Saturday, 4 May 2013

Anzac Day Porridge

For those of us here in Australia (and also in New Zealand, and various Commonwealth island nations), last Thursday the 25th of April was ANZAC Day. It is a national holiday and treated as a day of remembrance, much like November 11th (Remembrance Day, known as Armistice Day or Veteran's Day elsewhere in the world), although it initially began to commemorate the 12,000 members of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fell during the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey which began on the 25th of April in 1915.

Gallipoli was the first military campaign of WWI that sustained heavy Australian and New Zealand casualties, and around 2,000 Australians died on the first day. At the time that meant that for every 550 Australians, one person from a very narrow demographic (able-bodied young men) died in that single campaign. For a young nation, this campaign and the war in general went a long way to shape national identity.

People argue the relevance of a 98-year-old military failure in modern Australia, but personally that makes me quite angry when people disregard it all so easily. I'm not pro-war by any stretch of the imagination, but where you are today is a result of everything that went before, and I feel very blessed to live in Australia. Our military history is part of the nation's history, and so it is a part of me. I think people also underrate the sacrifices military personnel and their families made and make, and I don't think we should ever forget it.

The qualities the diggers at Gallipoli displayed became known as the Anzac Spirit. Things like courage, making the best of a bad situation, working hard, helping your mates out and a tendency to be a bit cheeky and push the envelope. I, for one, am more than happy for that to be a part of our national identity, and I fear that those qualities are slipping in today's society.

Anyway, you didn't come here for a rant. You came here for noms!

Normally I bake Anzac biscuits on Anzac Day. They are made of oats, flour, butter, coconut, golden syrup, coconut and sugar. Because there are no eggs or milk they keep very well, and legend has it that people would make them and send them to our troops serving overseas.

Knowing how untrustworthy I am around a batch of Anzacs (I have to have a little bit of the raw mix; a piping hot one which hasn't yet set that will inevitably burn my tongue; and a cooled one. Quality control, you see!) I decided to go with something on a smaller scale that could possibly be construed as wholesome, and invent myself some Anzac porridge.

No need to reinvent the wheel here! I just microwaved 3/4 cup of rolled oats mixed with (I think it was) half a cup of water for a minute or two, stirred it, mixed in 1/4c of milk and a heaped tablespoon of desiccated coconut and microwaved for another minute, then got a massive dollop of golden syrup on my spoon and drizzled it all over the top of the porridge.


You'll have to play with the times and the liquid quantities because every microwave is different. Be aware that I have had porridge literally explode all over the microwave, and I have also had it boil over and coat everything with a thick, sticky mess. Choose a deeper bowl and put less in it. If mine turns out dry I usually just add a little more milk and work it into the porridge.

I have heard disturbing rumours that other parts of the world don't have golden syrup, and this shocks and saddens me. The best way I can describe it (and in fact, I have cobbled some together like this) is a cross between honey and molasses, kind of a pale treacle. It is basically a cane sugar-based syrup that has a wee bit of bitterness to its sticky sweetness. Honey is too sweet and molasses is too bitter. I imagine a 3:1 mix might come close. Maybe. Or you could just Google it - no doubt someone has done the maths!


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  2. thanks for sharing. I have always been too scared to attempt a cake in fondant but you make it look almost easy!! I learn so much every time i watch your videos, they are fantastic. Thanks!

  3. Oats is best for baking not only porridge. There are more options of dieting, with healthy food. You may go for porridge or healthy cakes. It would be fantastic eating various kinds of recipes out of low calories oats. It would be completed with eggs as protien, flavoring fruits and veggies. Just be determined to lose weight. Soldiers and civilians survived during the world war by eating porridge out of oats. But oatmeal cakes is yummy for these generation whether on dieting or not.


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