ANZAC Biscuits

I discovered ANZAC Biscuits after reading  In a Sunburned Country  by Bill Bryson.

The acronym ANZAC was coined in 1915 when Australian and New Zealand troops were training in Egypt. The word ANZAC was eventually applied to all Australian and New Zealand soldiers in World War I. The term is particularly associated with the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

At this time women were concerned about the food supplied to the men and its lack of nutritional value. Most ships at this time did not have refrigeration so any food provided needed to last longer than 2 months at a time. The recipe for ANZAC biscuits contained rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water- all of which did not spoil easily. It is important to note that the lack of eggs was intentional. Many poultry farmers joined in the fight, leaving eggs scarce, and the syrup was used in its place.

ANZAC Biscuits are super easy and delicious!

The first time I made these the consistency concerned me. The “dough” was crumbly and did not stick together in a way I am familiar with. So I baked them in a small (bite size) muffin tin and it worked great! Plus they are all the same size so they are great for parties- I’ve had many compliments on them.

recipe from AllDownUnder.com 

ANZAC Biscuits

Ingredients

125  grams (½ cup) butter
1  tablespoon golden syrup (corn or cane syrup)
1  teaspoon carbonate of soda (baking soda)
2  tablespoons boiling water
150  grams (1cup) flour, plain (flour, all-purpose)
85  grams (1cup) coconut, desiccated
220  grams (1cup) sugar, caster (sugar, granulated)
85  grams (1cup) rolled oats

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325° F)
2. Combine butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until butter melts.
3. Dissolve the carbonate of soda into the boiling water and add to the butter mixture.
4. Sift the flour and add the sugar, coconut, and rolled oats.
5. Stir the butter mixture into the dry ingredients until it forms a stiff dough.
6. Drop small lumps of dough onto a lightly greased baking pan. Press down on each with a fork. Make sure you leave room between the biscuits for them to expand.
7. Bake until golden brown, about 18 – 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the biscuits rest for a minute or two. Then carefully remove the biscuits to wire racks for cooling.

Store in an airtight container. Makes about 36 biscuits.

ENJOY! If you decide to make them I’d love to hear how they turned out. 🙂

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is the ultimate tour guide for the armchair traveler.

In a Sunburned Country is a journey through Australia where he easily translates the often inhospitable landscape and its amiable inhabitants. The author lets you know from the start that this nation down under rarely receives the attention and admiration it deserves. Is it because of its peripheral economy, its relatively small population, or the fact that Australia simply does not “misbehave”? Whatever the reason Bill Bryson presents the unique and awe-inspiring seventh continent with great detail and respect.

 

 

He approaches his wanderings through Australia with an open mind and heart, and the affection he relays for each unique subject is genuine. He is humbled and in awe of all he encounters. From the involuntarily deadly sea life, “the box jellyfish aka ‘stingers’ will cause the most wretched and agonizing death known to man” to the “cone shells, venomous creatures that lurk inside of the most handsome shells…” to the majesty of Uluru and the inimitable Platypus.

This unusual looking animal actually has a venomous spur on its back legs.

 

Bryson moves seamlessly between storytelling and facts. Like the volunteer (and often unacknowledged) Australian Army, the marginalized and devastated Aboriginal population to the more than 25,000 estimated species of plants believed to be native to the continent.

http://sagemagazine.net/uluru-sage-retreat/

Rising out of the surrounding Central Australian desert, Uluru and Kata Tjuta dominate the landscape. The spectacular red rocks and domes are millions upon millions of years old.

 

Ultimately stories are at the heart of his travels:

In 1859 Thomas Austin a landowner in Victoria imported 24 wild rabbits from England and released them into the bush for sport. It is hardly a novel observation that rabbits breed with a certain keenness. Within a couple of years they had overrun Austin’s property and were spreading into neighboring districts. … By 1880, 2 million acres of Victoria had been picked clean. Soon they were pushing into South Australia and New South Wales advancing over the landscape at a rate of 75 miles per year.

Before this incident inland Australia was not exactly lush, but much of the peripheral areas had experienced decades of greenness allowing nature to regenerate after droughts.

What is missing from Bryson’s book? Photos! Be warned- reading In a Sunburned Country will take longer than you think. His descriptions will cause you stop often to find photos of the Alpine National Park, Uluru, or to find out just exactly what a Stromatolite is:

Stromatolites  are layered bio-chemical accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms (microbial mats) of microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria.[1] Stromatolites provide ancient records of life on Earth by fossil remains which might date from more than 3.5 billion years ago.

Stromatolites are layered bio-chemical accretionary structures formed in shallow water by the trapping, binding and cementation of sedimentary grains by biofilms (microbial mats) of microorganisms, especially cyanobacteria. Stromatolites provide ancient records of life on Earth by fossil remains which might date from more than 3.5 billion years ago.

“It is not the sight of strom that makes them exciting. It’s the idea of them—in this respect they are peerless. You are looking at living rocks quietly functioning replicas of the very first organic structures ever to appear on earth. You are experiencing the world as it was 3.5 billion years ago—more than three-quarters of the way back to the moment of terrestrial creation. Now, if that isn’t an exciting thought, I don’t know what is.”

Mr. Bryson I am inclined to agree with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why being unable to stand noisy eaters might make you a genius

I would never say I am a genius, but this is one of my top pet peeves!

What are your thoughts?

A new study suggests the most creative of us are unable to filter out irrelevant noise

The next time you find yourself sighing in annoyance at your colleagues’ inability to munch their crisps quietly, take solace in the fact that this could mean you are a genius.

A new study from Northwestern University suggests that the inability to filter out competing sensory information is a common occurence in the creatively talented.

The study cites creative geniuses such as Charles Darwin, Anton Chekhov and novelist Marcel Proust, who notoriously wore ear-stoppers and lined his bedroom with cork to block out noise whilst he worked.

Lead author of the study Darya Zabelina said: “The propensity to filter out ‘irrelevant’ sensory information….happens early and involuntarily in brain processing and may help people integrate ideas that are outside the focus of attention, leading to creativity in the real world.”

office_lunch_2536041b

The study analysed 100 participants who were asked to provide as many answers as they could to several unlikely scenarios within a limited amount of time. Participants were then asked to take a “Creative Achievement Questionnaire” where they reported their creative achievements across 10 verticals, including: visual arts, creative writing, scientific discovery and culinary arts.

Their answers revealed a strong link between those with the most creative answers and achievements and those sensitive to background noise whilst working.

Original Post found HERE.

In Memory of Leonard Nimoy: The Bard in Mr. Spock’s Clothing

Today we lost a beloved icon. This is a re-share of a post I wrote awhile go about Leonard Nimoy and his beautiful poetry. Along with this little gem- Mr. Nimoy singing The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.

A person of many talents- he will be missed!

Leonard Nimoy is a Renaissance Man. Born in Boston, Massachusetts he began acting at the age of eight. With only encouragement from his grandfather he pursued a career in the arts, and enjoyed steady work as an actor until the role of Mr. Spock on Star Trek in 1966.

What you may not know is that Leonard Nimoy is much more than the famous character he flawlessly portrayed. In addition to the eternally logical Mr. Spock, Nimoy is also a successful director, singer, photographer, writer and poet.

Poet?   Yes, poet!

Nimoy’s poetry sincerely emits love and beauty for those in his life who inspired it. The sentiment of his works is personal, accessible and universal.

We are star-met. We are joined. We are blessed. We who have found each other. We are the dream of the ages. We are the hope, the desire. We are love.

His words will speak to your heart. They will reach a place of tenderness that few of us dare to recognize within ourselves until it is too late. These poems address love and life with dignity, and will give you cause to stop and acknowledge the people we sometimes take for granted.

people we love, and strangers too, are shedding tears, and walking, sad and dusty streets

your hand touches mine, and comforts me

love is the beginning, and the end

Be prepared to leave everything you think you know about Leonard Nimoy behind. His poetry will lead you into an artistic, passionate soul, who is sentient of the human need for love.

We are the dreamers. We are the dancers. Life is the music. Love is the song.

Fired! Famous people and their unemployment.

We’ve all had to take jobs we weren’t suited for. Sadly the majority of us will suffer through some sort of drudgery simply because we want silly things like food and shelter. The reasons for Edison and Newton seem quite reasonable to me, some of the others, like Imus and Capote, appear to be jerks, plain and simple.

What do you think?

 

Famous people and their unemployment.

From Lapham’s Quarterly

 

The book On Love

Have you ever read a book that changed your life?

In 2008 I left Southern California, everything and everyone I knew, for Boston. The reasons were many, but what it all boiled down to really was a gut feeling. That little voice that whispered to me for years was now screaming “It’s time! Go now!” So off I went, with no job and little money, to move in with a slightly unhinged roommate I found online.

In the first couple of months, between job searches, I spent my time reading and that’s when I found it. On Love by Alain de Botton, and it changed my perspective, my attitude, my life.

On Love by Alain de Botton

On Love is a simple story- boy meets girl on a flight and he is in love by the time they land on the tarmac. He is infatuated with her hair, her eyes, and taste in books, but loathes her choice of accessories. The intense infatuation between them at the start is predictable, and so, unfortunately is their decline. It is the examination and subsequent rebirth of the male character who was jilted that proved to be my reawakening.

On the surface this is not a traditional happily ever after story, and yet in one very important way it is all that and more. This is what resonated with me. After a disastrous marriage in my early twenties I was terrified to make another mistake. And so as a result I was intentionally single for the better part of ten years when I took the leap to move across the country. As I read the novel I, like so many, sympathized deeply with the discarded lover as he went through the physical and psychological after effects of the relationship. And then something remarkable happened. Once he had licked his wounds, and taken time to reflect, he found himself falling in love with someone new! This was a revelation. I’d spent the better part of a decade terrified to make another mistake, but this story led me into a new way of thinking. If I did make the wrong choice I would survive, and be strong enough to try again, and again, until I found the right person for me.

This novel gave me the tools I needed to cross over from one world to the next. Broken hearts and broken trust were not where real love ended, but where strength and knowledge were born.

Dear Valentine Poster

And can you guess what happened next? Why the most predictable thing of course! Soon after my reawakening I met a wonderful, kind man who is now my husband.

Have you read a book that changed your life? I’d love to hear about it!

NYC Midnight 2015 Short Story Entry

This is my first venture into the world of short stories and writing contests. I wanted to start 2015 off on the write foot  by moving out of my comfort zone and boy oh boy did this do the trick! I’ve never thought of writing a romantic comedy so this was a unique exercise, and one I won’t soon forget. Needless to say I have a new respect for the genre and for writing on such a tight deadline. Every contestant is given a random prompt to follow:

Genre: Romantic comedy 

Subject: A Cheap Hotel

Character: A Meteorologist

 

I’ll save all the excuses for the quality of the story and invite you to read on!

Synopsis:

Georgina travels to Ireland during the latest storm of the century on the promise that a local matchmaker has found her true love.

 storms-hit-ireland-7-630x347

 

The Storm of the Century

 It is the most ferocious storm to hit the Irish west coast in living memory. High winds and battering seas will hit towns and villages at any moment. This is Felicity Reigns, stay with channel WTR for continuous coverage of the imminent destruction…

 

‘Hello? Excuse me… Hellooo?’ Georgina sang over the blaring television and tapped the front desk bell.

One Minute… five minutes.

The hotel wasn’t exactly what she was expecting. She pulled the brochure from her bag.

‘Finest and most experienced matchmaker in Ireland! Trust Mac Finnegan with your future happiness. Mac knows better about what’s best for you!’

Okay so it wasn’t Shakespeare, but with her track record Georgina didn’t have much to lose.

She suspected things in Ireland to be, well vintage, to put it politely, but this hotel was pushing it. She’s never seen so many shades of brown in one place. It even smelled brown, like someone was growing mushrooms in the basement. Green, white, and orange paper streamers hung from the lobby ceiling framing the banner-

 

WELCOME to Destiny Duets!

Fifth Annual Matchmaking Festival

At Finnegan’s Hotel and Pub

Where Blissful Love Awaits!

 

No mistake, this was the place.

 

Welcome back to our coverage of The Atlantic Ocean Attacks: Assault on Ireland, this is Felicity Reigns. WTR always brings you the best coverage, even if when it means being out in the fray at great personal peril. We now go live to the very brave Nigel Snow on the coast. Nigel? Are you there Nigel?

 

Was this the only channel in Ireland? For two days all Georgina had seen was Nigel Snow ‘waiting on the coast for the end of the world’. She was ready for him to drown already. If he had any mercy for his audience he’d throw himself into the sea as a sacrifice to save the rest of us.

 

‘Hello? Is anyone there?’

Boxes thudded to the floor behind the reception wall.

‘Yes! Yes! Hello there!’ A gentleman with frizzy white hair sprang from the doorway.

‘So sorry to keep you waiting Miss. You must be here for our festival!’ Was I that obvious, thought Georgina?

‘Yes, Georgina Chapman.’

‘Pleased to meet you Georgina Chapman!’ running his hand across his wiry salt and pepper beard.

‘Quite the storm we’re having wouldn’t you say?’ he asked swaying back and forth uncomfortably.

‘Mac Finnegan is my name! I’m the host of your event and the proprietor of this fine hotel. There’s been a slight delay with your room I’m afraid.’ His eyes darted across the desk looking for a quick solution.

 

“Has Michael arrived yet?’

‘Michael… uh Michael…’ An awkward grin spread across his face.

“Michael Logan? He’s my first match for the festival!’ Perfect in every way on paper, she was certain that Michael was the one. Everything else was simply a formality, and she didn’t want to keep him waiting any longer than necessary. She’s waited far too long to find her perfect match and she wasn’t interested in postponing her perfect future for one minute longer.

‘Ah yes of course, Michael! Well as you know yourself there is about to be a mighty storm out there. And I’m afraid it has delayed some of our guests. But rest assured he’s on his way.’

‘Well waiting a bit longer isn’t so bad I suppose,’ she replied.

‘If you’d like to have a rest in our lovely historic pub while you wait?’

 

She followed the sound of yet another television starring Nigel and Felicity.

 

Yes Felicity! Things are quickly reaching crisis mode out here during what we now must call The Storm of the Century!

Well it may be scary out there Nigel, but what isn’t scary is your hair Nigel- FAB as usual! How DO you do it?

You ARE too kind Felicity! It can be terribly difficult in times like this to maintain a professional, yet stylish look. Almost as difficult as the people of this village are having trying to escape these monstrous waves. You can see Felicity that I must hold onto this railing- otherwise I could be lost to the sea at any moment!

 

Let go Nigel, just let go,’ Georgina muttered under her breath.

‘Now that’s not very nice,’ said a voice from behind the bar. ‘What would we do without Nigel’s on the scene crack reporting? We’d be goners for sure.’

Georgina took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Exhaling she opened them again, and looked around, She was right the first time. Empty. Except for the barman.

She drew her brows together in disbelief.

‘Are the others meeting somewhere else in the hotel?’ she asked the barman.

‘Nope. You’re it darling,’ he smirked. Georgina’s eyes narrowed at him.

‘What’s that look for?’ He was a bit too smug for her liking.

‘What? You mean this look?’ He pointed toward his face and put on another wide teasing smile.

‘You know in America the customer is always right.’

‘You came all the way from America for this?’ His head fell to the counter laughing. Waiting for her future husband Michael to arrive was going to be borderline intolerable if this guy was her only company.

‘You look like you could use a drink.’ He pulled a pint of dark ale and set it front of her.

‘Look, I’m sorry for laughing, it’s just Mac doesn’t get many takers for his matchmaking services. It’s pretty rare that anyone shows at all.’

She leaned over and took a whiff of the pint.

‘Do you have any white wine?’

‘Sorry Miss. This is Ireland, not Los Angeles.’

‘I’m not from LA, I’m from New York!’

‘My mistake. Emmet at your service.’ He held his hand out for a friendly shake.

‘Georgina,’ she waved, in reply.

‘So Georgina, from New York, you’re looking for Mr. Right all the way out here in our little village? Did they run out of men in America?’

His eyes were bright and full of interest. He must make excellent tips faining interest in the sorrows of barflies, she thought. He rested his elbows on the bar, chin in his hands and stared at her. Uneasy, Georgina leaned back on the barstool.

‘No. Not exactly.’

‘Well whatever misfortunes brought you here, Mac will be thrilled for the business.’

Georgina wasn’t really in the mood for a cliché conversation with the local barkeep, but she was eager to show him just how perfect Michael was. Who knew how long she might have to wait, it could be ages if Nigel Snow had anything to say about it.

 

 

Felicity Reigns here with your latest update. Let’s go to Nigel.

Yes Felicity we have with us a very brave resident of this tiny village who has braved these horrendous winds just to come out and talk with us. What is your name madam and why have you chosen this moment to risk your life out here on the streets?

‘My name is Agnes, Agnes O’Leary and you stopped me!”

Yes Agnes, you’re correct, we did stop you! We wanted to know why you would risk your life by leaving the safety of your home, when your village is about to be swallowed by violent seas?’

‘Well Henry doesn’t really care that there’s a storm going on.’

Yes Agnes of course we understand! When you finally come to the realization that this moment might be your last, you want to take advantage of every minute. And where is your husband Henry now? Were the two of you somehow separated by the relentless blood-thirsty winds? They really have shown no mercy have they Agnes?

‘Henry’s not my husband, he’s my dog! My husband’s where he is always is- in the pubs.

May I have my microphone back please Agnes? Agnes?

‘Is this showing in the pubs?! Patrick?! Patrick O’Leary you better finish up and get home! I’ve got some things to tell you, you’ve got some nerve…’

Yes! Well thank you Agnes for sharing your harrowing ordeal with us! Back to you Felicity!

 

 

‘Where in the hell am I?’ Georgina pinched her nose and took a long gulp of the thick, black liquid.

“Thatta girl!’ said Emmet. ‘Now you’re on holiday.’

Georgina had done some crazy things under the guise of romance before, but Michael Logan was worth any distance.

‘Earth to Georgina?’ She’d forgotten about the overly attentive bartender.

‘If you must know Mr. Finnegan has found my perfect match.’ Now she was the one with her nose in the air.

‘Is that so?’ asked Emmet ‘Well now I have to hear more.’ She pulled a neatly folded piece of paper from her bag and began to read.

‘Michael Logan a banker from London. Never married. Wants three children and a wife to adore. Loves the symphony, picnics, holidays in the south of France…’

Emmet looked on in disbelief. ‘Is that it? Or is there more to this knight in shining armor?’

‘Make fun if you like, but he’s perfect and we’re going to be perfect together. And live-’

‘Happily ever after?’ interrupted Emmet.

‘Yes! If you must know.’

‘Do you really think that you can find someone to love you by just filling out a questionnaire? You haven’t even met him in person!’ Her face turned pink with anger as the paper crunched in her fist.

‘What do you know about it anyway? Have you ever even been in love?’

‘This isn’t about me Georgina, it’s about you. And I may not know much about love, but I do know that someone as smart and beautiful as you doesn’t need to travel half way around the world to find it.’ She looked down at her perfect future husband that she’d crumbled in her hand. Okay maybe it was a little silly. It was just so much easier to plan a perfect future with someone who existed on a piece of paper.

‘Love is messy, not perfect. You’re too adventurous and exciting to enjoy something as boring as a perfect romance.’

‘Wow, you’re really working hard for that tip.’

‘I just tell it like I see it.’

Georgina’s stomach fluttered as she really looked at Emmet for the first time. He leaned over the bar and touched her hand softly.

 

Mac burst through the pub door looking more frazzled than he did when she first arrived.

‘Ah I see you’ve met our outstanding barkeep Emmet! He’s taking grand care of you I’m sure.’ Emmet pulled his hand back suddenly.

‘Absolutely Mac. Wouldn’t think of providing anything less than superior service to such a sophisticated young lady.’

Wind began to whistle through the windows as the shutters thudded against the ancient building.

‘It’s picking up out there!’ exclaimed Mac.

‘So Nigel’s been telling us, for days now,’ said Emmet. Sarcasm. As a New Yorker, Georgina had a true appreciation for the art.

‘On the bright side your room is ready! Our finest accommodations await if you’d like to take a few moments to freshen up? I’m sure Michael and the others will be along any time now.’

She hadn’t given much thought until that moment about how she must look. The journey had taken much longer than she planned and it was a safe bet she was a hot mess. Suddenly she felt conscious of her appearance as Emmet gazed at her from across the bar.

‘Well maybe I should think about freshening up after all.’

‘You look perfect to me,’ said Emmet. Georgina read the sincerity in eyes. Was this someone she could trust to always tell her the truth?

‘Miss Chapman? Shall I show you to your room?’ asked Mac.

‘No, I think I’ll stay here a bit longer if you don’t mind Mr. Finnegan.’

 

Felicity Reigns here. Nigel, how is it looking out there for our friends on the Emerald Isle?

Well Felicity, as you can see behind me more and more brave souls have begun to leave their homes to assess the damage. This may have been the storm of the century but clearly it wasn’t enough to keep the good people of this village down for long. It’s amazing to an experienced meteorologist like myself, but it seems that we have weathered this ferocious weather. This is Nigel Snow signing off-see you next time on the front lines!