Being in my 50s, I seem to have reached that stage in my life where I have everything I could want and need, and I rarely ever covet anything.
When my oldest child (my son) was just a wee baby, I lived two doors away from Val, a lovely stay-at-home mum, who had two little boys of her own. Like me, Val loved to cook, and we spent many happy hours together cooking, taste-testing and discussing recipes - particularly the quick and simple, old fashioned Aussie kind.
As we approach Anzac Day (April 25), I check my larder for supplies of rolled oats and golden syrup - to be certain that I have enough to bake at least one, if not two, batches of my Anzac Biscuits.
'More?!' asked my neighbour the fireman, smiling and eyes wide at the sight of me standing on his doorstep with a large punnet of freshly-picked, home grown strawberries. 'I'm afraid so,' I replied. 'Do you think you can manage to eat them?' We won't have any problems with that,' he laughed. 'I'll get the strawberry fairy onto them.'
‘We are the everyday biscuit capital of the world,’ says Nigel Slater in Eating for England: the Delights & Eccentricities of the British at Table. ‘What France is to cheese and Italy is to pasta, Britain is to the biscuit. The tin, with its tight lid and cute pictures, is a playground for those who like their snacks sweet and crisp and reeking of tradition. Welcome to the British biscuit tin.’
'The most precious possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman's heart.'
South Australian journalist, rural storyteller and writer, Liz Harfull, says she has what is possibly one of the best jobs in the world. Indeed, I feel more than a little envious when I learn that she has spent the last four years travelling around, visiting several of Australia's country and royal shows.
'Our family of seven ... lived in a wooden house built by my father — its stained glass windows greeted anyone who approached the front door. Drinking water came straight from the sky and into our tank, fruit and vegetables were grown in the traditional way and we collected raw goat's milk from a farm at the end of our winding gravel road, both to drink and make yoghurt. Looking back, it seems like a fairy-tale, but it's exactly the life I now want to give my own two children.'
'Who dat?,' Peter called out playfully as he opened the front door. Hearing giggles, he knew it would be our neighbour's children back for a another helping of my freshly-baked triple chocolate chip cookies. I had made a double batch and, judging by the delicious aromas wafting from my kitchen, and the look on the little ones' faces, they were really good.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
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I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.