make today your cookbook day

I am sure I’m not alone when I profess my guilt of having more cookbooks sitting rigid on my bookshelf than there are pages of which had been proudly blotched with grease and batter stains.

The ease of having trawling recipe sites and delectable food blogs by the tips of your fingers, merely an ‘Enter’ away, has made it easier to locate recipes based on what you have stowed away in the fridge and pantry, or simply what you feel like having that day. It definitely helps that these recipes are served with mouthwatering photographs on the side, and more importantly, reviews and feedback of others who have tried them. Let’s face it, everyone tends to walk on eggshells when it comes to using up a good block of Ghirardelli or Valrhona, and the last thing you’d want is to take a chance on a never-tried-nor-tested recipe.

But there are most certainly instances when a great photo leads you to a particular recipe, or the enticing verbal descriptions of the resultant bake piqued your interest, only for you to find that it had been adapted from a recipe off your cookbook collection. And you leave a comment reading along the lines of “Oh, I have the same book too! Funny I never noticed the recipe before!”.

I hear a lot of guilty giggles out there…

And so, this is dedicated to all our cookbooks, throwing dirty glances each time we jot down a recipe off a foodblog, one which is barely different from that of page 54 of the cookbook you brought home from the Borders year-end-sale two years ago.

Give your cookbooks a flip, and if any of them carries a yoghurt cake recipe, fight the urge to grab your pen and jot the following recipe. Don’t even think of bookmarking this recipe, but instead, just stick a Post-it Note on the page of your cookbook. Yes, as tempting as it may be, and even though I absolutely loved the simplicity of this recipe and have made three variations of it since, give your cookbook a chance, and make his day.

French Lemon Yoghurt Loaf Cake
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours, p.224)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plain yoghurt (I only had blueberry yoghurt on hand)
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Generously butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.
  2. Put the sugar and zest in a medium bowl and rub the ingredients together until the sugar is fragrant.
  3. Whisk in the yogurt, eggs and vanilla.
  4. When the mixture is well blended, gently whisk in the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the oil. The batter will be thick and shiny. Scrape it into the pan.
  6. Bake for about 50-55 mins, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan, and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 5mins, then unmold and cool to room temperature on the rack.

26 thoughts on “make today your cookbook day

  1. the mister

    That’s a great idea luv. Especially if the cookbook is heavier than my entire toy box (yes, I’m looking at you giant, monster Dorie Greenspan book…) πŸ˜›

  2. thecoffeesnob

    I actually am quite the opposite. I cook and bake a lot more out of my cookbooks and magazines than online sources. I guess nothing can replace having a cookbook in the kitchen by my side while I cook.

    Having said that though, I always google the recipe I’m looking to make before I actually attempt it, just to see how other people’s attempts have played out.

  3. ovenhaven Post author

    bie: Haha, thanks for lugging it around last year, dearest πŸ™‚ I hope for this year’s birthday, it won’t be so heavy!

    thecoffeesnob: I notice that about you! You’re one of the few people I know who actually peruses your cookbook collection often πŸ™‚ I do that as well, ie google for feedback on recipes I’m about to try, just so that I know what I’m in for πŸ˜›

  4. ingrid

    HA! Amen! I felt like you were writing this for me/to me! You said it perfectly.

    Btw, your cake looks splendid. I wonder if it’s better than Ina’s, which while good, did not really float my boat.

    I’ll grab this cookbook off the shelf and give it a try (soon) as I have a large container of greek yogurt that I have to push out of the way each time I reach for the eggs!

  5. ovenhaven Post author

    ingrid: Glad to know there’s someone in the same boat as me! πŸ˜› I’ve never tried Ina’s before, maybe when you’ve already given Dorie’s a try, you can compare. Hopefully this one will be a winner for you! πŸ™‚

    snappytreats: Thanks, sweetz! πŸ™‚

    Spike: It sure is! Hope you’ll like it as much as I did πŸ™‚

  6. deeba

    This looks great to me. After the suceess of your blondies, which I bake at least once a week, this is going to be next on my list! WOW!!

  7. ovenhaven Post author

    grace: I used the blueberry yoghurt, but the taste was very subtle, and of course, lemon ruled the day! πŸ˜›

    deeba: Oh, thanks for noticing, dearie! I’ve edited it already πŸ™‚ I do hope you like this as much as I do. It’s become my go-to tea-time fix πŸ™‚

  8. smallkitchenbigideas

    I end up making 1 recipe from a new cookbook and then moving onto another. I usually do end up coming back to the book but not for years sometimes.

  9. Dorothy

    i am loving that plate! soooooo pretty! and that gorgeous cake looks perfect with it! i wish i could just reach into the screen and take a bite, HAHAHA

  10. jean-marie

    I made it! Actually no, we made it! πŸ˜› P stayed over, and we needed breakfast, so he said “Ask your baker friend”. We both ate Cheerios while waiting for the oven to go off. I LOVE THIS. Thanks, doll!

  11. lea cavendish

    Hehe. I recently had that same realization and have been working out of only my cookbooks for the last few months so my bibliophile conscience would stop making me feel so guilty.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. Your layout/photos are all quiet lovely!

  12. ovenhaven Post author

    smallkitchenbigideas: For myself, I’ll be frantically sticking post-it notes on recipes that catch my interest, but almost always end up making only about two per cookbook. Of course there are some books I got as gifts where I’ve never even tried any recipe from πŸ˜›

    Dorothy: Wish I could virtually send you a slice! But they really didn’t last long here πŸ˜›

    jean: Ah, so glad to hear that, sweetie! And my oh my, someone’s being quite a baker as of late, hasn’t she? *winks*

    lea cavendish: Thanks for dropping by, lea πŸ™‚ I’m gonna start a new resolution of trying out one cookbook recipe per month, and at least that would ease the guilt of trying out web recipes every other day πŸ˜›

  13. Shari

    I’m with you. Even tho’ I can find a recipe online, I still need cookbooks around me. I can’t wait to make this lemon loaf!

  14. mim

    You have given me an attack of conscience–why have I devoted so much money and space to cookbooks, anyway? Nevertheless I have bookmarked this page, for both the recipe and the admonition.

  15. Sihan

    I’m looking over my shoulder at the shelf of books throwing dirty stares at me now. Gawd. i’m so guilty. But that aside, you’ve tried this week’s TWD recipe! it was good wasn’t it? I love that the simple recipe can be varied in so many ways.

  16. ovenhaven Post author

    mim: Haha, sorry about the guilt trip! No harm in spending money and space to cookbooks, just make sure you give them a visit ever so now and then πŸ˜› Thanks for dropping by, btw πŸ™‚

    Sihan: Yup, it was good! I love versatile recipes that never fail to make it seem as though we’re bringing a new dessert to the table each time πŸ˜›

  17. mim

    Weren’t you aiming for a guilt trip, ovenhaven? πŸ˜€ And yes, that did inspire me to visit my cookbooks–I saw a nice recipe which I hope I’ll remember when the summer produce appears.

  18. ovenhaven Post author

    Oh that’s good to hear! I’ve already taken to pasting Post-it notes to pages of cookbooks which I’m determined to try out. I hope I’ll be able to follow through πŸ˜›

  19. mim

    I especially like looking in my old, odd, or out-of-print cookbooks, the ugly ducklings of my cookbook collection. It’s just too easy to look in Joy of Cooking or How to Cook Everything, tho I have both books.

    I also have magazines, files, and boxes of unsorted recipes (mostly printouts from the Internet). A few years ago I made a list of my favorite non-original recipes with their sources (for me), and found out they came from all over: cookbooks, the Internet, magazines, food packages, etc.

    The recipe I found last night was from the Pillsbury Cookbook.

  20. ovenhaven Post author

    mim: Wow, sounds like a great trove of recipe treasures you have there! Pillsbury is a great place to start, isn’t it? To date, I think the top 3 books I love would be Dorie’s BFMHTY, Pillsbury Cookbook and the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion.

  21. Sheri

    I got collection of cookbooks at home but sometimes I tend to look for a wonderful and unique recipe online. It really tempts me specially when there are lot of comments and recommendation that it is indeed tasty and easy cooking. πŸ˜€
    This recipe could also be great for my new years eve but I think I should try my cookbook as a star for my New year’s eve preparation. πŸ˜€


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