With the exception of 45 minutes on a flight from Phuket to Singapore when I was so embarrassed by my compatriots I wished I was from anywhere else, I have never wanted to be anything other than Australian.
At high school some of my mates were into Boyz II Men and boys who, coincidentally, started spelling their names with numbers. I was so busy with chemistry equations (legitimately combining letters and numbers) that I never longed for life as an American teenagers. The clean living Halloween adventures and Thanksgiving dinners of the girls in the Babysitters Club didn't entice me to trade in Lourdes Hill College for Stoneybrook High. National Velvet made me aspire to ride at the Olympics, but not for the other team.
And yet, over the years, so many of my friends have chucked in their Australian lives for existences abroad. Some moved for love, some for careers, others for adventures. Some for adventures that eventually became love and careers. Some have even ditched their citizenship to wear the badges of their adopted nations.
My lovely friend Chantal is one of these expats - currently living in Leeds having moved there for a fabulous career that sometimes sounds so glamorous it makes my toes curl.
This Christmas Chantal the wanderer sent a package filled with goodies from far away. Among the treasures was a little cookbook called Favourite Yorkshire Teatime Recipes. This week's time-worn tucker feature is Yorkshire Oat Cakes. The cookbook suggests these biscuits make a perfect accompaniment to Wensleydale cheese. The closest our family are likely to ever come to Wensleydale cheese is reruns of Rastamouse, so we'll settle for serving them with cheddar.
Yorkshire Oat Cakes
500g fine oatmeal
1 tsp salt
large pinch bicarb of soda
60g butter, softened and cut into small cubes
cold water to mix (about a cup)
Preheat oven to 150C. Combine the oatmeal, slat and bicarb in a bowl. Rub in the butter and add just enough cold water to mix to a firm dough. Knead lightly on a surface dusted with oatmeal until the dough is smooth. Roll out thinly between two pieces of baking paper, and cut into round biscuits with a plain cutter. Place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for about an hour or until crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve cold with butter and cheese.
Preheat oven to 150C. Add the oatmeal, salt and bicarb to the TC bowl. Process speed 4, ten seconds. Add the butter and process speed 4 for a further ten seconds or until evenly mixed. With blades running, remove the MC and gradually pour the cold water into the TC bowl, process until the oatmeal comes together as a ball. From here you can halve the mix and use the knead function (mine found the mix too stiff to knead as one load) or you can turn it out on a bench, form it into a ball and start rolling it out.
Bake as above.
I've always loved oat cakes, but I had no idea they smelled like this when you baked them. Delicious! The other thing I loved about them is how they turned a cheese board into something really special without very much fuss.
These oat cakes are pretty good but Chantal the wanderer can keep her white Christmas. Icy footpaths and I are not destined to be friends.
are you an expat?
have you ever longed for a life outside of Oz?
were you a Boyz II Men fan?
what do you think of those infernal Rastamice?