Monday 4 October 2010

Touch of Yellow: Savoury Biscuit Hearts

Earlier this year Australia Post decided to change the postie’s uniforms from orange to yellow for greater visibility. Perhaps this is why we don’t have much yellow in our house. It demands attention. Perhaps this is why yellow was chosen to represent LiveSTRONG.

LiveSTRONG is the Foundation created by champion cyclist Lance Armstrong after he discovered that he had cancer. He wanted to be an advocate for other cancer survivors, to lead the fight against cancer, to take action. Another fighter is Barbara of Winos and Foodies.

Each year since 2007 Barbara has run A Taste of Yellow, a food blog event, to promote the work of the Foundation and raise awareness of cancer. I was pleased to be able to participate in 2008 and 2009. Her courage in telling her story has been the catalyst for food bloggers around the globe sharing their stories of encounters with cancer. So many stories of sorrow and loss! Cancer has robbed too many people of parents, children, grandparents.

Cancer is not a story that I wish to be part of but this year it stole from us when E’s mother died of cancer. We were lucky that we were able to visit late last year after her diagnosis. We knew it was special to be able to spend time with her. Seeing her delight at Sylvia was priceless. My mother in law loved children so much that it seems unfair that she isn’t around to watch her grandchildren grow up. All too often I wish we could share our stories about Sylvia with her. She loved to hear about her grand daughter so much.

Instead, we will tell Sylvia stories about her grandmother, about her generosity, her wonderful sense of humour and her joie de vivre. We will find many ways to remember her. Today I dedicate this post and this yellow heart to her.

The biscuits are from Sweet Artichoke, a blogger I have recently discovered with a wonderful sense of creativity. She bakes savoury cupcakes as well as these savoury biscuits. As soon as I saw her Savoury Oat and Millet Cookies I wanted to make them. Then I discovered that it was LiveSTRONG Day on Sunday 2 October and decided if I upped the tumeric in these bikkies and did a bit of moulding, I would have the yellow hearts that Barbara sought to remind us all of LiveSTRONG.

The recipe wasn’t perfect. I am not sure whether it was substituting oats for millet flakes, replacing oatbran with millet meal, or using vintage cheddar and more of it than the parmesan cheese. When the biscuits came out of the oven there were little puddles of yellow oil on the tray. I ignored the advice that they were best cool. But I can confirm that these biscuits were much better the next day. Slightly crisp on the edges, slightly soft in the middle and slightly seedy all over. Full of flavour. Even Sylvia enjoyed them despite the spices. Definitely a recipe for repeating.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Silverbeet Soup and Marmalade Muffins
This time two years ago: Sticky toffee pudding - my kind of healthy!

Cheese, Spice and Oat Biscuits
Adapted from Sweet Artichoke
Makes about 20 biscuits

50g rolled oats
50 g millet meal
100g wholemeal flour
100g vintage cheddar cheese, grated
20g sesame seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
5 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs

Preheat the oven at 180°C. Grease or line a baking tray.

Combine all the dry ingredients together except olive oil and eggs. Stir in olive oil til mixture is crumbly and then mix in eggs till it comes together into a sticky dough.

Roll walnut size balls of mixture and flatten on prepared tray to about 0.5cm. Bake for 20 minutes till ever so slightly golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

On the Stereo:
The end of the rainbow: an introduction to Richard and Linda Thompson


  1. An excellent post and great biscuits to remind us of a good cause Johanna, and cause to rejoice that Sylvia and her granny did meet each other.

    A friend took his new baby boy to meet his granny, she saw him and said "what a lovely baby" and those were her last words, and she dies several days later.

    On a lighter note I am amused that 2 years ago you cooked one of my recipes and used the same plate!

  2. What a heartfelt post. Such a wonderful tribute to your mother-in-law.

  3. A very delicious recipe for the A Taste of Yellow challenge Johanna! :)

  4. What a great recipe for a great cause!

  5. It's hard to know how to respond to these Livestrong posts, because half of me wants to rave over the baked goods (and I have been looking around for savoury recipes lately) but the other part is caught up in remembering personal losses and feeling sympathy for yours.

  6. those look lovely, Johanna :)

  7. My father had a surgery for cancer 10 years ago. He is now ok. My father in law had a surgery for cancer this past summer and we hope that he will be fine. I guess evry family has at least on eincident either among relatives or friends. I love your salty cookies and the spices you used.

  8. Johanna the biscuits are a wonderful tribute to your mother in law. I'm so pleased she did meet Sylvia. One of my great fears is I'll never know my grandchildren. Fingers crossed :)

    Thank you for sharing your heart for LiveSTRONG Day

  9. I lovely post and yummy looking biscuits.

  10. {hug} and sneaky snaffling of biscuit from the lovely sunflower plate.
    Echos of what's been spoken of so beautifully by you and your blog friends x

  11. These look wonderful! I bet I could adapt them and use flax in place of eggs. Anything including mustard seeds surely gets my vote

  12. These biscuits sound delightful! I love how you hand-fashioned the hearts - they look great. Sorry to hear about E's mother - but glad she got to meet Sylvia before she passed away.

  13. Thanks everyone for your kind words

    Thanks Helen - it is hard to know where to be heartened or saddened by your story - glad you remember the plate

    Thanks Hannah - I know what you mean about responding to such posts - just think of it as sharing a confidence over a tea and bikkie - and hope to hear more of your savoury baking

    Thanks Katerina - I'm glad your father is well and hope your father in law does well after his surgery - I think this event strikes a chord with so many people because like you say, so many of us as affected

    Thanks Barbara - I am sure you will be a great inspiration to your grandchildren - I am sure they will be happy if they can spend time with you

    Thanks Jodye - will be interested to hear how you go with a vegan version - some tofu and nutritional yeast flakes might be good to give some of the texture and flavour of the cheese

  14. Cancer is such a horrendous disease and it's so true that we all need to do our part to fight against it! I'm so sorry to hear about your family's experience with it. Great post and delicious dish!

  15. This is a very touching post. All my sympathy for the loss of your Mother in law.
    Thanks for the nice comment about my blog and I am still wondering why the biscuits did not come up as expected. Maybe cheddar is richer than parmesan?
    P.S. the heart-shaped ones are soooo cute!

  16. What a lovely way to honor E's mom. :) These biscuits sound so good and are so cute!


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