Please follow me… to my new web site!

Dear legion (sic) of Smack followers,

Thank you for following my blog, thank you for taking the time to read my posts, thank you for your comments. In a desperate attempt to appear slightly less unprofessional, I (read: my husband) am moving to a self hosted combined Wordpress site incorporating Etsy plugins in order to achieve a seamless web site experience.

Yawn! Who cares? Well, you should! Here’s why: Now that I have switched over, you need to re-follow me. Please! Re-follow me? Pleeease? PRETTY PLEEEASE??? I really need this, I currently have fewer followers than the page for the Native Legless Reptiles of Ireland. This is embarrassing.

And if you head straight over to the new site (I love you I love you I love you), please don’t be disappointed that, for all practical purposes, it’s exactly the same as it was before. Many many new pretties are coming soon! But a face lift takes time, y’all.

You can access my new site through the previous address of smackcreations.wordpress.com or why not incorporate a little variety in your life, try www.smackcreations.com.au

PLEASE.

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If you’re picky about your pickles, pick a piccalilli!

I have many reasons to be thankful for my lovely husband. His ongoing dedication to his family, his supreme organisational skills and his ability to operate the milk-frother are just a few. And well he may be thankful for me, for in our ten years of marriage, I have introduced him to some excellent television.

One show we watch together is River Cottage. We haven’t had any nèw episodes in Australia for a while, but that’s okay. Other than Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s haircut, there really isn’t much to date the show. So we happily watch repeats together, though for different reasons. Husband watches for the wordplay – he is a dad and a teacher after all, he is incapable of resisting a pun. I watch for tips on making the most of leftovers, and because I appear to have a fetish for feeling inadequate about my garden.

One episode which left our mouths watering featured Pam, the Queen of Preserves, making piccalilli. I can’t resist anything featuring large quantities of both salt and vinegar. And of course, because I had about two hundred urgent things to do, I decided I had to drop everything and make some immediately.

The only problem with watching a British TV show about cooking is, the produce available in South Australia is quite different. Cauliflower may be a summer vegetable in the Northern Hemisphere, but around here, cauliflower left outside in a summer heat wave will be picked pre-roasted. So cauliflower is definitely out of the picture, or more accurately, out of the pickle. Luckily, when looking for an alternative ingredient, I didn’t have to look any further than our back yard!

Every year we optimistically plant ten to twenty tomato plants, and wait to see how many will survive the first heat wave. It’s the survival of the strongest tap-roots! This year we have about twelve plants in total, but two mutant plants are out-producing all of the rest put together. The great thing about this is, we have heaps of tomatoes. So far I have made tomato salads, roast tomato ketchup (inspired by River Cottage also), and have frozen many containers of roast tomato purée. The bad thing is, most of them are ripening at exactly the same time. Seeing the branches heavy laden with enormous green fruit, I realised I could avoid a glut by performing a tomato cull. But you know me, I would never kill garden produce in vain. Those pale green globes didn’t know it yet, but their picking days were not yet over. They were about to… piccalilli. (Get it? No? Try saying it out loud, it makes more sense… Never mind. It works better when Hugh F-W does it anyway.)

I looked at two recipes, the original piccalilli recipe from River Cottage, and a green tomato pickle recipe from the good old Green and Gold cookery book. Basically, they both brined the vegetables overnight, then cooked them in a spice and vinegar mixture thickened with flour. No problemo! I had never made a piccalilli before but that’s totally cool, I figured I’d just change the recipe. That always works out just fine. Doesn’t it?

Well, as it turns out, it did turn out just fine. Which is completely because I’m a highly talented and intuitive cook, and nothing to do with either luck or the detailed pickle discussions I’d had with Mum, right? Right???

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Here’s my recipe. It made twenty-three 300mL jars of pickle. You heard me right, twenty-three! That’s a jar per 2.2 weeks for a year! Or, enough to give away to all your pickle-loving siblings who never have time to make their own because they have full-time jobs or something. Whatever.
This pickle is deliciously sour, just as you would expect from a green tomato, with just enough sweetness and saltiness to balance the flavours. Next time I will add an extra few tablespoons of flour as it turned out a little runny. If, like me, you can’t resist substituting your own vegetables, keep in mind how much liquid they release during cooking. A less ‘watery’ vegetable will result in a less runny pickle.
By the way, please don’t die of shock when you see the amount of salt listed below. It’s used to make a brine for the vegetables and most of it is rinsed off before cooking. Relax!
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Green Tomato Piccalilli
Makes approximately 7L2.7kg hard green tomatoes
1kg brown onions, peeled and trimmed
1.7kg zucchini, peeled and trimmed
600mL cooking salt (I measured it in a cooking jug) made up to a brine with 4.8L water
2.4L white vinegar
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp flour
2 tbsp each of powdered mustard, yellow mustard seeds and black mustard seeds
1 tbsp turmeric
Cut up the vegetables into rough dice, about 1cm square. Place them in a large saucepan (the largest you possess, I ain’t kidding), and cover them with the brine. Leave overnight.
The next day, drain the vegetables well. Rinse with fresh water and drain again.
While the vegetables are draining, bring the sugar and vinegar to a boil in the saucepan on a high heat. Add the drained vegetables and bring back to the boil. Cook until the onions are translucent.
Mix the flour, mustards and turmeric together with enough cold water to make a thin paste. Add the flour mixture to the cooking vegetables and cook until the mixture has thickened.Using a ladle or jug, fill sterilised jars with the hot mixture and seal.Best eaten after about 6 weeks to give the flavours time to develop.

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How to Reinforce Gender Stereotypes Through the Medium of T-shirt Decorating

A few weeks ago I was in an op-shop. I was not at all surprised to find myself there, as op-shopping is a waste-conscious cheapskate’s preferred form of retail therapy. I was surprised, however, at what I found there: a T-shirt, in my son’s size, with his name incorporated into the hand-drawn dinosaur design on the front. My son’s name, Ewan, is not at all common amongst five-year-olds in South Australia. In fact I have never actually met another Ewan, ever (if you don’t count multiple viewings of ‘Down with Love’. Ewan McGregor is not officially my son’s namesake). So you can imagine my surprise when I saw what appeared to be ‘Ewanosaurus’ on a shirt in his size, in his favourite colour. Well, it turns out it wasn’t actually, it was ‘Edwardosaurus’ with a few letters missing and an ‘r’ that looked very much like an ‘n’. But still, for $2 I couldn’t pass it up. This got my mind moving in an up-cycling-T-shirts kind of way.

In order to edit the letters on the T-shirt, I took my children to the craft store to select some fabric paint. I was looking for three dimensional paint, the kind that comes in a bottle with a fine nozzle so it can be squeezed directly onto the fabric. After about half an hour of strenuous debate, bribes, threats and some suspicious hovering and “Can I help you?’ from the shop owner, we managed to choose two colours – a glittery blue and a pearlescent purple. I staggered out of the shop feeling as though we’d done enough negotiations to settle a national border dispute. Phew! After several cups of tea and a lie-down I was sufficiently recovered to do some decorating.

Ewan’s dinosaur T-shirt edit was simple enough. I had to peel off and replace the ‘E’ and ‘r’, and insert a small star between the Ewan- and the ‘-osaurus’. I’ll be honest, the end result is a bit rough but it was a cheap upcycle, and Ewan feels so special wearing it. So I’m happy with that.

Now to the next level of upcycling: designing from scratch. (Insert knuckle cracking here.) We have plenty of plain-coloured T-shirts in our house just begging to be decorated – I seem to somehow accumulate them without ever really trying. My very girly six-year-old daughter had no doubt in her mind she wanted a design featuring love hearts. Or butterflies. Or both. I gently suggested that simplicity might make for a bolder design and we settled on a love heart. We drew it together on a piece of paper, then she traced over it in a dark coloured pen so that it would be seen through the fabric.

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Then we laid the T-shirt flat on the table with the design positioned in between the layers of fabric where we wanted it, she sat on my lap and we did some paint-tracing together. It turns out that my children have the hand muscle strength of a dead jellyfish so she needed some help keeping the pressure constant on the paint tube.  Being right-handed, we worked from left to right to avoid smears. Then I hung it on a coat-hanger to dry for 24 hours.

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For my son’s robot T-shirt I was running low on blood glucose and Ewan had lost interest so to avoid tears (mine) I worked solo. I drew a practice robot on a bit of paper to plan what it would look like, then I drew it onto his T-shirt free-hand. My daughters were extremely impressed – my six year old was breathily exclaiming, ‘Mummy, you are an artist!’. (I refrained from telling her that an artist usually has at least the possibility of making some money from their work.) Pleasingly, when my son eventually resurfaced, he was very happy with the end result. It was his favourite T-shirt, too, so he would have let me know if he were unhappy with the job. Oh boy, would I have known about it.

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The dried blue paint is very glittery but I think that having it on the same coloured background makes the most of its shininess without being too OTT. You know, for a boy’s T-shirt.

This craft is a very easy, fun way to prettify a T-shirt. Paints cost about $5 each, the results are immediate and there is virtually no mess to clean up. I think I may end up with an accumulation of different coloured paints. Now my two-year-old wants a ‘pitty’ decorated T-shirt too. I am happy to oblige on one condition: this time I go to the craft shop on my own.

Cheesy peppery potato, chicken, broccoli and cauliflower bake

I generally dislike reality TV shows, but I make an exception for cooking themed ones. Having said that, I do believe the only way to watch a reality TV show, even a cooking one, is on TiVo. On the few occasions I have been obliged to watch Masterchef without a fast forward button my brain nearly exploded from frustration. I don’t care what Sally from Queensland thought about the time management skills of Neville from Tasmania during his special challenge against Famous Chef A from Promoted Restaurant B, just GET ON WITH THE COOKING!!! I think the UK cooking shows are much better than ours in this respect. They set the challenge, they perform the challenge, they judge the challenge. Maybe sixty seconds of interviews and reflections. End of show. A particular favourite of mine is The Great British Bake-Off which features absolutely no recaps, lengthy speculations or detailed judges’ deliberations – can you believe they fill in the time with actual information about the UK’s culinary history?

Enough already about the flaws of Masterchef, my point is that I have (on a few hundred occasions) imagined what it would be like to participate in such a competition. What sort of competitor would I be? Sobbing hysterically at every elimination? Throwing a massive hissy fit when my cake sinks in the middle? Serving raw chicken because the oven wasn’t on? Probably yes, all of those. Every now and then you see a competitor trying out some bizarre unheard-of combination of ingredients, their eyes glazed with exhaustion-induced delusions of culinary omnipotence, spurred on by the promise of a book deal and a future selling kitchen appliances. Sometimes I think I might be that person serving up Vanilla and Anchovy Panna Cotta with pickled prunes and a Kale crumb. It might be getting to the end of a long day, I might be dead on my feet, but suddenly I will get an image in my mind of what I want to eat for dinner. I’ve never cooked or even eaten anything like it before but no matter! That is what we will be eating tonight. And off I go.

Last week was one such occasion. I had broccoli, I had cauliflower, I had an epiphany. Luckily for me, this particular brainwave turned out well. When my five-year-old son was asked if he liked it, he said he ‘loved it more than Mummy’. And he said, ‘Why are you crying, Mummy?’.

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As always, a few notes:

If you have never made a white sauce (bechamel) before and you will lose a valuable sponsorship deal with a dishwashing detergent company if it turns out lumpy, there’s probably hundreds of instructional videos on YouTube. The sauce in this recipe is a basic white sauce, with cheese added at the end. The basic principles are: the flour is the thickener. You need to cook it with butter at the beginning to make sure the sauce doesn’t have a grainy and, well, floury texture. Lumps usually form if the milk is added too quickly so when you add the milk you must add it in small amounts and mix or whisk continuously.
The potatoes need to be par-cooked before adding them. The good news is that you don’t need to be overly precise about this as, in this recipe, they are unlikely to get really overcooked. You could probably even use leftover cooked spuds. I get mine started in the microwave for about 5 minutes on high power until they have just lost their raw crunchiness. Just make sure you stab them with a knife a few times before cooking or they may explode starchy mess all over your microwave’s interior. If you dislike/fear microwaves and don’t mind getting another pan dirty feel free to cook them, whole, in water. To do this you just cover them with cold water, add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a simmer until cooked to your liking.
The peppercorns used in this recipe are a favourite of mine. They are a French brand of brined green peppercorns, and they come in a teeny weeny tin the size of a pixie’s hat. I first used them in the years BC (Before Children) for a pasta recipe which I am now banned from making as a result of having cooked it far too frequently. These days I’m not sure if I would even consider buying what is essentially a tablespoon of peppercorns for about $4 a pop. But thank goodness I did, because they are delicious, melting without being soggy, mellow yet undeniably peppery. There is no other product like it. This recipe uses less than half a tin, which even for me is a pretty affordable luxury.

I can't be sure, but I think maybe the artwork on this is a bit racist?

I can’t be sure, but I think maybe the artwork on this is a bit racist…

Most quantities are approximate. If you like a thick gooey sauce, add more flour or less milk, and more cheese. If you don’t like cauliflower, use extra broccoli (everyone loves broccoli, right?). Just make sure any substitutions aren’t too watery when cooked, or the end result may be less of a cheesy bake than a peppery milky bath for sad vegetables.

Serves 4
400g potatoes, skin on
30g cooking butter
3 tbsp plain flour
500mL milk, whole or skim, preferably room temperature
100g tasty cheddar or cheese of your choice, grated
1 tsp tinned green peppercorns in brine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large chicken breast, about 350g, sliced into 1cm pieces
1/2 large head broccoli, sliced into 1/2-1cm slices (stem and florets)
1/4 large head cauliflower, sliced into 1/2-1cm slices (stem and florets)

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celcius or 200 degrees fan-forced.

Par-cook your potatoes before slicing them. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them into 1/2-1cm slices.

To make your cheesy bechamel sauce:
Put a medium sized saucepan on medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan, then add the flour and mix constantly for a minute or two to make a roux. Begin to add the milk, about a quarter of a cup at a time, and mix constantly. The mixture will thicken quickly. As soon as the milk is incorporated and the mixture is bubbling, add more milk and keep on mixing. If you see any lumps, turn down the heat, use a whisk and your arm muscles, and don’t add any more milk until the lumps are gone. When all the milk is incorporated and the sauce is bubbling, take the pan off the heat. Add the cheese and peppercorns and mix them in well. The residual heat of the sauce will melt the cheese. Season generously with salt and pepper – remember this sauce acts as the flavour base for all the other unseasoned ingredients.
Grease a roasting tray or similar with olive oil, then layer your ingredients: potato, chicken, cauliflower, potato, broccoli (as long as the potato is on the bottom it doesn’t really matter which order you put them in). Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the top. The sauce will thin out a little as the vegetables release liquid during the cooking process.
Bake, uncovered for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the top is browned and bubbling.

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I found true love in the yarn shop.

One of my favourite things to do in Sydney or Melbourne is visit the august establishment of Morris and Sons. It is yarn retail heaven. We don’t have anything like it in Adelaide (to my budget-conscious husband’s relief). They have a great range of local and imported yarns, the shop is crammed with knitted test swatches and pre-made items for inspiration, the staff members are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. It’s hard to imagine how it could get any better. Well actually, an enclosed child play area and in-house coffee and cake would be better but I will concede that excited pre-schoolers, sugary frosting and expensive mohair blend yarns would make a less-than-optimal combination.

As I have an unnecessarily extensive yarn stash at home already, I usually do not have specific shopping list in mind whilst perusing these tempting shelves. This lack of structure often finds me mentally flailing in indecision while a patient shop assistant smiles and waits patiently to bag up my purchases. (It does occur to me that although it is technically possible for me to visit Morris and Sons without making a purchase, it would be a waste of an opportunity to visit one of Australia’s best yarn emporiums, hundreds of kilometres from home, and not make a purchase. And I do hate waste.) Here is a clarified version of the scrambled thoughts going through my head:
Ooooh excitement excitement excitement excitement excitement excitement excitement! Two ply four ply eight ply twelve ply what should I get? That super bulky looks so cosy but in Adelaide it only gets cold enough for heavy duty jumpers two days a year. Which yarn would I use? Which project should I make next? That imported yarn looks sooo nice but I should really buy Australian. Just how many balls should I get? I should get more, right? I can always find uses for leftover yarn. But I can’t afford to buy too much today and I have no storage space left anyway. Just what is ‘too much’ anyway? Is there room in the budget for a hundred dollars? Fifty? Ten? What about if it’s on special? If I can’t get any more in the same dye lot then I really should buy everything they have left… And so on. You may be surprised to hear that my children prefer not to accompany me on such shopping missions. One woman’s shopping pleasure is another child’s woolly hell.

The last time I was in Sydney, though, there was no such difficulty making a choice. This yarn called to me from across the room. It was like one of those romance movies where two destined souls lock eyes across a crowded room and the intensity of their mutual love pulls them weightlessly towards one another. Although no movie I ever saw starred a sweating woman charging with a pram towards her true love whilst shoving frail pensioners and design students out of her way. And, by the way, James Marsden has nothing on this yarn. Its vibrant colour immediately dispelled any further agonising about fibre content, yarn weight or value for money. I had no project in mind, I only knew that I had to make something with it. We were meant to be united. Its soft squidginess and Australian provenance merely confirmed that I had to have this yarn. With one brief wave of a plastic card, it was all mine and the baby was out in the sunshine again, clasping dimpled hands in breathless thanks for a speedy deliverance.

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I have been wearing this delicious yarn next to my face for about six months now and the romance shows no sign of fading. It was a delight to work with, it is a delight to wear, and I hope you can share in my delight by making your own version of my diagonally worked shawl (even if you don’t love bright like I love bright and instead opt for a more muted colour).

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When I sat down to design this shawl, I wanted to take full advantage of every metre of yarn I had in my hot little hands. By beginning at a narrow corner and gradually increasing to form a roughly isosceles triangle, you can bind off any time you think your shawl is big enough. Or, as in my case, when you have run out of precious yardage! With a 4-ply yarn, the end result is light enough to wear in moderately cool weather, or you can layer it up when the chill really sets in. You could easily make it with a thicker yarn and end up with a chunkier, warmer shawl but you would need to buy more balls of yarn to achieve the same dimensions. Just something to think about while you, too, test a shop assistant’s patience at your own local yarn emporium.

You can buy the pattern at my Etsy shop or you can look at all my patterns on my site.

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As for blocking, I possess neither a lace blocking screen nor the space to store one. I do, however, have a curtain rail, a spare single bed sheet and a large tin of pins. When I need to block a shawl, I pin the sheet up and then pin the shawl to the sheet. I use many, many pins. I dare say this process would be easier if conducted horizontally but I don’t have that option and this works very well. The end result justifies the effort – beautifully opened up eyelet holes, a gorgeous drape and a heavenly  ‘halo’ over the surface of my most favouritest self-designed diagonally worked neon shawl ever.

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mesh2Do buy some truly beautiful yarn. Everyone deserves some true love in their knitting life.

 

A (literal) pile of reasons why I don’t have time to blog

I appear to have fallen behind… again…

Today is my once-a-fortnight morning off. I literally have a hundred things I could be doing in this time. I will attempt to accomplish one or two, but first here is a picture. These are my handmade projects waiting to be written up and published. I don’t know if I should be proud or depressed.

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And now for some close-ups:

Blizzard Mittens complete with pompoms and security wrist straps. For children who love looking fancy while continually being on the brink of losing her mittens.

Blizzard Mittens complete with pompoms and security wrist straps. For children who love looking fancy while continually being on the brink of losing their mittens.

Retro Stripe mittens. For the child who thinks wrist pompoms are totally girly and unnecessary.

Retro Stripe mittens. For the child who thinks wrist pompoms are totally girly and unnecessary but who still is at high risk of mitten loss.

Ice Cream Mountain Mittens, sans wrist straps. For the most miniature child in the family with the best-developed sense of looking after one's personal belongings.

Ice Cream Mountain Mittens, sans wrist straps. For the most miniature child in the family with the best-developed sense of looking after one’s personal belongings.

Cabled Beanie, pompom optional. Check out my mad cable merging skills!!

Cabled Beanie, pompom optional. Check out my mad cable merging skills!!

An avian themed experiment in polymer clay. Certain to bug your overly particular son due to its lack of symmetry. But no-one else minds so he can suffer in his jocks.

An avian themed experiment in polymer clay. Certain to bug your overly particular son due to its lack of symmetry. But no-one else minds so he can suffer in his jocks.

School holidays start in two days. This means my husband (a teacher) will be available to do all the computer-y side of things and there should be a few new patterns available! That is, unless I am so busy with my current WIP / actual children that I run out of time. I’m not a betting woman but I anticipate pretty steep odds on this one…

Adventures in Anzac biscuits

In my cooking and baking, I always use ingredients that are seasonal and local. By which I mean, I buy what’s cheap and cook with whatever’s in grabbing distance of the stove (you can’t travel far with a screeching toddler attached to your ankle). The ‘inspiration’ for a pasta dish may be a bunch of wilting spinach leaves, for example. Fried rice is the best use for leftover rice because it actually fries better when it’s dried out. And I always find that a pizza dinner is the best disguise for sliced meat that is starting to announce its presence every time you open the fridge door.

This week’s baking adventure was Anzac biscuits. My inspiration in this case was locality – a big Tupperware container of oats left sitting on the counter.

Not your average Anzac biscuit

If you’re not Australian, Anzac biscuits are oat cookies made without egg. They were made to send to Australian soldiers during war times when eggs were scare and postal delivery could interrupted or delayed. These days Azac biscuits are more buttery, more sugary, less likely to break the tooth of the consumer. Mine needed to be robust in order to survive the trip to school (it is so difficult to achieve a panicked run whilst maintaining the structural integrity of one’s backpack contents, don’t you find?), but shelf life was not so critical as baked goods rarely survive more than a few days in our house.

As with most iconic biscuits, there is much debate about whether the best Anzacs are crunchy or chewy. These are crisp and crunchy on the outside, with a little bit of chewiness in the middle. Not so much fence-sitters as superbly balanced acrobatic artists. Not being a purist, I have added a sprinkling of seeds to my Anzacs. This gives them a toasty nuttiness without contravening the nut-free policy of the school and making my Bad Mother status official.

My brother is in the army, and my mother bakes biscuits to send to him when he is on training exercises. The biscuits she makes are, I think, called ‘Quadruple chocolate pleasure nuggets’ from the book The Decadence of These Chocolate Recipes Will Kill You. Notwithstanding his high standards, I think he would be pretty chuffed to receive a batch of these lovelies.

From left to right: Anzac Biscuits, Chocolatey Anzac Biscuits, Sultana, Cranberry and Chia Anzac Biscuits

From left to right: Anzac Biscuits, Chocolatey Anzac Biscuits, Sultana, Cranberry and Chia Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 scant cup sugar
½ cup coarse dessicated coconut
2 tbsp sunflower seeds, raw
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, raw
125g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp boiling water

Preheat oven to 160°C / 150°C fan forced
In a bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, coconut and seeds.
In a small saucepan, melt butter and golden syrup together.
In a cup or small bowl, mix the soda and water together, then add this mixture to the butter and golden syrup, then mix to combine.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, then mix to combine. Mixture will be crumbly but should hold together if squeezed in your hand.
Place tablespoons of mixture on baking trays lined with baking paper. Allow room for biscuits to spread. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to stand on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Makes about 35.

Anzac biscuits on display

Chocolatey Anzac Biscuits
In this variation, I substituted some flour for cocoa powder and added cocoa nibs. I didn’t want chocolate chips because to me, these biscuits are already sweet enough and I thought the long(ish) bake could burn the chocolate. I find raw cocoa nibs to be about as exciting as munching on tree bark, but in these biscuits they become deliciously toasted. They add an extra chocolate punch without making the biscuits overly sugary.

1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup plain flour
¼ cup dutch-process cocoa powder
1 scant cup sugar
½ cup coarse dessicated coconut
2 tbsp sunflower seeds, raw
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, raw
2 tbsp cocoa nibs
125g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp boiling water

Preheat oven to 160°C / 150°C fan forced
In a bowl, combine oats, flour, cocoa powder, sugar, coconut, seeds and cocoa nibs.
In a small saucepan, melt butter and golden syrup together.
In a cup or small bowl, mix the soda and water together, then add this mixture to the butter and golden syrup, then mix to combine.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, then mix to combine. Mixture will be crumbly but should hold together if squeezed in your hand.
Place tablespoons of mixture on baking trays lined with baking paper. Allow room for biscuits to spread. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until darkly golden brown. Allow to stand on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Makes about 35.

Spoonfuls of Anzac biscuit dough

Sultana, Cranberry and Chia Anzac Biscuits
My five-year-old insisted on calling these ‘Muesli Biscuits’, which is actually pretty accurate. Although the children loved the chocolate Anzacs best, these took out top prize amongst the more mature palates in the household. The dried fruit gave an extra chewiness to these biscuits – yum!

¾ cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 scant cup sugar
½ cup coarse dessicated coconut
2 tbsp sunflower seeds, raw
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, raw
2 tbsp sultanas
2 tbsp sweetened dried cranberries
2 tbsp chia seeds
125g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp boiling water

Preheat oven to 160°C / 150°C fan forced
In a bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, coconut, seeds, sultanas and cranberries.
In a small saucepan, melt butter and golden syrup together.
In a cup or small bowl, mix the soda and water together, then add this mixture to the butter and golden syrup, then mix to combine.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, then mix to combine. Mixture will be crumbly but should hold together if squeezed in your hand.
Place tablespoons of mixture on baking trays lined with baking paper. Allow room for biscuits to spread. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to stand on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Makes about 35.