Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lest We Forget - ANZAC Day 2010

Today is ANZAC Day - the date on which we remember and honour those who fell that day in 1915 and every other fallen hero, who died in the service of our countries. Both New Zealand and Australia share the day, as we shared our forces and our men in two world wars.

ANZAC Day begins with dawn services, throughout New Zealand and Australia. The old soldiers march into the parade ground, prayers are said for the dead, the ode to the fallen is said and then the last post played and the flag is lowered.

Ode to the Fallen

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."

Red Poppies are worn, as in England, for Armistice Day a tradition that grew from the poem In Flanders Fields:

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

History has it that ANZAC biscuits or cookies to Americans, were baked by women during WW1 for their sons/husbands/brothers/fiances etc overseas on deployment. Basically they are a rolled oat biscuit made without eggs in order that they keep longer. The golden syrup is the binding agent. I've successfully used maple syrup as a substitute.

I searched the web and my collection of recipe books to find the best recipe but for the most part the only significant difference was the amount of butter used.

ANZAC Biscuits (Cookies)

1 cup flour
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup rolled oats
125 grams butter
2 Tablespoons golden syrup
2 Tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence - optional

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
Melt butter, golden syrup and essence together
In a small bowl or cup mix the boiling water and baking soda and then add to the butter mix
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine
Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and place on greased or lined baking sheets
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 10-12 minutes until the biscuits have flattened out and are starting to brown

Pictured is a batch of fruity ANZAC biscuits that I made from A Treasury of New Zealand Baking. The recipe is by Dean Brettschneider. The biscuits have brown sugar instead of white and an assortment of seeds and dried fruits (I used pumpkin seads because I didn't have sunflower seeds). I think I prefer authentic ANZAC biscuits. You can find Dean's recipe here and make your own decision.

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