Anzac Day in a small Australian village

This year was the hundred year anniversary of the First World War and all round Australia Anzac Day ceremonies were taking place on 25th April.

Metung is only a little village but the turn out for the ceremony showed how important the remembrance ceremony is to the people here as it is in other parts of Australia.

Anzac Day

The ceremony had a contingent of Air Force personnel from the local Air Force Base and there was a strong turn out of local returned service men and women.

The Light Horsemen were represented.

LighthorsemenThe local school children played a part in the ceremony with students telling a short history of each of the nine local residents who were killed in World War 1.  The students then planted a cross for each of the soldiers.

World War 1 crosses

There were two excellent guest speakers and then the ceremonial wreath laying

Anzac Day wreathsfollowed by the Ode.

“They shall grow not 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.”

Lest we forget.

A traditional part of Anzac Day is the baking of Anzac biscuits.

Anzac biscuits

These biscuits were sent to the troops during the War.

ANZAC Biscuits

During World War 1, the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Here was a problem. Any food they sent to the fighting men had to be carried in the ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of these were lucky to maintain a speed of ten knots (18.5 kilometers per hour). Most had no refrigerated facilities, so any food sent had to be able to remain edible after periods in excess of two months. A body of women came up with the answer – a biscuit with all the nutritional value possible. The basis was a Scottish recipe using rolled oats. These oats were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that helped counteract the extremely cold climate.

The ingredients they used were: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called Soldiers’ Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.

A point of interest is the lack of eggs to bind the ANZAC biscuit mixture together. Because of the war, many of the poultry farmers had joined the services, thus, eggs were scarce. The binding agent for the biscuits was golden syrup or treacle. Eggs that were sent long distances were coated with a product called ke peg (like Vaseline) then packed in air tight containers filled with sand to cushion the eggs and keep out the air.


Everything to do with vegetables

My husband had a birthday recently and one of the gifts he received was this cookbook.

I gave him the cookbook after checking it out at my elder daughters’.  She had a copy and was extolling the virtues of the book. I have to admit that the book is certainly a joy to look at.  The photos are inspiring and hopefully the food that is produced will taste as good as the pictures look.

The first recipe we tried was  Fried cauliflower with mint and tamarind dipping sauce.

The dipping sauce doesn’t look appetising but it tastes delicious.  We will certainly be cooking this one again.

The author of this cookbook was the Guardian newspaper’s vegetarian columnist and from this sprouted his first book called Plenty.  Obviously Plenty More is a follow up to his first publication.

From the bookcover:

Vegetables have moved from the side dish to the main plate, grains re-dressed with colour and flair.  It’s a revolution that is bold, vibrant and ever expanding.

A fabulous book.

The Snowman – recent reads 5

The Snowman

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo was the next book on my To Be Read shelf.  I have read several Jo Nesbo books.  I had the Oslo Trilogy as an ibook on my phone when we went overseas a few years ago.

From the book jacket:

A young boy wakes to find his mother missing.  Their house is empty but outside in the garden he sees his mother’s favourite scarf – wrapped around the neck of a snowman.  As Harry Hole and his team begin their investigation they discover that an alarming number of wives and mothers have gone missing over the years.  When a second woman disappears it seems that Harry’s worst suspicions are confirmed: for the first time in his career Harry finds himself confronted with a serial killer operating on his home turf.

This one certainly lived up to the button on the front of the book – “The next Stieg Larsson” You are hooked on this book right from the first couple of pages. Crime fiction is obviously the genre that I pursue and my ‘to be read shelf’ still has a few of them waiting to be read before I try some other genre.

An excellent review of The Snowman is here.

True blue is a very Australian title but nothing to do with Australia – recent reads 4

True blueYou can see from the cover that this was a buy from a secondhand store. It was bought last year as a $2 purchase, well worth the money as it was a great read.  I haven’t read any books by this author so I was not sure what to expect.

The blue is reference to the police uniform.

From the cover:

Mason Perry was a maverick cop on the D.C. police force until she was framed for a crime and spent two years in prison.  Now back on the outside, Mace teams up with young lawyer Roy Kingman to investigate the murder of a female partner at his firm.

But as their enquiries gather pace, dark secrets begin to emerge, and Roy and Mace soon find themselves drawn into both the private and public world of the nation’s capital.  For what begins as a fairly routine homicide investigation quickly turns into something far more complex and possibly lethal .. . . . 

This was another book with a female police officer as the protagonist. I really enjoyed this book too and will be looking for other books by this author when I visit the library.

You may have noticed that the protagonist is named Mason Perry. . . .that might have made a link with you to Perry Mason.  Remember him?


I said I would borrow more by Michael Dobbs – recent reads part 3

This is the sixth in the Harry Jones series by Michael Dobbs.  Again I have read the books non sequentially but it doesn’t really make much difference if you just put the previous book out of your mind!  Not difficult to do when you get a bit old. :-)
a ghost at the door

From the cover:

Tell me about your father.’ 
Five short, razor-edged words that rip the world of Harry Jones to pieces. 
He barely knew his father Johnnie and hated what little he did know, yet no man is able to escape the shadows of the past. 

Harry has already lost almost everything – his seat in parliament, his reputation, his fortune. There is little left apart from his love for the headstrong Jemma, and now he must risk losing her and even his own life to uncover the truth about his dead father. 

What starts as a gentle enquiry uncovers a trail of murder and guilt-ridden love that dates back to Johnnie’s student days. Harry’s search leads from a burning house in Bermuda to a graveyard in Greece, from the croquet lawns of his father’s Oxford college to the altar of one of Wren’s finest London churches. At every turn Harry discovers that the childhood world he thought he knew, was false, along with almost everyone in it. Only when he confronts his own death does he realize that all along he’s been used as a pawn in a far larger game. – 

It’s a fast-paced novel packed with exciting twists and turns, although I think for the first time ever I was able to work out the ending before I got there. Some parts of the plot were unbelievable, for example his injuries after driving off a cliff or the very friendly female cop, aptly named Delicious Hope. But apart from that this was another enjoyable read and I am now going back to the library to collect the next one I put on reserve. 

If you haven’t read any Michael Dobbs it would probably be to your benefit to read them in sequence.


The Lords’ Day, nothing to do with the Sabbath as the punctuation shows – recent reads 2

Great story line and never a dull moment from start to finish. Kept me reading because of fast pace with in-depth characters I could believe were real. 

The State Opening of Parliament. The most magnificent royal occasion of the year. The Queen, her Cabinet and all the most powerful people in the land are gathering in one room, the House of Lords. And none of them know they are about to endure the most terrifying day of their lives. Not all of them will survive.

Sitting amongst the hostages are two young men, the sons of the British Prime Minister and the US President. It creates the cruellest challenge any leader could face. As the world watches on live television and holds its breath, President and Prime Minister are torn in two between their duty as statesmen, and their love as parents.

Yet others have their agendas, too, not least of them Harry Jones, a man who is already undergoing the worst day of his life when he becomes swept up in the maelstrom. What can he do about this act of terrorism when the most powerful people are rendered helpless? He can ask one simple question – why?

This is the first book I have read by Michael Dobbs and as soon as I finished it I went to the library to borrow some others.  What a cracking read this was.  An excellent page turner.

This book was borrowed from my brother and sister-in-law. Thank you for introducing me to Michael Dobbs.

Recent reads, part 1

It seems ages since I last posted about the books I have read so this one is a catch up post on those books I have read since The Name of the Rose.

This is one I bought when I was in Melbourne with my younger daughter.  I had said I wasn’t going to buy any books this year but I HAD TO as I finished the book I had taken with me and needed another one!

I had listened to a review of this book on ABC Radio National and thought it would be a good read.  It certainly was. The story is set in Atlanta in 1974 at a time when racism and sexism are highly evident in the police force.  I will certainly be looking for other books by this author now that I have read this one.

From the cover:

As a brutal killing rocks the city, Kate Murphy wonders if her fist day on the police force will also be her last.  For life is anything but easy in the male dominated world of the Atlanta Police Department.

Kate isn’t the only woman on the force who is finding things tough.  Maggie Lawson followed her uncle and brother into the ranks to prove her worth in their cynical eyes.When Maggie and Kate become partners, and are sidelined in the search for the city’s cop killer, they decide to pursue their own line of investigation.  But are they prepared to risk everything as they venture into the city’s darkest heart?

An absolute thriller. Well worth the read. This is Karin Slaughter‘s first stand alone novel. She has written two series so I will need to check them out.  I don’t know why I haven’t come across her before this.