Tuesday, 23 April 2013



ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) is the National day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand and is held on 25 April, to mark the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli during WW1. Our brave soldiers, landed, expecting to take a stronghold over the Turks, but were met with fierce resistance. Many casualties were suffered on both sides and the campaign lasted eight months. 

My paternal Grandfather landed on the Gallipoli peninsula that day, he fought, survived and made it home to Australia. He died long before I was born but I felt so close to him, when in my late twenties, I stood on the beach at Gallipoli. A beautiful, peaceful part of the Turkish coast. A sail boat, gracefully making it's way across the water. Tears streamed down my face as imagined the horrors my grandfather had seen and experienced. I puffed, as a very fit and healthy young person, as I climbed the hill and imagined our forebears, struggling up that same hill, carrying heavy packs, while under enemy fire. I crawled along the trenches. They were so close to each other, that during ceasefires, the ANZAC's and the Turks would throw supplies to each other, for a bit of variety in their diet. When they ANZAC's finally retreated, they left their provisions for the Turks to find. I will never forget the day I spent there, soaking in the history, the world's and part of my very own.

There is a tribute at ANZAC Cove, to the ANZACs killed at Gallipoli by Ataturk, the Turkish commander of the 19th Division during the Gallipoli campaign. I cried when I read it there and it still brings tears to my eyes

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives...
You are now living in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours...
You, the Mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears, your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."
Ataturk 1934

My girls and I have always gone to an ANZAC service in Australia and when we moved to Shanghai, we always attended, with my Kiwi husband, the dawn service at the Australian Consul General's residence. It was one of my favourite days of the year in China. The gathering of Australians and New Zealanders, always joined by the Turkish Consul, to remember our ANZACs. A very moving service, surrounded by our countrymen, women and children, time away from the hustle and bustle of such a huge, foreign city, time to just be Australian and New Zealanders, joined together in reflection. It is important to me that my girls know and remember our history. If my Grandfather had not come home, we would not be here either.

ANZAC Day, Shanghai

So here we are in England for ANZAC day 2013, last night, I had a batch of ANZAC biscuits cooling on the kitchen bench, my daughter was looking at the TV guide, saw that Gallipoli the movie was just starting. We settled down and watched a bit of our history...and a very young Mel Gibson. We planned our own dawn service. On Thursday, ANZAC day, we will head to our village war memorial, place a wreath, sing Advance Australia Fair, we will say The Ode:

"They shall not grow 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"

ANZAC Biscuits

ANZAC biscuits originated during the first World War, when the wives and Mothers of our servicemen, from Australia and New Zealand wanted to send care packages to their loved ones overseas. They wanted to send something that was nutritious and would not spoil by the time they reached them, as this could take months. The ANZAC biscuit is still enjoyed by Australians and New Zealanders, especially around ANZAC day when we pause to commemorate the landings at Gallipoli during WW1.

There are many versions of the ANZAC biscuit, Desiccated coconut is often in the recipe. I have not included it here, as this is the recipe I used when living in Shanghai, where it was nearly impossible to buy!

ANZAC Biscuits

You will need

1 Cup Rolled oats (not the instant variety)
1/2 Cup Sugar (brown or white...doesn't matter though I think brown gives a more chewy biscuit)
1/2 Cup Plain flour

90g Butter
1 Tablespoon Golden Syrup
1 Teaspoon Bicarbonate Soda

1 Tablespoon boiling water

ANZAC Biscuits

1. Put the flour, oats and sugar in a bowl and mix together.

ANZAC Biscuits

2. Melt butter and golden syrup.

3. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in boiling water

4. Mix it all together.

5. Roll spoonfuls of mixture in hands and place on a baking paper lined tray, allow room for the biscuits to      

6. Bake in a preheated, moderate oven 180C-200C for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
    Leave on tray for a few minutes as they will be soft.

ANZAC Biscuits

7. Place on wire rack to cool, enjoy and remember our ANZAC heroes.

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