Monday, January 28, 2013

Australia Day and vegan Vegemite scrolls

Australia Day fireworks

Australia Day itself was on Saturday, but as today is the associated public holiday, I figure this post is not so very late. It sounds like those of you in Australia celebrated Saturday in a variety of enjoyable ways. The comments on my previous post, and blog posts from others, make reference to barbecues, the Triple J Hottest 100 count down, beach trips, and time with family and friends.

We didn't do anything particular on Australia Day, but did watch the evening fireworks from a nearby primary school. We had hoped to view the fireworks from the top of the school playground's climbing frame, which would have given a great view over houses and through trees. Unfortunately, others had the same idea (next year we will get there early!) so we viewed from the highest point of the school grounds instead.

Despite our lack of celebration, I have been thinking lately about what Australia means to me. This is partially due to our planned departure to England reaching the distant horizon (about 12 - 16 months away) and partially, I think, just due to age. Despite my proclaimed love of England and dislike of the Australian heat, I am Australian more than I am English and there is plenty I love about this country too.

Australia in different forms

One of the things that comes to mind most, when I consider what Australia is to me, is diversity. This is true of the landscape, the climate, the people and customs, the food, the art and music, and anything else you care to consider. It couldn't really be any other way. We are largely a country of immigrants, from the time that European settlers arrived to disrupt the previous Indigenous culture, to the current day where Indigenous Australian, European Australian, Asian Australian, American Australian and many other hybrids co-exist (albeit not always peacefully) and contribute in different ways to what Australia is. 

For most of us, our sense of a country is linked to our particular memories of that country. I grew up in Australia, and so my formative memories are largely childhood ones. Swimming in summer, walking amongst Eucalyptus trees, backyard barbecues, icey poles at the school canteen, trips to the zoo, family bike rides, playing outside, climbing trees...they all link in to what Australia is to me. I would love to hear your list too, or for those of you not in Australia, what your own country means to you. There are so many ways to define a country and what it means.

Something I think most Australians consider their own, even if they don't like it, is vegemite. I have written about vegemite before, along with differences between it and marmite and promite. When Johanna posted a recipe for cheeseymite (vegemite and cheese) scones last week, I decided I wanted a non-cheese version to be part of my Australia Day long weekend.


Cheese and vegemite is actually one of the few combinations where I can acknowledge a role for cheese. It is a combination I ate on occasion in my childhood and teenage years, and the combination of the two in cheeseymite scrolls is one I both understand and support. I just don't want much of the cheese in mine.

Given this, I decided to make vegemite scrolls with nutritional yeast in the filling. Nutritional yeast can be used to make a cheese-like sauce (see here for a lovely article on how and why), but I find it also works well in place of cheese in savoury recipes. It doesn't taste quite like cheese (if it did, presumably I wouldn't like it so much) but it fills in for it quite happily.

The result was a scroll with a scone-like texture, plenty of vegemite within, and great depth of flavour from the nutritional yeast. You could even say there was a hint of cheesiness. In all, I will most certainly be making these again.


Vegemite scrolls
Vegan
Makes 8 - 10 scrolls

Print recipe

Ingredients
2 cups self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
Pinch of salt
40g non-dairy spread (I used Nuttelex)
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
2 tbsp vegemite
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (or more to taste)



Method
Preheat your oven to 220'C.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt and then rub in the non-dairy spread with your fingers. 

Make a slight well in the middle of the flour mixture, then add the milk. Mix through with a knife until well combined. 

Place a sheet of non-stick baking paper on your kitchen bench (the baking paper should be slightly larger in size than a regular baking tray). Sprinkle generously with flour, then transfer the scroll mixture to the baking paper.

Knead the mixture briefly, then shape the dough into a long rectangle ~1 cm thick. Spread the vegemite in the middle of the rectangle, covering as much of the surface as possible. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the vegemite.

Roll the scroll up using the longer side; I rolled the back side up, then the front side, and joined them in the middle. Flip over before baking if necessary, to hold the roll together.

Transfer the baking paper with your scroll to a baking tray, and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool before slicing to serve.


If you like cheese, I recommend trying Johanna's version of these in scone form. If cheese isn't your thing, or you are vegan, I will happily promote these as delicious in their own cheese-free way.

For other reflections on Australian food, see my October 2011 post (which also refers to posts by others on the topic).

If you are Australian, what does Australia mean to you? If you aren't, what does your own country mean?

25 comments:

  1. Love this post - very thoughtful. And your vegemite scrolls look scrumptious! Hope you had a wonderful Australia Day.

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    1. Thank you Cakelaw :-) And you too!

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  2. I guess as your departure date looms ever closer, there would be much to reflect upon. I'm glad you went to see the fireworks - I always love the fireworks on Australia day xx

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    1. Me too - there is something about the atmosphere that feels really exciting, even though the fireworks are generally the same!

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  3. Yum! These look delicious! My English childhood means I'm still a marmite girl at heart though ;)

    To me Australia is warm, fragrant, colourful, beautiful and harsh all at once. I love living here, every time we travel one of the best things is the joy of coming home :)

    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your thoughts on Australia - they are things that ring true for me too :-)

      And I love marmite as well as vegemite, and suspect these would work well with marmite in the filling too!

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  4. Glad you enjoyed these - the actual scones were very light and delicious so I imagine they work well without cheese. Having been to the beach this weekend I can definitely say that it is part of being in Australia. Love your australia collage - the different colours are lovely together. I think the diversity of Australia makes it hard to generalise about us but also makes us interesting.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Johanna, and you're right - Australia is hard to generalise about in some ways (except for the beach ;) ) but I think that is a strength. You packed a lot in to your Australia Day weekend - I'm glad you got the beach in there too.

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  5. I definitely think of Australia when I think of vegemite so this is quite a fitting recipe! Delicious!

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  6. Australia is so beautiful! I always love to look at your pictures. Makes me wish I was planning a vacation to go there now. :-)

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    1. It's a pity we aren't a bit closer to everyone else, so you could visit us and we could visit you!

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  7. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm cheesymite scrolls - i love making similar :D
    I'm stumped on your questions about what Australia means to me - I don't really think about it other than being pretty glad that I wasn't born in a less fortunate country!
    Did you get the pouring rain all weekend?

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    Replies
    1. Rain?! No, alas! I have almost forgotten what rain is like :P

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  8. Man, your neck of the woods is gorgeous! Australia is definitely high on my to-visit list. And sadly I've never eaten vegemite (or marmite!), though I'm curious to try it since people have such strong feelings about the stuff. These sound lovely!

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    1. Thank you Allysia - I am always keen to hear what people think of vegemite / marmite when they try it for the first time in adulthood, so I hope you do get a chance to try it one day! And the photo collages is from all around Australia, so I may have selected the best shots rather than selecting randomly from my local area ;)

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  9. Replies
    1. Amusingly, you are associated in my mind with vegemite and nutritional yeast as well as chocolate :-) If I could send you some, I would!

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  10. Amazing - these sound AWESOME! I am a mega vegemite fan.... although I'm a Kiwi, Australia is my home forever now - LOVE it here :)

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    1. I'm so glad you're happily settled in your patch of Australia :-) Although do hope you're surviving the floods in your parts this week...?

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  11. AW...I love your pictures of and reflections on what Australia is to you. It makes me very nostalgic as well. I have the same sort of childhood memories from the US. Many of my favorite memories that remind me of my country have occurred around the Fourth of July at my cottage on Lake Erie, with my whole family around and our crazy fireworks display. My cousins and I pick blackberries, go garage sale-ing with grandma, swim, go to the carnival, and eat tons of frozen treats. It will always be my favorite holiday. There's just something about the summer.

    Your vegemite scrolls also look delicious. I've definitely taken a liking to nutritional yeast recently. I've never had vegemite, but it looks like I'll be importing some in. What else do you use vegemite for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are there any supermarkets that stock it in an international section? We have some 'foreign' foods and I have always thought vegemite is reasonably accessible for all those home sick Australians! Maybe not everywhere though.

      It is most commonly used on toast (like at breakfast) but you can use it wherever you would use a spread...cheese and vegemite sandwhichs are popular, and the equivalent on crackers :) Some people like it with tofu but I've never tried that myself!

      I loved hearing your Fourth of July memories too :-)

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  12. Happy belated Australia Day Kari! I love these scrolls, so fitting for the occasion! I travelled with some Aussies a couple years ago and they all carried Vegemite everywhere with them. I tried it and LOVED it!

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    Replies
    1. Oh yay!! I always love hearing about non-Australians liking it :-)

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