Coming soon to my blog will be a new semi-regular series where I ask bloggers and authors some hard-hitting questions. Possibly the most hard-hitting of these questions is:
“What’s your favourite sandwich?”
While one of the best sandwich experiences I’ve had was a bacon butty (with brown sauce) eaten at a roadside food truck on a cold Yorkshire morning and accompanied by tea in a Styrofoam cup, I’d probably say that Vegemite and cheese on soft white bread with real butter and fake plastic-wrapped cheese is the sandwich I crave when I’m needing comfort in sandwich form. While it’s not my favourite sandwich, it’s certainly the sandwich I want when I’m jet-lagged (oh the memories), hungover, or emotionally exhausted.
Given that I featured vegemite and cheese pasta in Escape To Curlew Cottage, you can’t possibly be surprised that I’d at some point bake a vegemite and cheese scone? Well, I have, and for those of you who are vegemite haters (no judgment), I’d urge you to give it a go – rather than a vegemite punch, you get more of an umami smooch.
If you already love vegemite, well, you don’t need any more convincing, I’m sure!
Okay, the usual rules apply for scones: keep everything cold – except the oven which must be at temperature before you slide your scones on. And don’t overwork the dough.
So, without further ado, here’s the recipe.
What you need
- 150ml milk. (You probably should use whole milk, but I’d run out and had semi-skimmed in the fridge and got the same result with that – so don’t stress too much if that’s all you have.)
- 1 tbsp vegemite (or marmite)
- 300g self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting the bench)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 85g unsalted butter, cubed and fridge-cold
- 150g grated cheese – cheddar is a good choice
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
What you do with it
- In a small pan, warm the milk until it’s at blood temperature, but don’t allow it to boil. Whisk in the vegemite making sure there are no little lumps. Take it off the heat and set aside in the fridge to cool. It might look the colour of milky coffee, but trust me, you don’t want to drink it.
- Line a baking sheet with baking paper and preheat your oven to 220C (fan 200C).
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Rub the butter into the flour with the tips of your fingers until it looks like sandy breadcrumbs. Work as quickly as you can with this to avoid melting or softening your butter too much.
- Add the cheese, mustard powder and sugar and stir to combine. Pop it in the fridge for at least 10 minutes if, like me, you live in south-east Queensland and have difficulty keeping anything cool.
- Set aside a tablespoon or so of the vegemite milk (you’ll be using this to brush the tops of the scones) and tip the rest into the floury buttery cheesy bowl and mix (using a dinner knife) until it’s brought together into a dough. Remember, don’t handle it any more than is necessary.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball – again, don’t overwork it.
- Roll out, or gently pat with your hands, to about two fingers thick and stamp out using a floured 7cm round cutter. Take care not to twist the cutter as it will impact the scone’s ability to rise evenly. Pop onto the baking sheet spaced slightly apart.
- Reroll the trimmings until all the dough is used.
- Brush the tops with the rest of the vegemite milk, place into the hot oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until well-risen and deep golden brown.
- Serve with plenty of butter, or, for that extra vegemite hit, butter and vegemite.