For those of you who have read from my blog archive,(or indeed my letter from Bath below) you'll know that one of my friends who works in TV, is as much of a Jane Austen fan as I am. We write missives to each other when life requires a bit of silliness. It's on going and here is Fanny's latest letter that I shall reply to very soon. (Fanny isn't her real name, because she is undercover!)...Poor, poor desperate Fanny.
Please forgive me as this missive is long overdue and I keenly feel the reproach with which it must surely be regarded. It is however with good reason that my quill has been silent. But where to begin? I wish you to reach for your smelling salts before you read any further.
My personal situation is so altered that I feel you should not recognise the dear person of whom once you were so fond. I am all but shunned by my family who find my refusal to marry brings disgrace and ruin on the family. They have placed me in lodgings - from where I write - in the Kensington countryside. While pretty enough, it cannot be described as an area blessed with what one always hears being referred to as 'good society'. I know only too well that the purpose in placing me in such an exile is expected to bring me back to the fold, to realise that surely at 30 I am already too old to marry but if I tried harder may perhaps be fortunate enough to be considered by a lonely widower. I am to think upon this and leave my "childish ways" behind me. It really is too much. I shall not ever make them happy and I for one refuse to spend the rest of my life serving a miserable old farmer with acres of dull flat land in Cambridgeshire. I hope you do not judge me too severely? But I fear there is worse to tell.
I am forced to turn my hand to some form of employment.
Distressing as it is for my family I instead rather find it brings me a good deal of satisfaction and I am proud of my situation. Should you feel I am no longer suitable as a companion, indeed even a correspondant, you need only send word and all contact shall be severed. Your reputation must be upheld, that is something I at least understand.
So I find myself leading quite the dramatic life. I have no fear of what is to come and am even considering venturing into politics. Until then I content myself with my work as a writer of receipts - I hear tell of a Mrs Beeton and some great work on household managment that she hopes to publish. I wonder if I mayn't achieve a similar success myself.
I have three ladies dining with me this evening. I have of course informed them of my reduced situation but they see fit to continue to patronise me and so there is much to be done before their arrival.
I shall therefore have to leave you my dear and hope this letter doesn't bring you too much distress.
Friday, 27 March 2009
Here are some photos of me and my cakes minutes before we went live on air yesterday...sooo delicious.
Yes, I do have the most terrible job - I have to taste every one of them when deciding on the range. The strain of it is unbearable, the task in hand one of the most awful - but honestly, someone REALLY does have to do it to make sure that the cakes and puds I sell are delicious.
Bet you wouldn't want my job!
They are still available to buy on QVC, Got to their website www.qvc.co.uk and tap in Lotte Duncan and the whole range comes up.You can also see the video from the show - may help you to decide which of the many (if not all!) cakes and puds you want.
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Bath belongs to Jane Austen, so to be true to this gorgeous place and in the best possible taste, my musings of yesterday's trip to see my publisher shall be the following...
My dearest Fanny,
Bath was simply delightful. I arrived on one of those magical March days, that bring sunshine, warmth and so much optimism to it's people. Smiles adorned the faces of the dear little children playing so happily amongst the sparkling daffodils.
Bath stone refects light beautifully and I have to confess that I did, for one small moment, believe I was a character in a fairy tale just like the ones dear Mother used to tell us when we were small.
Fanny dear, words cannot explain the joy surrounding my venture into Bath. I own in fact to have such excitement, that Miss Honey is finding my skipping around the house, just a little irksome.
I have met with a publisher who at this very moment, I fancy, is discussing arrangements for my receipts to be read and, I would hope, be appreciated by polite society across our green, springtime isle. Perhaps I will, one day learn of my dishes being served at the tables of dear friends and family and further afield such as Bristol and Oxford. I imagine this to be more thrilling than tea with Lord Dartington.
My publisher, a Mr Jon Croft and his editor Mrs Meg Avent took me out to lunch at a most favourable house. We ate seafood and some beef, that I believe was cooked for just one minute. It was so very tender. The weather was oh so warm, and I confess to having taken just a little too much sun on my nose. I do believe I have some freckles - you must send me your remedy to remove them as soon as possible.
I travelled back to my cottage yesterday afternoon, after a day of such gaiety in the sun filled town of Bath. My memory of a day spent in the company of professional well read individuals will stay with me for a long time. My contract of employment is due to be drawn up this week and then I will arrange my time to produce some delicious receipts.
I recall a conversation about making pictures of my dishes, I own to not being entirely sure how they will do this. Perhaps an etching, oil or a strange method called digital.
I fear I am a little outfoxed with this strange modern language, but be assured Fanny I will do my best to learn.
I will be calling on you in the very near future. A time spent with my dear sister is a time I genuinely look forward to. Please, do send my kind regards to Captain D'Arssey,
Yours with affection
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Yesterday I did a 'mini' launch of my new cake range on QVC's Morning Show. A taster of things to come - literally!
For this show you have to be in the studio by 6am to prep. It's getting easier to be up and about now as it's just that little bit lighter and dare I say it warmer! So, I arrived, had a cup of tea with Jo the fabulous lady who runs the prep kitchen and set about prepping for the show. Then I applied a 'drag queen' amount of make up, so I would look healthy and glowing under the studio lights. It takes an awful lot of make up because the lights are very harsh - especially for a woman in her twenties like me!
We decided to sell just two of my nine lines in cakes on the day - a range I have been developing with a company of artisan bakers in the New Forest. Names like Pink Squidgy Cake sum up my cakes - they are decadent, delicious and just a little bit naughty!
We wanted to tease the viewers with my cakes in anticipation of the main one hour show on March 26th at 2pm - Lotte Duncan's Cakes and Desserts where we will be selling the whole range. And it worked and we did sell a fabulous amount in just 12 minutes - such is the power of QVC.
On Thursday I am filming the promo advert for my show - it is going to be very different from normal promos on QVC, however I will still be filling my face with my cakes on it, so I obviously won't be straying too far away from my normal behaviour!!
So watch this space...and do tune into QVC on March 26th. Sky channel 640, Freeview 16, Virgin 740 or FreeSat 800. And if you tune in during the week before, you should catch the promo - judging by the script I have recieved, it's going to be hilarious!
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
And I'll tell you why....randy bleeding tomcats. Everywhere, that agonising howling that twists your intestines into knots. That pungent smell that eminates from their bums! Feline hormones that turn normal cats into frenzied, feral, sex crazed nutters trying to leap on unsuspecting girl cats. Actually that sounds like a normal night in a British town centre to me!
I think it's rather fascinating though. How, with a little more sunshine and a warmer wind, Mr Blackbird takes it upon himself to chase the Mrs around the treetops and toms find their urges too enormous to ignore.
Same for us too. The reasoning behind the Maypole is fertility. Apart from the obvious phallus to dance around, (Wahey!) people knew that if you got pregnant in late spring/early summer you would have your baby the following year after the winter, and this would give it more chance of survival. Makes sense really.
I love the spring - I buy too many seeds for my garden, and find the enthusiasm I lost so completely in late autumn - as I grumbled everytime I mowed my lawn - has come back in abundance. Like giving birth really. Amazing how quick you forget the misery of cutting back, the pain of sweeping leaves, the loathing of digging over and the pulling up of annuals. It's as if it never happened!
Today, I shall tackle the ground elder while it's still young. Something rather satisfying about pulling up their roots, although it really is a losing battle. Better to eat the stuff - like spinach - steam and serve.
I always tell people I cultivate my elder and nettles for eating - some believe me. If said with enough conviction, I usually get away with it.
Honestly though, do make some nettle soup or risotto. Full of goodness and along with sticky weed, is a well know cleanser for your lymphatic system. Country folk used to make a soup in the spring with the young leaves of these plants to give them vital nutrients after a long cold winter. If sticky weed (goose grass) is too much to bear, just use the tops of nettles. They'll lose their sting on cooking, but don't pick after late May as they then have quite a laxative effect!
Right, off to do battle with the ground elder. Tally ho troops, chocks away and all that...