Today is Anzac day. It’s a day where Australian’s and New Zealander’s remember those who who served and continue to serve our nations in military service.
Whilst I abhor politicised violence, in fact any violence for that matter, unfortunately I feel human race has not yet evolved beyond the senseless need for war and conflict. And so, I fear we will continue to repeat history, fighting for territory, religion, human rights, resources etc.
Lives will continue to be lost, families displaced, nations dominated. Many who return home will live out their days reliving trauma’s told and untold.
Senseless though it may be, it’s important that we remember those who have died in war and conflict, and who engage in peace keeping operations. Many of my family and friends have served and continue to serve our country with honor, fighting for something they believed in.
My paternal great granddad Thomas served in World War Two (WW2) in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and was posted in North Africa. He was captured by the Axis and kept prisoner until the end of the war. Fortunately he returned to live a full and long life, loved by children and grandkids; but his memories of the German POW camps haunted him until his dying day. He lost his brother Frederick in the same war, along with many of his wife’s (Dorothy) brothers.
Many of my maternal great aunts and uncles also served during WW2. My great uncle Bill was caught and held prisoner in Cyprus for nearly 5 years, and was lucky to survive his nearly successful escape and return home. Great aunts Joan & Mavis served in the RAF, and were posted mostly in Queensland focusing on ammunition supplies.
My grandparents were quite young during the war. Pop grew up on a farm in Pingelly, and his family housed an Italian prisoner of war, who by all reports was delightful chap who later immigrated to Australia. Pop still has his school journal that documents the last few years of the war, along with a few ration coupons. Both my grandparents have memories of air raid drills practiced at school, ducking under desks, jumping in trenches and hiding in the bush, even the rationing of light.
But it’s the stories of the war effort at home that has always interested me. Nana remembers the parcels that were prepared at school to be sent to the soldiers, full of woolen socks, scarves, tinned fruit cakes and of course Anzac biscuits. In an age with no internet, phones, or fast postal service, these little packages were nearly their only connection to home. A reminder that they weren’t forgotten or alone. It’s such a lovely gesture, something simple yet sustaining; warmth and food. I imagine it was very poignant to be on the receiving end.
And so I’ve been thinking about Anzac biscuits the last few days and how certain foods are intrinsically tied to the comforts of home. Now having braces means I’ve got no chance of sinking my teeth into this traditional, long-shelf-life cookie. Not a chance. So once again, enter the cupcake....
Anzac Cupcakes - Makes 12
- 2 cups of plain flour
- 3 teaspoons of baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup of golden syrup (or treacle or honey)
- 125 grams of butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup of rolled oats
- 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut
- 1/2 cup of milk
Butter cream icing
- 2 cups of icing sugar
- 125 grams of butter (room temperature)
- 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Cream the butter and syrup with an electric beater until smooth. Gradually beat in one egg at a time.
- Sift in your dry ingredients, oats, coconut and milk and beat until you have a smooth batter.
- Divide the batter into lined and greased cupcake tins. Bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes, or until risen and cooked thoroughly. Allow to cool on a rack before icing.
- To make your icing, beat all three ingredients together until smooth and silky. Pipe on your icing using a piping bag, or simply spread on with a butter knife.
I dry roasted some oats and coconut to garnish the top for a little extra texture. I also lined my tins with extra oats to form a crunchy base.
Although these cupcakes are totally unsuitable for long distance travel, unlike their biscuit counterpart, these were baked in the spirit of comfort, love and remembrance.
Lest we forget.