Category Archives: Adventures in Australia

winter

Let’s keep the words to a minimum and just focus on some beach-side pictures. This is Australia. In the winter.
Eww. Just… Ewwwww. Amiright?

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These tiny little holes in the rocks FASCINATE me. It’s like who-ville in there. A whole nother world.

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Also: Highlight of the weekend: I went to look for whales… and i saw DOLPHINS!!! (Whales woulda been cool… since I can speak whale and all… but I will see them next week… when I go WHALLLLE WATCHINNNNNNGGGG) (said in an Oprah voice)

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eeeeeeeeeeee!

xxx

 

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Canadia does desserts

Well well well… here we are again.

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It’s CANADA DAY!
I’ve talked at length about what it’s like to be a Canadian in another country and here I am again – feeling just the same way.

I spent the weekend deciding what to bake for Canada Day. What quintessentially Canadian treat could I make to commemorate the day?

Canadian Bacon Sandwiches with mustard? (mmm. no.)

Poutine? (ahhh… no thanks.)

Elk Burgers? (… is all Canadian food the opposite of vegan?)

Shot glasses full of maple syrup?

PERFECT. I mean… ok… maybe not. But that would be AWESOME and I secretly eat spoonfuls of maple syrup all. the. time.

What else is Canadian?

Really? I dunno. This is a question I struggle with a lot. People often ask me what Canadian cuisine is. I don’t know.

Canadian bacon and maple syrup. Get down with it.

But here is the thing I realized… in Canada we have a plethora of desserts. Desserts that I always just ate and enjoyed and assumed that the rest of the world was eating and enjoying them with me. I was so wrong!

There are three desserts that I have discovered recently that many people from other countries have never had the pleasure of tasting or sometimes even heard of!

UNREAL.

Here they are in list form:

1. Smores. I know. I KNOW, guys.I don’t think this is necessarily Canadian only… but it’s definitely a North American thing. My boyfriend and his friends knew nothing of these “smoresss” I spoke of when we first met (in Canada) and furthermore you cannot even buy Graham crackers here in Australia. WHAT EVEN IS THAT?!

2. Beaver Tails. Pastry with cinnamon sugar. Um… does it get any more delicious? They resemble Beaver tails… BOOM – Canadian.

3. Nanaimo Bars. OK it kind of makes sense since Nanaimo is a place in British Columbia, but hell, i didn’t know that until I was like… 18 at least. Woops.

4. BUTTER TARTS! How and why is this only a Canadian thing? I grew up with these tasty tarts. Interesting. Well today I introduce them to Australia… in picture form only. Cause the actual recipe was very touch and go… into my mouth.

But also they didn’t hold up thattt well. So I’m not gunna tell you it was top notch. I think the problem was the crust which should have been thicker. All the ooey-gooey ness inside the tarts just broke loose and ooozed er’rewhere. Still delicious.

Anyway, had to share since it’s CANADIA DAY!

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🙂
Have a good one!

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Desserts

chocolate chip cookies

COOKIES!

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Cookies have been happening a lot around here. Like thesethese! Both winners, however I had yet to make the old classic: Chocolate Chip!

My Dad makes a pretty mean cookie… in my highschool days I could often eat 5 at a time after school. MAN they were good.

And on that note…it’s Father’s Day in Canada!!!
Happy Father’s Day to the most awesome Dad in the world. He is super rad and hip and drinks scotch and listens to music really loud. and it’s NOT cause he’s deaf, it’s cause he’s bad ass. He also once rode his bike to attend a Foo Fighters concerts by himself… and I think that’s just plain cool.
And while I will never forget the PMI… and I will hold it against you for always, you have redeemed yourself with incredible cookies and delicious muffins.
Can’t wait to hang out soon. And bake things and make things hopefully with some new kitchen appliances in the t-dot! 😉
nice-fam
MISS YOU PAPA HICKS!
love love love

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Back to the cookie at hand… if your thinking that I’ve made these somehow a good-for-you alternative, then you’re wrong. Keep searching if you must – but when your ready for a classic, chewy & sweet cookie, please return. I’ve not gone to any lengths (at all) to make these healthy – This is a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie. Lots of sugar, lots of chocolate. White flour. Let’s get amoungst it.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from here
½ c. coconut oil
1 c. brown sugar
¼ c. oat milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/2 c. chopped up almond chocolate (More chocolate would be nice – but I ran out. Not surprising…)
1/2 c. walnutsFirst, pre-heat the oven to 350* F. Cream together the coconut oil & brown sugar. Make sure its well mixed. THen add in the vanilla and milk.
In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Combine the wet & dry and then fold in the chocolate and nuts.
Roll the dough into balls in tbsp sized portions. Its is pretty crumbly but just smoosh it together and it’ll be grand. Flatten the dough a bit on the pan and shape each cookie. Press some extra chocolate on top for delciousness and appearance. I also sprinkled a couple grains of sea salt on top. Cause sweet & salty… I mean come on.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes.
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Let them cool… or not. and enjoy!
xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cookies

ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.ch.cherry bomb

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I just googled “random facts” because I was having trouble getting started on this blog post. Sometimes random facts are inspiring.

Like this one:
Every second Americans collectively eat one hundred pounds of chocolate.

What?! is that a thing? How is this stuff even measured? What about at night time? Who are all the lonely hearts eating 100 pounds of chocolate a second between midnight and 6am.

This is an interesting fact that I have a feeling may not have much truth to it. But I’m gunna roll with it, I may not be American, but this makes me feel better about the 3 oversized chocolate bars a consumed last week.

Aside from my chocolate cravings which are ongoing and unavoidable… I am craving muchos carbohydrates lately. Muffins are delightful. Scones are perfect. Cherry Banana bread is amaze-balls. I didn’t think of it prior… but chocolate would be a GREAT addition.

Just doin my part to contribute to the random facts of the world.

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Let’s get into it.

Cherry Banana Bread
Adapted from this recipe

3 ripe bananas
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 c. unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 c. raw sugar or brown sugar
1 chia egg
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. oats
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. frozen cherries
1/2 c. walnuts

First, grease a bread pan and set aside. Preheat your oven to 350*F.

In a large bowl, mash the banana until very mushy. Combine with the sugar, lemon juice, chia egg & apple sauce. Add the cherries and fold through.

In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients, including the nuts. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the bread pan and spread evenly. You can top it with some more cherries and walnuts for good measure.

Bake for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Eat it and be merry.

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I also just read that in 1879 Belgians tried to train cats to deliver mail. Not surprisingly… it did not work.

Mail cats. pft.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breads, Breakfast

blueberry scones

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I get into grooves a lot. Grooves… or habits. Habits or routines. Routines… or slightly OCD behaviour.

Like that period in my life during high school when it took me 30 minutes to complete my extensive bed time routine, which involved the opening and closing and locking and double checking of every door in my house.

Like that time from kindergarten to grade 4 when I cried everyday before school.

Like that time when I compulsively saved every cent to buy a wiener dog.

These grooves/habits/routines apply to my eating as well.

Like that time when I ate only Just Right breakfast cereal –  for every meal. I craved it so bad… it was… Just Right. And here’s the kicker – I ate it dry. Yeah no milk for this girl. I would pour literally two cups of cereal in a ziploc bag with a spoon and take it to work for dinner. This went on for months. And then one day I just wasn’t eating it anymore. Haven’t had any since, actually. (Put on list of things to do for when I visit Toronto)

And then there was that time I only ate avocado on toast with tomato. Oh wait… that one is still going on.

And of course there was that summer that I made scones like every three days. That was by popular demand though. The demand from Sean.

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Anyway, it seems like I get into routines but then I drop them suddenly without reason and never look back. I haven’t made scones in what feels like forever. So this recipe had to happen.

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It should happen for you too regardless of your current food routines.

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Sean loves it when I stack my food.

Blueberry Scones
adapted from here

1 1/2 c. white flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. raw sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c. coconut milk
1 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 425*F. Sift the flour together with the baking powder and then mix in the salt and sugar. Now add cold coconut milk and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries or fruit of choice and gather the dough into a loose ball. Turn dough onto a floured surface and form into a circle or square or rectangle or whatever about 3/4 inch thick and cut out 8-10 scones in whatever shape you please, traingles, circles, it don’t matter. Brush some extra coconut milk on top and sprinkle with extra sugar.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for 15 minutes – 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Breakfast

yo momma.

You know last year when I went on and on about how my mom was the most awesome?

Yeah… well she still is. And it’s Mother’s day again! So big shout-oot to my Momma in Canada. LOVE YOU!

I also miss you. Like a-lot.

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I was looking for an excuse to bake something pretty over the weekend and so I dedicate these muffins to my Maj and my Grandma. Even though my Grandma does not like chocolate in cake form. I know this. So she can have some of rice pudding I would make. 🙂 Even though I’m pretty sure I could convince her that these are AWESOME!

I call them muffins because they are mostly healthy and I cut down on the sugar. These are the prefect Mother’s Day morning muffin. Cheeky, but not too cheeky. Chocolatey, but not too chocolatey. Healthy, but not TOO healthy.

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You get the picture. These are delicious. My dad makes mean chocolate zucchini cake, so here is a vegan and super delicious version of that, in muffin form. I wonder what he’s gunna bake for mother’s day? Maybe the cheesecake? 🙂

Make these for yo momma. She’s gunna loveeeeeeeeee them.

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Chocolate – Zucchini Muffins
recipe adapted from here

1 1/4 c. flour (3/4 c. all purpose – 1/2 c. spelt is what I used)
1/4 c. high quality cocoa (it makes a difference. yummm)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 banana, mushed
1/4 c. raw sugar
1/2 c. homemade applesauce
1/2 c. oat milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. shredded zucchini (as with most zucchini baking endevours, I strain some of the liquid out of the zucchini before I add it in.)

With an oven pre-heated to 350* line or grease a muffin tin. I actually lightly greased the muffin liners since this recipe doesn’t have any oil or butter in it.

Now mix the flour, cinnamon, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside and mix the banana, apple sauce, sugar and oat milk together. Add the vanilla and zucchini and mix until combined. Now add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine together but do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the muffin liners/tray to about 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when ready. Allow them to cool and then enjoy! They are seriously so yummy. I was really impressed with the chocolatey-ness.

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xxx

ps. HEY MOM. let’s hang out soon, m’k? 😉

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noosa

Another weekend vacation! I can’t get enough of these. If I could take a long weekend once a month and travel to a beautiful place by the sea where turkeys run a muck like squirrels, well I would live a very happy life. So far, I’m doing ok!

So, here is a photo bomb for you… of my adventures to Noosa with my jazzy lady friend – Sam. We were able to get awesome flight deals and scored a Romantic Escape deal for our hotel. We had cocktails, dinners with a piano man, we napped on the beach, we walked for ages to nowhere (actually a mistake), we watched the sunset, we took a bad ass bus to Fraser Island, we saw a dingo, it ate my baybay, we had more cocktails, we looked at the stars, we drank coffee and then we ate an amazing breakfast. Best breakfast of my life! Please see evidence of all happenings below.

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xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Travel

two-year cheesecake

Two years!

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It is the anniversary of two things! April 30th marks two years since my first post on …but can she bake. Granted, there were a couple half hearted posts before it. However they were few and far between. I started posting regularly two years ago because that is when I moved to Australia to live with my most incredible boy(man)friend. And so, this is also the anniversary of my move to Sydney!

I began writing to document my days/weeks/life in Australia and so that my biggest fans (my mom, dad and grandparents) could track my every move. I love baking and I love taking pictures, so this little ditty was born.

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Now, here I am, 730 days later posting a recipe that I have been eyeing for at least… well longer than that. I have been coveting these cheesecake recipes since I became a vegan. Why I never made one, I am not sure. Skeptical? Yes. I was. That and I didn’t own a proper blender (vitamix) and even though I still don’t… I thought I’d give it a whirl. For the sake of two years. Ya know what I mean?

Man ALIVE! I am glad I did. This vegan cheesecake is delicious! It’s cashew filled, but you wouldn’t really guess it. I would even go so far as to say that if I had a higher tech blender, this version would be just as silky and smooth as a regular cheesecake. So basically, Dad: if you are still thinking about buying a vita mix, please do and we can make this when I come home. 🙂 (Along with about a billion other vegan recipes that require a vitamix.)

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The lemon is what makes it sour like a cream cheese based cake and the vanilla, honey and raspberries make it delightfully sweet.

Try this bad boy on for size. It’s a keeper. Even my man-friend thinks so.

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The process isn’t even that labour intensive, you just need to soak some cashews the night before. It’s even no-bake! In fact, it’s RAW TOO! Amazing.

You can tell from my pictures that my mixture wasn’t really even close to silky smooth, but I swear it was still so delicious. Just try it out.
Vegan Cheesecake
adapted from here and here

crust
1/2 c. Medjool dates
1/2 c. walnuts
pinch of  salt

filling
2 c. cashews (soaked overnight)
juice of 2 medium lemons
1 vanilla bean
1 c. raspberries/strawberries/blueberries or whatever berry you are feeling
1/3 c. maple syrup (use honey to make it raw)
1/3 c. coconut oil

Soak the cashews overnight. (at least 5 hours)

Throw all the crust ingredients in the food processor and blend/chop until the bind together on their own. You can test this until you are satisfied. Press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan. Use one 6 inch pan or two 3 inch pans. (mini cheesecakes are awesome!)

Next warm up the coconut oil however you choose (microwave, stove) and mix with the maple syrup. Put the cashews, lemon juice and vanilla into the food processor with the honey/oil mixture and blend until as smooth as possible. This may take many minutes of blending. I used about half of this mixture to pour into the two pans and then saved the other half to add the raspberries to. After evening out the mixture in the pan(s) I put them in the freezer to lightly set for about 30 minutes. You can omit this step, but I thought it would help separate the layers.

Next add the raspberries to the cashew mixture and blend until fully combined. Pour this mixture on the top of the plain cashew mixture and even it out. Place the cake(s) back in the freezer until solid.
Remove about 10-15 minutes before you want to slice it, orrrrr just hack into it with a knife and fork… like me.
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xxx

pssst! check out what I posted one-year ago.

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cake, Pies

Anzac Biscuits

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So. Tomorrow is Anzac Day; a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand. We honour and remember all the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps. A.N.Z.A.C.

There is a dawn service and I will be attending. At dawn. AKA: Really early in the morning on a Public Holiday.

I’m not complaining… I’m just sayin’ these cookies might help with the early morning wake up. And they will be a welcome addition to the morning coffee. You see, on ANZAC day in stead of putting milk in your coffee… you put rum. Or maybe both. I’m not sure what that’s all about but it’s what they do here, and who am I to question tradition? They also play a game called Two Up at 2pm that is (and get this…) ONLY legal on Anzac Day. The game consists of heavy betting over the results of two coins being tossed at one time.

What a country.

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As an honourary Australian, I have taken it upon myself to bake the cookie that has taken the ANZAC name. Apparently these Anzac Biscuits were often sent to soldiers abroad by their wives. The cookies keep very well and didn’t spoil during transportation overseas.

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I made a couple batches of these. I’m not sure if I’ve got them exactly right yet either. Some people like the really crunchy, some like them chewy. It is a national debate of sorts. These are more on the soft and chewy side. But with a bit longer baking time, they had a crisp exterior.

You should bake them! And Remember some ANZACS. 🙂

Traditional (Vegan) Anzac Biscuits

1 1/4 c. flour1 c. oats
1/2 c. raw caster sugar
3/4 c. cup shredded or desicated coconut
2 tbsp golden syrup
150g nutlex (or other butter substitute – earth balance etc)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp. boiling water

Preheat your oven to 170*C. Mix all the dry ingredients first, flour, oats, coconut & sugar.

Heat up the golden syrup and butter on medium in a small saucepan until fully melted and combined. Now mix the baking soda and 1 1/2 tbsp of boiling water in a separate small bowl. Combine the two mixtures (be careful as it will foam up quite a bit). Make sure you have removed the butter mixture from the heat when you do this.

No add the wet to the dry and combine well. Place tablespoons of the mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

 

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x

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and now for MINE.

When my brother and I weren’t playing the flap jack game… or pushing each other down the stairs in cardboard boxes… we were often found sitting around the big wooden kitchen table trying to conceal our cookies.

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It was a thing. A game of deception, if you will. After a meal my mom and dad would give us each two cookies for dessert. We would both proceed to eat our first cookie cautiously, while eyeing the other sibling and their cookie eating ways. At some point, someone would likely become distracted (usually me) and the other (usually my brother) would take this opportunity to hide his second cookie, then continue eating as if nothing happened. Usually hiding the cookie meant sitting on it. or stuffing it down your shirt. Either would suffice.

I usually became so tied up in enjoying my cookies that I would accidentally eat not only one but BOTH cookies (!!!) forgetting the game of deception altogether until it was too late. Or worse still, I would get to my second cookie and notice my brother was cookie-less. I would then gleefully rub it in his face that I was still enjoying my dessert like a KING. (Rookie mistake)

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This is where things took a turn for the worse. When my brother was satisfied that I had finished both my cookies, he would WHIP out his remaining cookie and sing-song those HORRIBLE words that would ring in my ears for hours after…

‘annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd NOW for MINE!…’

At this point he would proceed to savour said cookie to the best of his ability. Making delicious and over-exaggerated noises of enjoyment as he munched away.

That cookie hiding bastard.

I knew this game all toooo well, but for some reason, I seldom remember winning.

It really makes no sense since we both got the same amount of cookies, but my six year old brain seemed to think that if he was still eating cookies, than I should be too. Good GOD I hated that game.

This recipe is cookie revenge. Because I baked them. And therefore I will eat them all. AND NOW FOR MINE.

what.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from here

1  1/2 c. walnuts
2 c. regular oats
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. Rapadura Sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp oat milk
3.5 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast the walnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes. After they have cooled, quickly process the walnuts until they make a fine meal.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sugar and only 1 cup of the oats. Now add the ingredients to the food processor and process until just mixed.

In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (soften the coconut oil if you need to first) and pour this mixture into the food processor. Process until the entire mixture is thoroughly combined.

In the medium size bowl, mix this entire mixtures with the remaining 1 cup of oats. Fold in the raisins.

For the cookies, take about 2 tbsp of dough, make a ball, and then flatten onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F. Watch them because they will go dark very quick! Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before placing onto a cooling rack.

So yummy! Maybe next time I’ll try them with chocolate.

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xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cookies, Desserts