Sunday 10 December 2023

Miso rice with edamame and green vegetables

When I eat a meal like this Miso Rice with Edamame and Greens I think I could just live the rest of my live eating rice, a pile of vegetables and a well-flavoured sauce.  It makes me think of Nigella's term, "temple food", or restorative food.  It is just the sort of thing I need when faced with all the indulgences of the festive season.

I made this meal on the busy day of meeting a friend at our local cafe, driving out to Highpoint shopping centre to take my old Macbook 11 for recycling at the Apple store, and going with Sylvia to a school end of year music show where her friend was performing.  I had the We had Starbucks for lunch.  They missed Sylvia's order for a toastie and so it took a while but as it was meant to be cheaper with her gingerbread latte, we got it for free.  Sylvia loves trying the festive drinks at Christmas and recommended me a hot chocolate with gingerbread syrup.  It was good but intense.  We didn't have any of the food available at the school, but some of it was tempting.

It was a wet cold day.  The rain just held off until the end of the school music show and then it rained cats and dogs.  I had originally planned to make the miso rice for a hot day because it seemed fresh and close to a salad.  It was just as good on a cold day because the rice and the vegies are warm.  

I made twice the rice and half the vegetables.  The leftover rice was kept for the next night.  I had originally planned to go to a carols service but it was rained out.  Poor Santa didn't get his ride on the fire engine.  I was glad to have leftovers and we never had the energy to make any of the fun festive foods we had planned. 

As is so often the case, I made a few changes and have written what I did in the recipe below.  I used a cast iron saucepan because I don't have a BBQ, I microwaved the sauce instead of cooking it on the stovetop, I drizzled sauce instead of tossing it through and I used garlic granules because our garlic was mouldy.  I still included the garlic in the below recipe because this is a rare occurrence and usually I would crush fresh cloves.

It was such a delicious and satisfying dinner.  We kept the extra rice for later.  I loved the sauce but Sylvia preferred soy sauce instead.  And when served in a large bowl, it looked perfect for entertaining or a potluck.  I am sure it will feature in my future.

More green meals on Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:

Miso rice with edamame and greens
Adapted from The Age
Serves 4

Miso rice:
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp white miso

5 tbsp sake
1/3 cup mirin
1 tbsp castor sugar
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 and 1/2 tbsp white miso paste
2 tsp finely grated ginger

1 tbsp rice bran oil or other neutral oil
2 bunches broccolini, cut stalks into two and then cut lengthways into 2 or 3 stalks
1 cup snow peas, top and tailed
1 cup edamame beans (I used frozen)
1 avocado, hulled and sliced
1 handful of snow pea sprouts (or microgreens)

Cook the miso rice:
Stir miso with stock, adding a little stock at a time until you have a smooth mixture and continue to stir in  the rest of the stock.  Place miso-stock mixture with rice into a medium saucepan.  Cover with a lid, bring to the boil, stir and simmer covered for 15 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave to sit for at least 10 minutes without removing the lid.

Cook the sauce:
Place sake, mirin, sugar and garlic in a jug and heat in the microwave for 3-4 minutes.  Mix the miso and ginger in until the mixture is smooth and microwave another minute.  (Or stir over stovetop for 4 minutes and then 1 minute.)  It will thicken into a sauce.  Set aside.

Cook the greens:
I did this in a cast iron frypan.  Heat oil in a frypan and fry broccolini on a high heat for a few minutes, turning frequently until slightly charred.  Add the snow peas and frozen edamame and stir for a minute until warmed through.

Arrange the rice, greens and dressing:
You can either serve in a big bowl for everyone to serve themselves or serve directly into each dinner bowl.  Place rice on the bottom of the bowl, arrange cooked greens and avocado slices on the rice.  Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables.  Garnish with snow pea sprouts.

On the Stereo:
The Best of the Pogues

Thursday 7 December 2023

In My Kitchen - December 2023

December brings us the joy of cherries, jacaranda trees in bloom and lighter evenings leading up to the summer solstice.  It is also when I feel the need to wrap everything up for the year.  I had a busy November with a big work event, a day in Geelong with my parents and Sylvia, swimming at the beach and pool, a visit to the Victoria Market, fun at an axe-throwing centre (wholesome zen fun not murderous rage fun), and lots of cooking.  December started with the rained-out cancellation of a carols service but I got to a school concert with Sylvia who wanted to see a friend perform.  I also got quite bad eczema, which seemed to flare up with stress.  And of course Christmas looms on the horizon.

November finished with the end of my contract.  So I have tied up loose ends in my workplace and now have some time to sort out some things around the house before a trip to Europe in the new year.  There are many blog posts I would like to write before the end of the year.  I finally got my Vegemite post up to celebrate its 100th birthday but I can't see myself having time and energy for as many posts as I would like.

Meals have been somewhat hit and miss but we had some great dishes.  Above is a successful Ramen Noodle Salad that Sylvia made on a balmy evening while I was out at dinner.  The salad left in the bowl was the leftovers so you can see that it made a lot.  I can see it in our lives again if the summer is as warm as is predicted.

It was really nice to be given this Aboriginal designed notebook at the end of the work event that I had worked hard to make a success.  The presentations were really interesting and the people were so warm and compassionate that the event was an absolute pleasure, despite a few timing hiccups. I was glad of the opportunity to be involved.

After my sourdough starter died last year, I am relieved to have kept it alive this year with bread, pizza, focaccia and flatbreads.  This loaf of bread was an especially good one that rose well, had a good slash and sung as it came out of the oven.

We went to the Mediterranean Wholesalers in Brunswick and bought some fun pasta and some dried porcini mushrooms.  The shells were great for the mac and cheese dumplings but I think the alphabet pasta and porcini are still in the pantry.

We have been making this tomato and chickpea orzo quite a lot lately.  We tried it with a tiny pasta (a bit like couscous) and it was such amazingly good comfort food.

This yaki udon stirfry looked really good in a Woolworths magazine but it didn't live up to its promise.  I liked the toasted sesame seeds on it but the flavours weren't as amazing as they sounded.  I have looked for the magazine to check on the recipe but it has disappeared without a trace.

Sylvia made a vegan Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese one night.  It involved roasting and blending butternut squash, red pepper, carrots and onions then blending them with tahini, coconut cream, nutritional yeast flakes and seasonings.  This made a sauce to stir through macaroni with plenty of sauce leftover to use as a dip.  I liked it but Sylvia was not keen on the overwhelming pumpkin taste and how thick it was.  It could have been watered down a bit for the pasta but the consistency was great for the dip.

We worked together to make a roast dinner on a weekend.  It was so so so very good.  It was a delicious plate of Vegan Nut Roast, Hasselback Roast Potatoes with Brie, Roast Carrots, Cauliflower Cheese, Peas and Mushroom Gravy.  It took about 3 hours from start to finish, though not all was preparation time.  But it was so worth it.  And we had lots of great leftovers.

I grew up with lots of Apple sponge (pudding) and thought a cobbler was similar.  Sylvia found a recipe for a Peach Cobbler which was amazing.  I don't often cook peaches but when I do they are so wonderfully juice, melt-in-the-mouth and delicious.  While a sponge pudding is a warm sponge cake sitting on stewed fruit, the cobbler was more of a mosaic of peaches and "cake" mixed together.  There were lots of leftovers.  It was great warm or cold.  Sylvia loved it so much she made it again one night when she had the urge to bake in the small hours after midnight!  I was pretty excited to wake up to this rare treat.

Sylvia tried a Roasted butternut squash sage risotto.  I was delighted because I love a pumpkin risotto like this one.  She enjoyed it but the squash/pumpkin was not quite as smooth and luscious as roasted pumpkin can be.  I am very happy to have risottos on our dinner ideas again after so long without them.

The butternut squash risotto required white wine.  As we rarely have alcohol in the house (or my life), we bought a Edenvale non-alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc.  It made me think that non-alcoholic wines have come a long way in the last few years.  Around the same time we also tried some excellent Belvoir Farm non-alcoholic Peach Belinis.

I was quite impressed when Sylvia made some crispy chilli honey halloumi bites while I wasn't about.  They were very tasty.  It made me proud of her when she kept the leftover dipping and crumb mixture to make fritters.  She added some leftover halloumi, sundried tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms to make fritters.  I served them with some baked beans and vegies to make a nice dinner.

Soaking noodles is not always straightforward. These rice noodles seemed too long for my bowl so I used a square baking dish that was about the right size.  .And when a few noodles  were sticking out I used my tofu press.  It amused me how these kitchen items were never made for soaking noodles but did the job very well.

The reason I had the noodles soaking was to make Char Kuay Teow.  It was mainly based on the Woo Heng recipe but also influenced by the seasonings in Eat What Tonight and One Green Planet, plus I really liked JackieM's idea of cooking in a mixture of 2 tbsp besan and 3 tbsp water to give the stirfry the taste of a whisked egg cooked through  it.  My version was a beginners mess of soggy noodles because I just didn't move quickly enough and was thinking through what I was doing as I went.  Next time I will be more prepared to they aren't cooked too long.

Sylvia is loves Boursin garlic and herb flavoured creamy cheese.  It isn't often in our regular supermarket so it a treat when we find it.  She made a great meal of Spinach and sun-dried tomato boursin orzo bake.  She added mushrooms and jarred jalepenos and left out the cream.  Most ingredients are baked together in broth until the orzo is cooked and then mixed together with some spinach and parmesan.

One of the really satisfying dishes we made for dinner recently were these Sheet Pan Vegan Breakfast Burritos.  Sylvia and I both worked on this meal because it has a few components.  She loved it all wrapped up in a burrito whereas I preferred it as a burrito bowl.  It had roasted potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and mushrooms.  I made the tofu scramble on the stovetop but would like to try it in the oven, and I added a favourite kidney bean stew.  I added tortillas, spinach, grated cheese and yoghurt to my bowl.  It was delicious.

Christmas at our place has been more restrained this year than last year.  So far there are less movies, carols and decorations but we have to visit the Christmas section every time we go to the supermarket.  This Whittakers candy cane block of milk chocolate called to us with the colourful packaging.  It was irresistibly good but one was enough.

I could not resist this Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Love A-Fair ice cream when it was on special.  It was so good that it didn't last long.  Then I read this fascinating article on Tips and Advice on ice cream from a dietician.  I should not have been surprised to see Ben and Jerry's described as ice cream in name but "more like confectionery in a dessert tub".  The picture of the label is like a pile of confectionery.  I loved this chocolate and salted caramel ice-cream but, like the article says, it is a rare treat.

I found a K-Mart gift card that I had from years ago and finally used it.  I bought us two books - Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Gamus and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, plus some new pasta bowls.  In the photo but not included in the voucher purchases is a large cup for Sylvia's tea (green tea, honey and apple juice) and some cans of Bubly flavoured sparkling water that we were given for free for a promotion.  It was nice enough but the flavours are all additives.

We also had a drive to USA Foods in Moorabbin, a long way over the other side of town.  Sylvia wanted to check out the Christmas food - there was some "candy" and gifts but seemed to be more leftover Thanksgiving bits and pieces.  It makes me think I will never understand the USA approach to Christmas.

As always we were tempted.  The Guacamole Takis said they were mild but I found them very spicy.  I am looking forward to trying the can of chipotle corn chowder, which is also claims to be mild.  Sylvia was as fascinated by Squeezy cheese as I was horrified.  The TGIF Mac and Cheese party bites were pretty bland.  The chocolate Eggos (toaster waffles) were delicious.  And the "How the Grinch Stole Kisses" are Hershey's chocolate kisses with a cute package and cute wrappers. Great for Grinch fans.

And finally I was very excited to find a Votes for Women tea towel featuring 9 amazing pioneers of women in Australian federal politics.  It would be great to feel proud as I dry the dishes but I confess I have put it away because I can't bear to wipe  Penny Wong's face on my dishes.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event. If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens and her gorgeous hand drawn festive header.

Saturday 2 December 2023

Broccoli tahini lemon soup - easy or fancy

When Sylvia and I were planning our meals before our weekly trip to the supermarket last weekend, I decided to make a broccoli soup to use up some leftover coconut cream.  She was not so keen so I said it would be for lunches.  In the end it served a few dinners and lunches but I didn't quite have the energy to make it as pretty as My Darling Lemon Thyme did in the photos of their soup.  However it was excellent.  It must be a while since I made a dish that morphed into different meals such a satisfying way.

The Broccoli soup with Tahini, Lemon and Pine Nut Za'atar recipe that I started out making had such pretty photos that it drew me in.  The swirl of sauce with nuts and Za'atar.  The bright green.  Raw broccoli is such an amazing green but it loses colour so easily when cooked.  The added green leaves in the recipe keep the green.

When I started cooking, I found that I did not have a large pestle and mortar to make the lemon tahini sauce and got lazy and added the sauce ingredients to the soup when I blended it.  I also added an extra cup of water before some much broccoli was above the water line (see above photo of how it looked with 5 cups of water). 

I loved how all the flavours of the soup.  It was rather thin compared to most soups I make but very easy to drink in a mug or ramekin.  I find a mug of soup with some bread very satisfying.  The next day I added some cheese, olives, tomatoes and spinach as well as bread and soup for an excellent lunch while working from home.  The same evening I had it for dinner and added pasta, peas and tinned brown lentils.  It was an easy makeover.  The two photos show how the soup can be augmented in very different ways for satisfying meals.

Sylvia was disappointed it was so thin and gave up plans to eat it as a pasta sauce but then she tried a little and was really impressed.  She first tried a little with a few spoonfuls of the sauce and decided it was ok.  The next night she had leftovers with pasta and parmesan.  That was a win for me.

Though not such a pretty soup as I had originally intended, I made an effort to take some photos the following day.  I have also amended my below version of the recipe to give options for easy or fancy.  My photos show a good honest soup to have after a weekend of tidying and cleaning around the house.  Maybe one day I will get back into inviting people over for dinner and have cause to make the fancy version.  As long as it is green and flavourful, either way is great.

More broccoli recipes on my Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:

Broccoli tahini lemon soup
Adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme
serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 leek, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp oregano

2 heads of broccoli, head and stems roughly chopped

3-5 cups water (depending on how thick you prefer)
2 heaped teaspoons stock powder

200ml coconut cream

big handful of baby spinach (or leaves of silverbeet, chard or mummy spinach)

Tahini lemon sauce:
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon cashew nuts, chopped and soaked in water
4 tablespoon tahini
juice of 1 lemon (3-4 tbsp)
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Suggested garnishes (optional):
dukkah, chopped nuts, sesame seeds (preferably both white and black), parsley, chives, cracked pepper, parmesan cheese. za'atar


Heat oil in frypan and add leek, garlic, salt, smoked paprika, cumin and oregano.  Fry until leek softens.  Add broccoli, water and stock powder.  [Note: water does not need to cover broccoli.]  Boil, cover and then simmer for about 10-15 minutes. 

While soup simmers, put together the the tahini lemon sauce ingredients.  Set aside

Add coconut cream, spinach and tahini ingredients to the saucepan.  Blend until smooth.  I used a hand held blender.  Serve hot or warm.  Add one of the suggested garnishes if you wish.


Heat oil in frypan and add leek, garlic, salt, smoked paprika, cumin and oregano.  Fry until leek softens.  Add broccoli, water and stock powder.  Note: water does not need to cover broccoli.]  Bring to the boil, cover and then simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  

While soup simmers, bend the sauce ingredients together to make a creamy sauce - use a large pestle and mortar gradually adding ingredients in order OR bung it all in a blender. Set aside

Add coconut cream and spinach to the saucepan.  Blend until smooth.

Serve with a swirl of sauce and one of the suggested garnishes

On the Stereo:
Costello Music: The Fratellis

Monday 27 November 2023

Chooka's Cafe, Brunswick

Earlier this year we were excited to hear that there was a new Japanese cafe with a cat theme.  It is tucked away down a little laneway near Sydney Road and is a delight to visit.


Sylvia and I went as soon as we could.  It is in a gorgeous old 1930s building that used to be a market.  It is one of the hidden gems of Brunswick.  My dad says the building has a Spanish feel to it. 

The Japanese have a great ability to blend the simple with the cute.  A little Totoro on a shelf.  Some paint brushes that don't look like they are there just for show.  Paw prints on the Open sign.

 On this visit we sat inside and looked out at the  laneway.  It was a winter's day and the trees were in hibernation.  The cafe has a few tables outside in the sun and shade.

We ordered drinks.  Sylvia had a soy latte but was a little jealous of the cocoa cat on my hot chocolate.  (On a visit with her dad she found that it is worth ordering the cappuccino for the cocoa cat or cocoa footprints on the froth)

I ordered the A Combo: miso soup, pickles and two omusubi.  (I call them onigiri but apparently omusubi is the same rice ball snack that is sometimes shaped into a triangle of rice.  The names seem to come from different traditions and regions.)  
The wakame and nori omusubi  were very good.  I had not had anything like the nori omusubi before.  It had an intense nori and soy sauce filling.  Unusual but good.  I foolishly ordered the miso soup and then upon asking found that it was not a vegetarian stock.  So disappointing!


A little black and white cat darted out of the back room while we were having lunch.  Later Sylvia found out it was called Udon.  Apparently the cat called Chooka is not terribly social and not likely to be seen.

After our first visit, Chookas closed for renovations so it was a few months before our next visit.  It was in Spring when the trees were in full blossom and threw a pleasing shade over the outdoor seats where we ate.  We were there just before 12 and had a short wait for a seat.

This time we were more adventurous with the drinks.  I had the plum soda and Sylvia had the very pretty strawberry matcha iced tea.  We were very happy with our drinks.  Next time I might have a yuzu soda or a kiwi fruit soda and Sylvia fancies trying the mango matcha iced tea.

On our second visit, Sylvia was keen to try all the vegetarian omusubi so we ordered one of each.  They cost about $6.50 - $7.00 each but are quite substantial and satisfying.  The Gomoku Omusubi with vegetables was sold out but we have it on our list for next time.  Below is a list of the ones we tasted: (CHECK ONLINE - sylvia?????)

  • Nori - cooked seaweed in soy sauce in the middle and on top - wrapped in nori - the soy sauce sauce was really intense and thick like a jelly but once we got used to it we loved it and used a little of the soy sauce seaweed as a sauce for other omusubi.  We had two of these.
  • Konbu - salted kelp mixed in - really good, even though the kelp seemed sparsely distributed.
  • Yukari - Japanese mint mixed in with an umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) in the middle - the mint gave it a gorgeous purple colour and nice flavour but the umeboshi was very salty and intense.
  • Wakame - with salted seaweed and black sesame seeds - another delicious one!  
  • Spicy Takana - with spicy mustard leaf - a slightly orange colour to it - we liked this one but it was quite spicy.

Orders were placed online with a QR code on the table.  When we ordered our omusubi (not long after 12pm) we noticed that there were only 2 slices of the Hojicha Cheese Cake ($9) left.  We got FOMO.  So we ordered our dessert at the same time.  That was a wise decision.  We were quite full and happy to have only one slice to share.  

I had thought that Hojicha was a type of Matcha but a quick search has told me that they are different ways of preserving tea leaves.  Matcha is a bright green ground dried leaves while Hojicha is made by roasting leaves, stems, stalks and twigs to make a reddish-brown nutty smoky flavour.  

The cheesecake was very soft and creamy, unexpectedly quite sweet which Sylvia wisely told me was balanced by the cream on top.  I tend to minimise cream in my desserts because I am not keen on the taste.  Sylvia is keen to try more desserts but I would be happy to return to this one.

Part of Chookas' appeal, especially for Sylvia and her dad, is the cats.  Udon and Chooka live at Chookas.  We have caught a few glimpses of Udon but none of the less social Chooka.  People were bringing their dogs to sit outside so possibly that keep the cats at bay.  But there are also two cats  - Juniper and Gordon - who live not far along the lane.

After our lunch, Sylvia and I stopped to see Juniper (above photo) and Gordon.  They are gorgeous, friendly and amusing.  Sylvia enjoyed patting and watching them so much that it was hard to tear her away.  I spoke to the owner who was enjoying the sunshine and was as lovely as the cats (but not for patting).  It fascinated me to talk about residential flats in the old market building.

Sylvia now has been to Chookas five times and planning more visits.  As well as visiting with me, she has taken her dad and grandfather there.  The last visit they asked for a cocoa Totoro (from the Ghibli movies) and she is sharing her photo.  In the background is a dorayaki: red bean paste and whipped cream sandwiched between two pancakes.  It was very nice, according to her.


It is a great cafe.  Delicious food that we haven't had elsewhere, despite being a fan of sushi in shopping malls.  The building and laneway trees give it a lovely relaxed ambience.  The staff are friendly and the vibe with the cats is fun.  I am sure I will be back and I don't hesitate to recommend it.  However it is quite small and busy so you need luck or patience to get a seat but it is well worth your while.

1 Ballarat St, Brunswick  VIC  3058
Open Wednesday to Monday, 9.30am - 4.00pm

Sunday 26 November 2023

20 Vegemite recipes for the 100 year anniversary, plus reflections and products

Happy 100th Birthday Vegemite!  It seems an ideal opportunity to reflect on and celebrate this dark, intense, salty spread that always has been part of my life and is always in my kitchen.  Vegemite has been with me from being a quick snakc to advertising jingles (happy little vegemites) to school lunches to an all-round excellent seasoning to experimental recipes to cheeseymite products to all the comfort a fine tradition can bring to our lives.  I know that (especially in international circles) attitudes are polarised into love or hate with no in-between.  

This is a long post so you might want to grab a Vegemite sandwich to keep you going as you read it. 

A brief overview of Vegemite:

Vegemite was launched by Cyril Callister into in a world of Australian beer drinkers on 25 October 1923.  He had created it in Melbourne to use up the yeast extra leftover from the beer brewing process.  For some history check out the Guardian article on the Vegemite's 100th anniversary or the vintage Vegemite advertisements in this National Library of Australia's blog post.  I hope to visit the Cyril Callister Museum in Beaufort one day.  The far left vegemite jar in the above photo shows the centenary jar that uses the original label design.

My favourite story is that it was originally called Parwill in response to the UK's similar yeast extra that was called Marmite.  "If Marmite ... then Parwill"!  Sadly it did not take of.  (Marmite is actually named for its shape being similar to the French earthenware or metal cooking pots.)  

Yeast extracts seem to be quite common in adding umami to mainly savoury recipes.  The ones I am most familiar with are Vegemite: a salty yeast extract made with extracts of onion, malt and celery, the UK's Marmite: a salty yeast extract with herbs and spices that has more flavours, and Australia's Promite: a slight sweeter yeast extract with glucose syrup and spice extracts.

Perhaps I should take the opportunity here to note that Australians often shake their head in amusement or despair when watching foreigners slather a thick layer of vegemite on bread and then claim it is disgusting.  I know it is an acquired taste but it is best spread thinly.  A little goes a long way.  Australians never appreciate what a skill it is to spread Vegemite on toast until they see a foreigner try it.

20 recipes featuring Vegemite

It was not so easy to find 20 recipes online featuring vegemite.  It is always the bridesmaid never the bride.  While it is in many recipes in my blog (such as stews) and elsewhere online, it often background flavouring.  The seasoning is critical but not the star.  These 20 Vegemite recipes are divided into my recipes and recipes elsewhere online.

10 Vegetarian Vegemite Recipes from my Green Gourmet Giraffe blog:

1. Cheeseymite scones

Scones with a layer and topping of vegemite and and cheese.  So soft and so tasty eaten warm with all the melty cheese and bitey spread.

2. Sourdough cheeseymite scrolls

A sourdough version of the iconic Bakers Delight Cheeseymite scrolls.  They have been copied by a lot of people so I am in good company.  It took a couple of goes to get them soft enough but it was worth the effort.  Really good!.

3. Vegemite and three veg pizza

This pizza was inspired by my mum's potato, pumpkin and pea mash with Vegemite that I loved as a child. It is also my favourite three vegetables that we had with meat when I was a kid.  The pizza was topped with Vegemite, pea puree, roast potato, roast pumpkin and cheese.  Amazing!

4. Vegemite burger (v)

 In the vegan and gluten free burger pattie, Vegemite is the main seasoning for this mixture of mushrooms, brown lentils, walnuts and brown rice.  I served it on a burger bun with lettuce, tomato, cheese, beetroot, fried onions, tomato sauce and mayonnaise.  Burger with the lot this good is a rare pleasure in my kitchen.

5. Basic vegan nut roast

I love nut roasts and was very happy to find a good simple vegan nut roast that has become a go-to recipe.  It doesn't have much in the way of flavours so the Vegemite is an important element.  It is a rather plain nut roast but goes so well with gravy or tomato sauce in a roast dinner or with salad.

6. Gravy

This gravy is typical of many recipes that don't mention Vegemite in the title.  Actually, I used Promite because that was what I had in the kitchen but today would use Vegemite.  Vegemite gives both the dark colour I expect of gravy as well as the depth of flavour.

7. Vegemite and poppy seed scones (v)

These scones with Vegemite and poppy seeds are not the bonniest. because I made a small batch and had too many scones on the edge of the rolled out dough.  I think I could double the Vegemite but I really liked the combination with poppy seeds to echo the black vegemite!  Not my boldest venture but one to repeat when I am feeling fearless!

8. Vegemite caramel layered fudge

This consdensed milk fudge has layers of chocolate and Vegemite caramel.  If you are freaked out by the idea of Vegemite caramel, think of it like salted caramel with a deeper flavour.  Loved it but it was a bit fiddly to make.  I hope I can try it again some time and be bolder with how much Vegemite I use.

9. Chocolate Vegemite fudge

I found this fudge easier to make than the above layered fudge.  But as with that one, the salty umami flavour of Vegemite balanced out the sweet condensed milk and chocolate in a more sophisticated way than salt might.  One to impress your overseas friends.

10. Vegemite birthday cake

I made this Vegemite birthday cake, inspired by Vegemite's 100 year anniversary.  It was a bit fiddly to get the icing right but the cake was a favourite vegan chocolate cake to which I substituted Vegemite for salt but I would like to experiment with the flavours of Vegemite in this cake.  I was happy with the icing.  It is the sort of iced birthday cake I grew up desperately wanting as a kid and now can make.

10 Vegemite Recipes from other websites

Here are a selection of mostly vegetarian recipes from the internet that I would like to try.  There are a lot of Vegemite recipes online but while searching I got a bit tired of some ideas that came up a lot such as Cheeseymite scrolls though I wished I had room to add the one I also found many were meat because the intense flavours goes well with meat.  I only included one carnivorous recipe for a cheeseymite stuffed burger that I would like to trysand the many recipes with meat.  The stuffed burger would be vegetarian burger.  See if you can guess which is the vintage recipe from Dorothy in 1939 in the Australian Woman's Mirror magazine.

  1. Vegemite cheesecake - A Table for Two
  2. Vegemite spaghetti - Not Quite Nigella
  3. Vegemite baked potatoes - Best Recipes
  4. Cheeseymite stuffed burger - Gusface Grillah
  5. Vegemite ice-cream - Belly Rumbles
  6. Vegemite gougeres - Eat Live Travel
  7. Vegemite lamingtons - Best Recipes
  8. Vegemite oatmeal soup - The New Daily
  9. Vegemite Asian slaw - Vegemite website 
  10. Strawberry Vegemite french toast roll-ups - Simple Cooking Channel on Youtube

Vegemite in my life:

  • Vegemite was always a part of my Aussie childhood.  As experimental student I swung to the Promite camp for a while and then swung back to Team Vegemite.
  • I can't think of any photos of Vegemite in my childhood.  I found a photo of my daughter spreading Vegemite on toast in a cafe.  She was so cute that I took the photo but preparing and eating with Vegemite was too mundane to photograph when camera film was precious during my childhood.
  • We usually ate Vegemite on bread or dry biscuits (crackers) in my childhood.  I took it to school in sandwiches, ate it with grilled cheese on toast as a lazy Sunday night dinner, had it on savoys or salada biscuits for a snack, or just spread it on fresh bread or toast with butter.
  • As a kid, one of my favourite side vegetable dishes to have with meat was Vegemite mixed through mashed potato, pumpkin and peas.  I had a go at making this mash with Promite many years ago.
  • I would pass a favourite patch of tar on the road near as I walked from my childhood house to the pool.  In hot weather it would melt and resemble a small puddle of Vegemite.  It was always very tempting to dip my toe in.  I think I might have once or twice.
  • My mum made lots of scones when I was young.  We mostly had jam and cream on them but my brother was not a sweet tooth and I am not sure if my memory is correct in thinking he once asked for vegemite and cream scones.
  • At school I remember Men at Work's song Down Under featuring the iconic line "He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich."  It linked Vegemite and our national identity in a way that brought it to the attention of the USA.  Though Vegemite never became popular in the US.
  • Vegemite used to come in jars that could be reused as glasses once empty and the label was cleaned off.  We loved them.  They were quite small and could be found in many family kitchens and student households.  
  • The Cheeseymite Scroll - bread dough spread with cheese and Vegemite and rolled into tasty buns - was created by Bakers Delight in 1994 and became an instant favourite.  So many snacks are meaty, that this is an excellent snack on the run.  It is an icon today that I would be lost without.  I've baked them in various ways but was still amazed by this recipe with garlic butter.
  • Vegemite and cheese sandwiches and Cheeseymite scrolls were often in my daughter's lunchbox at primary school.
  • When I lived in Edinburgh if the wind was blowing the right way I loved the smell of yeasty aromas from the brewery near our place.  Perhaps it reminded me of Vegemite.
  • I knew it was love when I met E in Scotland and he made an effort to eat Vegemite on toast.  He still eats it but my daughter feels he spreads it too thinly and prefers the slightly thicker way I spread it.
  • When my daughter was young we would take a jar of Vegemite on holiday as it was great with some fresh bread when we had a holiday house kitchen.  Just in case it wasn't available in a cafe.
  • My nephew in Ireland in a nut free school had kids getting cross at him for bringing Vegemite sandwiches for lunch because they thought it was Nutella.
  • We love mini Vegemite jars for fun.  There was a vegemite jar in the Coles little shop collectables, and recently I bought a Vegemite jar Christmas tree decoration which you can see in the above picture of three Vegemite. 
  • Vegemite was and still is an invalid's food.  When I feel ill and unable to stomach much, the saltiness is often what I need - just with a piece of bread.
  • On this blog I have featured Vegemite in my recipes, reminiscences and posts about what is in my kitchen.  I love experimenting with it in recipes but I sometimes wish I was not been so timid in adding it.

Vegemite on toast or in sandwiches:

The above poster from Scienceworks Museum reminds us that vegemite and cheese sandwiches is a not a new idea.  It was pretty simple then.  The variety of ways to each Vegemite on bread these days show how versatile it is.  The creamy texture and salty flavour combination is a winner. but Vegemite also goes well with nutty and spicy.

Vegemite in a sandwich with: 

  • Cheese:
    A classic sandwich that I have had a bazillion times
  • Crushed walnuts: 
    A favourite sandwich from my primary school lunches.  We all know that a salty crunchy treat is the bees knees. I wish I ate these sandwiches more now.
  • Cream cheese:
    A delicious soft oozy snack

Vegemite on toast with

  • Melted cheese: 
    This was a fine childhood comfort food to be eaten in front of the tv rather than with a knife and fork at the table.  If I were to try a vegan version, I think this would work well with grilling cashew cream in place of the cheese.
  • Dahl:
    Great use of leftovers, though not necessarily endorsed by Indian cooks,  Adding vegemite is like a flavour boost.  Fantastic fusion food.  I remember enjoying this when I was pregnant and feeling queasy about food. 
  • Avocado:
    This is a delicious 21st Century idea that has been embraced by younger people.  The mellow and salty  toppings make a great mix.  Tomatoes and ground pepper are optional but recommended.
  • Mashed potato:
    Another fine comfort food that I picked up from an English housemate in my student days.  No coincidence that the same friend taught me how to make excellent mashed potato.  I usually have cold leftover mashed potato with vegemite on toast.
  • Macadamia butter:
    A posh idea that is especially recommended for vegans wanting to replicate the vegemite and cheese experience.

There are many more combinations.  Others sandwich combinations I have heard of are Vegemite and lettuce or Vegemite and sultanas.  People also like Vegemite on toast with a fried egg.  Then there is this Vegorama sandwich with Vegemite, cottage cheese, grated carrot and lettuce for those who wonder if you can try it in a salad sandwich.  I also love the sound of vegemite mixed with mayonnaise as sauce for a burger.  Anything goes.

Vegemite products

The secret to longevity in products seems to be keeping the people interested by creating new ways to sell it.  It amazes me how many Vegemite flavoured products has been produced over the past decade or two.  Now you can get versions that are gluten free or low salt.

My favourite Vegemite-based product is the Arnotts Vegemite Shapes.  These crackers get the flavour right and make it so addictive that it can't be good for me but it is so good.  And the crackers come in the shape of Australia.  If you worry about Tasmania missing out, don't worry as there are some special Tassie shaped crackers.  Brilliant.  I was pretty impressed by the Cad bury chocolate block with a Vegemite caramel filling.  The Vegemite peanuts, Smiths crisps and Bagel Crisps are excellent.  I was pretty happy with the cheese and vegemite hot cross buns a year or so ago.  I was less impressed with the SPC vVgemite baked beans.  The flavour was not right.  And I didn't like the McCains Vegemite pizzas but I am not a fan of these types of pizzas. These are only some of the Vegemite products to be found on supermarket shelves.

Vegemite has also been a creative force in the restaurant and cafe industry in Melbourne.  I love how Zaatar's sells a fusion Vegemite and cheese pie.  Many cafes can do vegemite on toast, though they always give enough vegemite to last a month.  Occasionally I have found a vegemite and cheese toastie.  Most impressive was the White Chocolate Vegemite Ice Cream at Fluffy Tonedos in Smith Street, Fitzroy.  An excellent use of the salty umami flavour to tame white chocolate which is often too sweet for me.  An online search turns up some innovative restaurant offerings of Vegemite flavoured dishes that I wish I could try.


There is much else to be done with Vegemite.  I am hoping there will be a Vegemite tim tam soon and I would like to try baking Cheeseymite Hot Cross Buns, or adding Vegemite to recipes such as a tofu scramble, mac and cheese dumplings and savoury French toast . I have found plenty of inspiration online and hope I have added a little myself with this post.  Stay tuned for more ....

In the meanwhile you might like to check out more Australian food icons and recipes.