ANZAC day although a military day is not an occasion to glorify or promote war. It is a day that has come to symbolise the heroism not only of young men fighting ‘for’ our cause but of entire nations building bridges of peace, forging forgiveness and reconciliation after indescribable hardships and horrors.
A favourite in Australian kitchens at this time of year is of course the humble ANZAC biscuit. The beautiful butterscotch flavour of combined butter, syrup, and brown sugar mixed through coconut and rolled oats seems indulgent and nourishing simultaneously and is always anticipated with watering mouths and a cold glass of milk.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli I am paying tribute to the spirit of peace and reconciliation between the Turkish and Allied sides since the great war ended. There are harmonies between these cultures and the flavours of their countries that when mixed add something just a little more special than what was before. As they say we are worth more than the sum of our parts.
Turkey, like Australia is a land drenched in sunlight and bathed by blue seas on a number of picturesque coastlines. Lemon trees dot the landscape, with walnuts and cardamom frequently used in savoury and sweet Turkish dishes. These are the flavours I am blending with our nostalgic bickies. These are peace biscuits, used to celebrate the ground we have covered in the last 100 years and to remember the beautiful lives lost in that brief moment in time.
Let us hope that we have learned the lessons that our diggers unfortunately had to write in their blood. It will only be through a future without conflict, with understanding and tolerance that we will ever be able to honour their sacrifice. Lest we forget.
Peace Biscuits – A twist on tradition
The traditional biscuit
- 150g (1 cup) plain flour
- 90g (1 cup) rolled oats (not quick oats)
- 85g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
- 100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar (firmly packed)
- 125g (1/2 cup) butter
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
and the twist
- 1/2 cup walnuts (roughly chopped)
- 1 rind of lemon (finely grated)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Preheat oven to 160 C / 320 F (150 C / 300 F for fan forced)
- Mix flour, rolled oats, coconut, sugars, nuts, rind and spices in your favourite mixing bowl.
- Melt butter, syrup and water over low to medium heat. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda. Add to dry ingredients.
- Shape level tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place approximately 5cm apart on baking tray.
- Flatten balls to 1cm thickness.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to wire rack.
This recipe has been developed for crunch. If you prefer a chewy biscuit omit the brown sugar and use ¾ cup (155g) caster sugar instead. For thin and crispy biscuits swap the caster sugar for 200g of brown sugar and reduce flour to ¾ cup (115g).