The Australian women became hives of industry and formed small groups to knit woollen socks, gloves and scarves or to roll bandages made from clean linen.
Others baked boiled fruitcakes, studded with Australian dried apricots, currants, raisins and sultanas, which could be wrapped in muslin and packed into an airtight tin.
The other great standby for women at home to bake and pack into tins were Anzac biscuits, made with butter, golden syrup, coconut and rolled oats and I still bake them today. To find out more about this iconic Australian and New Zealand biscuit follow this link.
You'll notice there are no eggs in the recipe due to the scarcity of eggs during wartime and so the biscuits would not spoil when shipped over long distances.
Why don’t you bake a batch on Anzac Day this year to mark the 100th anniversary of Australian troops landing at Gallipoli on April 25th 1915? Here’s my trusty recipe, passed down through several generations of my Dad’s family.
Makes about 25 biscuits and takes about 35 minutes to make and bake.
1 cup rolled oats 1 cup plain flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar ½ cup desiccated coconut
125 grms butter 2 tbsp. golden syrup
1 tbsp. water ½ teasp bicarb soda
- Preheat oven to 160degrees C (or 140 degrees C for a fan forced oven). Grease oven trays and line with baking paper.
- Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl. Combine butter, syrup, and the water in a small saucepan, stir over a low heat until butter has melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in soda and stir into dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
- Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls: Place on oven trays about 5cms apart and flatten slightly. Bake for about 20 minutes and allow to cool on trays before storing in an airtight container.
- These Anzac biscuits have been enjoyed by Australian families for over 100 years and are best enjoyed over a good cup of tea and a chat with family or friends.