Friday, 25 November 2016

“Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter” by Joana Starnes ~ Blog Tour & Giveaway!


Hello Fellow readers!
I am delighted to be welcoming Joana Starnes to my blog today, for another stop on the 'Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter' blog tour!
I was unaware of the subject of Joana's post and was pleasantly surprised to find it featured one of my favourite chapters in the book, dear Mrs Reynolds diary! (by the by, a book i heartily give a 5 heart ~ Mr Darcy rating!)

Now, let me not leave you in any more suspense and hand you over to Joana.

Thank you, Tamara, for ever so kindly welcoming me at My Kids Led Me Back to P&P on the blog tour for my latest book, Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter.

By now your kids probably are well past the cookie-baking stage, but I still thought I might bring 
Mrs Gardiner’s Oatcakes on my visit to your lovely site.


 The Oatcakes are mentioned twice in the book, and one of those instances is in a tender moment between Darcy and Elizabeth, once they are settled in their Derbyshire home:

The old housekeeper looked up from her papers at the sudden noise. She could not quite place it, but it sounded like an exclamation of some sort. From Mrs Darcy’s pastry-room. She was still there, then? Pen poised, Mrs Reynolds stopped to listen. But the room around the corner had grown suspiciously quiet. Perhaps she ought to check that Mrs Darcy was well – it was always better to be safe than sorry.

Sorry she was not, far from it, as soon as she rounded the corner to come across a highly unexpected but also highly gratifying sight. There was the Master, in a part of the house where he had not ventured for fifteen years or so; not since the days when he and his cousin were pilfering sweetmeats from the pantry. There was no question of pilfering now, the treats were willingly bestowed, and Mrs Reynolds very nearly chortled as she wondered what Mr Howard [the butler] would say to see their young master literally eating out of Mrs Darcy’s hand. The diverted smile grew warm and maternal and the housekeeper dropped her eyes, unwilling to intrude even unnoticed on the joyful and very private moment. So she made to turn away and leave the dear pair to their good cheer – he grinning widely, she likewise, her youthful cheek marked with specs of flour – but was not quick enough and chanced to catch a heart-warming glimpse of Mr Darcy abandoning the confectionery for the even sweeter treat of his wife’s kiss.

Mrs Reynolds quietly hastened on her way, yet she still heard her master chuckle, “I would not dream of saying so to your aunt when they visit, but your oatcakes are even better.”

Would you like to hear more about Mrs Gardiner’s oatcakes? Once again, it was Claudine’s wonderful idea that I include them in the blog tour and share the recipe with you. It’s based on a traditional Derbyshire one for Winster Wakes Cakes (“sweet wheatflour biscuits with egg and currants, associated with the annual Wakes holidays at Winster, near Matlock” www.foodsofengland.co.uk). Derbyshire oatcakes are sometimes savoury; they’re cooked as pancakes and served with bacon and eggs (Ann Wall, ‘Favourite Derbyshire Recipes’). But since it might have been a step too far to imagine the mistress of Pemberley flipping pancakes and frying bacon and eggs, I went for the more genteel option of Elizabeth baking sweet oatmeal biscuits.

I couldn’t in good conscience post a recipe without trying it first, and hey, I’m still here to tell the tale of baking Mrs Gardiner’s oatcakes. Would you like to try? It’s ever so simple. A bit messy and sticky halfway through, but quick and easy. Here are the ingredients again:


12.5 oz (350g) oatmeal or finely ground oats
3 oz (85g) butter
3 oz (85g) caster sugar
1.5 oz (40g) currants
1 egg
1 pinch of cinnamon, if you’d like to make them a bit more Christmassy

The more finely-milled the oats, the less chewy the texture and less crumbly the oatcake. The milled oats I used looked like breadcrumbs. I could have used the more floury oatmeal, or just flour (white or wholemeal). If you’re using rolled oats the oatcakes will be really chewy. As for the butter, Mrs Gardiner might frown but surely a healthier spread would do.

So, what next?


Mix the oats or flour with the sugar and the softened butter, then stir in the currants, the beaten egg and the pinch of cinnamon. Mix everything till it forms a dough. If the dough is still too sticky add another sprinkling of oats or flour.


Roll it on a floured surface to a thickness of about 1/2 inch and cut into 2 inch- or 3 inch rounds. If you’re using a 3-inch cutter the above quantity makes 12 oatcakes.


Place the rounds on baking paper on a tray, reasonably well apart (they spread a bit) and bake for approx. 20 mins in a moderately hot oven (350ºF; 180ºC; Gas mark 4 in UK). You might have to use a spatula to get them off the baking paper and they're quite crumbly when hot, but if you let them cool down there's a good chance of getting them on a plate in one piece :D


So how about reading Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter with a glass of milk and a plate of oatcakes? (Although some recommend red wine and lots of chocolate ;) ). For a chance to read it for free, please leave a comment to enter the international giveaway of a Kindle copy. Thanks for stopping by to read the post and if you’re baking Mrs Gardiner’s oatcakes please let me know if you liked them :) All the best, and thanks again, Tamara, for having me as your guest today!

Thank you, for your wonderful post Joana and another wonderful book to add to my JAFF collection, as well as a recipe to add to the experience :) 

Giveaway Time!

Joana Starnes is kindly giving bloggers a chance to win an e-book copy of 'Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter' on each stop of the Blog Tour! How delightful!

For your chance to win leave a comment below and maybe tell Joana what you think of her efforts in the kitchen, could she possibly get a job below stairs, at Pemberley! 

Winner to be announced on the 2nd December 2016.


Blog Tour ~ 
November 17/ My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
November 18/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway
November 19/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 20/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt's Guide to Life/Guest Post & Giveaway
November 21/ Margie's Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 22/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 23/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
November 24/ Happy Thanksgiving
November 25/ So Little Time... So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway
November 26Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes & Giveaway
November 2 / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway
November 28/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway 
December 1/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway
December 2/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

As always, it is a pleasure to hear your thoughts!

43 comments:

  1. Unfortunately I cannot eat dried fruit in my biscuits or cake, or anywhere else, just really dislike them. Even made sure my wedding cake didn't contain any.

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    1. Oh dear! They'll have to be plain oatcakes then, yes I am not a fan, my wedding cake was one tier fruit cake, one sponge and one chocolate :)

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    2. So sorry to hear that, Vesper. No problem in this case, the currants can easily be left out, but I'm sure it was a lot trickier with your wedding cake. Thanks for stopping by to read the post and I hope you'll like the book!

      Thanks for the lovely welcome, Tamara :) Your wedding cake must have been delish, it sounds like a dream!!

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    3. Thanks for the wonderful post & book! I never had any! But from what I'm told it was nice lol We froze a tier and a friend brought it back on the aeroplane for us, I believe it is still in her freezer as we speak over a year and a half later lol! I must ask her now, if she chucked it out lol

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  2. The oatcakes sound delicious!

    What better way to while away the cold, Winer evenings than by sitting in a comfy armchair,by the fire,totally engrossed in MBDD,a strong cuppa and a plate of cookies at hand!

    Have read this wonderful,angst filled story,so I only dropped by to recommend it,like countless others have done before me!

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    1. Thanks ever so much for your support and the wonderful words about my book, Mary. I'm so happy you liked it and you're ever so kind to stop by and recommend it!! Much, MUCH appreciated :)

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    2. Angst indeed Mary! Glad you liked it too :)

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  3. The recipe looks delicious, I love dry fruits and oatcakes. Thanks for the unusual post, Joana, and for your generous giveaway. :)

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    1. I'm so glad you liked the post, Kate :)

      LOL it IS a bit unusual, isn't it? My husband had a giggle when he saw it this morning, said something along the lines of 'Greetings from the Georgian Kitchen'. Not exactly, at least we're cooking on gas :D

      Best of luck and thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Good luck in the giveaway, I can't wait for you to read the book!

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  4. Yummy! They look delicious! Thanks for the giveaway! ;)

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    1. A pleasure, Daniela :) Good luck!

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    2. They do, don't they Daniela. Good luck in the giveaway, hope you get to read it soon :)

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  5. What a cute scene that Mrs. Reynolds came across. :) I've never tried to make oat cakes, but I like the ingredients. Looked like Joana was having fun making them.

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    1. It was great fun, Sophia Rose! My daughter gave me a hand with the mixing, the dough-rolling and the picture-taking :)

      So glad you liked the scene. I hope you'll like the full story too. Good luck and thanks for taking part!

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    2. You're going to love this book, angst galore! Although poor poor Elizabeth, but such a great read :) Mrs Reynolds's part is pure genius. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  6. Sounds delicious. What a fun scene. Thank you for the giveaway. I am looking forward to this variation.

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    1. I do hope you get to read this soon, another great story from Joana, although no surprises there except, can these stories get any better? Yes lol, good luck in the giveaway!

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    2. I'm so glad you liked the scene and the recipe, Becky! Hope you'll like the full story too. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment and best of luck in the giveaway!

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  7. Well I don't like currants but I'm sure chopped apricots or cranberries would do as well. Now this means I must read MBDD again making sure I have a plate of oatcakes, a supply of chocolate, a bottle of wine and I know I will still need a few boxes of tissues. Lucky me!!!. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I was brought up in Derbyshire and we only had savoury ones with bacon eggs and tomatoes or cheese and tomatoes both delicious by the way.

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    1. My daughter doesn't like currants either, Glynis, she picks them out every time :) I'm sure chopped apricots or cranberries would work perfectly and LOL looks like the shopping list is growing day by day.

      The savoury oatcakes sound absolutely delicious, I've got to try them next time I'm up there! And yes, maybe I should apologise to the good ladies (and gents) of Derbyshire for taking liberties with the recipe. I read that most of the Derbyshire oatcake recipes were savoury and that the sweet biscuity types were made with wheat flour rather than oatmeal. But for some reason I had a problem with calling them 'Mrs Gardiner's biscuits', it sounded too modern somehow. It probably wasn't, biscuits must have been around since the dawn of time. My husband reminded me the weevily things taken to sea were called biscuits too, but unsurprisingly THAT mental picture didn't make me any more eager to call them Mrs G's biscuits :D

      I hope you like the oatcakes if you make them. I'll probably use oatmeal (Readybrek or something) next time I try. Made with milled oats, they really were quite chewy. More like flapjacks.

      Thanks ever so much for all your wonderful support for MBDD, you're ever so kind! All the best and we really must meet at Lyme Park one day :)

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  8. What is "caster sugar"? It looks like plain old white sugar but is it?

    I read and reviewed this book and loved it!

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    1. Hi Sheila. You may come across something called "superfine" granulated sugar. It's still crystalline, unlike the much finer powdered sugar (which we call icing sugar). That's what we Brits call caster sugar and it's much better than ordinary granulated sugar for many baked items.

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    2. Thanks for explaining, Anji, and huge thanks to you both for reading MBDD and saying such wonderful words about it. You're so very kind and I'm over the moon that you liked it! All the best and have a good week!

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  9. Thanks for the lovely sounding recipe Joana. I'll definitely have to have a go at making some of those. I like most forms of dried fruit, apart from candied peel, so I can see me trying all sorts of different flavoured oatcakes. Ooo, just had a thought! I wonder if it'll work with chocolate chips? Then we could get our fix of chocolate whilst nibbling a biscuit whilst reading MBDD.

    Good luck to everyone in the giveaway. Even if you don"t win here or elsewhere, this is one JAFF book you should definitely read.

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    1. They must be lovely with choc chips, Anji! LOL that would take care of the need for chocolate. As long as they're XXL choc chips and lots of 'em :D

      I'll definitely try next time. I was just explaining to Glynis how they came to be currant oatcakes. I think I'll use oatmeal next time, for a smoother and less crumbly texture.

      Lovely chatting to you as always and thanks ever so much for your wonderful support, you're ever so kind!!

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  10. We, too, have superfine sugar. I had just never seen that descriptor.

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    1. Yes they call it all sorts of things, Sheila. I've seen it as caster sugar, castOr sugar and superfine. I think it's just to do with the granules being finer so that it blends better.

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  11. Thanks for sharing this recipe, the oatcakes look so good, can't wait to try it out.

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    1. A pleasure, DarcyBennet! Hope you liked them if you make them and hope you'll like the book too. Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part.

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  12. I love this post, and I would like chocolate chips in my oatcakes. Yum! Thank you ladies for this great post. It's better than I ever imagined it would be with all of the lovely details you both included.

    Thank you, Tamara, for supporting this blog tour. I always enjoy your posts!

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    1. So glad you liked the post, Claudine! That's the answer, choc chips. I love Anji's idea, it fixes everything.

      Huge thanks again, Tamara and Claudine, for all you wonderful support that made launching MBDD such a magical experience!!

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  13. Thanks for the recipe!! The oat cakes sound great & I love to bake :)

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    1. A pleasure, Charlotte :) I hope you'll like them. Thanks for stopping by to read the post and best of luck in the giveaway.

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  14. Patricia Finnegan28 November 2016 at 21:47

    Your cookies looks good. Will have to try this recipe soon.

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    1. Have fun baking them and I hope you'll like them, Patricia. Thanks for coming and good luck in the giveaway!

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  15. Those cookies look delicious! I'm not that good at baking -haha- but I'll see if I can make them! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Loving this blog tour! ;)

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    1. LOL I'm not that much of a baker either, Maria :D I used to be more enthusiastic, but these days a 5-ingredient biscuit recipe sounds more like my kind of thing. I'm so glad you like the blog tour and I hope you'll like the oatcakes too if you make them. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the giveaway!

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  16. Love the recipe! Yes, you could get a job below stairs and then you would hear all of the juicy gossip of the doings of Elizabeth and Darcy and write a book about it! Thank you for the giveaway.

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    1. So glad you loved the recipe, Eva! Oh, yes, the fly on the wall - or the nosy servant. I think I'd happily go back in time for that (for a while at least). Not sure what job belowstairs I could safely go for. The housekeeper's job is taken and I wouldn't last long as a maid, I'd get the sack in no time at all. I'd much rather be their vicar's mother-in-law or something and get the neighbours round for tea to chat about what Mrs Darcy wore at church and about whatever juicy gossip the Darcys' 3rd parlour maid had to share with the maid at the vicarage or with the apothecary's groom ;)
      Thanks for taking part in the giveaway and good luck!

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  17. The oatcakes remind me of the tea cakes I made from an 1827 "receipt" as they called them back then. Chock full of sugar and currants, they were the hit of the JASNA meeting. Nice apron, Joana! Thanks, Tamara! suzan lauder (one word) at g mail dot com

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    1. The teacakes must have been so yummy, Suzan. Oh yes, their 'receipts'! They weren't much into limiting the carbs & fat intake, were they ;) ? Thanks for stopping by, for the lovely comment and all your support on the blog tour!

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  18. Thanks for stopping by, for the lovely comment and all your support on the blog tour!

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Thank you! Your comments are always welcome