Sunday, September 25, 2011

Welsh tea room to the rescue!

We are very happy to welcome our guest Elizabeth J. Duncan to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen today. Elizabeth is the author of the delightful Penny Brannigan series. Elizabeth will give us a taste of Wales today from a real tea room. Enjoy the trip to Wales and the recipe.

There’s no problem that can’t be solved over a steaming cup of your favourite tea and a freshly baked scone smothered in strawberry jam and clotted cream. And no one knows this better than the characters of my Penny Brannigan mystery series set in the fictitious town of Llanelen, North Wales.

In reality, the town is Llanrwst and there you will find the best tearoom you could possibly wish for. It’s called Tu Hwnt I’r Bont, which means Beyond the Bridge in Welsh. The tearoom is situated beside the famous Inigo Jones bridge, but is considerably older. It was built in 1480, so if you like your buildings historic, this one’s for you. It’s covered in Virginia Creeper which turns a vivid red in autumn, and in fact, it’s at its peak right now. You have to duck your head as you enter the building, probably because people weren’t as tall five hundred years ago.

Inside, the tearoom’s décor features a charming mix of paintings, brasses, wall hangings, ewers, and more. But let’s talk about the food … Cakes and scones are baked on the premises and this award-winning, family-run business features locally sourced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and freshly baked bread.

Besides afternoon teas, the tearoom also offers lunches including homemade, seasonal soups, sandwiches, salads, Welsh rarebit, and lots of savoury choices.

I visit Wales twice a year and one of my first stops is always the Tu Hwnt I’r Bont tearoom where its friendly staff make me feel so welcome. Whether I’m meeting a friend for lunch or want some time on my own with a cup of coffee and a delicious treat, this mystery lover loves the open kitchen at Tu Hwnt I’r Bont.
@ TuHwntirBont

Just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving, Ayla Maddox of the Tu Hwnt I’r Bont Tearoom in Llanrwst, North Wales, shares her recipe for:

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

1kg Carrots (about two pounds)
1kg Sweet Potato (about two pounds)
2 large Onions
2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

Chop onions and cook in oil for 10 minutes. Peel and chop carrots and sweet potato and add to pan with ground ginger. Cover with lid and cook 10 minutes. Add two litres (that's just slightly more than two quarts) of vegetable stock, bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend until smooth and season to taste.

After graduating from Carleton University, Ottawa, with a BA in English, Elizabeth J. Duncan worked as a writer and editor for some of Canada’s largest newspapers, including the Ottawa Citizen and Hamilton Spectator. She lived and worked in London, England for five years as a freelance writer and broadcaster.

Since 1995 she has worked in communications, and now teaches writing and communication planning part-time in the Public Relations programs at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto. She has won several international awards for business writing.

The Cold Light of Mourning, which won the William F. Deeck- Malice Domestic 2006 Grant for Unpublished Writers and the 2008 St. Martin’s/Malice Domestic Award for best first traditional mystery, was her first work of fiction. It was followed by the very entertaining A Brush With Death. .

A Killer's Christmas in Wales, the third novel in the Penny Brannigan mystery series, will be published Oct. 25, 2011

Elizabeth lives in Toronto with her dog, Dolly, and enjoys spending time each year in North Wales.

Drop by and learn more about this gentle series and its accomplished author.


  1. Soup sounds wonderful with cooler days moving in.

    Lovely pictures and description of the tearoom.

    Best wishes for success of A Killer's Christmas in Wales and the rest of the Penny Brannigan mystery series.

  2. Welcome, Elizbeth! I have to tell you that your cover for A Killer's Christmas in Wales is one of my favorite covers!

    The carrot and sweet potato soup sounds perfect for a fall day. Thanks for sharing!

    ~ Krista

  3. Great post, Elizabeth! I love the photos. It made me want to fly to Wales immediately. Instead, I'll make this lovely soup.

    Thanks for coming by Mystery Lovers Kitchen.

  4. Just the other day, I was searching for a carrot soup recipe. Thank you, Elizabeth! The ginger and sweet potato make it twice as nice. I'm looking forward to trying it, and visiting your charming fictional town of Llanelen, North Wales. You've painted an irresistible picture for us.

    ~ Cleo

  5. Hi everyone, Thanks so much for your warm, friendly comments. The soup is easy to make and I hope you'll enjoy it. Krista, I agree about the cover! Thank you for inviting me into the mystery lovers' kitchen. It's simmering with possibilities!

  6. It's been chilly and wet today and I'd love some of this delicious soup! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe and the beautiful pictures. :)

  7. I love your books Elizabeth! Penny is a great character -- and these photos are wonderful! Make me a tad homesick for the West Country in England.