100 years ago today, the Anzacs landed at Gallipoli, Turkey. Intended as a bold move by the Allied Forces to take over the peninsular and knock the Ottoman Empire out of the First World War, the campaign failed; a stalemate went on for eight long months, with heavy casualties to both sides.
One century on, Anzac Day is the biggest day of commemoration for all Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in wars and conflicts throughout history.
Visiting ANZAC cove in Gallipoli in 2011 was a humbling experience. Not only did I visit the site where my great-uncle died, I also got to see the battle through the eyes of my Turkish guide. Growing up hearing all about the brave and heroic Australians and New Zealanders who fought and lost their lives in those terrible conditions, I never really spared a thought for all the lives lost from the other side. These beautiful words enscribed on a monolith at ANZAC Beach, as spoken by Turkish president Kemal Atatürk in 1934, put it into perspective:
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours.
To commemorate the day, along with the Dawn Service at Gallipoli and all over Australia and New Zealand, it is tradition to bake Anzac biscuits; the recipe is based on the biscuits that the women at home sent to their soldier husbands, fathers and brothers in Gallipoli.
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
125g vegan margarine*
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons boiling water
*Butter was traditionally used so go for it if not baking a vegan version!
Pre-heat oven to 175C (160°C fan forced). Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Mix flour, oats, coconut and sugar in a large bowl. Melt margarine and golden syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted and combined. In a separate bowl, mix baking soda and boiling water then combine with margarine/syrup mix. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until combined.
Form tablespoon-sized balls of mixture and place on baking trays 5-6cm apart. Flatten tops slightly. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden. Stand on trays for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Lest we forget.