La Différence

La Différence
A passion for food

Monday, 25 May 2015

A little magic carpet ride with Ally's Kitchen..a passport for adventurous palates

                                 buy Ally's book here  A Passport for adventurous palates

It's such an exciting time for the world of food bloggers ~ at last one of our very own has created her personal adventure ~ a magic carpet ride that we're all invited to travel with her. Alice I'm clinging tightly to that carpet fringe.... I'm coming along regardless of my out of date passport ... I've needed a culinary expedition for some time and you've certainly provided it. I'm bringing my biggest suitcase... not for the hotel towels but for all the wonderful ingredients I'm destined to bring back to my kitchen.

I thought I must add a little information about Ally and I... she was my first foodie friend from the US. I started my Facebook page whilst still working 18 hour days as a caterer several years ago.  Ally & I hit it off from day one ...well we couldn't fail..same age just a year apart but we also shared the same birthday... October 28th...  we both share that passion for food,  family and nurturing, not being afraid of hard work and enjoying the rewards that our toils have earned. Only the mighty Atlantic Ocean have kept us apart so far. 

A Passport for Adventurous Palates is no ordinary cookbook... it's personal and thought provoking.

In this book Ally talks lovingly of family.. they are the most important people in our lives...the influence of her mom and grandma. The relationship between the family is a basic one's what builds our characters..turns us into who we are and how we react the people and situations.. it's the foundation of our thoughts, our motives and it's what makes us decent human beings. Each little anecdote that Ally has added to her recipes sums up her upbringing in abundance..there's so much love and appreciation of life in almost every post.

I love her sense of adventure, living life to the full and I've vicariously shared her adventures
hiding my soul into her suitcase on many occasions..loving every minute of her free Boho spirit
 on tour...envious yes!!! just so  wish I was able to join her. Well we all can here on her magic carpet ride.

Enough ramblings for now...let's get to the nitty gritty...starting with Boholicious Sauces & Spices

We can start with the marvellous combinations of simple ingredients that gives each region it's national identity.  It's strangely basic how this can be... it's just the plants that grow easily and healthily in a specific environment that determines the taste and flavours of that region.  This together with the rich diversity of cultures has brought a whole new plethora of flavour sensations to the people  ...especially here in Britain and across the pond where we have such a growing melting pot of different nationalities. 

Check out the wonderful array of spice mixes and sauces from regions of the world. There's everything from Thai, through Caribbean, Mexican, Europe, Mediterranean and North African to name a few.

Harissa  ~ page 5 is one such spice blend that's so much crept into my cooking over the last few years ...try it rubbed onto newly boiled potatoes then roasted with sesame seeds ...delicious. I serve these up with Moroccan Lamb Meatballs.   Ally has certainly encompassed so many of the best flavours known to man in this section of her book.

                                         Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Harissa Potatoes

  My special favourites is the Ethiopian Berbere ~  page 3 ..which was completely new to me.

Here's a little snippet from the book written in Ally's unique style where she talks you through the Berbere recipe.   

What you need
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or ½ tsp. mustard seeds,
or 1 tsp. ground mustard)
1 Tbsp. mixed or black peppercorns
8 green cardamom pods (or to taste)
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. dried chili fl akes
3 Tbsp. sweet paprika
½ cup onion fl akes
1 Tbsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. turmeric
ally note~ If you substitute dry ground mustard for
the fenugreek or mustard seeds, there’s no need to toast it.
Simply add it to the rest of the spices in the food processor.
What you do
In a cast-iron skillet over high heat, toast the coriander,
cumin, fenugreek or mustard seeds, peppercorns, and
cardamom pods. Be sure to move them around frequently
so they don’t burn. When they start emitting scents ~ this
just takes a few minutes ~ immediately remove them from
the heat and set aside to cool.
Put the toasted seeds in a food processor (or grinder)
with the allspice, cloves, chili flakes, paprika, onion flakes,
granulated garlic, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric.
Pulse or grind until blended. Store in an airtight container.

Really, you can’t mess this up. Even if you tweak and add a little more or less of something, you’re going to get an amazing blend
that will be wickedly good on so many foods. Don’t feel like you have to be a pharmacist counting out a precise number of cardamom
pods! It’s all subject to taste and your boholicious fancy. Berbere is an essential seasoning in Ethiopian cooking, and I must say it’s
mighty tasty ~ I use it on ribs, chicken, even pork chops ~ and I just know you’ll come up with your own delicious ideas.
Ready to boho your berbere?

~mood maker~
Sometimes all it takes is an aroma to unleash your Boho creativity in the kitchen. Remember, it’s all about expanding your senses. Breathe in the scent of berbere and let your imagination go wild.


I used this heady mix of spices for the Roasted Lamb Bergere pictured below
I slowly roasted a large leg of lamb for 6 hours after marinating the joint with the rub overnight.


    The marinated lamb ready to roast in a very slow oven after being covered loosely with foil

It was a truly memorable dish, tender, fragrant lamb ...served up with bulgar wheat and a pine nut & herb pilaf and  Ally's Spicy paprika Labneh Saucee ~ page 7 

Here's another dish I can't wait to try 

Blackened Shrimp with Crispy Chilled cucumber from page 183  has to be on the list of this summer's must makes. The simplest of dishes with the maximum wow factor .

There's such a fabulous array of vegetable & side dishes throughout the book including these potato sliders that I couldn't wait to try. 
This was perfect fodder for the troops &  went down a storm  ..loaded potato, onion & fresh herb, bacon, blue cheese & sour cream.. lunch couldn't be bettered  page 207...  delicious and oh so easy. 

Ally's book is not just about savoury food...there's the most delicious desserts too   

Lemon & Almond Basbousa,  delicately flavoured with lemon & rosewater, it both looks and sounds delicious.  I really can't wait to make this North African delight ... page 101

Lemon Cheese Cupcakes page 35 an easy and delightful dessert,  perfect for afternoon tea

I'm certainly going to have to stop myself now before I show you the whole book... it's addictive...there's so many wonderful and creative dishes on every page.  Ally's philosophy on food is and I quote 'Eating is a necessity~Dining is an experience '  I have to add another line to that statement 'Cooking is an art form'  it can be learnt from experience but every now & then we need someone to inspire and light the flame of imagination and creativity with us... Ally's book has completely fuelled my desire to start creating in my kitchen . Now let's start rattling those pots and pans.

Ally's Kitchen. A passport for Adventurous Palates

buy the book here Ally's Book on Amazon


  1. Awesome read! I felt like I was on the magic carpet ride with you traveling through Ally's cookbook, page after glorious page and your LAMB looks amazing!

  2. Thanks so much Mary, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole reviewing process...especially with the fabulous material that Ally provided me with ♥

  3. What an array of beautiful foodie pics and a beautiful write up x

    1. Thank you Charlene, you're such a little love ♥

  4. Doreen, Your dishes look so delicious! I have never cooked with Lamb before, but Ally has me so inspired to try her lamb recipes. Lemon & Almond Basbousa is up next on my list!

    1. There's such alot of lamb farmed here locally Kris, it's the way to go for me that Basbousa looks the business...I'll be making it too very shortly ♥

  5. MMMMMM Heavenly delicious treats! I agree with you Dor, Ally's cookbook is addictive! So many recipes are on my to do list!! Beautiful review and recipe! Nettie

    1. It was a tough ask wasn't it... I really wanted to do some justice to Ally's book, she's such a special person with a great talent...thanks my lovely ♥

  6. I feel like I am clinging to that carpet fringe right next to you as I read! Thank you for sharing about this yummy cookbook with us, Doreen!

    1. hahaha...get off my fringe. it's been such a pleasure Michaela ... not the easiest of tasks for a literary novice like me... but as long as it made sense and came across ok I'm happy. Thanks sweetie ♥

  7. Awesome review ... you touched my heart! Ally is such a sweetheart. I just love her and every inch of her adventurous cookbook.

  8. My dear dear Dor...yes, you're so right...'cooking is an artform''s culinary artistry and the talented foodies in our Boho tribe exemplify this to perfection! Thank you so very much, my Scorpio sister, for all your time and love in this post! I LOVE the Berbere lamb leg!! I can just smell it from across the pond! And, your loaded taters put mine to shame!! Love you, Dor!

    1. it was a wonderful experience to be part of Ally, thank you darling... perhaps one day we may get to break bread together. All my love ♥

  9. Doreen, your review made me want to rattle some pots and pans indeed! What a fantastic sampling of "what Ally's cookbook is all about" -- plus your own creative spins are sure to inspire others to "boho" their cooking dishes. Fun and fantastic! Thank you. xo

    1. Thanks so much Kim, it was such a pleasure to be involved with lovely Ally's adventure ♥

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I love sharing my recipes with you all...please feel free to comment's great to get some feedback ♥