The name Donna Hay is not an unfamiliar one on the Irish side of the world but in Australia and New Zealand she’s more than just a writer of minimalist cookery books, she’s a cooking brand in herself. The Donna Hay Magazine, like Cuisine, comes out every two months and it truly is a lavish production. Beautifully styled, impeccably photographed, what Ms Hay is selling are not mere recipes but a lifestyle. She truly is the Martha Stewart of the Antipodes.
In this month’s edition, for instance, there’s an article on the Great Outdoors – late autumn camping in the perfect wood with the perfect campfire dishes and perfect photogenic family – a feature on Mother’s Day, treating “Mum to the things she loves for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea” (perfect photogenic family #2 with supportive Dad seen taking an active part in the kitchen); a rustic layout for a variety of savoury pies, complete with old, well used chopping boards, dishes and serving spoons – the walls and doors in the background even look authentically battered, peeling paint and all. But, wade through all the fictional set-ups, and there are some fantastic recipes to be found.
I know it’s not long since I was extolling the virtues of Anzac Biscuits but Donna Hay has provided me with an addition to my range of quick, easy biscuits that will sit happily in a sealed container until we get around to eating them or taking them to work for lunch. Leafing my way through the Great Outdoors article I discovered a recipe for Oaty Apricot Biscuits which are made in a similar easy way as the Anzac Biscuits, and their ingredients contain some of my favourite things – oats, apricots, ground almonds and even maple syrup. They had to be tried! These Oaty Apricot Biscuits have a more chewy texture than the Anzac Biscuits – oaty, undoubtedly, but enlivened with the chunks of chopped dried apricot distributed throughout – plus they are happy to sit in a box until needed. I think this is a recipe that I’ll be sticking with. I wonder what would happen if I put chocolate chips into the mix?
Oaty Apricot Biscuits
Rolled oats – 1 cup
Plain flour – 1 cup
Ground almonds – ¾ cup
Dried apricots – ½ cup, chopped
Caster sugar – ¾ cup
Butter – 125g
Maple syrup – ¼ cup
Baking or bread soda – ½ teaspoon
Hot water – 1 tablespoon
Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F. Melt the butter and maple syrup in a saucepan over low heat. Put the oats, flour, ground almonds, apricots and sugar in a bowl. Mix the bread soda and water and add to the butter mixture. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well.
Place teaspoons of the mixture on greased baking trays, spaced well apart, and flatten with a fork dipped in cold water. Cook for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.