Take stock of what is in your larder and your life and get baking.

Recently I've been on a little tiki tour of the North Island, visiting small towns and seeing some of the tourist sights in between book signings to promote my new book Essential Annabel Langbein. It's been great to get off the beaten track and take in the beauty of it all - postcard views at every turn. It all seems so benevolent. Being here, it's pretty much impossible to comprehend the war and terror going on outside in the world.

And yet if you look long enough and hard enough you will find reminders of the loss our people suffered in two world wars. Standing silent witness, cast in stone and steel, more than 1000 memorials stretch the length and breadth of the country, each bearing the names of those who lost their lives in these wars.

Travelling through the remote King Country, there are 14 such war memorials, some in hamlets so small you could blink and miss them. Eighteen names are listed on the obelisk in tiny Pio Pio, several sharing the same surname - brothers or cousins. Otorohanga's war memorial is a tad bigger, another square obelisk, this one sharing the names of 58 men who fought and died.

Which is why Anzac Day is so important, a day when we stop, and remember and honour those who gave their lives that we might be free. In remembrance, we bake for those we care about.


Anzac Biscuits

Ready in 30 mins
Makes about 30

1 cup wholegrain rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 cup thread coconut
1 cup soft brown sugar
¼ cup golden syrup
125g butter
2 Tbsp boiling water
½ tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 160C fanbake and line 2 oven trays with baking paper for easy clean-up. Combine rolled oats, flour, coconut and sugar in a large bowl. Heat together golden syrup, butter and boiling water until butter melts. Stir in soda, then mix into dry ingredients until well combined. Roll mixture into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball and place on trays, allowing a little room for spreading. For biscuits that are crunchy on the outside but a little chewy inside, lightly flatten with a fork or damp fingers and bake for 20-25 minutes. For chunky, super-hard biscuits, bake for 30-35 minutes. For very crunchy thin biscuits, press dough very flat and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool on the trays (they will harden on cooling) before transferring to an airtight container. They will keep fresh for several weeks.

Camp Damper/Griddle Scones

Ready in 30 mins
Makes 8

2 cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup milk or water
¼ cup neutral oil
Butter and honey, golden syrup or jam, to serve

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine the milk or water and oil, add to the dry ingredients and mix to form a soft, pliable dough (if it is at all crumbly add a little more milk or water). To make Camp Damper, take small handfuls of mixture and shape thinly around non-toxic sticks. Cook over the embers of a fire, turning, until the outside is golden and the damper comes off the sticks easily (about 15 minutes). Drizzle a little butter and honey, golden syrup or jam into the hole where the stick was and eat while hot. To make Griddle Scones, take small handfuls of mixture, form into balls and press to flatten to about the thickness of your finger. Heat a little oil or butter in a preheated frypan or on a preheated barbecue plate and cook over low heat until golden brown and cooked through (about 7 minutes each side). Split and fill with a little butter and honey, golden syrup or jam.

Remembrance Crackers

Ready in 30 mins
Makes about 30

1 cup plain flour
¼ cup wholemeal flour
½ tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp poppy seeds
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 tsp salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup water
Extra-virgin olive oil and flaky sea salt, to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 160C fanbake and line an oven tray with baking paper for easy clean-up. Combine the flours, baking powder, poppy seeds, rosemary and salt in a large bowl. Combine the oil and water, add to dry ingredients and mix to form a soft, pliable dough. Divide into 2 pieces, roll out on a lightly floured board to about 3mm thick and cut into crackers about 6cm x 4cm. Transfer to prepared tray, brush lightly with extra olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake until crisp and pale golden (20-25 minutes). Allow to cool fully before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 days.