Thursday, 28 January 2016


Good Morning to you,

I do love a good detective story.

I don't like anything which is violent, with scenes of blood and gore, I just love a good old fashioned whodunnit. I love films where you are told something has happened and it is left to your imagination. I enjoy films where there are no horrible images. To be honest, I really am squeamish. I like films, which I can sit and watch comfortably, without having to bob up and down, to hide my face behind a pillow, each time something awful happens. I find it so exhausting that by the end of the film, I'm a nervous wreck.

So I was pleased to discover there is a wonderful detective series, which requires no pillow, showing on the television at the moment.

No, not Agatha Christie mysteries, which incidentally I love, but,

.... a wonderful series called Father Brown.... I love it. Honestly I cannot recommend it highly enough.  If you are a lover of old style detective stories, with charming characters and beautiful scenery, then this is for you.

Let me tell you a little bit about Father Brown.

Father Brown, is a fictional Roman Catholic priest, created by G.K. Chesterton over 100 years ago. Father Brown is an unusual priest, because along with his parish duties, he always seems to get embroiled in investigations of crime, which happen in his village.  He is a bit of an amateur detective, much to the chagrin of the local constabulary, because whenever a crime is committed, Father Brown is around, getting 'in the hair' of the chief inspector, who in turn feels Father Brown should stick to his church duties and not interfere with police investigations. By the end of the series the chief inspector, gradually, but begrudgingly, comes to respect Father Brown's intuitiveness.

The characters are marvellous.

Mark Williams plays Father Brown beautifully.  You will remember Mark as the father of Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films. I love his quirkiness and he makes you really love the character of Father Brown. Trust me, you will fall in love with him.

Sorcha Cusack is marvellous as Mrs Bridgette McCarthy, the parish secretary. I think it would be fair to say, she is a little bit of a busy body, but with a good heart.... and she wears the most fabulous hats.

Nancy Carroll, well, she is brilliant playing Lady Felecia Montague, the bored aristocrat who vies with Mrs McCarthy for the attentions of Father Brown. Each of the lady's spend much of their time, trying to outdo each other, to capture Father Brown's attention. Mrs McCarthy thinks Lady Felecia is just 'decorative', with nothing else to do, but to spend her time on her appearance. In one of the episodes the ladies decide to help Father Brown, because he has broken his leg and cannot get around. Father Brown asks them to find a letter, which he has seen, being thrown into a dustbin, which he feels is crucial to the investigation. The ladies stand beside the dustbin and both hesitate to put their hands inside. Lady Felecia says 'I can't possibly put my hands inside the dustbin as these gloves are Chanel darling'. Mrs McCarthy replies 'I'm sure Chanel will never know'.... but underneath it all, as much as they bicker, they do like each other.  Have I said too much, I hope not, I am trying to give you a flavour of the characters.

Alex Price plays Sid Carter, the chauffeur of Lady Felecia, and a bit of a rascal.... but lovely with it. Although he is Lady Felecia's chauffeur he always seems to be running errands for Father Brown and getting involved in his investigations.

Now I had better stop, before I start giving too much away, but I would say, if you are a lover of Miss Marple you will really enjoy Father Brown.

Perhaps you have a favourite series you can share. For instance, both Phyllis, my mother and Sadie, my mother-in-law, love Murder She Wrote with Angela Lansbury.  I have been known to ring Phyllis for a chat, then ring Sadie afterwards and they are both watching Murder She Wrote.  A little like the time I told you when George, one Saturday afternoon, was watching a cowboy film, later we discovered, his father was watching the same film and both of his brothers.... as they all love cowboy films.

The series of Father Brown now showing, is a repeat, because I missed it first time around and as it happens, what I am making today, is also a repeat,

this Soda bread... but there are a few differences in the recipe and this time I have added olives to the mix.  I was not sure if it would work, but I am so pleased to say it has, so now I feel confident sharing this recipe with you.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to today

is a step back in time.  Do you remember Bobby Rydell?

I heard this song on the radio the other day, and it made me smile.  Listen to Forget Him and tell me what you think.... I even remembered all the words.

So while I organise my ingredients I am listening to, Wild One but first, George and I are having a little bop around the kitchen... this is certainly George's style of dance music.




450g wholegrain flour
23 medium sized black, stoned olives
1 heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of salt
300ml buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
olive oil to brush around baking tin
1 sheet of aluminium foil to cover baking tin.


Pre-heat oven to 190C

Brush a 19 cm loose bottom cake tin 
with olive oil. Then line the base
with parchment paper.

Place the flour,

bicarbonate of soda
and the
into a large mixing bowl 
stir the ingredients together.
Set aside for the moment.

De-stone the olives
cut into quarters.
Set aside for the moment.

In a separate bowl
whisk the egg

 the buttermilk
and add 

chopped olives.
Mix everything together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients
mix everything together
to form a soft dough ball.

You might find at this point you will need
to add a little water to 
bring the mixture together.

Place the dough ball in the
pre-prepared cake tin.
Pat down the dough ball to fit the cake tin.

Cover with tin foil
and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove the tin foil
and return the soda bread to the oven.

Bake for a further 20 minutes,
but I would check the bread after 15 minutes.
I'm not sure why, but sometimes the
baking takes a further 20 minutes and
other times it takes 15 minutes.

Remove the soda bread from the cake tin
and allow to cool
a little on a wire rack.

as I always say,


I thought you would like to see how the black olives had settled in the bread.  Now the amount of olives I gave you was quite exact wasn't it.... 23 in all.  The reason for this is, I had 23 olives which I wanted to use up and so, as a trial, I decided to add them to this soda bread.

Way back in 2012... gosh is it that long, we made soda bread and I shared with you how I made the cross a little too large,  so the bread became a little misshapen.  It did not spoil the taste and texture, it just looked a little odd. Well I recently discovered the book, The Handmade Loaf written by Dan Lepard and if you are a lover of bread making then this is the book for you. This is where I came upon Dan's technique of covering his Waterford Soda Bread with tin foil.  I forgoed the cross and I tried Dan's technique and it makes so much sense, the soda bread rose evenly, making it easy to slice the soda bread evenly.  Not that even slices is really that important, but I have found it is easier to toast the soda bread and also to make open sandwiches.

So I am proud to say, there are no mistakes this time.

Just before I leave you, I wanted to say, I have not been visiting you as much as I should just recently and also I have not replied to your lovely comments. Life has been a little hectic of late, but I promise to catch up with you in the coming week.

Take care, and as always, I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining.

As Always,

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Dear Friends,

It is so wonderful to know you enjoy reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me a comment. I really do appreciate it.

Best wishes to you.


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