If you’re a food blogger, you regularly get invited by publishing houses to review cookbooks and I always have fun trying new recipes. This cookbook, Ally’s Kitchen – A Passport for Adventurous Palates, was different – I was invited by another blogger – my good friend Kim Bultman from A Little Lunch for Alice Phillips from Ally’s Kitchen. Kim edited the cookbook and she did a brilliant job. I was given an advance copy so I’d have plenty of time to peruse every page.
Ally has written 240 pages of delicious recipes from around the world and each one is tried and tested so you won’t buy the ingredients and have a flop. I’m not the only one reviewing this cookbook – Kim and Ally invited other bloggers who are cooking and baking recipes from this book. Check out Ally’s Kitchen cookbook blog tour.
Did I mention there are 240 pages of recipes? How do you choose which one to make when there are so many wonderful recipes to choose from and many are from exotic locations? I’m sure there are many efficient ways to do this but I went with two things both John and I love. Dukkah and potatoes. Not in the same dish, although… I might think about it.
The other day we had a big lunch and for dinner John had Turkish bread that he broke apart and dipped in good olive oil mixed with some balsamic vinegar and then into the dukkah. I have to agree, it’s as close to heaven as we’re going to get. The recipe makes about four cups of dukkah – enough for us and 3 gifts.
Then there are these potatoes. When I saw Ally’s recipe for Rosemary Red Potato and Leek Galette, I knew I had to try it even if it didn’t go in the blog post. Butter, leeks, potatoes and sour cream – I don’t need anything else to make me happy.
These are NOT red potatoes. Could I find any? No. So I made these with small white ordinary potatoes and they were delicious. I did find that the leeks I used must have released a ton of liquid because the potatoes, while cooked through, had a bit of liquid instead of a dry potato stack I was expecting. Maybe American leeks aren’t as large as big fat Australian leeks?
When John came down to the kitchen and said, “What smells so good?” I did what any good wife would do, I poached an egg and served it with these potatoes and said, “It’s lunch.”
- 8 cups thinly sliced potatoes (red potatoes - skin on)
- 2 thinly sliced leeks
- 8 tablespoons butter, melted
- ¼ cup fresh rosemary, chopped
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F and coat a heavy non-stick skillet with cooking spray or rub with shortening.
- Layer half the potatoes in the bottom of the skillet, overlapping the potatoes in a circlular pattern ending in the center of the pan.
- Drizzle the potatoes with ½ the butter and sprinkle half the salt and pepper before scattering half of the leeks.
- Dollop all the sour cream and sprinkle with half the rosemary.
- Using the same method, place the remaining slices of potato on top of the first layer.
- Add the remainder of the salt and pepper, sprinkle the rest of the leeks and then drizzle with the remainder of the butter. Sprinkle the remainder of the rosemary and place uncovered into the oven for about 30-35 minutes.
- If the galette begins to brown too soon, cover it with foil.
- Let it cool for about five minutes before serving right from the skillet.
So who is Ally? Alice Phillips began life in West Virginia and when she was ten, her father died leaving her Croatian-born mother to raise four children on her own. Ally’s named after her grandmother and Ally credits her grandmother with passing on her love of cooking. As kids do, Ally grew up, went to college, married, worked as a teacher and psychologist specializing in learning disabilities, divorced and remarried – but she never lost her love of cooking.
At the age of 58 she found herself living in Boston and decided to to take acting lessons and one day saw an ad for MasterChef and in the first year she made it to the semi-finals and in season 2 she made it to the top 100. She’s a good cook!
I really admire Ally – she’s a woman in her 60s who was a child of the 60s and has the courage to reinvent herself when she tires of what she’s doing. She’s also brave enough to admit she’s in her 60s – something another blogger is afraid to do for fear nobody will visit her blog. She shall remain nameless.
Ally’s cookbook, just released on May 12th, has recipes for dishes from around the world as you’d expect, but there are also small stories to go along with each one. Ally has had a very interesting life and she shares it with us on the pages of this book
. This video is her book promo and gives you an idea of her Bohemian personality.