THE GOURMET EDIT: Key Ingredients

April 1, 2016

THE GOURMET EDIT: Key Ingredients

Just as you have must-have fashion pieces in your wardrobe – a pair of jeans, white blouse, tailored jacket, little black dress and a good pair of stilettos, you also need cooking essentials forever stocked for a well-dressed pantry.

Making sure you always have these key ingredients available in your kitchen not only makes cooking a lot easier, but it’s cheaper too, as you can often buy in bulk, or top up when certain items are on special at your local supermarket.

Extra-virgin olive oil is at the top of the list, followed by salt and pepper for seasoning, and a range of your favourite spices including allspice, basil, bay leaves, chilli flakes, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, turmeric.

Other must-have ingredients for a healthy kitchen are greek yoghurt, honey and rolled oats, and when it comes to baking, it pays to have self-raising flour, plain flour, caster sugar, brown sugar, baking powder or bicarb soda, eggs, butter and milk at the ready.

I reaped the benefits of a well-stocked kitchen last Anzac Day when I had a craving for Anzac biscuits after the Dawn Service. It was too early to buy some, so I flicked through my cook books and sifted through my pantry and fridge and found what I needed – fortunately these scrummy biscuits are made predominantly from the staple ingredients listed above.

Interestingly, Anzac biscuits have nothing to do with the Anzacs and it is believed they are a sweet adaptation of the hardtack biscuits added to the soldiers’ rations in Gallipoli.

Hardtack biscuits were a nutritional substitute for bread, which did not go mouldy, and were very hard. To make them easier to eat, some soldiers made ‘porridge’ by grating them and adding water, while others soaked them in water and added jam, before baking over a fire into “jam tarts”. The texture and hardiness of the biscuits was so tough, soldiers also wrote messages on them to loved ones.

Thankfully what we now know as Anzac biscuits are far more delicious and I hope you enjoy making these on 25 April – don’t forget to take a photo and share it on social media using the hashtag #profilegourmet.


1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup firmly packed
brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, chopped
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 1/2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 160°C and line a tray with baking paper.
Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl. Place butter, syrup and the water in a small saucepan; stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in soda, then stir into dry ingredients.
Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls; place 5cm apart on trays, flatten slightly. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden; cool on trays.

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