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ANZAC Day

Well peeps to quote Forrest Gump, I'm happy we're here together in our nation's capital. Despite still being a little banged up, I've been loaded into the car and driven to Canberra to see our gorgeous son and DIL, who moved here in January. We haven't been able to visit them yet so I'm looking forward to seeing where they're living and working, and to giving them both a hug and the grandpuppy some scritches and snugs.


Tomorrow is ANZAC Day, so Canberra will be busy. If you aren't an Aussie or a New Zealander, ANZAC Day is kind of like Memorial Day in the USA, but specific to the ANZAC spirit.




You can read about it here



My great grandfather was at the Gallipoli​ landing. The family didn't talk about it for years and years, so much so that my Dad only found out when he was in his 40s. Having lived through the bloodbath of the Gallipoli landing, the whole campaign and then conditions on the front in France, he was dishonourably discharged for cowardice later in the war. It was something so awful, embarrassing and such a blight on a man's character, that the family hid it for years. I think that having lived through seeing their friends die, their colleagues die, lice and mud, disease and hunger and cold and foot rot.... some men just broke. I think he was brave no matter how his war ended. You can read more about Gallipoli here



If I was at home today I would be making ANZAC biscuits, like every good baker in our region loves to do.




I don't need an excuse to make them, they're DELICIOUS, and also easy and a crowd pleaser. 


1 cup (150 g) plain flour

1 cup (80 g) rolled oats

1 cup (100 g) desiccated coconut

2/3 cup (90 g) raw sugar

125 g butter

3 tablespoons golden syrup

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.

Add plain flour, rolled oats, desiccated coconut and raw sugar  to a large bowl. Mix well.


Heat butter and golden syrup in a small heavy bottomed saucepan on medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Reduce heat to low.


Mix bicarbonate of soda in the boiling water in a small bowl. Add the soda-water mixture to the butter mixture. The mixture will start foaming and increasing in volume. Remove from heat immediately and mix well.


Add this bubbly butter mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Mix and knead the biscuit dough with your hand.


Roll one tablespoon of dough in the palm of your hands. Flatten to a 1cm high disc shape. Pace on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing the flattened biscuits 3cm apart on the tray.


Bake in the preheated oven for 14-18 minutes depending on how golden and crispy you want them. The longer you bake, the crispier and browner they get. For chewy ANZACS, bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until light golden. For crunchy ANZACS, increase cooking time to 14-18 minutes.


Remove from the oven and cool on wire rack. They will harden up as they cool. Store in an air-tight lidded glass container in a cool corner of your kitchen. They last for up to a week.


Now I'll tell you girls that this is the bog standard recipe, and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with it - but even you seasoned Aussie and NZ ANZAC bakers might be interested to know that if you add 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh rosemary leaves and a pinch of salt to the mix (rosemary for remembrence!) they're just absolutely phenomenal.



Top tip. You can also paint the flat side with melted dark chocolate, which is also decadent. There is a lot of conjecture in Australia as to wether the chewy or crunchy ANZAC is the best - I personally land on the chewy side but I've never kicked a crunchy one out of bed either. 


If you would like to know why ANZAC bikkies are a thing, you can find out here



As both the kids are at work today, after we drove down we went to the National Art Gallery to see the exhibition of Australian quilts that are currently on display. I will say that I was a bit disappointed - having read about it online I thought it was much bigger, but it's only about 15 quilts. Still, some are just wonderful and I took a few pics for you.


This lovely row by row was made by Mary Barton in Swan Hill, Victoria sometime in the late 1880's.



Its a very pretty quilt, not uncommon for the era. I particularly like the red borders - I feel like Mary had some spunk. The thing I liked most about this quilt was the fabrics - theres some lovely little bits and pieces in there. Particularly though is the backing, which has medallions of Queen Victoria, commemorating her 1887 Golden Jubilee. Also the way she has finished the quilt is wonderful, a red and white embroidered ribbon has been sandwiched between the back and the front all the way around, making a fun little extra.



Mary Jane Hannaford is a quilter I was already familiar with from other books and exhibitions. In this show there is one of her sketchbooks, which just broke my heart to look at. Maybe one day someone will want my books full of chicken scratch! :D The workbook dates from around 1860. 



I've tried my best to take a good pic of this one but as it was under glass the reflections were difficult!! The quilt is called Advance Australia Fair and was made sometime between 1910 and 1925. She made two quilts like this, and both depicted First Nations figures, as well as native birds and wildlife. She often used biblical verse and her own poetry in her quilts, and this one is no exception.