A Tale Of A Felted Koala

Since discovering the Pagan wheel of the year over thirty years ago, I’ve celebrated the harvest festival of Halloween (Samhain) on April 30th. I still remember that first, long ago Halloween held in a Victorian forest on a bitterly cold night. After the ritual we warmed ourselves by an open fire. We watched the smoke rise in waves and patterns, trying to scry for messages in the fiery air. As the logs burned, the bright red embers turned to charcoal, making strange shapes as they transformed. We drank, laughed and talked through the night. We told jokes and shared stories until the sun rose and May Day dawned.

This Halloween I would like to share a story of a tiny felted koala, an idea forged during the horrifying Australian bushfires, and created by my dear artist friend Anne Belov as a symbol of comfort, hope and rebirth – perfect symbols for a Halloween tale.

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Many of you know Anne Belov as the creator of The Panda Chronicles. Anne is also a multi-talented professional artist (an incredible painter) who has recently branched out into the field of felted creations. Most of her creations are, not surprisingly, pandas, but in the mix there is a very special critter, Kevin the Koala, or as he is now affectionately known – Kevin the Scorched Koala. Before Kevin was born in felt he was introduced to the world in ink in a very special cartoon in The Panda Chronicles.

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Kevin was a huge hit and when Anne toyed with the idea of making a felted version of him we all said “Yes!” When she suggested adding scorch marks to her creation the more diabolical among us said “Hell Yes!” It wasn’t long before Kevin, complete with scorch marks, moved from the world of ink into the world of felt. I’m happy to say that I am the proud caretaker of the very first Kevin the Scorched Koala.

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To honour Kevin’s arrival to his ancestral homeland I created a special recipe that blends some Aussie ingredients (eucalyptus honey and macadamia nuts) with an imaginary cookie bar – the Binky Bar! If you’re a fan of The Panda Chronicles you’ll know that the pandas love eating and drinking and Binky Bars are one of their favourite treats. But what are they? No-one knows as it’s been left to our imaginations to visualise these tasty treats. When a Kevin fan suggested a Kevin Binky Bar would be fun I naturally volunteered to create one. Kevin’s Binky Bars feature a shortbread base topped with a sweet and chocolatey filling.

In honour of Kevin’s adorable scorch marks, I’ve served my Binky Bars with scorched macadamias. Scorched nuts are an Australian and New Zealand name for roasted nuts that are covered in layers of chocolate. Don’t worry if you can’t get them, or any other ingredients, just experiment and have fun. After all, nobody really knows what a Binky Bar looks like – or tastes like. 🙂

Kevin The Scorched Koala’s Honey & Macadamia Binky Bars

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Special Note:
These bars need to set overnight.

Ingredients
for the shortbread base
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
125g unsalted butter, cut into pieces

for the chocolate topping
50g unsalted butter
1/3 cup double cream
1 tablespoon eucalyptus honey*
50g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
100g Anzac biscuits (cookies), broken into various small and medium sized pieces**
1/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped into various small and medium sized pieces

Instructions
For the shortbread base:
Preheat oven to 180C / 350F.
Line a baking pan (approximately 23cm x 17cm / 9” x 7”) with baking paper.
Place the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor.
Process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Spread mixture into the prepared pan, pressing it down with fingers or the back of a spoon to compress it slightly.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding the topping.

For the chocolate topping:
Heat the butter and cream in a medium sized saucepan over low heat.
Stir in the honey.
Add the chocolate pieces and stir until the chocolate melts.
Allow to cool for a few minutes. (You have to allow it to cool long enough so that the biscuits don’t turn to mush when added, but not too long or the chocolate will set.)
Add the broken biscuits and chopped macadamias to the chocolate mixture and stir until combined.
Spread over the shortbread base.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Cut into bars.
Serve with scorched macadamias.

*koalas love eucalyptus but you can use any honey you like or any other syrup such as agave, maple or golden.
**if you can’t find Anzac biscuits you can make your own or use my recipe here!

10 comments

  1. Awww, Kevin is so cute! It was horrible about the wildfires, but looks like at least some creative things came out of it. The Binky Bars look delicious. I don’t think we have eucalyptus honey here (I’ve never heard of it! Another thing I’ve never heard of, haha.) But I LOVE macadamia nuts and we surely have them here 🙂

    Your first Halloween celebrating the Wheel of the Year sounds amazing. The Wheel is such a lovely concept, I really wish more people were into it. The veils are definitely thinning out. I can feel a lot of presences for Walpurgis/ Beltane here. Happy Halloween/ Samhain! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The weather has turned really cold here – colder than it’s been for ages – so it really feels like Halloween / Walpurgis! The veils definitely feel thin. I’ve been having weird dreams and family and friends who have passed away are visiting me in dreamland. It’s reminding me of Halloweens of old!

      Happy Walpurgis / Beltane!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, me too, weird experiences with the dead! Perhaps in this time of crises, it has left room for the veils to thin out more. (Kind of like how animals are returning to places and pollution has gone down, the world has slowed down.) Just a theory 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! I think you may be onto something. I think the world needed to slow down and this crisis has forced us to do just that. Rushing around makes it more difficult to see, hear and feel the natural world around us. Animals returning to urban areas and sea creatures coming closer to shore are signs that we have been too energetic and way too loud for the natural world. It makes sense that the deeper, spiritual levels of the world are also getting stronger. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Mother Earth can only take so much ‘urban frenzy’. And just think, she had been under siege since the Industrial Revolution! People like us have been returning to the Old Ways, celebrating the Wheel, and I have been noticing, there are more and more of us every day. Now it seems we are forced to slow down and learn the lessons. I personally believe that a few hundred years ago, the otherworlds were much more visible. Imagine returning to that. It is exciting, looked at from that perspective! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Some of the most powerful (and scary) otherworldly experiences I’ve had have been deep in nature, far away from city lights. There is nothing like spending the night in the bush or sitting at the ocean in the deep dark night. I’ll be doing a lot more of that once we are out of lockdown. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Kevin is adorable! He came with his own little bag so he can travel with me. I can’t wait to take him out for scones and tea when we are out of lockdown. 🙂

      Like

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