Freedom Isn’t Free: ANZAC Biscuits – Renee G

Lego wars: It's on!
Lego wars: It’s on!

“Mum! I accidentally ate a piece of Lego,” cried out No1.

“Huh?”

He looked sheepish and said “I was biting it off to pull it apart, and it just slipped right down.”

“How big was it?”

“Tiny”

“Is it stuck?”

“No.” Good. The important questions are answered.

“What shape was it? It might hurt on the way out again.”

The room explodes with giggles. Yes, folks, that’s the secret to parenting – butt jokes.

Playing with our creations
Playing with our creations

Anzac Day comes at the end of school holidays this year. During this school holidays we had a day of boredom, and to prevent the kids from watching movies all year, we started the day with a Lego competition. We had prizes (a kiss from mum – ha! A fake prize, really) for best monster, space craft, vehicle, princess, square bricks only, as well as biggest construction and most complicated.

Lego creations: biggest and best house
Lego creations: biggest and best house

Accidental swallowing aside, the Lego competition was a great success and many wonderful creations were made. The boys then had a smash ‘em event, where they stuck wheels on the bottom of each creation and drove them into each other. Lego flew everywhere! More joyous giggles.

Lego wars: Biggest and best vehicle
Lego wars: Biggest and best vehicle

Watching the kids enjoy their school holidays with such freedom made me reflect on the sacrifice of our soldiers, and how their service during times of war has given us this gift of freedom. WWI went from 1914 to 1918, and this year marks part of the 100 years of Anzac commemorations. The casualties of WWI included at least 9 million soldiers (estimates range up to 15million), and a further 7 million civilians. These number vary wildly depending on the source and the time of the deaths. The Allies lost at least 6 million military personnel, while the Central Powers lost about 4 million. Another 2 million died from disease, and a further 6 million (from both sides) were reported missing, presumed dead. Of these, Australia suffered up to 62,000 military deaths (from a population of 5 million Aussies); and New Zealand reported 18,000 deaths from a population of 1.1million. In some small towns, the entire population of young men were wiped out.

“A generation of innocent young men, their heads full of high abstractions like Honour, Glory and England, went off to war to make the world safe for democracy. They were slaughtered in stupid battles planned by stupid generals. Those who survived were shocked, disillusioned and embittered by their war experiences, and saw that their real enemies were not the Germans, but the old men at home who had lied to them.”

Historian Samuel Hynes

And this senselessness was felt more by Australia and New Zealand who sent many young men to fight for Mother England, under the English flag. In the 100 years since the ill-fated Gallipoli landing, there has been much glorification of the digger spirit and how the poorly planned attack created the Anzac ideal.

The Anzac biscuit emerged out of this conflict; gaining its name in 1919. The recipe dates back (in print) to 1823 when it was called surprise biscuits. In early WWI years, they were called soldiers biscuits and used as a form of fundraising. The lack of eggs in the recipe meant that they were accessible to cook when rations put restrictions on eggs. The biscuits also kept well and could be sent overseas to Australian troops.

I have used the original recipe, and present it as a dessert with a spoon full of icecream between two biscuits.

ANZAC Biscuit Ice-cream Sandwiches

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients
  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
Method

Turn oven onto 150°C.

In a large bowl, put oats, flour and sugar and mix together.
Boil some water. In a cup, put tsp of baking soda and tip 2 tbsp of boiling water over the top and stir as its fizzes.

In a pot on the stove, melt the butter over a medium heat, then add the golden syrup. Using a wet tablespoon will make it easier to stop the syrup from sticking to the spoon.

Melting butter
Melting butter

Add all the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix together.

Roll into small balls and place on a baking tray. Flatten them slightly, and bake for 15 minutes. They should be still soft when they come out of the oven, and they will continue to harden as they cool down.

Once cooled, you can add a scoop of icecream to one biscuit and top with another to create a cute dessert.

ANZAC Ice-cream biscuits
ANZAC Ice-cream biscuits
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