On a day when I hardly saw my back garden let alone Mount Warning, due to this mist and low cloud, I spent most of the day working on a university assignment, which is due this Wednesday.
During constant reading of any description, I find I need to take regular breaks, usually in the garden. What to do when it’s raining heavily outside? I baked a loaf of bread instead.
It’s been many years since I baked a loaf of bread, although I always bake a batch of hot cross buns every Easter. This year, I baked two batches, and they turned out so well I was inspired to try bread baking again.
I started simple, just a plain white loaf, and the result was a beautifully crispy golden crust and soft white bread inside.
It was a pretty good way to spend the final day of the Easter long weekend, here in the damp subtropics.
….and I think I can smell Christmas dinner roasting in the oven and the beautiful scent of the real pine Christmas trees my dad used to chop down every year in the bush, haul up onto the roof of the car and bring home for mum and I to decorate in the lounge room.
My imagination is working overtime, as is my body, seated mostly now in front of my sewing machine, as I spend my days madly sewing away at the last few orders that I must deliver this week.
I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year. The house is decorated, most of my shopping is done and my daughter and I have planned our Christmas cooking days for early next week. This is what Christmas is all about, isn’t it, the get-together with loved ones, the food, the gladness, listening to Christmas carols, relaxing. In Australia, it also mostly includes a swim in the pool after a huge Christmas dinner has been devoured, or falling asleep on the coolest available couch we can find around the house, preferably in front of an open window with a cool breeze blowing through.
For now though, for me, it’s back to work. So much to do, so little time! Yet I’m happy and organised and filled with anticipation.
Has anyone considered what their “word” for 2014 will be yet? Most years I struggle for ideas, this year though I already know what mine will be. But more about that later; the rest of 2013 is still here and to be enjoyed. 🙂
My other daughter (not the afore mentioned who loves to cook), knowing how much I love the Christmas carol “The Little Drummer Boy”, sent me a link to the song which I’d like to share with you all. It gives me goosebumps to hear this song, no matter what version it is I’m listening to. That little boy sure had amazing insight over two-thousand years ago, knowing the birth of this baby to be something special, and here we are, still celebrating his birth so many years later. And what better gift for the drummer boy to give the baby than that of his music. Priceless.
“When someone shares their favourite songs with you, embrace them, because they’re giving you a small glimpse into their soul.”
Here I give you a small glimpse into my soul ~
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them”. ~ The Ode.
Yesterday was a public holiday here in Australia, in honour of ANZAC Day.
ANZAC Day originated for Australia on April 25th, 1915, during World War I, when Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed in Gallipoli. By the end of 1915, eight thousand Australian and New Zealand soldiers had lost their lives, which had a huge impact on those back home in Australia.
The word ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and is still to this day a name held in high esteem, especially on April 25th each year, when the battle of the original ANZAC’s is commemorated throughout the country.
During World War I, sixty thousand Australian soldiers lost their lives. This number increased during World War II and the Vietnam War, and on April 25th, the country joins together with great pride and respect, in remembrance of the men who fought for this country.
Memorial services and marches are held throughout the country, beginning at dawn and continuing throughout the morning. Major marches held in the capital cities are televised and it is deeply moving to watch the old “diggers” marching through the streets, many needing assistance, with faces displaying the emotions they are feeling as they remember their fallen mates.
Another ANZAC tradition is eating, or baking and eating, ANZAC biscuits. The recipe for these biscuits was devised through the necessity of women at home, caring for the Australian soldiers fighting overseas, and sent to the soldiers as a part of their care packages.
The recipe purposely does not include eggs, to prevent the biscuits from spoiling if left uneaten over a long period of time. Many variations of the original recipes are available, with the basic ingredients being oats, flour, coconut, butter, sugar and golden syrup.
For the batch of biscuits I baked yesterday I followed a Country Women’s Association recipe, and the biscuits turned out crunchy and delicious, just the way they should!
Don’t wait for ANZAC Day to bake these biscuits, they can be enjoyed at any time of the year, and if you prefer to use an alternative name, try calling them Crunchy Oat Biscuits. They will be just as mouth watering, given either name. 😉
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup coconut
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup caster sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon (optional)
125 g butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup or treacle
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 tablespoon boiling water
Gently melt butter and golden syrup in a pan. Add to a large bowl containing the flour, oats, coconut, sugars and lemon rind, along with the bi-carb soda which has been dissolved in the boiling water.
Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly.
Place teaspoons of mixture onto a well greased baking tray, allowing plenty of room for spreading, and flatten with a fork.
Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.
Cool slightly on the tray before transferring biscuits to a cooling rack.
The Country Women’s Association recommend enjoying these biscuits with a cup of tea. 🙂
These days, more and more people are changing their eating habits, as part of their search for a healthier lifestyle.
My own personal preference is to grow as many fruit vegetables as I can in my own back garden. So far, I have shied away from keeping my own chooks for the eggs, only because I hate the thought of the poor little hens being terrorised by snakes…we get quite a few here during the summer!
My daughter found this recipe so we would have a vegan alternative to our regular chocolate cake recipes. We do want to make our vegan and vegetarian guests feel welcome in our home!
We discovered that this cake is so delicious, there is no need at all to be a vegan to enjoy it. It’s light and fluffy and oh-so-chocolaty!
125g soft vegan margarine
1 cup castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup cocoa
½ cup hot water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup soya milk
1 ¾ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Cream margarine, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Blend the cocoa in the hot water and gradually add to the margarine and sugar mixture.
Add the lemon juice to the milk to sour it.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together and add it to the creamed mixture alternately with the soured milk. Mix thoroughly.
Spoon the cake mixture into a greased and paper lined 8″ cake pan and bake in a moderate oven, 180 deg. C for 30-40 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out. Allow to cool before icing.
Decorate as desired…enjoy! 🙂