Cow poo slice

At a glance

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

First, let me reassure everyone that no cows were harmed in the making of cow poo slice. I did not bother any bovine creatures with high fibre meals to create a slice that tastes much, much better than its name suggests.

I was first made aware of cow poo slice thanks to Mum. She told me all about it, how delicious it is and how popular it is among her friends in my Australian hometown of Bathurst. And just before Christmas, when work was winding down for the year and festive food preparations were in full swing, I decided to give the slice a go. Or give it a burl, as we might say in Australia, particularly if we are over a certain age.

But because I cannot leave a recipe alone, I decided to add my own twist to the cow poo slice. Instead of festooning the mixture with dried apricot and sultanas, I threw in dried cranberries and glace cherries. As I was taking the slice up north for a very Geordie Christmas, I thought these additions would make things a little bit Christmassy.

Shopping for the slice ingredients made me a bit nostalgic for Australian breakfast cereals. The recipe demands Rice Krispies, which are sold in Australia as Rice Bubbles. This took me back to my childhood. Rice Bubbles were a bit of a treat – I remember eating them at my grandparents’ farm alongside my much-missed Pa. On camping trips, they were served from those little boxes that never seemed big enough. Inevitably, the Rice Bubbles and Coco Pops were the first to go as we never ate them at home. And when the milk was poured on, I genuinely thought the “snap, crackle, pop”, as promised by the TV adverts, was a miracle of science.

Cow poo slice also calls for a breakfast cereal that I firmly believe has a better name in Australia. An Aussie recipe for this slice will list Weet-Bix as a crucial ingredient. Here in the UK, it is known as Weetabix – I have never been able to fully accept that unnecessary “a” in the middle and resolutely refer to them as Weet-Bix. As Weet-Bix was considered a much healthier choice in the Lewis household than Rice Bubbles or Coco Pops, I was, as the TV advert suggested, an Aussie kid who was a Weet-Bix kid. But when I went to Asda to buy the ingredients, I went for a third option in the wheaten breakfast biscuit market – the cheapest option was Asda’s own brand and, hilariously, it is marketed as Wheat Bisks. Full marks for correctly spelling “wheat”, while inventing the word “bisks.

Of course, as I am a granola-yoghurt-and-Earl-Grey kinda girl at breakfast these days, I’ve now got a shedload of Rice Krispie and Wheat Bisks in the kitchen. Looks like I’ll just have to make some more cow poo slice. What a shame…

Ingredients

130g porridge oats

60g Rice Krispies

Six Weetabix/Weet-Bix/Wheat Bisks biscuits crushed into little flakes (I like to put them all in a biodegradable food waste bag and bash with my meat tenderising hammer or a rolling pin – it is very therapeutic)

130g desiccated coconut

170g dried cranberries

200g glace cherries

200g brown sugar

175ml honey

200g crunchy peanut butter (Smooth peanut butter does the job, but crunchy will add a nice texture)

175g butter, chopped

200g cooking chocolate (milk, dark or white all work well here – up to you!)

Instructions

  1. Grease a baking tin and line with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Mix the porridge oats, Rice Krispies, crushed Weetabix/Weet-Bix/Wheat Bisks desiccated coconut, cranberries and glace cherries in a large bowl.
  3. Gently stir the brown sugar, honey, peanut butter and chopped butter in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Do not get distracted – a blend of honey and sugar can burn really easily.
  4. Pour the honey and sugar mix into the dry ingredients and mix really well. I find it’s easiest to mix with a table knife to ensure everything is really well combined.
  5. Put the mixture into the tin and press down so it is nicely compacted.
  6. Put in the fridge to set for three hours.
  7. After three hours, melt the chocolate over a low heat and pour over the slice. Put back in the fridge to set. Cut into slices when the chocolate has formed a nice, hard coat on top.