Ria’s Teashop Secrets: Anzac biscuits

Anzac flapjack as sold in Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom
Anzac flapjack as sold in Ria's Rosy Lee Tearoom

Ria Chambers from Ria’s Rosy Lee Tearoom in Wellingborough writes for the Telegraph.

“Hello, and welcome to my inaugral article.

Ria Chambers

Ria Chambers

“I’m Ria from Ria’s Rosy Lee Tearoom, a traditional vintage tearoom in Cambridge Street, Wellingborough.

“As an advocate for seasonal and homemade food, especially cakes and biscuits which I make and sell in my tearoom, I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts, experiences, ideas, tips, and recipes with you all.

“I especially like to use bygone recipes, one of which I’d like to tell you about today.

“Each month in the tearoom I have a theme and this month it’s Remember November.

“This is reflected by using warm spices to ‘Remember, Remember the 5th of November’, and poppy seeds to Remember the 11th of November.

I am also baking my familiy’s recipe for Anzacs which originates from the First World War.

During this war the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) were sent as part of the Allied forces to capture Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

This turned into an eight-month stalemate, so the wives of the soldiers involved wanted to bake and send their husbands something that would sustain them during this battle, which would use ingredients that would keep well over the period of time it would take to reach them.

The resulting product was a biscuit which was called an Anzac in honour of the soldiers it was developed for.

Anzacs have a unique flavour which comes from a combination of golden syrup and coconut that leaves you wanting more.

They are still made today having become a national biscuit in Australia, where the sales of Anzacs go towards a fund for veteran soldiers, and they commerate Anzac day every year in April to remember not only the high number of casualties from the battle in Gallipoli, but from all wars.

My great-grandfather was one of those soldiers, who thankfully survived, and my great-grandmother one of those wives who originally made Anzacs.

However, my family have always made Anzacs more like a flapjack in size and with a chewy texture rather than biscuits, so I apologise to any Antipodeans out there who may feel Great-Granny Loudon’s Anzacs are not traditional!

(If you are wondering I’m not Australian as my great-grandparents moved back to Scotland in the 1930s,and my grandmother married a Wellingborough man after transferring to Hinwick Hall to nurse during the Second World War).

Great-granny’s recipe for Anzacs has been passed down through the family along with all her other recipes, in a loose leaf book which I have now inherited.

I use these recipes often when baking for the tearoom, and think about the slice of history I am serving in the present day.

A unique way to Remember in November.