What kind of templates do you want when you create your own cookbook?

Making a custom cookbook, be it a family cookbook as a gift or for a reunion, a fundraising cookbook, or even a cookbook to sell on your your blog, at your shop or catering company, is as much about the recipes as it is about the look of the book. That’s why as I work through my wish list of new features for the new heritagecookbook.com website (to launch this summer!), one of the things that I keep coming back to is increasing the numbers of cover design templates. My goal is to add 50-100 new designs by the time we launch. It’s a pretty ambitious number, but I think it’s really important to offer a wide range of cover designs so that people can create a cookbook that really matches they personalities.
Here are a few we are working on that aren’t quite ready to go live.

Recipe Cards cover and template Heritagecookbook.com

Recipe Cards cover and template

Retro cover and template. Heritagecookbook.com

Retro cover and template. Heritagecookbook.com

Vintage cookbook cover and template.  Heritagecookbook.com

Vintage cookbook cover and template.

Winter dishes cover and template. Heritagecookbook.com

Winter dishes cover and template.

Each of these will come as full set that includes a cover page, table of contents page, section divider pages and back cover.
My question to you is this- what kind of cover would you want in your custom personalized cookbook?

Quick and easy tomato soup

It’s mid February and winter shows no sign of letting up. My go to food is definitely soups and stews during these chilly months, and I feel proud that I can basically make a soup out of pretty much anything! (I know, it’s the small things in life.) So when my husband asked what was for lunch today (he’s working at home these days but apparently hasn’t learned how to turn the stove on yet, lol!), I immediately thought of making soup.
I opened the fridge to find some sad looking winter tomatoes that had been lying in the bottom of the crisper drawer for far too long, along with a limp carrot. No problem I thought. Out comes the Instant Pot (I’m still obsessed) and 30 minutes later, delicious hearty tomato soup.

Quick and easy tomato soup @heritagecookbook.com

Quick and easy tomato soup @heritagecookbook.com

6 or 7 medium tomatoes
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 medium carrot
1 onion
1 clove garlic
5-6 cups chicken broth

Preparation Instructions
Put a small pot of water to boil.
Peel and cut the onion and carrot.
Score the tomatoes on the top with an x. While you are waiting for the water to boil, set your Instant Pot (or saucepan) to saute and heat up the oil.
Add the onion and carrot, and saute about 6 minutes, until translucent.
While they cook, drop the tomatoes into the water, two or three at a time, and leave in the water about 10 seconds. Scoop them out and repeat with the remaining tomatoes. When cool (almost instantly), peel the tomatoes. Cut them in half, and use your fingers to scoop out the seeds. I’m told tomato seeds and skins are very hard on the digestive system, which is why I bothered with this extra step.
When the onion is cooked, add the tomatoes, and squeeze one clove of garlic over top. Saute 3-4 minutes
Add the broth, close your Instant Pot and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
If making this in a saucepan, you may need to cook it for 45 minutes to obtain the same richness of taste.
Release the pressure, and use an immersion blender to puree. Season to taste
Serve with crostini (I use Ace crackers), a drop of olive oil, lots of fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Molton chocolate cake for Valentines day

There isn’t much more to say really. Molton. Chocolate. Cake. I had you there, didn’t I? I could also add ooey, gooey, sticky, rich and chocolatey, but I’m not sure I even need to go that far!

Decadent chocolate cake
There. There’s also that beautiful visual. And the fact that it has a mere 5 ingredients. It’s really just a big brownie.
I just know your loved ones, be they your partner, kids, parents, friends or anyone else, will love you for making this on Valentines day!


6 oz good quality baking chocolate (dark, not milk)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 320. Grease and flour an 8 or 9″ pan.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Add butter and stir until melted. Beat egg yolks with sugar until soft ribbon forms. Add to chocolate mix and stir. Add flour and mix.
Beat egg whites until smooth. Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture.
Bake 40 minutes, or until just set.

New photography coming

I have been working on the new site for a bit now. We’re still a while away from launching, but things are starting to come together. One of the things I’m excited about are all the new images that will be available for you to use in your books from our image library!
I’ve commissioned close to 250 new food images for our image library that will all be available to use in your books!
Here’s a teaser of one of my faves- just think of the beautiful cookbook covers you could create with an image like this…
Oh the possibilities!

A little inspiration on a January Monday

Is there anything worse than a Monday in January? Add to it the snowstorm that’s brewing out of my window, and plunging temperatures, well, it seems like a good day for some food inspiration.
I recently re-connected with a high school friend. She had moved to New York to be a Commercial Real Estate power house after University, and we just sort of lost touch. We ran into each other at a funeral recently (yes, I’m entering this stage of life) and was delighted to hear she had left New York to come home and pursue her passion: food.
Take a look at her beautiful website https://jackiesdish.com/ where you’re sure to find inspiration, great recipes, and learn a little bit about the food industry.
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All photos courtesy of jackiesdish.com
Happy Monday :)

InstantPot addicted

Have you caught on to the InstantPot craze? This genius appliance was all the rage last year, so I’m late to the game on this one. But I’m hooked. Big time!
The Instantpot, or InstatPot (I see it written both ways) is an electronic programmable pressure cooker, that also works as a steamer and slow cooker. https://instantpot.com/ For those of you new to pressure cooking, the principle is that steam builds up in the pot and cooks food faster with high pressure steam. It’s an old technique used by many different cultures to create all types of dishes. The main advantage of pressure cooking is speed (you can cook rice in 4 minutes!), but it’s also it’s ability to tenderize tough meat (think ribs, or pulled pork, stews) and create rich and deep sauces (like tomato sauces, soups and broths, curries etc…).
I’m not new to pressure cooking- I’ve owned a pressure cooker for years, but using it has been tricky because food tends to burn on the bottom and by the time I smell it, it’s too late. The seal also goes every once in a while so I have to replace parts, which scares me because if I get it wrong, I’m sitting on a big pot of hot liquid that is pressurized and not sealed properly! So I didn’t use my pressure cooker that often.
Growing up in France in the late 70s, almost all of the moms and grandmothers I knew used a pressure cooker. The definitive cookbook at the time was made by SEB (a major french appliance company), and was an unassuming little hard cover with 300 recipes ranging from pig’s tails with lentils and braised rabbit with prunes to duck with olives and veal hearts.
Yup. A little dated, but Oh so French! I own two copies of this book, and despite the more questionnable offal (see what I did there!) recipes, there are some amazing ones like coq au vin, and potatoes with white wine that I still turn to.
But when I got the InstantPot for Christmas, I fell in love with pressure cooking all over again. With this ingenious machine, you can sear and saute right in the pot, add the rest of your ingredients, close it, set it and walk away. No scary steam hissing out of the top. It even stops if the bottom starts to burn. A polite chime tells me when my food is ready.
I immediately went out and bought four cookbooks and have cooked something from one of them almost every day since January 1! My kids are starting to wonder if I’m going to try to make toast and coffee in the InstantPot!
instapot books

To date, we’ve enjoyed the following recipes:
Israeli couscous, tomato and bocconcini salad (a big hit)
Ancho chicken carnitas (another hit)
Butter chicken (applause all around) with cauliflower “rice” (that my carb loving 14 year old son actually ate!)
Curried red lentil soup (my own creation- delicious)
Kung Pao chickpeas and steamed rice (all cook in the same pot at the same time- genius!)
Peanut Butter Crunch Granola Bars (made with sunflower butter because of allergies- I messed something up on this one, so it didn’t really work)
Flourless Banana Oat cake- redeemed myself and knocked this out of the park
Creamy chicken and brown rice- comforting and delicious

This weekend I’m having four families to our place for an Indian Feast- we have nut allergies, lactose intolerance and celiacs to deal with. No problem. On the menu will be Chickpea salad, Aloo Gobi (potatoes with cauliflower), Chicken Vindaloo and Lamb Rogan Josh. I may also make peas with spinach. Steamed rice all around, and lots and lots of cold beer. And yes, everything but the beer will come from the InstantPot. You’d think I work for the company! (which I definitely don’t).

To be clear- I’m a busy person. While I love cooking, weeknight cooking for a family is not my fave, and I don’t have a ton of time. None of these recipes took more than 20 min of prep and 20-30 minutes of cooking. Dinner on the table in less than an hour from start to finish, with a good 20-30 minutes of time doing sweet nothing.
Or at least nothing to do with cooking; homework, laundry and washing up still have to be done. Sigh.

PS: If there are any Instant Pot recipes that you love, please let me know! Would love to try them out :)

A crafters dream

I’m sure we’ve all noticed the bombardment of ads on Instagram. And most of them are for shoddy products and knockoffs – I know, I’ve made the mistake of buying clothing off of Instagram only to receive, a mere 6-8 weeks later, some poorly made polyester number with incomprehensible sizing and threads that still need to be trimmed! lol! Serves me right for throwing away $9.99 on something that clearly should have cost hundreds!
Today an Instagram pop up caught my attention for a product that looks AMAZING! It’s a 38″x24″ closet that unfolds to become the ultimate crating corner/storage unit.
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Here’s the catch. It’s being sold for $169 from a shady company with a suspicious URL. So I did a little digging.
The real unit comes from a company called https://www.theoriginalscrapbox.com/. It’s the brainchild of life long crafter Yvonne Hubert. It’s an American company, owned by a female entrepreneur. So for anyone looking to de-clutter and tidy up this year, I beg you, support the original company and this amazing business woman and save up for the real deal. They even do financing.
Happy crafting!
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I want your feedback!

2019 is going to be a big year! I’m working hard with my IT team to launch a new and improved version of HeritageCookbook, with more features, more images, more flexibility and more products. I have lots and lots of ideas (did I mention I’m a creative-type?! ideas are never lacking), but what I want, are your ideas.
Drop me a line at virginie@heritagecookbook.com, or post a comment on this thread, or even on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HeritageCookbookcom-131351536988113/ with the title “My big ideas” and let me know your thoughts on any of these:
1. What types of book bindings would you like to see
2. Do you use our image library?
3. Would it be helpful to have recipes you could add to your books?
4. Do you want more templates to choose from?
5. Do you want more layout options?
6. Is there anything else?
Looking forward to hearing from you!!!

Moroccan Chicken Stew


Prep Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 50 min.


1 tbsp olive oil
8 chicken pieces, bone-in, skin-on (thighs, drumsticks, half chicken breast)
2 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp paprika
½ tsp allspice
1 (796mL) can chopped tomatoes
2 ½ cups chicken stock
4 cups diced butternut squash
1 cup pitted green olives
1 cup golden raisins
1 (540 mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus extra to serve
Lemon wedges, to serve
Yogurt, to serve


1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Season chicken pieces. Then, brown chicken pieces on all sides, about 3 min., per side. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towel. Drain all but 1 tbsp fat from pan.

2. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 min. Add salt and spices, cook 1 min. Add diced tomatoes and chicken stock. Stir in butternut squash, green olives and raisins. Add chicken pieces back into pot and make sure they are covered by liquid. Bring stock to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, for 30-40 mins., until chicken pieces are cooked through.

3. Stir in chickpeas and cilantro. Serve with couscous, brown rice or crusty bread. Top with extra cilantro, a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of yogurt to serve.

Cream of Mushroom Soup


Prep Time: 10 min.
Total Time: 30 min.


1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme
500g (½ lb) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
Plain yogurt or sour cream, to serve (optional)


1. Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and let cook until starting to soften, about 3-4 min. Add garlic and thyme and continue cooking, 1-2 min.

2. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms turn golden brown, about 8-10 min. Add salt, pepper and vegetable stock. Bring stock to a simmer and let cook, 20 min.

3. Using a hand blender, blend soup until smooth. Add lemon juice, parsley and cream (if using) and re-warm before serving. Serve with buttered, crusty bread.

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