Posts Tagged 'recipes'

Anzac Day Activities

Anzac Day is more than just a day off work. It is a day to step back and remember the sacrifices made by the troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in the First World War, and beyond.  Yesterday there was a very moving assembly at school led by the Head Girl and Deputy Head Girls, who, along with a teacher singing The Band Played Waltzing Matlida and a moving rendition of The Last Post, recalled the events of April 25th, 1915 at Gallipoli. The poem In Flanders Field by Candian poet Lt. Col. John McCrae was read:
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.

Tomorrow Miss 5’s class are going to visit the Cenotaph which will be a first for her.

And today at home we baked a big batch of Anzac Biscuits.  They are a popular biscuit here in New Zealand still. And especially with my husband. He’d love it if I made them year round. Rather than using the traditional recipe, I read some online and then amalgamated them, attempting to make a delicious but still healthier version of the biscuits.

Here’s what I used:

1C Rolled Oats

1/2 C white flour

1/2 C wholemeal flour

3/4 C Caster Sugar

3/4 C Descicated Coconut

1/4 C LSA

175g Butter

2 T Golden Syrup

1t baking powder, dissolved in 2T boiling water

2 t vanilla essence


Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Melt together butter and golden syrup, and add to dry ingredients along with baking soda mixture and vanilla. Stir until combined.

Place teaspoon sized amounts of the mixture on a greased tray, bake until crisp in a 190 C oven, about 12 minutes.

Leave on the tray to crisp up for several minutes after you remove them from the oven.

They seem really good- you barely notice the reduced sugar content, they are still very tasty and by still using butter they are still crispy.

I have also managed to get into the sewing room for the first time in forever. My oven gloves were in a desperately sad state, and I was delighted that I was able to make up a couple of replacement pairs from stash items.

The top one is from some fabric scraps, I’ve no idea the designer. The bottom one is some delicious Michael Miller fabric I’ve had for a while waiting for a project.  The binding is home made binding I had made years ago, and I have two layers of woollen blanket inside, taken from a cot blanket I picked up from the hospice shop for a few dollars.

I don’t think the last time I made an oven glove I used the overlocker, but it was super simple to pin all the layers together and then overlock around. All the remained was to put on the binding and sew it on. A great use of a spare hour, and things from stash.

I’m not sure what rest of the day holds – I still have my machines out, the garden is calling my name too, and the children are about to claim the computer.  I hope that you have a great Anzac Day, and that you take some time out to remember those who sacrificed so much for the freedom we all enjoy every day.


March Update

I’m not exactly sure how, but March appears to have arrived.  And with March, Autumn has also arrived.  Just 7 days in and already mornings are darker, and colder. The weather is much more changeable, with rainy days alternating with fine days.  This morning we woke to the mountain dusted with its first sprinking of snow.  The girls had gone to bed in their summer jammies the night before… maybe for the last time this season, unless we have an unseasonably warm spell I guess! 

Of course autumn and winter are lovely times for year for knitters. Already I seem to have more ideas on what to knit, and am starting to put together a ‘knit list’ for the girls and I.  I do have a few finished items to photograph, so I’ll rope in DS tomorrow to get some pictures to share.

In the meantime I’ll show you my latest toy…

Yep ( my sister will likely be laughing now as she showed off her Nook to me at Christmas time…) I decided it was time I got with the information age and bought a Kindle.  It’s been a lot of fun getting used to it, and it has been fabulous so far.  I have read a number of books on it already, including some bought for very little.  Notably I bought, for the grand sum of 99c US a copy of The Works of L.M. Montgomery and have spent some weeks reading through old favourites: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne’s House of Dreams, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingleside.  In fact I don’t know if I ever read the last of these novels, I didn’t recall at all the final book which is set during the first World War.  There are four more books in the collection to read, but I’ve put these aside for now. 

I’ve also read a few of the free books, most of them are short and easily read… After the Leaves Fall, Homespun Bride, Goodness Gracious Green, Just as I am, and Stuck in the Middle.  None of them are hugely recommended but neither are any of them awful.  Very light reading!

One book that came highly recommended to me was Room by Emma Donoghue.  A stunningly written book, I loved the language and viewpoint: it’s narrated by a five year old who has never been outside the room that he shares with his mother: never been outside, or seen the world outside his room. The characterisation of Jack is great – his development throughout the novel and looking back at how he became to be the unique character he is, is very insightful.  His Ma is also really well written, she and her actions really resonate.  It’s not a cheerful story, but it is well worth reading.  I can’t recommend this highly enough for both the quality of the writing, and the story. I’m delighted to hear that it has been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize – it’s certainly a quality piece of writing that deserves recognition.

Or if you want some light reading, I can recommend the Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke. It’s the first in a series that are available either on Kindle or the old fashioned paper copies.  The heroine, Hannah Swensen mixes cookie dough and runs of cookie/coffee shop as a job and dabbles in solving murders in her spare time. Filled with delectable sounding recipes, this is probably not recommended for people on diets… But for the interests of reporting in here, I felt it important to bake at least one of the recipes and report back!  I chose the Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies, and they were a huge success.

I wasn’t sure about putting the recipe here, but a quick online search showed me it’s already published online, so here goes (with thanks to

Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies
1 cup butter (2 sticks melted)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 beaten eggs (beat with fork)
2 1/2 cups flour (not sifted)
2 cups crushed corn flakes
(crush them with your hands)
1 – 2 cups chocolate chips
Melt butter, add the sugars and stir. Add soda, salt, vanilla and beaten eggs. Mix well. Then add flour and stir it in. Add crushed corn flakes and chocolate chips and mix it all thoroughly.Form dough into walnut-sized balls with your fingers and place on a greased cookie sheet, 12 to a standard sheet. Press them down with a floured or greased fork in a crisscross pattern (the same method as peanut butter cookies).

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then remove to a wire rack until they’re completely cool. (The rack is important — it makes them crisp).  I made around 60 cookies from this size mix.  They didn’t last the week out. All gone.

I also tested the Pecan Chews recipe – and since I found that on Wikipedia, I’ll pop it on here too… But with a warning. Miss 4 told me that they were ‘bland’. It’s her new favorite word. I didn’t think they were bland. But I did need to add another half cup of flour to the recipe so it wasn’t so sticky.

Pecan Chews Hannah Swensen Cookie Recipe from Joanne Fluke’s book, “The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder”

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, rack in middle of oven.

1 Cup butter 3 Cups brown sugar 4 eggs, beaten with a fork 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda 3 tsp vanilla 2 Cups finely chopped pecans 4 Cups flour, unsifted

Melt butter. Add sugar and mix. Add eggs and mix. Add salt, soda and vanilla and mix. Add pecans and flour and mix thoroughly.

Roll into walnut-sized balls. If dough is too sticky, chill for an hour or so and try again. 12 cookies per sheet. Flatten balls with spatula. Bake at 350 for 10–12 minutes.

Cool for a minute or so on cookie sheet, then move to cooling racks. Don’t leave too long on cookie sheets after baking because these cookies will stick.

I halved this recipe, so got around 40 cookies. They also disappeared quick smart (I made the batches a week of so apart…) and I think everyone liked them. Or maybe they were just pleased to get a break from food with zuchinni and/or lemons in them. 

I do have a couple more books I’ve read since I last posted about reading here, but I can’t think what they were right now – so I’ll check my bookshelf and fill you in more later.

Shortly’s Baking Day

The cupboards were utterly bare of baking – a situation that doesn’t bother me at all. It’s far better for my thighs! However, in deference to the snackers in the household, and their desire for biscuits at all hours, today was baking day. With the girls at preschool, I was without helpers, and thus took the opportunity to sneakily hide some vegetables in the baking.

Actually, this is just a good story – the girls probably wouldn’t care if there were vegetables in their baking. I did, however, have a small laugh to myself when DS13 and his friend asked for seconds.  Teenagers, second helping of vegetables. Hehehe.  I’m not telling if you’re not!

I was inspired by my friend Middy, I firstly made a delicious Lemon Courgette Loaf – hers was a tea cake, mine is minus the lemon juice and sugar topping. Mostly because I forgot.  Recipe and instructions taken from her blog 🙂

200g (7 oz) grated courgette
150g (5 oz) caster sugar
1 egg
125ml (4 fl oz) vegetable oil
200g (7 oz) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 lemon

Preparation method
1. Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease a loaf tin.

2. In a bowl, beat together the courgette, sugar, egg and oil. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder; stir in the cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir the flour mixture into the courgette mixture, adding the juice of half of the lemon and mix just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared tin.

3. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from heat and glaze with a mixture of lemon juice from the other half lemon and 1/4c sugar, warmed.

This is delicious. Spicy and lemony and delicious. Enough to make someone want to snack on it. Oops!

And if this is good, you really have to try this amazing Courgette and Walnut Brownie. Oh my goodness is it good!  We had some for dessert with icecream and homegrown strawberries. I sourced the recipe here, a Daily Mail article.

Chocolate courgette brownie recipe:


  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250g grated courgette
  • 60g chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 180C/gas 4. grease and flour a 22x33cm baking tin.

In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar and vanilla until well blended.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, bicarb and salt; stir into sugar mixture. Fold in courgette and walnuts. Spread evenly in prepared tin.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until brownies spring back when touched gently.

I added half a cup of chocolate buttons, but I think it would be equally good without. I was mildy alarmed at the fact that there was no added liquid in this recipe, but it is perfect as is. The courgette adds the moisture, and in fact you really cannot see them in there at all. Perhaps because I was using a yellow skinned courgette. I’ll investigate with a green one next time and let you know. 

I finished off with a batch of Sophie Gray’s Oaty Chocolate Cookies. Delicious! 

I wonder how long those baking tins will stay full for?

Some recipes

For those who asked, a couple of recipes…

First up is the loaf.  The recipe is taken from The Kiwi KissWorkout book – bear in mind it’s intended as a diet recipe so it doesn’t call for many dates but you could certainly use more if you wished.

Jamaican Date and Banana Loaf

8 pitted dates, chopped

4T soft brown sugar

1T golden syrup

4 t butter

1t baking soda

1 1/4 cups boiling water

2 C flour

2 t baking powder

1 t mixed spice

2 mashed bananas

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C

In a bowl place dates, sugar, golden syrup, butter and baking soda.  Cover with the boiling water and leave mixture to cool. 

Sift flour, baking powder and mixed spice into this mixture and mix well.  Then fold in the mashed banana.

Lightly grease a loaf tin and evenly spoon in the mixture.

Bake at 180 for approximately 35-40 minutes until cooked.

I love making loaves, firstly because of the ease of making – no creaming butter and sugar and so on. I also love the lightness on the fats – only 4t of butter in this whole thing. Fabulous. There is also not a lot of sugar for the size loaf it makes.  When we were growing up, if Mum made a loaf, we always knew it wasn’t *for us*.  They either went in the freezer, or were for a shared dinner or outing.  I, on the other hand, tend to make loaves relatively frequently. DH is *supposed* to be cutting down his cholesterol and these are better for him than biscuits.  And the recipes are easy enough to double, so I often make an extra for the freezer. This loaf freezes well and keeps okay too. 

The other recipe I was asked for was the lemon cordial.  I actually sourced this one online here.


3 large lemons

2 cups sugar

3 cups boiling water

2 t tartaric acid

2 t citric acid 

2 t Epsom salts

Grate the lemons and put the zest in a large bowl. Squeeze and strain the lemon juice, then add to the bowl, along with the sugar and boiling water. Add the tartaric acid, citric acid and Epsom salts. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Store in bottles in a cool place. Dilute with water to drink.

I did a bit of reading about the epsoms salts – after I’d bought and used them. Apparently this ingredient can happily be left out without altering the taste. So, while I’ll continue to use it as I bought enough to make cordial with almost every lemon I’ll see this year, you could skip that step. 

I also was thinking about long-term preserving of this cordial.  Obviously this syrup isn’t suitable to preserve – it really needs to be boiled first and put into sterilised bottles for long-term preservation. I’m going to experiment with some and see how it keeps, as it is proving really popular in our household.

December 2018
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