Tuesday 22 January 2013

Cheeseymite scones for Australia Day

I found a forgotten cooler bag covered in Australian flags in our back shed today.  Leading up to Australia Day (26 January) each year, the shops are full of the the Aussie flag.  Hats.  Serviettes.  Paper plates.  Bandanas.  Thongs (footwear, of course!).  Bunting.  Even the groceries have flags all over the packaging.  Tomato sauce.  Olive oil.  Biscuits.  Tissues. Etc etc.

At this time of year I am filled with the need to make iconic Australian recipes.  Every now and again I wake in the night filled with horror that I have never blogged about lamingtons or sponge cake or pavlova.  Mind you I have blogged pumpkin scones, chocolate crackles, damper and ANZAC biscuits.  And I have told you of my lifetime of eating vegemite and promite.  Today I am sharing a recipe for cheeseymite scones that draws on Australian traditions of vegemite and cheese sandwiches.

These cheeseymite scones were so good, I made them two weekends in a row.  The recipe came from Julie Goodwin in this month's Australian Women's Weekly.  I take my hat off to her for her simple approach to a fiddly recipe.  Before telling you about them, I thought I should show you (above) the Bakers Delight cheeseymite scrolls that Sylvia and I love. They are made by rolling up and baking yeasted bread dough with vegemite and cheese.  The result is a delicious fluffy savoury scroll.

Cheeseymite scrolls are like a meal in a bun.  I have made cheeseymite scrolls with puff pastry.  They were delicious but I prefer bread to pastry.  I have been meaning to make a yeasted version, but am yet to get around to it.  Scones will do me just as well.  They are so much quicker than yeast.  I have seen scone versions of these sort of scrolls and it seemed a good idea but still fiddly.  The genius of Julie's recipe is that it requires folding rather than rolling.

It is simply a matter of patting out the scone dough, spreading it with vegemite and cheese, folding it in two and spreading with more vegemite and cheese.  So easy.  So simple,  So brilliant.  I prefer my scones round but worried about the dough scraps if I cut out rounds.  So on my first attempt I cut the dough into squares.  When I tried round scones the second time I was pleased to find they worked fine.  I used recipe notes I had scribbled out of the Women's Weekly before loaning it to my mum.  As usual, I didn't follow instructions precisely.

On my first attempt I spread the vegemite and cheese over the whole scone dough surface.  It them occurred to me that I was struggling to spread vegemite over such a large area because you only needed it on half the dough before folding it over.  I rubbed the butter into the flour rather than melting it but my mum says it makes them taste better.  That is probably why I usually make my scones that way.

I also had some help from Sylvia and Dolly.  The dough is really sticky and soft.  Not for small hands to handle.  I let them both help to stir in the milk with a knife.  Dolly also had fun with a cup measure.  She reminded me of Saucepan Head in Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree.  No doubt such practices would not meet health and safety standards in a commercial kitchen.  But it gave us a good laugh.

We ate the scones around the kitchen table for lunch when I first made them, took some to a friend's place and then nibbled on the leftovers.  The second time I made them was at breakfast time.  We ate them for lunch after a swim at the pool and then for dinner with some leftover salad.  Both times, they were compensation for having no fresh bread in the house.  I suspect they will become a regular recipe in our house.  We love them very much and they are so very easy.

In honour of Australia Day I have made a collage of some Aussie images, quite a few of them from our visit to the Botanic Gardens last weekend.  (NB The gum leaves for my scone photos are from my local area.) Cheeseymite may well be a recent addition to the Aussie lingo but it is a flavour combination that has long been a favourite of Aussie kids. 

To celebrate Australia day you could hold a party with a backyard bbq and pool like my brother is this year, or go the beach and bush like we did last year or go to the Australia Day parade like we might this year.  Or you could just stay at home and bake these cheeseymite scones.  Washed down with a mug of billy tea.  It will have you yelling "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi".

Lastly, I can't mention Australia Day without a note that it means different things to different people, particularly our First Nations people.  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people once called it Invasion Day but lately I hear more reference to Survival Day.  In this spirit I will leave you with a moving excerpt from an Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) poem, 'A Song of Hope', that I heard in a few speeches late last year:

To our fathers' fathers
The pain, the sorrow;
To our children's children
The glad tomorrow

Some other Aussie posts on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
ANZAC Day and the Biscuit Police
BBQ tofu like an Aussie flood
Memories, BBQs, and Bangers & Mash
Potato salad, freak weather and bushfires
Reconciliation damper, snags and dead horse
Stuffed Pears - in the swag

Cheeseymite Scones
From Julie Goodwin in the Australian Women's Weekly January 2013
makes 23 small scones

2 cups self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
40g butter, chopped
1 cup milk (I used soy milk)
2 tbsp vegemite
120g (I cup) grated cheese

Preheat the oven to 220 C and grease an oven tray.

Place flour and salt in a medium to large bowl.  Rub butter into flour with your fingertips and then make a well.  Pour in milk and mix gently with a knife until it comes together in a sticky dough.  Sprinkle with flour and turn out onto a well floured surface.  Briefly knead until it comes together.  (Mine seemed too sticky both times but with a generous amount of flour it came together ok.)

Pat the dough out (making sure the surface below is well oiled), shaping into an approximate rectangle of between 1 and 1.5cm thickness..  Spread half with 1 tablespoon of vegemite.  (The dough is so soft that it is not easy - I found the best way was to dab blobs of vegemite over the dough and use a knife to sort of join them up.)  Sprinkle with half the cheese.  Fold the plain half over the vegemite and cheese half.  Spread the top with vegemite and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Cut out scones either using a scone cutter to make circles or a knife to cut squares or triangles.  (If making round scones, some of the scones made from scraps at the end will not have cheese and vegemite on top.)  Place closely together on greased tray.  Bake for 10-20 minutes (I baked mine for 20 minutes).  When cooked wrap in a teatowel until ready to eat.  Best on day of baking but keeps fine over night.

On the Stereo:
No Earthly Man: Alasdair Roberts


  1. These scones look terrific, and I adore your patriotic collages. My Aussie Day tribute has been done, but won't appear until the day. Hope yours is a good one!

    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I am impressed at your planning ahead - I am not good at waiting once I get an idea in my head :-) Will look forward to your Australia Day post

  2. Yum. Easier is always a good start ;).
    Was just talking with an American friend this morning about "australian food" - and took me a while to come up with much. Meat pies, unseasoned BBQs, rissoles, pavlova, lamingtons, etc.. He reminded me of all the amazing ethnic fusion food in Melbourne and Sydney. I reminded him I'm in Brisbane ;)

    1. Thanks Matt - Australian food is one of those difficult categories. I tend to think of the old school Aussie baking that I grew up with as very Australian - once I started to realise that people in other countries have no idea about some of our dishes I began to understand what was unique to Australia. I also think there is some really interesting cooking with Australian Indigenous herbs and spices. I think the fusion cooking is Australian but in a different way that I don't identify with so much (maybe I just don't eat out enough)

  3. J-lady can you send me some please? Please?

    1. Thanks Hannah - how I wish I could - if only they weren't all gobbled up and would taste worse for wear from a trip with Pat the Postman :-)

  4. I like the move from invasion day to survivor day. It always made me sad that the day had to represent the loss of land to Indiginous Australians rather than a celebration of all that Australia is - which is how I think of it.

    I love your photos, the collage and the ones of the scrolls, and think vegemite in scones is an excellent idea! When I ate cheese on occasion, with vegemite was the only way I liked it. These days, I think I'd love to make these without the cheese but with nutritional yeast. Thanks for the idea :-)

    1. Thanks Kari - I did think of putting a variation and suggesting a vegan version with vegemite and vegan cheese inside the scones - my experiments with making vegan cheese and using it in scones last year was very successful - if you ever feel the urge to have some scones that are cheezy but not cheesey.

      Thanks for your feedback on the photos - I took the ones with the flag and gumleaves outside and then was trying to deal with too much sunshine - which seemed a good aussie problem :-)

      And I too like the move from invasion day to survival day - I want to live in a nation that celebrates its Indigenous people and I hope this change in approach helps that.

  5. I love how these are more of a savory scone! they sound delicious.

    1. Thanks Joanne - I am very partial to a savoury scone - great for dinner with salad or with soup


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