Since writing this blog, I’ve come to realise how nostalgic food is for me. I’ve become really aware that I associate meals and recipes with certain people and memories and places in time. I’ve enjoyed reflecting on this even though it wasn’t an entirely deliberate intention (other than that I planned to incorporate various family recipes from time to time).
When April arrived, I had already foreseen that I would make ANZAC Biscuits for the blog this month. I guess as a food blogger there are certain holidays and celebrations that go hand in hand with particular recipes. For me, April is ‘ANZAC Biscuits’.
When I talk about food being nostalgic, this recipe is the epitome of that. Anzac Day by it’s very nature demands reflection, contemplation and celebration. Living overseas, I am always struck by a bout of homesickness on this day but I feel lucky and proud to be from a country that still honours and pays homage to the huge sacrifice of the men and women past and present who have fought to keep Australia a safe place.
I’ve lived overseas for many years and have never come across a day like this anywhere else in the world-not even in New Zealand which by all accounts is in equal measure of what Anzac Day is about. Sure, other countries have national days of remembrance however I think what makes Anzac day so special is that just about everyone in the country participates in some way or another. Whether it’s the Dawn Service or attending the parade or watching it on the TV or playing two-up at the local pub, or simply making a batch of Anzac biscuits with the kids-people participate. What starts as a morning of sombre reflection at the Dawn service, moves on to lining the parade routes to celebrate the efforts of our veterans and current defence forces in the street parades. Then it’s on to a picnic or the pub-it’s the Australian way to celebrate! People spill out of pubs on to the streets to play two-up (which is a game only legal on this day) and you hear resounding cheers by winners and spectators. It’s a special day. A day of camaraderie. A day to be proud. A happy day.
My efforts of participation whilst living overseas is just my annual batch of biscuits. For those who don’t know what the significants of these biscuits is or why the name, I’ll tell you…
During the first World War, wives, sisters, mothers would make batches of these biscuits to send to soldiers abroad because the biscuits didn’t spoil. There is no egg (hence why it’s a good vegan recipe)which meant that the biscuits had a long shelf life and would be a real treat from home to enhance the soldiers war time rations. Biscuits lasted longer than bread. Some people have said that this a myth or not quite accurate or just simply that the recipe has changed somewhat. However, the biscuits also originally known as ‘soldiers biscuits’ were definitely made at home for fetes and galas to raise money for the war effort overseas. People have long been making them ever since.
It’s a simple recipe made from staple baking ingredients. You don’t need to have any high tech kitchen gadgets to make these. You only need a mixing bowl, a pot on the stove and your oven!
Anzac BiscuitsPrint This
- 1 1/4 cups of rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup desiccated coconut
- 125g plant based margarine
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1.Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
2. Combine your dry ingredients-oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl.
3. Place the margarine, golden syrup and 2 tablespoons cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir for 2 minutes or until butter has melted. Add in the bicarbonate of soda. The ingredients in the pot will froth up at this point.
4. Stir wet mixture into oat mixture. It will be quite sticky.
5. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on trays, 4cm apart. Flatten slightly with the back of a fork. If too sticky, dip your fork into some flour. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden in colour. Stand on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I make my biscuits with a vegan plant based margarine which is easily available now in all good supermarkets (because I like to keep as close to the original recipe as possible). If you don't have that, you can substitute the margarine with olive oil or coconut oil (1/2 a cup). If you want to try something a bit different, you can add sultanas or other dried fruit and nuts or even decorate them with some dark chocolate at the end for a bit of flare.