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  • Writer's pictureAmy Minichiello

The Gift of Time & Chocolate Walnut Slice


It was all a bit chaotic beforehand.

"Do you need to take some sheets?"

"Have you got their sandals?"

"Sammy, no, not Vivvy's bunny!"


By the time they had bundled themselves into the car, the clock read 8:20 a.m. They departed and there I stood, my little black furry companion by my side, "Well, Sammy boy, it's just you and me mate."


I tidied the house. Hung the washing. Folded towels. I marveled at the stillness. It was as if the walls of the house had let out a huge sigh of relief. It was quiet.


I grabbed my bag and my keys, and as Sammy picked up the rear I had a long walk along the beach in my sights.

The days that followed had a natural rhythm. There was no rushing to get multiple bodies out the door on time. I didn't have a million and one things racing through my mind, nor did I feel that I had to keep track of the ticking arms of the clock. I ate my lunch when I wanted. There were no disruptions. I could plan the whole day to suit my needs. I worked without having to think about the needs of anyone else. I pulled my gardening gloves on at 6 pm and came inside an hour and a half later and every single thing was exactly how I had left it.


Upon their departure, I tucked a supply of freshly baked goodies in with their cargo and made sure to save a couple of pieces of the chocolate walnut slice for me. A recipe that comes from the delightful The Australian Women's Weekly 100 delicious biscuits and slices book which was gifted to me by a dear friend who is a whizz when it comes to finding hidden gems at the Op Shop. It even belonged to Amy in a previous life, as that is the name that is inscribed in a cursive scrawl at the top of the front page. The slice is a cross between an ANZAC, a brownie, and a chocolate cake. It is a revelation and was enjoyed by all. A simple recipe, as is always the case, provides the utmost joy. And so too does a walk along the beach. A solo weekend at home. Space to breathe.


I could easily have had another couple of nights, just me, myself and Sammy. However, I am looking forward to seeing those three beautiful faces when they return, wrapping my arms around their bodies, and listening to their stories.

I know that the chaos won't be too far behind either. Voices yelling, "Mumma, Mumma! Sammy's got my shoe!"

"Mumma, Mumma, I'm hungry!"

"Mumma, Mumma, What's for dinner?.....Ohhhhh but I don't like that!"

The house will take a deep breath and we will soldier on.

 

The washing pile instantly grew and then I heard......

"Let's build a cushion house!"

And normal life resumed.


 

Chocolate walnut slice

This recipe comes from The Australian Women's Weekly 100 delicious biscuits and slices


Base

1/2 cup self-raising flour

pinch of salt

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

125g unsalted butter


Filling

60g butter

60g dark chocolate

1/3 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup self-raising flour

1/3 cup plain flour

1/4 cup milk

60g chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Chocolate icing

15g butter

30g dark chocolate

3/4 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp hot water


Preheat your oven to 160c fan forced.


For the Base, sift the flour, and add the salt and remaining dry ingredients to a medium bowl. Add melted butter and mix well. Press the mixture into a lightly greased 18cm x 28cm (or thereabouts) slice tin until even. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden.


Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (don't allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) Add the sugar and beaten egg and mix well Add the sifted flours alternately with the milk and then stir in the vanilla and walnuts.


When the base is baked, pour the filling over the hot base and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until the center feels slightly firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes while you make the icing.


Melt the butter and chocolate over the simmering water once again, add the sifted icing sugar, vanilla, and water, and stir until smooth. Smooth out all over the surface of the filling and then set aside to cool and set.


Cut into bars, squares, or finger slices and enjoy with a cup of tea either in the company of oneself, or the company of others.


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