Wednesday 26 June 2019


Good Afternoon to you,

It has been a while since I posted here on Ivy, Phyllis and Me! and I am sad to tell you, that today will be my last post.

I first began writing Ivy, Phyllis and Me! in June 2012, to record family recipes for my daughters.... and then the blog evolved into sharing other aspects of my life, gardening, sewing, travelling and my home, but always first and foremost, I shared recipes which I loved cooking for my family.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am, that over the years you have returned each week to read my stories and been kind enough to leave comments.... but it isn't the end of Ivy, Phyllis and Me, because I have become part of the Instagram Community, which I absolutely love.  I post each day.... either cooking, home, gardening or sewing, so as you can see, it isn't dissimilar to my blog, but rather than post once a week, I post every day.  I even tell little stories about my day to day life.... well I wouldn't be me, if I didn't tell you a little story.  So if you would like to see what I am up to, please feel free to join me, by tapping the Instagram button on the top right hand corner of Ivy, Phyllis and Me! and you will see that my life has not stood still, it has just moved on.

So although this is my last post, I decided to add a farewell recipe.... after all this is where I began.

So today, we will be making,

Baked Aubergine, (Eggplant) with Tomato and Mozzarella Cheese.... which is a huge hit with my family.

So, for one last time, it's on with the pinnie and time to organise our ingredients. Just to say the dish is made in 3 sections ~ the sauce ~ the aubergines and then the layering of the dish.


6 tbsps of olive oil (approximately)
1 onion ~ finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic ~ crushed
2 tbsps oregano ~ dried 
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper ~ seeded and sliced
4 large beefy tomatoes ~ skinned and chopped
1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock
4 large aubergines (eggplant)~ sliced
5 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
3 large Mozzarella balls ~ sliced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Oven temperature ~ 180C/160F  Bake for 45 minutes


~ place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan.
~ add onions and cook until translucent.
~ add crushed garlic and oregano and cook for a minute ~ stir
~ add sliced peppers and chopped tomatoes ~ stir
~ add stock ~ stir ingredients
~ place lid on the pan and cook gently for 15 minutes
~ remove the lid and continue cooking until the peppers are soft and the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce.
~ Add a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Whilst the sauce is cooking,


~ place 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a wide pan
~ when heated begin to add the aubergines (eggplant) in batches and cook until both sides are golden brown.
~ half way through cooking the aubergines (eggplant) you will need to add the rest of the olive oil.... and perhaps more.
~ When cooked, set the aubergines (eggplant) aside.


~ Place a layer of tomato/pepper sauce into the base of a wide ovenproof dish.
~ Add a layer of aubergines (eggplant)
~ Add slices of Mozzarella and grated Parmesan
~ Repeat layering until the ingredients are used.

I find I normally have approximately 3 layers.

Pop into a pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes. I think I have mentioned before, that all our cookers work differently.... so I would advise you check how the dish is progressing after half an hour.

Then all there is left to do,


This dish can be eaten hot or warm, which I prefer.... if you love vegetables as much as I do, I just know you will love this dish.

So thank you again for all your kindness and hopefully we will meet up again when you visit my Instagram account... it will be so lovely to see you there.

Saturday 16 March 2019


Good Afternoon to you,

I am so sorry that I have not been posting as regularly as I used to, but to be honest, with all the changes which Google have made, I have become a little dispirited. Disappointingly, it seems that my 1,300 Google+ friends have simply disappeared into thin air.  I started using Google+ because like many, I assumed it was the way forward and I didn't want to be left behind, but it was obviously a mistake.  After all the hard work I have put into Ivy, Phyllis and Me! my lovely friends have disappeared.

I also discovered it was becoming difficult to leave comments on the blogs which I love to read and it was the same for friends who visited me.  So I unintentionally took a little break.... but I have returned until I decide what to do.

In the meantime, if you would like to see what I get up to on Instagram, pop over and visit me.  I have added the Instagram button to the top right hand corner of Ivy Phyllis and Me!  I think you will be surprised as to what you find there. I look forward to seeing you soon.

So what shall we do today?

I was thinking, that as I have been writing Ivy, Phyllis and Me! since 2012, it would be a good time to reflect on some of the recipes which I have shared with you over the years and also to update you on  any changes I have made to the recipe.

The recipe I thought we could look back on today, is very much a favourite,

Pear and Ginger Upside Down Cake.  I had decided to make Mr B a cake as we had been very good and abstained from sweet things during the month of January.  I also decided in February to use the contents of my store cupboard and freezer.  The only foods I shopped for, was milk, fresh fruit and vegetables and I have to tell you I saved a lot of money.

So once Mr B agreed that he would love a Pear and Ginger Upside Down Cake, I gathered my ingredients,

but I discovered I did not have any light brown sugar which I used in the original recipe which you will find here. So I decided to use Demerara sugar instead, and do you know I preferred the texture of the cake made with Demerara sugar.

I love when happy accidents occur.  If I had not run out of light brown sugar, I probably would never have used Demerara.

.... and this time I used the correct cake tin.... if you click on the original recipe, you will see that I had a brainstorm and decided to use a different cake tin, one which had a fluted edge.  It seemed a good idea at the time, but what I hadn't accounted for in my haste to create a perfect edge to the cake, was that the cake tin was too shallow.... oh dear.  So I lost a little depth to the cake.  It was not a catastrophe, because the cake was lovely.... but this time around the cake has a lovely depth to it.

I also discovered, that the following day, the flavour of the cake had developed even further.

I think you will get an idea of the texture of this cake by this closeup which I took.

When I asked Mr B what he thought about this new version of Pear Upside Down Cake,

he said he loved it and surprisingly that he preferred Version 2 of the cake.

So if you decide to make this cake, try adding Demerara (dark brown sugar) to the cake instead of light brown sugar and let me know what you think.

The other thing I discovered was that in my new oven, this cake took 1 hour and 30 minutes to bake, whereas in my previous oven it only took an hour.  So I would say keep an eye on your cake after an hour of baking.

I have also decided to leave the step by step instructions on how to make this cake as my Featured post, so if you prefer, you can click on the Featured post and it will take you straight to the recipe.

Take care and I will catch up with you next week.

As Always,

Saturday 2 February 2019


Good Morning to you,

I was talking to a young friend the other day.... you need to know that she is young, because of the story I am going to tell you. 

Whilst we were talking, the radio was playing quietly in the background and my ears pricked up when I heard Marvin Gaye singing  'I Heard it Through the Grapevine'.

I mentioned how much I loved Tamla Motown music and that I owned the 1971 vinyl album, Motown Chartbusters Volume 3.

She looked at me with a quizzical look on her face and asked what was Tamla Motown.... oh dear I felt a lesson was in order.

So I told her all about the various artists who, in the 1960s sang for the Tamla Motown label.... Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Stevie Wonder to name but a few.

I also mentioned how much I  loved vinyl records and I was also taken with the record sleeves. She asked what was a record sleeve? Oh dear I was beginning to feel old. I told her that the best description I could give, was something which I had previously read in a magazine 'Record sleeves are a visual accompaniment to the album'... I am sorry I cannot give the person the acknowledgement they deserve for this description, but when I find the name I will add it to this post.

For instance,

I grant you the front cover of this 1972 Bread album ... 'Baby I'm A Want You' was maybe a little plain, but take a closer look at the contrast in writing.  The word BREAD is there for all to see but the cursive script underneath makes you look a little closer.

Flip the album cover over,

and what a delight.... isn't it just beautiful.... almost ethereal. 

I love how the designers of this album cover have created the images of Stevie Winwood, Muff Winwood, Pete York and Spencer Davis. Also on these older albums there is always a  write up about the group. Sometimes by a group member, as in this case, or a guest writer.

....and how about,

the artwork on this 1979 Gerry Rafferty album Night Owl and when you flip this album cover over,

the flip side is just as spectacular.

The front cover of Barbra Streisand's 1971 album, Barbra Joan Streisand,  has, what I think, is the most gorgeous photograph of Barbra, but when the album cover is opened,

there are photographs of Barbra with the musicians who worked on the album with her. There is another section, but I didn't think it necessary to include it.

I also said to my friend, that I know we need to make progress, but it was a shame that vinyl records were now obsolete.... although I know they are coming back into fashion as George bought me a vinyl of Michael Buble and George Ezra for Christmas .... lucky me. The downfall of vinyl records was due to the introduction of Cd's.  I went on to mention that I could not tell her how many Cd's I owned, to which she replied, 'Do you know something, I don't own any cds'.  I thought to myself this cannot be right, a young girl not owning any music.  So I asked why? and she replied 'I have all my music on my Iphone. Whatever music I want to listen to, I can find it on my phone'.... and I was totally amazed.  I had thought the loss of vinyl was sad.... and ok, of course I do enjoy listening to Cd's, but I am so out of step, that it had not occurred to me, that someone so young would not own any music.... but then again, why would she, if she can download the music she wants to listen to onto her Iphone there is certainly not a need for Cd's. It certainly saves on storage space.... and then I thought to myself, it was a shame, because she will never know the artistry found on the covers of vinyl records, she will never read a review of the singer or group in question.... but then again, the information is available to her via Internet.

What would I prefer..... absolutely the tactile vinyl album for sure.... but then I am not 18 years of age.

.... and then she totally threw me when she went on to ask.... 'Why did people in the 1990s not have eyebrows?".... honestly I didn't feel I had the energy to discuss the topic of eyebrows.

So I am throwing the question over to you.... 'Why did people in the 1990s not have eyebrows?  Had you even noticed.... I know I hadn't.

Take care and I will catch up with you next Saturday.

As Always,

Saturday 26 January 2019


Good Afternoon to you,

I am sorry I was not with you last week, but I was struck, for the second time, with the awful virus which seems to be effecting many people. The first time, was just before Christmas, which was bad enough, but oh my word, the second time was dreadful, but I am pleased to say, that today, I am feeling much, much better.

So what have I been up to this past few days? 

I have done something which generally I do every 6 months, although since we moved house, I have to say, I have let it slide a little. It is also something I have never blogged about. But I thought to myself, as the years go by, I notice my blog is becoming more of a life style blog, so I thought I would share something completely different today.

I say different, I am not re-inventing the wheel, because I know that both Ivy, my Grandmother and Phyllis, my Mother did this on a regular basis.

....they always cleaned and organised their kitchen cupboard shelves.

So today,

I will be giving you a glimpse into my kitchen cupboards.

With the cupboard doors closed, everything looks neat and tidy,

but I will just open the first cupboard to show you what is inside.... mmm not too bad, 
although I notice that I have chickpeas and butter beans on two different shelves.
To be fair, I think tins and jars are always
easy to organise in our cupboards.

Onto the second cupboard,

oh my goodness... this tells a different story.
 These shelves are certainly disorganised,

As you can see, everything in the last 2 cupboards have been put back rather haphazardly. 
It's time to do something about it and
sort these cupboards.

I think for today though, I will show you how I organised the first cupboard, otherwise if I show you how I organised the 3 cupboards, you will be bored to tears and you will certainly be on kitchen cupboard overload.

The first thing I did, was to remove everything from the cupboard. I then put the tins and jars into order. I was amazed how many different types of beans I had stored in the cupboard.... none is ever wasted because I use tin beans quite a lot in my cooking.

I then checked the dates.... 
oops look what I found,

These 2 items had escaped my attention.  To be honest I cannot remember buying Chestnut Puree, because it is something I have never used.... maybe I had a recipe in mind, but never got around to making it.  The Mung Beans, I only use occasionally and this jar obviously escaped my attention.  I did wonder if I could use them this week, but I'm sorry to say, the chestnut puree was dated 2017.... and the Mung Beans were dated 2018.... ouch.

I then washed the shelves with soapy water and dried them thoroughly.

Before I returned everything to the cupboard, I made a list of all the items.

Then I placed all tins and jars back into the cupboard, not alphabetically, although that probably would have been a good idea, but I put the butter  beans together, black beans together and so on.

The final thing I did was to place the list of contents inside a cellophane wallet and blue tacked it onto the cupboard door.... again with hindsight, it probably
would have been a good idea to list everything
alphabetically.... but I can do this next time I
re-organise my shelves. 
The idea of the list is, when I use something I can cross it off my list and instead of guessing and routing through the cupboard for something, I can see at a glance what I have stored.

The one difference between my cupboards and Ivy and Phyllis' cupboards, was that I did not line my shelves, as my shelves wipe clean very easily.  But both Ivy and Phyllis would have used a pretty lining paper to line their shelves. 

After I finished the 1st cupboard, I was feeling very pleased with myself, so I closed the cupboard door,

knowing that behind the cupboard door, everything was neat and tidy.

Now to tackle the rest of the cupboards.

Take care and I will see you next week.

As Always,

Saturday 5 January 2019


Good Afternoon to you,

Each year, around this time, I love to look back on the previous year.  It is not until I look backwards that I realise how many different stories, recipes and moments in my day to day life, that I have shared with you.

When I first began writing Ivy, Phyllis and Me! it was to share recipes with my two lovely daughters, recipes which had been passed down from Ivy my Grandmother and Phyllis my Mother.  I then began adding recipes which I also love to cook.  Along the way, I broadened Ivy, Phyllis and Me! to include an equal passion for gardening.  Slowly but surely, my other love, sewing and crocheting, not wanting to be left behind, gradually found their place in the sunshine.

So today, let us revisit 2018 and enjoy a few of the stories and recipes. As always we will begin with January.  

In this baskets previous life, it contained jams, marmalade and chutneys which a lovely friend had given to us as a Christmas gift.  The goodies had been enjoyed and the little basket was just waiting to be re-used. Later in January, we visited our local garden centre and it was there that I discovered the baskets new use.... the perfect home for these pretty Belarina Primula.  Once the Primula finished flowering, I found them a shady spot and planted them in the garden.

.... and now to one of my favourite topics. I have often spoken to you about my love of the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus, so in January I shared  the recipe for my Olive Oil Cake... it was such a success that if you have never tried Olive Oil for baking, try my recipe.... I think you will be pleasantly surprised just how lovely it is.

In February,

my daughter, Natasha, asked me to share my recipe for Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie.  Both Natasha and her husband had enjoyed the meal so much, when they came to stay, that when they returned home, Natasha wanted to add this recipe to her repertoire. 

I also shared my recipe for Sweet Potato Burgers, which incidentally I absolutely love.

March arrived,

and I shared with you my recipe for Chia Seed Breakfast pots.... as you can see by the last 2 recipes, we were definitely trying to eat healthily.

.... and then British Pie Week arrived, which could have totally scuppered our healthy eating.

I told you the story of when George was a little boy, how his father made pies for the family as a way to stretch the food.  My version of a pie was a healthy version... I don't think Bob, George's father would have agreed that this was a pie, but thankfully George loved it. 

We also had a little chat about cutlery (flatware to my American friends) as I do love a nice set of cutlery. It was interesting to see how many friends agreed with me.

April arrived and I made this lovely  Orange Cake.... don't be fooled by this cakes simplicity... as it was delicious.

May arrived and by the end of the month the garden was bursting into life.  Although winter seemed endless last year, we were rewarded with the most beautiful summer.  Here in the North East of England the winds are notoriously strong, but not last summer, they were kind to us, so the flowers enjoyed a gentle, balmy summer.

Before we knew it, June had arrived and surprisingly in between gardening, I managed to finish my crocheted throw. Which to be honest is unheard of because during the summer months I can always be found in the garden.

As the weather was so beautiful, my healthy Orange Salad went down a treat. I also shared a funny story about a young Magpie who visited our garden.

I then took a blogging break due to family commitments, but by October I was raring to go and shared with you,

a favourite dish of mine, my version of Butter Chicken.

Before we knew it November was knocking on the door and I told you a lovely story about a little girl I met during a visit to my Thursday Craft Group.

... and then December was here. 

Christmas preparations were in full swing. Christmas sweet mince pies were ready for baking,

the Christmas tree was dressed and sparkled with twinkling lights.

Red cushions, red throws and red Poinsettias were
 in place
ready for Christmas Day.

Christmas Day arrived and I was thoroughly spoilt with so many lovely Christmas gifts. Our Christmas dinner was eaten.... but there was no space for Christmas Pudding, so we saved the pudding for Boxing Day.

After Christmas Day and Boxing Day had been enjoyed,  it seemed the end of 2018 was fast approaching.

.... and here we are in January 2019.  There will be ups and there will be downs, life will not always go according to plan, but as with previous years, we will ride the highs and deal with the lows when they arrive. 

As always, 

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