The only thing worse than battling through a university subject in the summer break (the first of two, why oh whyyyyyy do you do this to yourself?!), is a take-home exam for said subject in the summer break. You’re only just easing back into the whole study fandangle. Essays you might just deal with. You’ve written enough of those. But a take-home exam? No thank you. They say kindly the day before ‘it’ll be easy. If you’ve done all the readings and attended all the classes you’ll be just fine’. Hah. Liars. When on earth did we learn about the physiognomy of nature? Oh. Maybe that’s when you were daydreaming about what to cook for dinner. Mm that’s right. Big-whoops there.
Fortunately you know you’ve got dinner covered for the night, an ah-maazing Mexican-Style Quinoa Bake (to be seen around these parts in the near future) and a few of those remaining green beans from the market. But wait. On arriving home from Body Balance, feeling ever so slightly more zen than before, you open the fridge and rustle around for the beans. Only to wail in a high-pitched, indignant voice ‘darn fridge frooaaaaaaazzze ma beans!’. You eat the beans anyway (we’re all about the tastewithoutwaste remember?) and get back to the take-home exam.
Ten minutes later and you’re day dreaming again. Gotta stop doing that. Seriously. This time it’s about how lovely it would be to bake. To pop an apron on (floral of course) and potter around bare-foot in the teeny kitchenette. Humming away to yourself. Maybe talking. It’s a given side-effect of living by yourself for any extended period. And some ANZAC Slice would go down very nicely after those slightly soggy beans (note: frozen beans = produce a heck of a lotta water when steamed). Crispy on the edges, oh-so-slightly-chewy in the middle, with a warm (yes, an odd word to describe it but it makes sense, honest), caramel, wholesome flavour. Yes, very nicely indeed. It’s also as sturdy as old boots – this ANZAC Slice will travel anywhere in one piece. But that’s beside the point for now – the main thing is that it’ll remind you of when you were small and things were simple. And you could make ANZAC Slice just because you wanted to (and, well, because mum and dad let you).
But no, you need to keep the adult shoes on for now. Attack that take-home with the newfound energy you’ve got from doing weird-stretchy poses for an hour and then consuming plenty of brain-beneficial foods (at least that’s what you tell yourself) such as quinoa, kidney beans and brightly coloured vegetables. You’ll get to make that slice one day. The ingredients are so simple – think oats, whole-wheat flour, brown sugar, coconut, butter – that they’ll always be in the pantry cupboard. It’s not going anywhere. In any case, this is the kind of slice for sharing. It needs to be loved by more than one person (though if you said that I couldn’t eat the whole slab by myself, I’d likely prove you wrong).
And as I can’t make this homeliest of homely, nostalgic specimen at the present time, will you? Please?
Makes one 18x28cm slab
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour
¾ cup loosely packed brown sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, broken into chunks
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp water
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Optional add ins: ½ cup dark chocolate bits OR ½ cup chopped dried apricots
Preheat the oven to 165C. Grease and line an 18x28cm baking pan with baking paper. Place the oats, flour, brown sugar and coconut in a large bowl and whisk well to combine.
Set a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter, golden syrup and water. Stir the mixture until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda – it will froth and bubble.
Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Add the choc bits or dried apricots now, if using. Press the mixture into the prepared pan to form an even covering. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown and just set on top (it will firm upon cooling). Set the pan on a wire rack and leave to cool completely before carefully removing and cutting into squares or rectangles.
Slice will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
Source: Barely adapted from Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Get Real! Make a Meal.’