Thursday, 29 March 2018


Good Morning to you,

Yesterday, I decided to post something slightly different on Instagram. I thought it would be interesting to share some vintage cutlery which I own. 

.... and this is the photograph I added,

my vintage, fish knife and fork, which is part of a 6 piece set.

I had no sooner posted than my phone started to 'ping' with friends leaving 'likes' and also leaving lovely comments. 

I had written, 

'I realise it isn't popular nowadays to use
 a fish knife and fork when eating fish, 
but I love the right cutlery 
for the right food.'

.... and it seems many of my Instagram friends felt the same way.

So I thought it would be a nice idea, before I cleaned the cutlery, to show you some other pieces which are tucked away in my drawers.

Now as you can see, this knife and fork along with most of the vintages pieces I am going to show you, need a good clean, but I thought you really would not mind, because the patina is lovely... well that is what I am telling myself.... and in actual fact, the camera captured a lot of colour which I could not see in the daylight.

George loves uses these pieces (not uncleaned of course) because he says, unlike a lot of modern forks, this fork fits his hand beautifully.

.... as you can see, I gave in, and decided to clean this knife because I wanted to show you the detail. The design, although worn in places, is still beautiful.... and this is the reason I do not clean my cutlery too often, because the design will wear away, if I am not careful.

These dessert spoons are not vintage, they are from the 1960s.... does that qualify for vintage.... I am not sure. The shape of the oval spoon is beautiful and again they feel lovely in the hand.... and when cleaned, they sparkle.

Now I have to be honest, I am not really sure what this lovely little spoon is used for.  It is too large to be a jam or marmalade spoon,

and too small to be a serving spoon.... but again, the design is beautiful and I adore the detail on the spoon.

I tend to use this spoon for serving double cream. As the handle looks lovely against the pale colour of the cream.

.... and aren't these servers beautiful. There is so much detail incorporated into each piece. I have just noticed, I seem to be using the word 'detail' quite a lot. But there is so much detail in everything I am showing you.

Now, I have a little story to tell about this pair of servers.  Well it wouldn't be Ivy, Phyllis and Me! if I didn't have a little story to tell.

I have a love of vintage cookery books, as does my daughter, Natasha. Roughly, 3 years ago, I discovered,

this 1982 edition of Cooking with Robert Carrier with parts of the book originally published in 1965.

.... but the important thing is, do you recognise the servers on the front cover? Yes, they are the same as the set I own.  So when I discovered this book and noticed the servers on the cover, I just had to give them to Natasha, as part of her gift. The servers were a lovely surprise.

So if I gave Natasha my servers, why do I have another set.  The reason is, when I was visiting Danielle a year or so later, we went to a huge car boot sale.... and there they were.... these servers, loosely wrapped in paper, laying in a box of oddments. When I pulled back the paper, I knew exactly what they were, and I was so excited to find them, but I had to calm myself down and not appear too keen, because as you know, if a seller feels you are keen, the price will go up.  I just mentioned how dirty they were and I offered £2, never thinking for a moment, that the seller would agree, but I think he had experienced a slow morning and he agreed the price.  I could not believe I had snapped the servers up, for the princely sum of £2 . I have to tell you, I walked away from the stall quite quickly, in case he changed his mind and decided to chase after me and increase the price. Truthfully, I do know, that  he wouldn't do that,  but I was so caught up in my excitement, I just had to get away from the stall. I have to say, I get a thrill of excitement just talking about my marvellous bargain.  

.... and you can see why, I feel they are so special. Take a closer look, they are stunning.  Once I clean the servers, they will be shiny and bright and will look beautiful on my Easter table.

Now I could go on and show you more of my vintage pieces, but I feel, like me, you are probably very busy with your own Easter preparations, so I will save the rest for a later date.... and to be honest, I really need to crack on and clean my cutlery.

So for now, I will love you and leave you and wish you a very Happy Easter.

Take care and I will catch up with you again next Thursday.

As Always,

Saturday, 24 March 2018


Good Morning to you,

Oh dear me, I know, I'm a little late this week, but oh so glad that I have finally managed to catch up with you. 

As you know, this blog is predominantly a cookery blog, with a few other things thrown in for good measure. Sewing, a little home life, travel and the occasional shopping trip.

.... but one thing I have never shared with you.... is crafts.

That is until this week, when I mentioned on my Instagram account, that I was going to create a little Easter something on Ivy, Phyllis and Me! which at the time, felt like a very good idea.

.... and it was, except I hadn't taken into account the time element.

So Thursday came and Thursday went.... and the craft was not finished.

Friday arrived.... and finally on Friday afternoon I managed to  finish my creations.

.... and here we are, on Saturday, with something to share with you.

Now please don't misunderstand, it was not that I did not enjoy making these decoupage Easter eggs, I had just forgotten how long the process took.  I have not made these little Easter Eggs for about 35 years.... honestly it has been that long. 

I used to have fun making these with my daughters when they were little girls. So the length of time it took to make these Easter Eggs, completely slipped my mind.

But now that I am here, I think I had better hurry up and show you how I made these cute little Easter Eggs before another day passes by.


6 egg shaped polystyrene balls
Pair of sharp scissors
Paper napkins with an Easter design
6 pencils
PVA glue
1 small paint brush
coloured ribbons ~ 1cm in width
and cut into 15 cm lengths
6 pins.


Cut the napkins into 4 cm squares ~ I found it took 6 squares per layer.

Push the pencil about 2.5 cm into the centre of the rounded end of the polystyrene egg. 
This keeps the egg in place whilst you are
gluing the napkin pieces to the egg.

Brush the egg with a thin layer of glue.

Place the first piece of napkin onto the glue
 and brush with the glue brush. 
Don't worry if glue is showing on the napkin, because the glue is clear when it dries.

Continue until the whole egg is covered.
  If you find there are parts of the napkin 
which don't adhere, brush a little more glue onto the napkin.

Repeat with another layer of squares, so that you have 2 layers.

On the 3rd and final layer, tear pieces from the napkin, because you want the edges to be blurred, without
 any lines showing.

When finished layering, add another layer of glue over the finished egg.

Place the pencil with the egg still attached, into a jar and allow to dry.  

Repeat the process with the rest of the polystyrene eggs.

 When each one is finished, place into a jar and allow to dry.

Leave the eggs to dry overnight.

The next day, remove the pencils.... they might need a little tug.

If you find that small pieces of serviette have come away with the pencil, don't worry, you can brush on a small amount of glue and cover the space with a torn piece of napkin.

Place the eggs into egg cups with the hole facing you.

Fill the hole with glue.

Fold your first ribbon in half and pop both ends into the glue, push to make sure they are secure.

Do you see my mistake, I placed the ribbon in the hole with both pattern sides facing me.  Luckily I noticed this in time and corrected my mistake.
I left the mistake, because I felt 
it was easily done and anyway,
it is best for me to be honest
and highlight my mistakes,
which you will then avoid.

Continue to add ribbon to the rest of the eggs.

Leave the glue to dry overnight.

Whilst the eggs are drying, tie the ribbon into bows

the next day, attach the ribbon with a pin as I 
have done in the photograph.

then hang your Easter eggs onto Pussy 
Willow branches
if you are lucky enough to have a Forsythia bush
growing in your garden,
then cut a few sprigs and bring indoors.

When I used to make these Easter eggs with
my daughters, I always used
Forsythia, because
it was the first yellow bush to
flower at this time of year.

Add any little Easter Eggs
which you might have
along with a large bunch of Daffodils.

.... and there you have it .... a lovely Easter table decoration.

Now I have to tell you, I did make a bit of a mess, which isn't like me, but I was so wrapped up in what I was doing, that I didn't notice bits of napkin dropping onto the floor.  Not to worry it was easily swept away.

This was so much fun and I really think your children or grandchildren will have as much fun making these Easter eggs.  What I enjoyed was the unexpected results which the design on the napkins created.  The eggs did not turn out as I imagined, but that is the joy of crafting. I loved what I created.

.... and will I be making anymore.... absolutely.  I think I will be 'doing away' with my bought Easter eggs and creating more of my own.

I hope you have as much fun as I did.

Oh and just before I leave you, my featured post this week is Easter Simnel Cake.... a delicious cake which I make each year at  Easter time.

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

As always,

Thursday, 15 March 2018


Good Morning to you,

March is a very busy month here in the Bryson household, not only because we celebrate Mother's Day, but also because the three females of this family, celebrate their birthdays during the month of March.

The first birthday in March belongs to our youngest daughter, Danielle, the second belongs to Natasha, with me bringing up the rear at the end of the month.... and the strangest thing is, we always celebrate our birthdays on the same day of the week. One year we can all celebrate on a Monday, the following year a Tuesday and so on.  This year our individual birthdays fall on a Friday.

This was something which was not planned, not that it could really be planned, it is how things turned out.... my baby girls decided they would arrive in this world, on the same day of the week. It's quite incredible really, because they were born 4 years apart.  How I managed to be born on the same day as well, is a mystery, but I love that we celebrate our birthdays on the same day of the week.

So as you can imagine, there has been a little bit of nostalgia floating around our house this month.  This is nothing new, I have to say, this always happens during the month of March, well to be truthful, not only March, nostalgia, can pop by to say hello, at any time of the year.

For instance, today, I was putting the finishing touches to our breakfast Chia pots and whilst waiting for his breakfast, George decided to go into the loft to look among the stored boxes, for something he wanted to give his Godson.

Whilst George was in the loft,  he discovered our old photograph albums, neatly packed away in one of the boxes, so he decided to bring them downstairs to show me what he had found. I was thrilled when he showed me what was hidden inside the box and we quickly decided to put breakfast on hold, whilst I made us both a cup of coffee. We then sat on the sofa together, ready for a good healthy  dose of nostalgia.

There were a few photographs of me as a child, when I lived in Cyprus.... there were never many, because people did not take photographs in the way they do nowadays. Was it because we were busy enjoying ourselves or was it because many people couldn't afford a camera.  Probably the latter, which seems incredible by today's standards. Having said that, Ivy and Gramps did own a  Brownie Box camera, so the few photographs of me are thanks to my lovely grandparents.

Whilst looking through the albums we came across  our very first Bryson family album.  There were photographs of Natasha as a baby and then as a toddler.... my word how the years have flown by.

.... and how young did George and I look.

There were photographs of Natasha in the pram, out of the pram, in the bath, wrapped in a towel, being cuddled, being fed.... actually being thoroughly loved.

.... and this tiny little baby grew up to be the beautiful woman she is today.

As a woman and a mother, I felt it was very important to encourage Natasha and Danielle to embrace what the world had to offer, that if they were brave enough, the world was their oyster. They were free to explore the world in a way that was not available to previous generations of women.

.... and explore they did.  They have experienced so much in their lives.

....and now it is my turn to learn from their experiences.  Nowadays life moves at such a rapid pace, that at times it is hard to keep up with this ever changing world. If I am unsure of anything, I speak to my daughters, because I know I will receive an honest answer.... maybe not always the answer I was looking for, nevertheless, it will always be the right answer.

For instance, today,

we are making Breakfast Chia pots.  I have seen the name, Chia, floating around the Internet, for quite sometime, but to be honest I have not really taken any notice. I mentioned to Natasha that I thought they were another fad and that they would be out of fashion at some point in the future.

.... How wrong was I, because when  Natasha came home at Christmas time she introduced me to the world of Chia seeds. A seed I have never used before.

I must confess, that for a while now, I have wanted to eat a healthier diet.  That is not to say that my diet was unhealthy, because it included a lot of fruit, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, grains and seeds, but it also included cake and if you have been reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! for a while, then you know I also  have a deep affection for chocolate.... is the phrase 'a deep affection' too extreme.... no I don't think so.  If chocolate is not in the house, I don't bother, but if it is in the house, I cannot leave it alone. I swear I can hear it calling me to visit the cupboard where it is hiding.... It calls, 'Daphne I'm here, come and find me, you know you want to eat me,' which I invariably do.

I also wanted a breakfast which would take me through the morning without feeling peckish.  In the winter I do eat porridge, but I fancied something a little different.

So Natasha came to the rescue, she brought me 4 small Ball jars, I think my American friends call them canning jars.  We bought the seeds and she gave me a brief outline as to what I needed to do.... but do you know, we never got around to making Chia pots whilst she was here, as we were too busy going here, there and everywhere.

So last week I decided to find the notes I had written, which took some time to find as they were written on a scrap of paper and tucked inside a book. I then read the instructions on the packet of Chia seeds and I haven't looked back.

So it's on with the pinnie and time to organise my ingredients.



4 dessert spoons of Chia seeds ~ preferably organic
300ml unsweetened almond milk
handful of mixed berries (I use frozen)
2 tablespoons of Greek Yoghurt
4 teaspoons of Maple Syrup
4 walnuts ~ crushed



The pots are made in 2 parts. 


Divide the Chia seeds between the 2 jars.
Pour 150ml of almond milk into each jar
and stir.

Place the frozen berries on top.

Pop the lid on the jars and place in the fridge over night.


Remove the lids from the jars and stir the Chia seeds and fruit.  You will notice the fruit has defrosted. If you feel the Chia seeds need a little more almond milk, then add now and stir again.

Add the Greek yoghurt

Pour over the maple syrup

Sprinkle the crushed walnuts on top,


all there is left to do



Interestingly, since we have been eating these Chia pots for breakfast, both George and I, feel we have so much more energy.  I had thought this, but I did not say anything to George, I thought it might be my imagination, although the information does state that these little seeds are energy boosting, but then George mentioned, and to use his words, 'he was feeling full of beans', so we have decided to stay with the Chia pots and have them for breakfast everyday.

I have also added Chia seeds to smoothies and yoghurt and I am going to do a little research to find out their other uses.

You can also change the fruit, I have added banana and mango, really any fruit that appeals. I do buy a lot of frozen fruit, because there is nothing worse than finding the blueberries in the fridge, which have turned mouldy.... and I find this happens quite often, they don't seem to keep as long as they used to.

Just an added tip. Sometimes I find that I need to add a little more milk to the Chia pots in the morning, I cannot explain why, but they are very absorbent little seeds.

Now looking at the seeds, you might be thinking that they are not very appealing, I think the best way I can describe them is, they look a little like sago pudding which we all used to have for school dinners, but without the taste, as I cannot detect a flavour when I eat them.  So please do not let the 'sago' reference put you off, because I know many people hated sago.... although I think I am in the minority, when I say I use to love school milk puddings.

Just a thought,

If you don't own any Ball jars, don't worry, any small jar will work, although I use Bonne Mammon jars for George, because he has a heartier appetite.  It might seem strange to my British friends to eat out of a jar, but what I have discovered is these little pots hold just the right amount of breakfast for me.

So go on, try these healthy little Chia seeds and let me know if your energy levels rise.

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

As Always.

Thursday, 8 March 2018


Good Morning to you,

This week we celebrate British Pie Week, so I could not let today go by without sharing a pie recipe with you.

.... and when it comes to pie, George is a connoisseur.... as he loves a good pie, especially a savoury pie.

I have mentioned before, that George comes from very humble beginnings. During the 1950's, when George was a little boy, there was not a lot of money around in the north east of England, so Bob, George's father, who was also the chief cook for the family, had to find ingenious ways to feed his growing children.... and pie was the perfect thing, simply because a little went a long way.

Meat and potato pie was a favourite.  A few potatoes would be cooked in a pan, then sliced. A very small amount of meat,  would be added to a sliced onion.... if it was available. Water would then be added and the meat would gently cook. When the meat was cooked, it would be seasoned with a little salt and white pepper. Finally  an Oxo cube (beef extract) would be added to enrich the flavour. The sliced potatoes would then be added to bulk out the meat.

The pastry would be made with lard and certainly not butter, then rolled out. Half the pastry would be placed onto a plate, the cooked meat and potato would be piled on top of the pastry. The pastry lid would then be placed on top of the meat and potato. Using a knife Bob would make two slits in the pastry to allow the steam to escape.  Depending on whether there was any milk left over, this would be sparingly brushed over the pastry, if not, the pie baked just as it was. During those days, people could not afford to use a whole egg to egg wash pastry, it would have been deemed as too wasteful. Far better to fill the stomach by eating the egg.

The pie would then be placed in the oven to cook and George said, they all loved the smell of pie, baking in the oven.

Now I don't mean for this to sound Dickensian, but George's childhood was not easy, it is fair to say it was very harsh.  He wore wellington boots to school, even in the summer time and he remembers having red welts around his legs, where the wellington boots rubbed. When the soles of his wellington boots wore out, his granddad would cut out cardboard and place the cardboard inside his wellington boots, to help keep his feet dry.  Nine times out of ten, he did not wear socks, because the money was simply not available to buy them.  In the winter time he often wore shorts to school, because his parents could not afford long trousers for him .... and this, in the bitterly cold north east winters. So as you can see, his childhood, was not an easy one.

The interesting thing is, George never complains about his childhood, as he has often told me, when he was living the life, he never felt that anything was wrong. He didn't feel the odd one out, because everyone in his neighbourhood lived the same way.  There was the odd family who appeared to have a little more, but certainly not very much more. No one had a car and no one had money to spare, everyone was in the same boat.

It was only when he left home and made a different life for himself, that he realised how harsh his young life had been, but as he always says, 'It was, what it was' so why complain.  It wasn't his parents fault, they did the best they could for their children, but if money was not available, it was not available and you had to cope the best way you could.

George could so easily have carried a chip on his shoulder and blamed his childhood for anything that went wrong in his adult life, but in 47 years of marriage, he has never once complained.  If anything he talks lovingly about his childhood, about the love he received and the fun he had playing with his brothers. He certainly is a 'glass half full' kind of man and that is something we both have in common.

So when I mentioned to George that it was British Pie Week, well, that made him very happy and he started talking about the pies his dad cooked.

My heart did sink a little, as I hoped he wasn't expecting a meat and potato pie. The reason is we are eating much more plant based food and I didn't want to break our routine. Having said that, of course I would have made him his favourite pie if he had asked.

.... but when I explained what would be in the pie, well, he was not disappointed he appeared to be very happy. I feel sure it was the word 'pie' that made him happy.

I don't know about you, but I do buy a lot of vegetables, so it was very easy for me to find the right combination.

So without further ado, it's on with the pinnie and time to organise my ingredients.


50g butter
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 large carrots ~ chopped into small pieces
2 large leeks ~ trimmed and sliced
1 large sweet pepper ~ deseeded and sliced
1 red onion ~ sliced
1 level tablespoon of paprika
125 ml water
560g tinned potatoes ~ cut into chunks
250g tub mascarpone cheese
2 cloves of garlic ~ crushed
1/2 medium sized savoy cabbage ~ sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


4-5 sheets of filo pastry
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds


1 medium sized enamel dish or casserole dish

Oven temperature: Pre-heat the oven to 180C


1.  Melt 25g of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil
in a large wide pan.

2.   Add the leeks, red onion, carrots and sweet pepper and cook for 10 minutes. 

3.   Add the paprika and stir ingredients.

4.   Add the water, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender.

5.   Add the sliced potatoes and stir the ingredients together. Remove the pan from the heat.

6.   Add the mascarpone and stir well, the heat from the vegetables will turn the mascarpone into a sauce.

7.  In a separate frying pan melt 25g of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

8.   Add the garlic and cook for a minute.

9.   Add the savoy cabbage and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Make sure you do not overcook the cabbage.

10.   Remove from the heat.

11.  Add the savoy cabbage to the first pan and again, stir the ingredients together.

As you can see the savoy cabbage is still quite crisp.

12.  Season with salt and pepper.

13.  Spoon the mixture into an enamel dish or a casserole dish.

14.    Cut each sheet of filo pastry into quarters and scrunch them in your hands.

and place each one over the vegetables. I am hoping you can see what I mean by scrunching, when you look at the photograph. 

Do not worry if you need more filo pastry, this is not an exact science. You just need to ensure that the vegetables are covered with the filo pastry.

15.  Randomly brush the filo pastry with the remaining olive oil.

15. Finally sprinkle with sesame seeds.

16.  Place in a pre-heated 180C oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the filo pastry turns brown.  

You will need to keep a watchful eye, because the filo pastry can turn brown very quickly.

Then all you need to do, is to spoon yourself a healthy amount of vegetable filo pie



I think with this vegetable pie, you will certainly be on the road to eating your 5 a day.

A couple of things I wanted to mention.  Firstly, you really do not have to use tinned potatoes.  I tend to have tinned potatoes in my store cupboard, which cost only 15p from Lidl supermarket,   I use them for this pie and also if I want to bulk up a soup.  

Secondly, I do change the vegetables to whatever I have available. So if you do not have 3 carrots, then use 2 and add another vegetable. This type of pie does not need exact amounts.

Oh yes and before I leave you, I was respectful, I asked George if I could mention his childhood to you and he said he really didn't mind, because there was nothing to be ashamed of.  During the 1950s many families struggled to make ends meet. 

As George says, 'It was, what it was'.

So take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

As Always,

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