Tomorrow, 25 April 2015, is the Centenary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli, Turkey.
It is a hugely important day in Australia’s calendar and will be commemorated nation-wide with dawn services and Anzac Day parades. It is the day on which we stop to pay tribute to all the men and women who have fought for Australia in war.
On 25 April 1915, the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landed on Gallipoli peninsula, the mission being to swiftly knock Turkey out of the war. But instead they encountered fierce resistance from the Turks and the battle raged for eight months until the Allies gave the order for the ANZACS to evacuate. More than 8000 Australians lost their lives.
Australia and Turkey now share an enduring friendship and for many years now there has been a dawn service at Gallipoli. This year, to mark the centenary, there will be even more people there – more dignitaries, more media, and especially more Australians and New Zealanders coming to pay their respects. By all accounts that service is incredibly moving, especially when seeing the beach surrounded by enormous cliffs. The ANZACs had no idea what they were getting into – it was a blood bath.
For more information on Anzac Day, click here.
One lovely Anzac Day tradition is Anzac biscuits. The ANZAC’s food was generally nutritionally poor and in short supply. There was so much concern on the home front that efforts were made to send food across to the troops (or “Diggers” as they are affectionately known here in Australia). The problem was, all food packages had to travel at least two months by boat. Ingredients had to be chosen carefully, otherwise the food would perish. Eggs could not be used – not only would they perish quickly, but they were also in short supply on the home front.
Eventually, the combination of oats, flour, treacle (or golden syrup), sugar and bicarbonate of soda was settled upon. The oats were filling and nutritious and all of the ingredients had a long shelf life. Even better, the treacle acted as the binding agent, so eggs were not required. The biscuits could be cooked until hard and crunchy, also ensuring their shelf life.
Anzac biscuits became a staple food for Diggers at war.
For more information on Anzac biscuits, click here.
These days, Anzac biscuits are adored all over Australia. Now that we don’t require them to keep for months on end, we have the luxury of making them soft and chewy or hard and crunchy – it’s a simple matter of adjusting the cooking time. We love them soft and chewy.
Before my daughter was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, I used to make Anzac biscuits regularly, especially when my kids had friends over. They were a great way for the kids to have some fun baking.
Because oats are not recommended for Coeliacs in Australia, I’ve barely made them since her diagnosis. But a little while ago, I was asked if I’d post a recipe for gluten-free Anzacs and so, along with many other Australian bloggers, here’s a recipe for you to consider.
I have adapted it from my fantastic never-fail recipe in our local child care centre’s cookbook. I’ve used quinoa flakes instead of oats, but if your kids find the taste too strong, try using 50 g quinoa flakes and 50 g roughly crushed gluten-free cornflakes.
I’ve also reduced the sugar in this recipe, to make it more appropriate for lunchboxes.
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.
Lest we forget.
100 g quinoa flakes
120 g gluten-free plain flour
100 g white sugar
75 g desiccated coconut
125 g butter
1 tbs golden syrup (or treacle)
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 160° Celsius (conventional oven) or 140° Celsius (fan-forced oven). Grease and line large baking tray or cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, combine quinoa flakes, flour, sugar and desiccated coconut. Make a well in centre.
Put a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter and golden syrup. Stir occasionally until butter is melted. Remove from heat.
Put bicarbonate of soda into a small bowl and add 2 tbs boiling water. Stir quickly to combine. The mixture will start fizzing. While still fizzing, add to the saucepan and stir quickly. The mixture with froth up. Quickly pour mixture into dry ingredients and mix. Add an extra 2 tbs water and mix together until just combined. The mixture should press together but there should not be any excess liquid.
Roll dessert spoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place onto the tray, allowing room for spreading. Gently press each ball down with a fork.
Bake for 12 minutes for soft biscuits, or 20 minutes for crunchy biscuits.
Makes approximately 16.