Australia · cooking · recipe · traditions

ANZAC Biscuits

ANZAC Biscuits.

“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. 😉

ANZAC Biscuits

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. 🙂

Australia · autumn · cakes · happiness · son · traditions

The Sydney Royal Easter Show

 

Agricultural displays, painstakingly created to show off the produce of an area.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show Begins Today! And oh, how I wish I were there.

Age doesn’t matter, really it doesn’t. The buzz of the Sydney Easter Show is incomparable to any other show I’ve been to.

The Buzz of the Easter Show is not confined to the bee hives!

It’s the atmosphere, the people, the events, the rides, the show bags, the wood chopping events, the domestic and farm animals, the food, sideshow alley,  the art, the displays….

The Central District's display

Nothing ever grows old at the Sydney Show. Last Easter my youngest son Adam and I took a trip to Sydney to go to the show. For Adam, it was his first time; for me, the umpteenth time.

I fell in love with the very realistic scowl on this baby dolls face!

Rain on the day didn’t dampen my spirits, we just took an umbrella. And the simple fact that we were in Sydney was thrilling enough for Adam. He has spent so little time in this great city, which I intend rectifying over the next few years, before he becomes too mature and too cool to travel with his mum!

Here he is again with some friends.

We had planned on going back to Sydney for this year’s Easter Show, but unfortunately business commitments are keeping me tied to the Tweed area during April.

Look at the detail in the decorations on these cakes!

But I can do the next best thing, and show you some photos taken at last year’s show.

Here's the Western Districts display, featuring the Australian Coat of Arms.

The district agricultural displays are an incredible sight. I don’t think that my photos really do them justice. The amount of creativity that goes into these displays is unbelievable.

The judging of the fruit cakes is over. What a delicious job!

You will notice, however, that wood chopping photos are missing, along with the animals and the rides, all outdoor events, in fact. And my camera isn’t waterproof (remember, it was a rainy day).

The fruitiest of fruit cakes hardly have any cake to hold the fruit together!

The show bag pavilion is also noticeably missing for a different reason. Our hands were too full of show bags, and gifts we had bought to take home to the family, to be able to juggle the camera into photo taking position!

The busy bees have done their bit, and the judges results are in.

I found a very informative Wikipedia site, (link added here)which shows some of the outdoor events at the show. I was also interested to read that the show began in 1823, is the largest event in Australia, which comes as no surprise, and is the sixth largest in the world.

Even south-east Queensland has a produce display.

Adam will only be fifteen next Easter and I’m sure it won’t take too much convincing for him to head off to the Sydney Easter Show with me again. Heck, if he doesn’t want to go, I’ll go alone! 🙂

 

 

blessings · friends · gratitude · traditions

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, 2012!

Today I have reflected on whether I have had any Irish influences in my life during the past twelve months and surprised myself by remembering a few occasions when little leprechaun’s have made an appearance in my day.

* It began on this day, one year ago, when I posted an Irish Blessing to celebrate the day.

* One of my nephews travelled overseas during the year, visiting the United Kingdom and Ireland and my sister told me how impressed he was with Ireland in particular. I believe it is one of the most beautiful countries you could ever wish to visit.

* In April last year my husband’s family travelled from far and wide for a family reunion at the old family homestead, “Lisnagar”, which was built in 1902, by my husband’s Irish Catholic great-grandfather, Edward Twohill.

* My husband’s uncle, ninety-five year old Patrick Kelly, passed away. Yes, he was named after St. Patrick himself and if Uncle Pat had lived a few more months, he would have celebrated his ninety-sixth birthday yesterday.

Remembering Uncle Pat

* My own singular Irish ancestor has driven me crazy, by thoughtlessly not leaving any records available to help me trace her line of my family! My great-great grandmother, Catherine Cummins, born 1845 in Waterford, Ireland, has had me wasting away hours on end at the computer in the hope of finding out something…anything, about her family. It would seem that Grandma Catherine has not passed the Luck of the Irish onto her two-times-great-granddaughter for the purpose of her learning some more about her grandmother’s parents and siblings.

Ah well, if the only problem any of us ever has in our lives is the lack of some ancestors names, I think we can declare our lives to be truly blessed!

And speaking of blessings, St. Patrick’s Day would not be complete without wishing you all the blessings your own heart desires, and no one sends blessings in quite the same way as the Irish themselves ~

“May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.” 🙂

Mum · nostalgia · pies · traditions

Traditions. And Mince Pies, Just Like Mum Used to Make.

Christmas Wreath

“‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”~ Clement Clark Moore.

As I hung the Christmas wreath on my front door this year, I tallied up the number of years I have done so. This will be our seventeenth Christmas in our home and we have continued our families Christmas traditions throughout the years.

Some may find family traditions boring; I find them comforting and familiar and I look forward to repeating our old traditions each year and adding new ideas into our mix of celebrations when the fancy hits us.

One tradition that my mother repeated annually was to make her famous and much-loved-by-her-family Mince Pies every year.

I have continued making mince pies myself every Christmas myself, although I have always made the pastry using butter; Mum used lard.

This year I opted for a change and made my mince pies “justa lika Mumma use to make”, (as they say in the spaghetti sauce advert, however, my Mum wasn’t Italian, so perhaps that line isn’t appropriately used in this case!)

My Mum was a Cheshire born girl, with a Manchester born Mum whose entire family were Yorkshire born and bred. Mum’s very broad northern English accent was hard to understand at times (even for me, her own daughter!) I’m uncertain whether it is my maternal families trait, or a Yorkshire family trait, to religiously follow family traditions the way we do. Either way, it’s traditional, so we do it!

Being true to old tradition, this year I made my mince pies using lard, just as Mum always had. It’s such a simple recipe – 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 125 grams (4 oz) lard and 1/4 pint of water.

Mince Pies

In previous years I have been known to make my own fruit mince, (Mum called it “mince meat”) although this year, as time did not permit, I bought a very reliable, traditionally English brand of mince, which is almost a good as home-made.

There’s nothing like a mince pie made with pastry using lard to bring back memories of Christmases long gone, but not forgotten. And the best part of it all is that the new (old) version of lard pastry seems to be a hit with my family too!

Christmas Eve

Now, with food for tomorrow prepared, kitchen tidied, decorations hung and everyone in bed, in the words of Clement Clark Moore, I will bid you a “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Australia · desserts · recipe · summer · traditions

Time to Repost ~ Ice-Cream Christmas Pudding

Christmas is coming...

Christmas is only just over one week away (really?…what happened to 2011 !!) and with that in mind, I will be making my family favourite Ice Cream Christmas Pudding this week.

I first posted this recipe here way back in December, 2009, when my blog was a brand new baby, just starting out in the Big Wide World of the Web. In fact, it was the sixth post ever added!

Over the last two to three weeks, this post has been up there at the top of the list of most viewed posts. Time for a repost….

“Living in a warm climate at Christmas time can have some definite disadvantages, the most obvious for me being that I have never experienced a white Christmas!

However, on the bonus side, how many people  in the northern hemisphere would have ever have had the inclination to experience the pure joy of finishing off their Christmas dinner with a sumptuously divine Ice-Cream Christmas Pudding? This is but one of advantages of life in Australia!

It was only about ten years ago that I first made this summer Christmas pudding. It has become such a tradition since then that Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without it. (Mind you, I also make a traditional pudding, which can be eaten with hot custard).”

Ice-Cream Christmas Pudding

Ice Cream Christmas Pudding

1/2 cup chopped raisins

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup currants

1/4 cup glacé cherries, chopped or whole

1/4 cup mixed peel

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup brandy, rum or fruit juice

1 litre softened chocolate ice-cream

1/2 cup blanched almonds, toasted & chopped

1/2 cup cream

Thickened cream to serve

Combine all the dried fruits in a bowl, add the brandy, rum or fruit juice. Stir the liquid through the fruit & leave to stand, covered, over night. (Don’t be tempted to add extra alcohol as the pudding will not freeze successfully with any addition to the specified amount!)

The next day, mix together the soaked fruit, softened ice-cream, almonds & cream. Stir well to combine, and pour into a 5 litre pudding bowl. Cover & freeze overnight, or until required.

To remove the pudding from the bowl, immerse the bowl for a few seconds in some hot water. Turn the bowl over onto a serving plate. Serve with thickened cream or cold custard.