It was a few weeks ago now but occasionally my mind wanders back to the afternoon I spent in the Riverland orchard owned by the Heward family. Sue and her family kindly let me run wild in their kitchen and orchard for the day with my food, props and camera.
I am always amazed at how people jump on board so generously when I ask to use their properties for photos. People who otherwise may not have the slightest interest in photos, magazines or social media suddenly stop what they are doing and start making all sorts of suggestions and offers to help me.
On this particular day Sue’s cousin offered to call in with an old truck that belonged to his late father and the back of the truck became a back drop for a famous Singing Magpie Produce dried fruit platter. Sue’s dad dropped in and started frantically digging up sweet potatoes for me take home while also loading my car up with apples, citrus and plump pumpkins. The afternoon started to feel like a celebration of home grown produce and there may have been a glass or two of wine enjoyed in the autumn leaves.
As the evening closed in the weather turned blustery and I was rushed to get my work finalised before it was dark. But that didn’t matter, I felt quite content and happy knowing that Sue and her family had embraced my ideas and then gathered around for a family catch up of their own. They reminisced over stories about the old truck and laughed about tractor auctions and the football. I observed that easy, familiar conversation that farmers have when they take some time out on a Saturday afternoon.
When I unpacked the car the next day I started to find fresh pecans scattered throughout my gear that had fallen from the trees or got caught up in my props. That is not something that I find every day and it made the usual chore of unpacking surprisingly joyful.
Thank you Heward family for your generosity.
As a tribute to all of the beautiful dried fruit and nuts that found their way home with me I made these sturdy biscuits. (Recipe below) These are just the sort of biscuits that are perfect for dunking, gifting or packing into lunchboxes. Any dried fruit or chopped nuts could be added and we all know that oats and dried fruit cancel out butter and sugar.
Happy Sunday, friends x
Photo of Sue and myself taken by Frank Heward.
- 250 g butter softened to room temp
- 200 g raw sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 225 g plain flour sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder sifted
- ½ cup slivered almonds (or chopped pecans)
- ½ cup dried fruit (I used apricot and peach) chopped
Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare 2 baking trays lined with baking paper, set aside.
In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and creamy, by hand or using a stand mixer or hand held beaters.
Add the eggs and beat well.
Add the oats, flour, baking powder, almonds and dried fruit and combine thoroughly.
Spoon tablespoons of the mixture on the baking trays and flatten gently.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on wire racks.
Biscuits suitable to freeze.