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 · 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.

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! 🙂