ANZAC day

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Tomorrow is ANZAC day, a day when we commemorate the services and sacrifices of  members of the Australian and New Zealand armed forces. This year is a particularly important day as the centenary of the landing of the Anzacs on the Gallipoli Penninsula.

We observe a number of traditions on the 25th, the most important being the dawn services held across the country. A large number of Australians also enjoy visiting their local to play a game or five of Two Up.

Anzac biscuits are a staple in any Australian biscuit jar year round, but really have their time in the spotlight near the day- so much so that I had to visit three supermarkets to track down my golden syrup!

I figure that everyone has their own recipe for Anzac biscuits, passed down from Grandmas and Aunties, but I thought I would do a short post including my own variation. This one is super easy as it is all done in one saucepan- I like any recipe that minimizes my washing up!

I like to add some chopped Turkish dried apricots to my mixture for some extra sweetness and chewiness – everyone at work who tried them seemed to enjoy the addition. Plus, the link to our Turkish friends is a nice touch.

You’ll need:

  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp bi carb soda
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g chopped dried apricots

Method:

1. Pre heat oven to 160 C and grease two oven trays

2. Stir buter, syrup and water in a saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted.

3. Remove from the heat and stir through bi carb soda (I love this part).

4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until completely combined.

5. Roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture between your palms and place on the prepared trays, 2cm apart. Flatten slightly with a floured fork.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on how chewy you like them) and cool on trays.

 

I’m still working on the promised passion fruit recipe- but keep an eye out for some more delicious sweets soon.

 

Basil Flower Shortbread

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Our basil is in flower at the moment, and it inspired me to call my Grandma and ask for her Aunt Maise’s shortbread recipe – she’s been promising it to me for a while.

I’d read a recipe for herb flower shortbread in Cooking With Flowers by Miche Bacher (such a beautiful book), and thought I would combine that idea with the Scottish classic.

The basil flowers add a subtle point of difference to the otherwise familiar biscuits. If you prefer, the flowers can be left out altogether or exchanged for other herb flowers like rosemary, oregano or lavender, depending on what you have in the garden.

I had my good headphones on for this bake and I must admit to grooving around the kitchen a whoooole lot while preparing and washing up. It was a Genesis and Led Zeppelin heavy shuffle.

I exercised both days this weekend (including a 36km bike ride this morning!) and I think that’s why I feel super energetic tonight.

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You’ll need

  • 225 unsalted butter, softened and chopped
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice flour, sifted
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • small pinch sea salt
  • 1-2 tbsp basil flowers
  • extra caster sugar for topping, if desired

Method

1. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.

2. Add butter to bowl and rub into dry ingredients using the tips of your fingers. This should take around 10 minutes and leave you with a well combined ball of dough, a bit like pastry.

3. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate until firm, around 45 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat oven to 180ºC and grease a large oven sheet.

5. Cut chilled dough into two equal portions and roll out into rectangular lengths around 10cm wide.

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6. Cut into pieces around 2-3cm wide and place on the prepared tray. Prick biscuits with a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden.

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7. Sprinkle biscuits with the extra sugar and allow to cool.

Grandma used to make her shortbread for my Aunty and Uncle’s cafe and loves to tell the story of a chef who tried it and declared it the best he’d ever tasted.

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I realise that these photos aren’t the best, and I do apologise, but I think Grandma’s story should convince you to give this shortbread a try next time you’re after something easy for afternoon tea or lunches.

Have a great week!

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Passionfruit Melting Moments

passionnnnnI’m a sucker for a good biscuit.

The passionfruit vine on our fence is going crazy at the moment (it isn’t even planted in our backyard, thank you neighbours!), so I’ve been incorporating the flavour into lots of my baking.

The tangy passionfruit flavour goes really nicely with the crumbly, buttery biscuits. Perfect with a cup of tea or as a late night treat.

I made the biscuits purple to evoke the contrast of the passionfruit shell with the yellow pulp. I probably didn’t achieve the perfect colour but I still think they look pretty. So, food colouring  is totally optional here.

You will need:

Biscuits

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • red and blue food colouring, if desired
  • pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cornflour, sifted

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Passionfruit butter cream

  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp passionfruit juice, seeds removed

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160ºC and line two oven trays with baking paper.

2. Beat butter, vanilla, salt and icing sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add food colouring if desired, and stir to achieve a light purple mixture.

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I love my Kenwood Chef!

3. Add flours in two batches, stirring between additons.

4. Using lightly floured hands, roll generous teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on prepared trays, leaving 2cm spaces between each of the biscuits. Flatten slightly with a lightly floured fork.

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5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes and stand on trays to cool.

6. Meanwhile, make the butter cream. Beat butter and icing sugar (does anyone else hate sifting opened icing sugar as much as I do!?) until light and fluffy. Stir in passionfruit juice until combined.

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7. Sandwich biscuits with about a teaspoon of the butter cream. Mmm mm!

Makes about 20 filled biscuits.

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