It may be spring, but we're still cutting firewood and usually keep our wood fire in the house burning until the end of October. The spring days are beautiful, but the mornings and evenings are still too brisk to be fire free. So it is fitting to post this recipe for Lumberjack Slice, a great school holiday filler, full of Granny Smith apples, chopped dates, and shredded coconut. After five months of cutting firewood I am sure Duncan is starting to feel like a lumberjack (see Wood Chopping video here). It is hard work, but there is joy in the physical work and the beautiful country.
I've had this recipe tucked away in my recipe folder for about five years. We first sampled Lumberjack Slice at the mountain home of Michelle and Richard Longman at Hanging Rock, above Nundle. Richard is a former chef, so no surprises that this slice is flavour filled. Michelle kindly typed and printed the recipe out for me, but living 60km from a major supermarket it's taken me this long to be organised enough to have all the ingredients in the larder at once, and time to bake. I'm so glad I did and I won't leave it so long to make it again.
What you need: 2 large coarsely chopped Granny Smith apples (I grated mine), 1 cup chopped dates, 1 tsp bicarb soda, 1 cup boiling water, 100ml olive oil or 125g butter, 2 tsp vanilla essence, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup self-raising flour. Topping: 2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp golden syrup, 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut.
What you do: Grease a 18 x 28cm slice tin. I used a 24cm x 6cm deep square cake tin. Combine apples, dates, soda and boiling water in a bowl. Cover and stand until warm. Combine oil, vanilla, sugar, eggs and flour. Add apple and date mixture. Mix well. Bake in a slow 180 degrees Celcius over for 45 minutes, making sure the top doesn't overcook. Spread with topping (warm ingredients beforehand). Bake for another 30 minutes until topping (wood shavings) is golden.