Wednesday 12 May 2010

Mothering Oat and Cranberry Biscuits

It has been busy with E in the UK and lots on at work. Thanks to everyone who has sent their sympathy upon the death of my mother-in-law. I had planned to bake my mum something for mothers day on the weekend but it got so busy that I didn't manage it. I did however have these biscuits I had made for Sylvia. Today I will share these with you and tell you about the good food on a mothering weekend.

On Saturday morning we went to Collingwood Children's Farm Farmer's Market. As usual it was full of interesting food: broccoli salad leaves (above), banana leaves, fresh walnuts, quinces. Sylvia chomped on some sweet and juicy corn on the cob and I was astounded by how good the organic apples tasted.

You can see my swag of goodies above, spread out on some tea towels that I got out to remember my late mother-in-law. You can see corn, kale, parsnips, pink lady apples, pink fir apple potatoes, rhubarb, sage, angel hair pasta and walnuts.

However, meeting up with my family including nieces Ella and Quin, and nephew Cooper, we were really there to see the animals. Firstly there was the cow being milked but there was such a crowd around it that it was hard to watch, although the staff seemed to be doing a good job of making sure every child got close up.

We enjoyed patting the goats. Ella got a fright when she was headbutted by a goat but she was more surprised than hurt. We walked through the field were sheep were ambling. Cooper enjoyed sitting on the rocks on the field. Then we visited the large pig. My mother showed Ella where the pork crackling comes from on the back of the pig. She was fascinated. Apparently whenever she has meat she asks what part of the animal it comes from. When she had chicken breast lately she was amused to find that 'chickens have boobies'.

We then left, passing this cow on the way to the entrance. Sylvia had a sleep at home and then went to a party with my sister Fran and her partner John. Then I drove down to stay the night with my parents, forgetting that Sylvia has swimming lessons on Sunday mornings. It was just that sort of week.

My mum had decided she would cook lunch for the family on Mother's Day. I would feel guilty about her doing it if I didn't know how much she loves cooking for the family. Saturday night she was pottering about in the kitchen preparing no knead bread dough, baking a pavlova, caramelising condensed milk, planning the menu and warming us some poached quinces to eat with a wonderful yoghurt cream. Sylvia meanwhile was very excited at a couch just the right height for her to climb on (and off).

On Sunday the family came for lunch. My sister Susie wore a necklace of gold-sprayed pasta that Grace and Ella had made. My mum made a roast dinner with an amazing array of vegetables. My plate was full with eggplant parmigiana, baked mushrooms, roasted carrots with pomegranate molasses and dukkah, roast potato, pumpkin and parsnip, a green salad and no knead bread. The warm bread was admired and quickly demolished.

But the star of the show was my mum's pavlova with crushed peppermint crisp on top. My mum has made pavlovas regularly ever since I can remember but she has felt her pavs haven't been quite right lately. This weekend she was delighted to rediscover her pav mojo! (It has something to do with beating the egg whites and sugar a long time, waiting until the end to fold in the vinegar, buying an oven thermometer to get the temperature right, and not cooking it too long because it crisps up when cooling in the oven.) This one was light and fluffy and loved by the connoisseurs of pavlova. I preferred the caramel tart, also made by my mum.

I went home on Sunday night with leftover eggplant parma. I added some spaghetti, baked tofu, peas and carrots. It was delicious and reminded me of an excellent spag bol. It was followed by an oaty biscuit.

Which brings me to my recipe today. After a few nights last week with Sylvia being unsettled, I was so pleased to have a night when she slept because I had the urge to bake. I really wanted to bake something rich and full of chocolate but I also wanted Sylvia to be able to eat it. I found this recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies on vegweb.

I couldn't keep the name because if I was to Australianise it, they would be called Oat and Sultana Biscuits, and because I substituted cranberries for sultanans. I also halved the sugar, despite the recipe being described as low sugar. I made a few other changes including adding flaked coconut. The biscuit in my version was not very sweet at all but the cranberries make amends for this. Sylvia loved them and had quite a few for snacks and after dinner. I found them great to put in my bag for afternoon tea at work. They were an excellent healthy snack.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Pumpkin and Goats Cheese Muffins
This time two years ago:
Mum’s Banana Cake
This time three years ago:
Cardamom and Chocolate Comforts

Oat and Cranberry Biscuits
adapted from
makes 24 biscuits
  • 1 cup plain white flour
  • 1½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries (or sultanas or choc chips)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup mild oil, such as canola or safflower
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tablespoon applesauce (or agave or honey or maple syrup)
  • 3 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Line a baking tray sheet with baking paper or a silicone baking mat.

Combine all dry ingredients (flour through to allspice) and cranberries in a large bowl. Lightly whisk wet ingredients in a large jug with a fork then tip into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix till combined. The recipe suggests adding a little milk or water if it is too dry but I didn’t need to.

Drop teaspoonfuls onto the prepared tray and use wet hands to shape into discs. Bake for 13-14 minutes. I erred on the side of a little less than cooked and was glad of it. Cook biscuits a bit before transferring to a wire tray because they may fall apart if handled when too hot.

On the Stereo:
The Boy with the Arab Strap: Belle and Sebastian


  1. That spaghetti dish, using the leftover eggplant, is inspired! And you had me at "caramelising condensed milk"... could anything sound better than homemade dulce de leche after four hours' sleep last night? I don't think so...

  2. This recipe is wonderful! Thanks for sharing! I also had fun reading the post and also the pictures are awesome.

  3. Lovely meal. I am sitting here thinking how much I would have enjoyed it and the pavlova looks amazing. Have you blogged it? I would like to try it. Oh and thanks for the link to your index, it is fab. Must have taken you forever. The tofu recipes will come in handy :)

  4. Thanks Hannah - Four hours sleep! that doesn't sound good - even I get more than that with a crying baby. I am trying to convince my mum to make the dulce de leche in the microwave - it is so much easier than boiling a can!

    Thanks Dining Room - glad you enjoyed it

    Thanks Jacqueline - I find the index useful for me and I hope for others but it is not as up to date as my main index - I haven't blogged the pavlova but as my mum is full of helpful tips I probably should try one

  5. Very sorry to hear about the death of your mother in law. I lost my mother to cancer, so I know how much it hurts.

    Your biscuits look wonderful. I always do enjoy your biscuit recipes.

    Take care,

  6. Those biscuits look yummy! Love the oats & coconut in there. Mmm pavlova. My grandmother recently made some and it was so good - I forgot how good it is!

  7. That does sound like such a lovely weekend. And how wonderful that the kids got to see real cows and goats up close (despite the wee head butt). Glad to hear your mum got her pavlova mojo back, too--it looks fantastic (though I must admit I'd prefer the caramel tart, too). And I just love the visual of a gold-sprayed macaroni necklace!


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