This very old photo pretty much sums up most of my childhood; outside on an adventure with Dad. I was Dad’s shadow most of the time, only separating when required. We lived on a dairy farm for a lot of my childhood and Dad worked his butt off. Being older and wiser now, I know that he did it all for my brothers, my Mum and I. If there were more hours in the day he probably would’ve worked even harder, just for us.
One of my favourite places to be back then was on the back of the motorbike with Dad. On weekends I would beg him to take me out with him in the mornings to bring in the cows. It would be dark and quiet while we rolled through the paddocks, father and daughter starting the day together. I would wear the coat that I have on in the photo above. I called it ‘Old Faithful’ and it was worn to within an inch of it’s life. My parents still have it hanging in the wardrobe at home. If it was a cruel winter’s morning, Dad would leave me in bed and go off on his own. I would wake up before he got back and Mum would have to deal with my bitter disappointment. Again, now that I’m older and wiser I understand why. He did it for me, so his little girl would stay warmly tucked up in bed.
One day on one of our many motorbike rides, he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Being a four or five year old girl, I said I wanted to be a princess. Dad replied ‘You already are a princess’. My ambitions have changed since then, but he has remained the person helping me achieve them. He and my Mum have supported the hell out of me through high school (apparently I was a bit short with them in year twelve, oops), a year living on opposite sides of the world, years living on the other side of the country for university and finally finding my way back to Victoria. With his support I not only survived but had amazing experiences during those years that I was finding my way in the world. You see, I think I have being his shadow to thank for a lot of my achievements and experiences. Being his shadow meant that a lot of him has reflected off onto me. Sometimes I wonder what gave me the guts to make some of the big leaps that I have and I think it’s those pieces of him. That little shadow grabbed on to a little piece of his strength, determination and generosity and still carries it around today.
I don’t think I actually wanted to be a princess back then, I really just wanted to be just like my Dad.
Happy Fathers Day!
To celebrate, here’s the recipe for my Dad’s favourite sweet snack. They’re one of his favourite gifts to receive and I hope you enjoy them too. These beautiful photos taken by Soph include some items you would typically see him enjoying his cookies with: a whisky and The Weekly Times.
Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks
- 125g butter, softened
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon cornflour
- 1 teaspoon baking/bicarb soda
- 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- Additional 1/4 cup white sugar
- Additional 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Using an electric beater, combine the butter, sugars and egg on medium-high speed until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Beat until smooth and combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add the flours, baking soda and cream of tartar. Beat on low speed until just combined.
Take out one heaped tablespoon of the mixture at a time and form into a balls. Put in a container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (this is really important, otherwise the dough will be too soft).
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Combine the additional sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll the refrigerated balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place the balls on baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving a few centimetres in between to allow for the cookie to spread.
Bake for about 8 minutes. The tops should be golden and crackled. The cookies will be very soft until they cool start to cool down. After about 10 minutes, transfer them to a cake rack to fully cool, then store in an airtight container. They’re best eaten within about 5 days (if they last that long).