ANZAC Day is the most solemn day of the year for many patriotic Australians. A day to commemorate those who fought as part of the ANZAC Corps during World War 1 and also to remember all those who have served and died for our country .
It's a day of many traditions. There are the Dawn Services that are held in almost every town throughout the nation. There are the ANZAC Day Marches held in every state capital city. These are followed by gatherings in Returned & Services League (RSL) Clubs and pubs across the country where we can have a drink and natter with a 'digger' and play two-up legally.
Sacred and special occasions like this are usually associated with some sort of feasting. On Christmas Day, many of us serve up a roast. Fish and Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday followed by Easter Eggs on a Sunday. BBQ's are lit across the nation on Australia Day but what should we eat on ANZAC Day apart from ANZAC biscuits?
The 'Gunfire Breakfast' is not exactly a state secret yet surprisingly hardly common knowledge. Almost all RSL Clubs serve Gunfire Breakfasts free to all guests following their Dawn Service. The Gunfire Breakfast was the name given to the breakfast taken by soldiers prior to a morning battle. During World War One, this may have included biscuits and jam or tinned Bully Beef served with coffee laced with rum or condensed milk. It was prepared and eaten in darkness to the likely sound of exploding munitions and served cold as any fires or smoke would have given away their position to the enemy. The breakfast has since evolved into a more recognisable hot meal with lashings of bacon, sausages, eggs, beans, tomatoes, damper and tea. Rum is often added to coffee or cold milk as an accompanying drink.
My favourite however is the very non-traditional ANZAC toast. This is a fusion of possibly the two most iconic foods of Australia and our foes at the battle at Gallipoli, the Turks. It is simply Vegemite spread over hot toasted Turkish bread. Washed down by a 'Billy' tea or a strong black Turkish coffee, I couldn't think of a more suitable dish to salute the historical bond between our two nations forged out of the battle for Gallipoli and to commemorate those who fought and died on both sides. If you think we should include our ANZAC comrades, the New Zealander's in this culinary homage, a few slices of Mainland cheese on top of the Vegemite is a real winner.
So whether you front up to your local Dawn Service for a hot Gunfire Breakfast or stay at home and sit in front of the telly with your ANZAC toast and tea to watch the ANZAC Day march, you'll feel better for taking your part in ANZAC Day and maintaining this great Aussie ritual, 'Lest We Forget'.
To make your own ANZAC biscuits and ANZAC toast, see the recipes below.
Anzac Toast Turkish Bread Vegemite
Margarine and Cheese (optional)
Toast bread, spread on Vegemite. Serve with Billy tea or Turkish coffee.
125g butter or margarine
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 ½ tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup desiccated coconut
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
Set oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Melt butter and golden syrup over a gentle heat. Add boiling water mixed with bicarb of soda. Pour into mixed dry ingredients and blend well. Drop teaspoons of mixture onto greased trays and bake for 20min. Cool on trays for a few minutes. Remove and store in airtight containers.
If you have any suggestions - please leave a comment.