The month of March will probably stand out in my timeline for years to come, for one reason over anything else. This was for the first time in my life I was travelling for 3 weeks, the first time I was going on a trip all by myself and also the first time I was setting foot in another continent. My friend from school K is settled in Melbourne for the last decade or so and when she was gifted with a bundle of joy last July, I knew that my next trip would be to nowhere else but Kangaroo-land. I booked my tickets 5 months in advance and feverishly started counting days. As I do before I undertake any vacation, I ransacked worldwideweb in search of the places to visit and food to eat. My rough travel itinerary always has a “Restaurants to be Tried Out” section and this time around, with 5 cities to visit and 18 days to spend, the list was quite lengthy and intimidating! Adding to my glee were the bits and pieces I could incorporate in my list from my years of watching Masterchef Australia. I knew exactly which seafood to try and which dessert to not give a miss, and let me not even get into the Melbourne Coffee culture!
Australian food scene wears a modern fusion look, that has derived inspiration from cuisines worldwide. But if there is one thing that stands out as quintessentially Australian, something that has the country’s name imbibed in its name, that has to be the humble ANZAC biscuits. ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits were traditionally sent by wives to soldiers abroad who were fighting in the First World War. It uses everyday ingredients like flour, butter, oats and coconut and deliberately omits eggs primarily to make shipping easier and shelf life longer and also because in those war-striven days eggs were but a luxury.
|Moi at the ANZAC War Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney|
I’ll reminisce about my trip to Australia later, maybe in greater detail (for which I have to bolster up a stupendous amount of energy, time and enthusiasm), but for now let me quickly tell you the recipe that is being used for years to bake these crunchy cookies. (The shapes of my cookies have gone for a toss because my oven is too small to house a biggish baking tray that allows enough room between doughs to prevent overlapping!)
Makes 6 big cookies or 10-12 regular sized cookies
All-purpose flour: 1 cup
Rolled oats: 1 cup ( I used muesli because that is what I had in hand)
Caster sugar: 3/4 cup
Desiccated coconut: 1 cup
Butter: 75 gm
Golden syrup: 2 tbsp
Baking soda: 1/2 tsp
Boiling water: 2 tbsp
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats/muesli, sugar and coconut. Set aside.
2. In a small cup, melt butter and the golden syrup together in the microwave. It’ll take roughly 40-50 seconds.
3. In another cup/bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Now add this to the butter mixture and stir till combined.
4. Now add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
6. With an ice-cream scoop, drop the dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart as the cookies will spread considerably. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Cool on wire rack for 15-20 minutes.
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