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. 🙂

daughter · recipe

A Day of Stationary, Parrots, Eggs and Movies

Yesterday was a long day.

Worked ‘til four, drove up the coast with my eldest daughter to buy stationary, called in at the supermarket for a few bits and pieces on the way home, made dinner with youngest daughter, watched a movie, checked the time to find it was 11.30 pm and I hadn’t written my blog post for postaday2011, attended to the post, had a shower and fell asleep as my head hit the pillow!

What is it about stationary shopping that makes it so much fun? I would rather shop for pens and notebooks any day, in preference to clothes or shoes!

Does that classify me as odd? Hmm…If it does, then my daughters are odd along with me! Neither of them would pass up an opportunity to browse through a stationary shop. I suspect they actually enjoy clothes and shoe shopping, so perhaps they are more normal than their mum!

Right next door to the stationary shop is a pet store. We popped in for a quick look around, leaving perhaps an hour later! Well, we did get chatting to a very friendly shop assistant, as you do, which eventually became a full-on conversation regarding the taming of parrots!

At home, my younger daughter and I tried out a new recipe that we liked the look of, burritos with spicy pork and pineapple with avocado sauce. Yum! We’ll remember to make that recipe again. Delicious!

We found the recipe in a cookbook that my older daughter recently discovered, chock full of healthy, weight conscious recipes. There’s a vegetarian section, along with healthy versions of meat recipes. They even suggest that eggs are a healthy choice in meal!

That just goes to show you how the wheel turns. When I was a child, eggs were regarded as healthy food, containing all known vitamins to man, except vitamin C. Those were the days when a healthy breakfast consisted of toast, egg and a glass of orange juice. The juice supplied the vitamin C that the egg was lacking!

Next thing, eggs were a no-no; too much cholesterol and said to add weight, not a healthy option for the health or weight conscious person.

Many years have passed and now the wheel has turned full circle. Eggs are back in vogue!

By 8.30 pm I had myself comfortably curled up in my favourite lounge chair, eagerly awaiting the beginning of one of my all time favourite movies…”To Kill a Mockingbird” on Fox Classics.

My family regards the movie as boring. I could watch it over and over again! It would have to be one of the most simply plotted stories, with the beginning of the movie set in 1932, and following through the events in the lives over the next couple of years of the Finch family; father Atticus, his son Jem and daughter, Scout.

Their mysterious neighbour, Boo Radley, features throughout, although we do not meet him until the very end of the movie.

My heart goes out to the genteelly mannered Tom Robinson, the victim of racial prejudice and wrongly accused of a crime he did not commit.

Before seeing the movie for the first time I had read the book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, who based her novel upon events she had witnessed in her own home town, which took place in 1936.

The novel was published in 1960 and became an instant success, winning the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.

Immediately following “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Fox Classics decided to tempt me to remain in my chair even longer, with “The Way We Were”.

I first saw “The Way We Were” at the cinemas in Coolangatta, Queensland, many, many, moons ago! It was after seeing the movie for the first time that I became a fan of both Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand.

How could I resist taking just a quick peek at the movie? Just watch some of the beginning, not for too long, just to remind me of how much I love, love, love that movie!

It did not disappoint. The magic is still there. Mind you, I could watch it any time I wish. I have the DVD!!!

What can I say? I’m a sucker for a love story. 🙂

cakes · chocolate · cooking · recipe

Chocolate Cake ~ Vegan Style

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! 🙂

cakes · cooking · recipe

A Homemade Treat for The Family

“Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you”. ~ Author unknown.

Is it just me, or are the weeks disappearing faster than ever these days? The more I spend my time enjoying my days and the busier I become, the faster the weeks are over.

It’s official ~ time really does fly when you’re having fun!

When the weekend arrives and my family have the opportunity to spend more time relaxing at home, without the pressure of work or school, I like to bake a treat for them to enjoy.

Last Sunday afternoon I baked the most delicious carrot cake ever! My family devoured it in no time at all, firstly whilst still warm from the oven, taking slices to work and school, as a snack when arriving home and it has even been enjoyed as a ‘dessert’ after dinner!

You’d be hard pushed to find a cake more popular than that!

So, here is the recipe for my most popular cake of all time, as voted by my family…

Carrot Cake

3 cups of flour

2 cups of caster sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

1 cup of undrained, canned crushed pineapple

2 cups of grated carrot

4 eggs

1 ½ cups of salad oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 cup of chopped walnuts

Sift the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl, add the crushed pineapple, grated carrot eggs, oil and vanilla essence. Beat all ingredients together until well combined.

Stir in the chopped walnuts. Spoon the mixture into either one large square cake tin, or two loaf tins (it is quite a large cake, so can be divided into two).

Bake in a pre-heated 180 degrees C oven. One large cake will take around 2 hours to cook, and the two loaf tins will cook in about 1¼ hours. Check the cake with a cake tester to make sure it is cooked through.

Although the recipe calls for walnuts, I used pecan nuts, from my own garden. We still have a bucket full to use of this year’s bumper crop.

Treat your family, and enjoy! 🙂

cooking · recipe

Afternoon Tea ~Welsh Bara Brith

Whilst rummaging through my cupboard the other day, as I often do, the one full of old recipes, mostly hand written on yellowing, scrap pieces of paper, I came across a pretty card with a teddy bear on the front. Inside the card was yet another hand written recipe, sent to my youngest daughter when she was still a little girl.

My auntie, a northern England born and raised lady, had lived for a brief time in Wales. On hearing that my daughter liked cooking she sent her a recipe,  which we had never before heard of here in Australia; Welsh Bara Brith.

The note she added with the recipe was very sweet and I will share it with you here ~ “To the little cook of the house, would you like to make a Welsh Bara Brith loaf? I’m sure Mummy would be pleased and it is so easy to make. I’ll write you out the recipe. You would need a 2lb. loaf tin or two 1lb. loaf tins. Use the same cup or beaker all the time”.

After the recipe, she has written, “Slice, eat buttered. Now isn’t that easy? I’m sure you will like it. Let me know. Love, Auntie”.

Well, my daughter did make it and yes, it is easy to make.

My daughter and myself have been quite remiss for some time, neither of us baking Welsh Bara Brith for years, so today I have rectified that oversight!

Welsh Bara Brith

Pre-heat oven to 120-140 degrees C.

Place 2 cups of mixed dried fruit into a large mixing bowl with 1 cup of dark brown sugar and 1 cup of freshly made, strong black tea. Leave to stand overnight. (Note : I simmer the fruit, tea and sugar gently for about ten minutes, with the lid on the saucepan. It plumps up the fruit beautifully!).

The next morning, (or if you boil the fruit, after the mixture has cooled), add 1 whisked egg, 1 tablespoon of marmalade and 2 cups of self raising flour.

Mix together well with a wooden spoon.

Place the mixture into a baking paper lined loaf tin and cook for approximately 2 hours.

You can see by the photo how anxious my twelve year old son, who arrived home from school just as I took this out of the oven, and I were to have a slice of Welsh Bara Brith ~ the butter melted on it, as the loaf was still warm! 🙂