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Ways to support Kiwis living with breast cancer at this time

Downloading The Sweet Louise Cookbook is one way New Zealanders can support Kiwis with incurable breast cancer during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The cookbook which contains 31 recipes for $31, including this sweet recipe for Belgian Biscuits, will help charity Sweet Louise provide practical and emotional support to its 700-plus members at this time.

The recipes are favourites gathered from Sweet Louise members, and “familiar Kiwis” including Sweet Louise ambassador Hannah Barrett.

Well-known Kiwis who’ve also shared recipes include celebrity chef Al Brown, Matilda Green, Shavaughn Ruakere, Sarah Gandy, Jesse Mulligan, Karla Goodwin (Bluebells Cakery), Jordan Rondel (The Caker) and esteemed dietitian Angela Berrill and Sweet Louise sponsors LOAF, Bird on a Wire and Silver Fern Farms.

Other ways to support if you are not a baker, include making donations of $50 for emergency petrol vouchers to assist with getting to medical appointments, or $100 for emergency food vouchers through the Sweet Louise website.

“Members of the Sweet Louise community are often not able to leave the house at the best of times, let alone now. They have compromised immunity, due to living with incurable breast cancer and chemotherapy so leaving home to get the essentials is not an easy task,” says Philippa Reed, CEO of Sweet Louise.

“COVID-19 has provided our members with more challenges than normal, and we are grateful for any help to make their day-to-day lives easier during this challenging time. During these unprecedented times we are continuing in our commitment to support women and men in New Zealand living with incurable breast cancer.”

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the Sweet Louise community. However, the organisation’s support coordinators are reaching out to its members frequently to check on them via phone, email and by setting up regular video meetings. They have also shifted its face-to-face meetings, held around the country once a month, to online video calls for members to continue to come together at this time.

Here’s a recipe for Belgian Biscuits, Louise’s favourite, from The Sweet Louise Cookbook:

BELGIAN BISCUITS (makes 24)

BISCUITS

250g butter, softened

1½ cups soft brown sugar, well packed

1 egg

2¾ cups plain flour

3 tsp baking powder

2½ tsp mixed spice

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

RASPBERRY JAM

500g frozen raspberries

500g caster sugar

ICING

Add pink or red food colouring if desired

1 cup icing sugar

1 tsp butter, melted

1 tbsp milk

Biscuits

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar in a cake mixer until well creamed. Add the egg and mix well.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together and using a spatula, mix into the butter mixture until it all comes together to form a dough. Divide the dough in half. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Roll each half of the dough between two sheets of baking paper to about 5mm in thickness. Using a 5-6cm fluted cookie cutter, cut out the biscuits and place on the baking trays. Repeat with all the remaining dough. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Leave to cool on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Spread half the biscuits with the raspberry jam (method below) and sandwich together with the other half.

For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl then add the butter and milk and mix until combined. Add a touch of pink or red colouring to get the desired colour. If too stiff, add a little more milk. Ice each biscuit and sprinkle with the coloured sugar or raspberry jelly crystals. These biscuits are also delicious just on their own.

Homemade raspberry jam has the best flavour and is very easy to make. For the raspberry jam, put the frozen raspberries in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Add the caster sugar and boil for 20 minutes. Cool.

Louise Perkin’s love of Belgian Biscuits began when her Aunty May made them for her. “Sweet with spice and share with someone nice” is what her friends imagine Louise would say about these delightful treats. When Louise and her friends would go out for lunch, she would always sneak one for last. It was the stylish blend of brown and pink with the twist of red that made them look so good. We’ve dedicated this delicious recipe to the memory of Louise – we are sure she would approve.

You can download the Sweet Louise Cookbook here, and donate to Sweet Louise here.

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