Healthier Anzac Cookies

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

A slightly altered recipe from the original sweet oat biscuits which were sent overseas from Australia to the serving Anzacs in World War I. I reckon the troops would have been happy with the added almonds and chia seeds though, as they add nutrients and a delicious texture to these slightly chewy, treacly cookies. The chocolate is optional, but is a delicious addition if you have some in the cupboard.

Makes 26
125g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
150g plain flour
100g quick-cook oats
50g desiccated coconut
2 heaped tablespoons flaked or slivered almonds (optional)
11⁄2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
100g soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
For dipping: 150g dark chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3.
2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
3. Put the butter and golden syrup into a saucepan and gently melt.
4. Meanwhile, combine the flour, oats, coconut, almonds and chia seeds, if using, in a bowl.
5. Stir the brown sugar into the butter, turn off the heat and add 2 tablespoonfuls of water and the bicarbonate of soda.
6. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the melted butter mixture, then stir to combine.
7. Take small tablespoon-sized amounts and roll into 26 balls. Space them 6cm apart on the tray and then press down lightly about two-thirds with a fork to semi-flatten.
8. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until brown.
9. Remove from the oven, leave for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.
10. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water, then dip the biscuits halfway into the chocolate and place them carefully on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
11. Leave to dry in the fridge or somewhere cold.

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.

‘No knead’ grain and seed loaf

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

Bar a few good Aussie bakeries dotted around, the bread in Singapore (where I live) is not massively interesting or healthy, so it’s great to have a recipe for a cheat’s loaf up your sleeve. This one is my Swedish friend Anna’s creation, but adapted slightly to suit my family’s likes. It’s quite a dense bread, but certainly less dense and softer than darker pumpernickel-style breads, and uses wholegrain spelt and wholemeal flour rather than rye flour, which is commonly used in Scandinavian and German breads. It’s the perfect bread to quickly rustle up too, as it takes half the time a normal loaf takes to make, and it’s a great accompaniment to a bowl of soup, a smear of thick-set honey or some smoked salmon, chopped dill and lemon.

Makes 2 x 900g loaves

3 tablespoons light olive or vegetable oil, plus a little for greasing
700g stoneground wholewheat flour
200g wholegrain spelt flour
4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons flaxseeds/linseeds, preferably ground
3 teaspoons caster sugar
3 teaspoons sea salt flakes
7g sachet fast-action yeast

1. First, grease two large 900g loaf tins with oil. Mix the flour, spelt flour, seeds, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
2. Make a well in the centre and pour in 850ml warm water and the oil.
3. Mix well with a spoon or your hand (it will be quite a wet mixture compared to normal bread dough).
4. Divide between the two greased loaf tins.
5. Cover with a damp tea towel or an upturned mixing bowl and the leave in a warm place (the airing cupboard is perfect) for 1–11⁄2 hours until it has swelled in size.
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.
7. Uncover the loaves and bake for 40 minutes until golden and risen.
8. Tip the bread out of the tins and return to the oven rack for another 10–15 minutes – then test by tapping the base to hear if it sounds hollow. If it doesn’t, return to the oven for a further 5–10 minutes or until done.
9. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Alternative to spelt flour: instant oatmeal or use all stoneground whole-wheat flour

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.