Honoring ANZAC Day with some great Aussie authors and ANZAC Biscuits

Every good Aussie knows that April 25th, otherwise known as ANZAC Day, is sacred. It commemorates the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps veterans lost in all wars.

Originally, the day honored the ANZAC’s who fought as part of the Allied Forces along the Gallipoli Peninsula (Turkey) against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The plan, devised by Winston Churchill, was to capture Istanbul and give it to Russia, an ally (in the first world war), so it would have access to the Mediterranean.

The battle of Gallipoli was particularly brutal because the Allied soldiers had little to no chance of surviving or gaining ground. They landed on shore only to be mown down by the Turks who were perched high on the cliffs above. Gallipoli is seen as an example of the British commanders’ willingness to sacrifice the lives of the men they were supposed to protect. Watch the incredible film Gallipoli directed by Peter Weir starring Mel Gibson (way, way, before he got weird) if you’re interested in getting a sense of what happened.

To pay tribute to ANZAC Day here are some amazing books written by Australian authors.

The Turning by Tim Winton

No one evokes the Australian landscape – the smells, the dry heat and the salty winds, like Tim Winton. Don’t even get me started on his cast of characters. This book is like a gateway drug into his work.

timwinton

Buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local independent book store.

People of the Book by Geradine Brooks

This historical novel is based on the true story of Eyam, the “Plague Village,” tucked in the English countryside where a group of villagers quarantined themselves in an effort to avoid the plague. Brooks later won the Pulitzer for her novel March.

year_wonders

Buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall  by Anna Funder

Funder worked as an international lawyer and documentary film-maker before writing her breakout hit Stasiland, about the impact of the Stasi on the people of East Germany from August 1961 to November 1989.

anna_funder_stasiland

Buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

Once you dive into the mind of this notorious outlaw you won’t want to get out. Carey also paints a picture of the fledgling country, rarely captured in fiction.

KellyGang
Buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

This was one of my favorite books growing up. Set in Sydney in the 1990s, it’s about a girl torn between her Italian heritage and fitting in at her rather snobby all-girls Catholic school. She falls in love, wrestles with some major family secrets, and more.

looking-for-alibrandi

Buy it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

ANZAC Biscuits

Now for the best way to commemorate ANZAC Day. Here is Jamie Oliver’s recipie for the perfect crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside ANZAC biscuits.

Makes 16

Ingredients

  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 120 g plain flour
  • 80 g porridge oats
  • 100 g golden caster sugar
  • 80 g desiccated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 orange, zest from

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper.Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat, then stir in the golden syrup. In a small bowl, combine the bicarbonate of soda with 3 tablespoons of boiling water, then stir it into the butter mixture.Combine the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a medium bowl. Make a well in the middle, then add the butter mixture, vanilla extract and orange zest. Give the wet ingredients a good mix, then gradually stir in the dry ingredients to combine.Place heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays, leaving a rough 3cm gap between each one. Place in the hot oven for around 10 minutes, or until golden, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Thanks Jamie.

 

Lest we forget.

 

xx Angie

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  • Sera

    I just found your podcast and am really enjoying it! Thanks for the ANZAC piece, it cheers my expat heart.

    To add a few NZ books, I loved ‘The Bone People’ by Keri Hulme, ‘Novel About my Wife’ by Emily Perkins, and ‘Potiki’ by Patricia Grace – most people will probably know ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton.

    My favourite Tim Winton is Cloud Street! He really does have a way of creating tangible scenes.

    I heard recently, that the ANZAC biscuit that was sent away to troops was probably more like a gingernut, and extremely hard and small so that they travelled well. But it was probably never called an ANZAC biscuit.. I think the oaty ones were developed later more as a fundraiser type thing. But still delicious 😉
    (Found it: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/271511/crumbs-anzac-biscuit-impostor)

    Thanks again!
    Sera

    • Angela Ledgerwood

      Sera,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments and the great recommendations of NZ authors and books. I’ve not read any of them (so embarrassed) so I have some work to do!

      I did wonder how the ANZAC biscuits would travel all that way across the world so it makes sense that they were more like a gingernut (which I also love). Thanks for the link.

      I hope you like tomorrow’s episode with Meghan Daum. Do let us know. Looking forward to more communication with you 🙂

      Angie

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