave little love notes for him to find. In his clothes when he is traveling and around the house when I'm traveling.

Those purple beets are gorgeous. I must look for some here….and I have never seen shiso here.

kyleen September 11, 2011 um 9:00 pm

Even a bowl of pasta looks like an art of work. Beautiful pictures!

marla {family fresh cooking} September 12, 2011 um 4:32 am

So many interesting flavors here girl! I have never had pineapple sage nor that red shiso (I think) They both sound wonderful & now I will be on the look out for them.
Glad to hear you & B do so well apart & then have magical moments when you reunite.
The thought of your pups snoring is precious!

féenoménale September 18, 2011 um 5:58 am

beautiful colors in this dishes

Emily October 4, 2011 um 4:39 pm

Hi, I just want to thank you for being a great source of inspiration for me. I have been following your blog for over a year now and I have finally plucked up the courage to start my own wee blog.

I'm from a small town in Scotland and studying fine art, specialising in black and white food paintings associated with the memories food conjures up for us.

I recently bought your book and have gotten great tips. Im sure you get thousands of these kinda comments/emails a day. but thank you again!


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