Maria Doyle Kennedy whips up “Recipes for Love and Murder” on Acorn – Tricks and Tips

Maria Doyle Kennedy whips up “Recipes for Love and Murder” on Acorn

Maria Doyle Kennedy, a star in her native Ireland for over 30 years, reaches now for an international audience with AcornTV’s ‘Recipes for Love and Murder,’ a South Africa-set murder mystery series.

Dublin-based Kennedy, 57, plays Scottish journalist Tannie Maria, who loves to cook. Through her advice column in a local paper, Maria dispenses recipes meant to cure whatever ailment the writer might be experiencing. This leads to solving murders involving her correspondents.

A key character in “Recipes” is an attentive fowl, which prompts the question: Is that chicken now her best friend?

“I did bond very strongly with my chicken, Morag,” she said with a smile. “I was very nervous about the chicken — I had never acted with one.

“But it was one of the things I wanted to do and I had to figure out not to be afraid of her and to figure out a way to pick her up and carry her where she felt comfortable and didn’t just want to peck at my nose. So we bonded.”

The chicken also serves a practical point in mystery solving.

“She’s there for company,” Kennedy noted. “I’m quite isolated in my home life in this little farmhouse. I don’t have any company there and normally I don’t invite people there either.

“It’s an interesting way for my character Maria to express some of her thoughts and work on some of the things she’s trying to puzzle out as she ‘talks’ to the chicken. As this mystery starts to unravel, real people come into my space a little bit more as we try solve it. So I don’t need to talk to the chicken quite so much.”

Kennedy, whose notable roles include bitter Vera Bates in “Downton Abbey,” Catherine of Aragon in “The Tudors” and Nanny in “Dexter,” revels in Maria’s inherent goodness.

“I was home in Dublin, reading a lot of scripts and so much of it was extremely violent with serial killers and the many ways they murdered women.

“I was getting a little bit angry actually. Then I suddenly read this — and as soon as I read it, I wanted to read all the scripts and read them in one night.

“This was very special, something I just hadn’t read before. One of those shows you can watch with your mother and also with your kids. There aren’t many of them. It’s warm, it’s tender and sometimes it’s very funny. What it’s not is trivial.”

AcornTV streams two episodes Monday, with two episodes appearing weekly.

Maria Doyle Kennedy stars as Tannie Maria with Kylie Fisher as Jessie September in “Recipes for Love and Murder.” (Photo Patrick Toselli/AcornTV)