Tag Archives: biscuits

The Brexit… Britain’s Latest Biscuit!

New from UK Biscuit manufacturer McDunk’s comes :”The Brexit”. The Brexit is a plain biscuit designed for biscuit lovers with a less sophisticated palate, who are sick of  Nice and having their biscuits sugar-coated.

Designed to be dunked in either tea or coffee, the Brexit can also be pulverized to make that most English of desserts, Apple Crumble and is versatile enough to use for crumbing meat and makes a flavoursome stuffing for roast chicken.

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The Brexit is perfect for dunking in tea.

Since leaving the EU, the British Government has banned all foreign biscuit imports and Britons have been asked to do their bit to salvage the national economy by buying Brexits. Indeed, they’ve been implored to eat Brexits for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the Prime Minister has engaged Master Chef Heston Blumenthal from the famed Fat Duck Restaurant to produce a cookbook to teach the British public creative ways of cooking with Brexits.

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So popular….the Brexit is gone in a flash!

In recent polls, the majority of Britons voted for the Brexit as Britain’s favourite biscuit, although the Scottish voted overwhelmingly against. They like their oats.

So Britain, enjoy your Brexit but be careful while your dunking it, to ensure that it doesn’t fall in! You wouldn’t want it to drown, would you?!!

Do you have any views on Britain’s exit from the EU? I haven’t been following the debate but I’m certainly interested in the aftermath and am looking to buy a few things from the UK while the exchange rate is good. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and get a bit of discussion going. 

xx Rowena

 

Anzac Biscuits- An ANZAC Day Tradition

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. For the fallen by Laur…

Source: Anzac Biscuits- An ANZAC Day Tradition

But That’s Not How You Make Shortbread!!!

When it comes to baking with kids, you know to expect the unexpected.

Yesterday, while Geoff was out with the kids, I managed to whiz up the Christmas Shortbread in the food processor and get it into the fridge to rest. Ideally, it was supposed to rest for 30 mins but you know how it is with good intentions, especially at this time of year. The shortbread must have been exhausted like the rest of us after a full-on year or it had indulged in way too much Christmas “cheer” because it not only slept through the night but all through today and when we finally woke it up about 9.30 PM after arriving home from Christmas Eve Church and driving round looking at the Christmas Lights and visiting friends, the shortbread Geoff told me that it was “very well rested”. It was solid. So solid indeed, that if if had landed on my good foot, I would have been wearing two boots this Christmas. I hope you’re not laughing because you could just imagine me getting around with both feet in custody? You’d have to lock the rest of me up for my own protection!!

Just in case that joke has flown overhead, I broke my right foot last Sunday night just before playing my violin at the school Christmas carols…hence the boot!

Anyway, after making the dough in the food processor instead of the mix master as stated in the recipe, I also ended up having to thaw the dough out a little in the microwave so Miss could cut out her shapes and still get to bed before midnight. Moreover, we still had a lot of wrapping ahead!

Shortbread Miss and Mister complete with hair and shiny buttons

Shortbread Miss and Mister complete with hair and shiny buttons

Anyway, you know what it’s like with kids and promises. Miss was really looking forward to making the shortbread and cutting out the shapes. It gave her so much pleasure and was so creatively stimulating that we’ll have to do it more often.

She started out simply cutting out the shapes and sticking on a few of these baubley decorative things to jazz it up a bit. She was intent on using the gingerbread man cutter, which isn’t great with shortbread and his head kept getting stuck. We managed to get one good one but the second one is somewhat warped. I must have been cooking dinner while the first batch of biscuits were cooking and when I turned around, she’d made a Christmas tree with presents underneath it as wel as a snowman on skis. Our family loves skiing but I was quite impressed with how she put all this together and so quickly. She went on to tell me that the snowman’s name was Bob. I don’t know why she called him Bob.

Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree! Your branches taste so lovely!

Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree! Your branches taste so lovely!

By this stage, the shortbread dough had been put through considerable handling and if you know anything at all about making shortbread, you’ll know that it’s fussy. Doesn’t like to be touched. Hands off.  So all this molding and playing around with the shortbread and treating it like Playdoh, is NOT how you make shortbread!

But it is how you have fun!

No doubt you’ve heard of the fish John West Reject. Well, we’d certainly be thrown out of the Royal Easter Show Cake Pavilion…a disgrace!

Well, maybe just maybe one of her creations might just end up at the Art Gallery where they no doubt have more appreciation of artistic license.!

Merry Christmas!

xx Rowena

That might not be how you handle shortbread but no one's needing any cajoling to eat it!

That might not be how you handle shortbread but no one’s needing any cajoling to eat it!

ANZAC Biscuits

Today is ANZAC Day.

Although ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps, it has become a word in its own right and has even become a biscuit.

ANZAC Day is held on the 25th April and commemorates the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops in Gallipoli in 1915.

Today, my daughter and I did what Australians have been doing on ANZAC Day ever since the the First World War…we baked ANZAC Biscuits together.

I have been baking ANZAC Biscuits on ANZAC Day since I was a little girl and I still remember my wonder when we mixed the bi-carb of soda and water together and it all frothed up. It was like magic. Wow!

When my son was smaller, we made ANZAC Biscuits together. For some reason he used to call oats “notes” and so these became “Note Biscuits”, which sounded incredibly cute. It still makes me chuckle.

Today, I made the ANZACs with my 7 year old daughter. Where we’d usually make them for morning tea and eat them while watching the march on TV, today we made them at dinner time and had them for dessert. I had spent much of today researching family members’ war time service and had some truly amazing discoveries which pretty much kept me occupied for the day. That will be a separate post.

Miss stirring the ANZACS. We spent the day in our pyjamas.

Miss stirring the ANZACs. We spent the day in our pyjamas.

When you read about me baking ANZAC Biscuits with my daughter, it sounds like one of those really sicky-sweet mother-daughter moments you’d expect to see on something like the Brady Bunch.

That wasn’t our mother-daughter moment.

We were making the ANZAC Biscuits while I was cooking dinner which really was setting us up to fail. I don’t multi-task well and really struggle to do two things at once. Miss was also a bit tired and fidgety. She struggles to follow instructions at the best of times and as we’ve already established, this wasn’t the best of times. We were cooking under pressure.

Miss doesn’t understand the need for recipes and has actually made half-decent cakes or “mixtures” completely from scratch. While that might work for her, it makes for some stressful moments when it comes to cooking something specific together.

By now, you can probably already sense the storm clouds were brewing. There wasn’t a huge storm. Nothing like the clash of the Titans but our cooking experience certainly wasn’t going according to plan and I was becoming a little grumpy.

The recipe says that making ANZAC Biscuits is easy but I’d forgotten to take my usual handful of tablets this morning and was starting to keel over. My brain was foggy and yes, I’ll blame the tablets but I stuck the butter in the microwave without thinking and remembering this needs to go in a saucepan and be melted properly on a hotplate. You also need to have the dry ingredients in the bowl first.

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In other words, you need to stick to the recipe. Follow the recipe step-by-step.

Pretty Simple Simon, isn’t it? Only, I’m no Simple Simon.

I’m complicated.

My daughter is spirited.

We did everything backwards.

The ANZAC BIscuits weren’t the best ones I’ve ever made but we did it. We paid our respects to our fallen heroes and I am also even more mindful of those who returned back home and in the words of Veteran and actor Bud Tingle “they were never quite the same”.

So today, we honoured ANZAC Day. Perhaps, you would like to join us in a biscuit and a cuppa!

Lest we forget!

xx Rowena

This recipe comes from the Australian Women’s Weekly.

Anzac biscuits

Makes approx 40 biscuits

INGREDIENTS

125g butter, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons golden syrup
¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon water
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1 cup (90g) desiccated coconut
1 cup (150g) plain flour
¾ cup (165g) brown sugar

METHOD

Preheat oven to 160°C or 140°C fan-forced.

Combine all dry ingredients  except bi-carb soda in a large mixing bowl.

Combine butter and syrup in a small saucepan. Heat gently until butter and syrup melt.

Combine bicarbonate of soda and water in a small bowl and stir into butter mixture.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over warm butter mixture and stir well to combine.

Roll rounded teaspoons of mixture into balls. Place about 4 cm apart on baking paper lined baking trays and flatten slightly. You can also be a bit more decadent and make a few large biscuits if you so desire.

Bake in preheated oven 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on baking trays; transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Road Testing the Iced Volvo…I mean Vovo.

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It’s shaped like a Volvo and moves like a Volvo but the Iced Vovo is actually a biscuit. In Portuguese, “vovo” means Grandpa, which seemingly has nothing to do with the actual biscuit. After all my extensive investigations, I still have no idea what a “vovo” is. It just doesn’t have 4 cylinders.

The biscuit itself was first registered by Arnott’s in 1906 and their web site describes it “as a symphony in pink.” I don’t have anything against Iced Vovos, however, I’d hardly call them a symphony. After all, it is a fairly plain, subdued biscuit and its demure shade of pink  conjures up afternoon teas at the nursing home….nice but nothing flash.

For awhile there, the Iced Vovo was looking like a bit of a has been and just couldn’t keep up with the likes of the Tim Tam and Mint Slice. However, just when you thought it was gasping its last breaths, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd brought the Iced Vovo out of the closet (or was that the pantry?) in his 2007 Victory speech:
“Friends, tomorrow, the work begins,” Rudd said.” You can have a strong cup of tea if you want, even an Iced Vovo on the way through. But the celebration stops there.”
Arnott’s subsequently sent a pallet load of Iced Vovo’s over to Parliament House and the Iced Vovo was back.

That’s a little bit of history.

Recently, Mum and my husband, Geoff, were discussing the Iced Vovo convinced that they weren’t quite what they used to be. Somehow, the icing wasn’t quite as spongy and had become quite hard. Mum and Geoff both like coconut ice so I could understand why they fancied the humble Iced Vovo but I couldn’t really comment on its finer subtleties. To me, they’re the biscuit you have when you’re not having a Tim Tam, Mint Slice, Monte Carlo, Kingston and it is possibly ranked just in front of Orange Creams…perhaps a tie with Scotch Finger Biscuits.

In other words, they’re not a favourite.

It’s never crossed my mind to bake Iced Vovo’s before. I don’t think I’d seen a recipe for them either. However, I came across one while sorting through some old recipes and thought I’d give it a whirl. I noticed that you have to melt pink marshmallows to make the pink icing and that seemed kind of fun. I’ve always loved toasting marshmallows on a stick over a hot camp fire. It’s quite magical really.

So let’s get started.

Making the biscuit part was pretty straight forward. I powered up the Sunbeam and everything went according to plan.

Then the fun began… melting marshmallows…Mmm! Yum! I had to melt the marshmallows in a saucepan with a bit of butter. My daughter and I loved watching the marshmallows melt away into a hot and sticky puddle and she loved doing the stirring. We added the icing sugar and it all came together well. Now things started to get a bit more tricky. I had to spread a stripe of icing on either side of the biscuit, leaving room for a stripe of raspberry jam in the middle. As much as I thought the kids would enjoy doing this bit, I was too much of a control freak to let them have a go. I had to do it myself…at least this time round. I had to get them right!

This was where the trouble began. You see, I’m more of a broad brushstroke type…an expressionist. I’m not really into fiddley detail. When it comes to things like colouring in, I couldn’t really be bothered staying within the lines. Boundaries are meant to be broken, challenged, extended, aren’t they?!!

It turns out with all these straight lines, that the Iced Vovo is actually quite a fussy little biscuit to make, requiring great attention to detail. That’s not my scene. To compound things further, as everybody knows, melted marshmallow is sticky, very sticky and quite elastic. It doesn’t just sit on the biscuit and stay put. It has a mind of its own. It’s extraordinary stuff really. As much as I like melting marshmallows over a camp fire, it’s quite a different experience having melted marshmallow icing stuck all over your fingers. It actually feels quite yucky in a way and I had to keep washing my hands. Perhaps I am a little bit fussy after all.

I also struggled to apply the marshmallow icing in perfectly straight lines and perhaps a ruler might have been useful but the coconut hid a few sins… so far so good.

Next, it was time to apply a GT stripe of warm raspberry jam along the centre of the biscuit. My jam had a few lumps of fruit, giving the biscuit a slightly blobby or even exuberant appearance depending on whether you want the Lady Gaga version bursting at the seams or something more demure. They do look quite indulgent from a distance with all that jam oozing out.

In the end, the results weren’t too bad. Actually, they were pretty fabulous but they were a lot more exuberant and irregular than the packaged variety. Anyway, what could I expect? A handmade biscuit isn’t going to look anything like something made by a machine. It’s going to have imperfections and irregularities which are, of course, part of their charm. That is a big reason for home baking… you don’t just want to replicate what you can already buy in the shops. Moreover, home made always tastes so much better as well!

The Iced Vovos were an instant hit with the kids. Jonathon’s biscuit had a huge gloop of marshmallow icing dripping down the side. He said: “Mummy, it’s like bubblegum.” That’s all he had to say. He was halfway through his biscuit by this stage and all he could manage was a thumbs up. Amelia loved them so much that she actually ate three for afternoon tea. She eats like a sparrow so that was a very positive endorsement. She won’t even eat my most scrumptiously scrumptious choc chip cookies so that was a glowing endorsement. I loved them and were a vast improvement on the commercial variety. I enjoyed mine with a cup of camomile tea in my butterfly teacup. Geoff loved them too but did point out that you couldn’t package these up.

The last word, however, has to go to the marshmallow icing. When this stuff sets, it has some very interesting properties. The mixing spoon was literally glued to the plate and as you’ll see in the photos, you could hold the plate upside down and it didn’t fall off. I wouldn’t say it was superglue but it did a pretty good job. It tasted great too. Perhaps, there’s an untapped market there… marshmallow glue!

Now, it’s your turn.

Enjoy!

xx Rowena

 

The Recipe:   Iced Vovos

Ingredients:

For the Biscuit:

  • 60 g butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 2/3 cup self-raising flour

For the icing:

  • 1 (100 g) package pink marshmallows
  • 40 g butter
  • 1/4 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line oven trays with baking paper.

To Make the Biscuit:

  1. Beat the softened butter and the sugar until light and creamy.
  2. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  3. Fold in the sifted flours.
  4. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead gently for 1 minute or until smooth.
  5. Roll dough out between two sheets of baking paper to 4mm thickness.
  6. Use a knife or fluted pastry wheel to cut dough into 5 x 6 cm rectangles and place on prepared trays- allow room for spreading.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.
  8. Cool on trays and then transfer to a wire rack.

Cool on the trays.

Icing:

  1. Combine the marshmallows and butter in a small pan and stir over low heat until melted and smooth.
  2. Stir in icing sugar.
  3. Put coconut on a sheet of greaseproof paper and working quickly, spread about a quarter teaspoon of icing along each side of biscuits, leaving a bare strip the length of the biscuit in the middle.
  4. Dip the iced biscuit in the coconut and shake off the excess.
  5. Put jam in small pan and heat gently until thinned and warm.
  6. Spread the warmed jam down the centre of the biscuit.

ENJOY!