It is said that over 90% of Australian households have a jar of Vegemite in the pantry. I, for one, am surprised it’s not more but most of the rest of the world can’t understand why.
Vegemite is a dark brown paste made from yeast extract left over from the production of beer. It is a spread for breads and biscuits but can also be used like stock in soups and stews. It is similar to British ‘Marmite’, Swiss ‘Cenovis’ and German ‘Hefeextrakt’. ‘Vegemite’ was named following a nationwide naming competition in 1922 with a prize of £50 (worth around 25,000 SEK in 2013). .
Vegemite appeared on the market in 1923 but failed to sell very well initially. Over time the product grew to be part of the national psyche; it was served as a part of the rations to solders during WWII and was the first item to be electronically scanned through the checkout in 1984 with the introduction of bar-code reader. By the end of the 1940s, 90% of Australian homes had a jar of Vegemite in the cupboard, a figure that remains the same today.
NB this is a great recipe to make with children!
1 sheet puff pastry
15g butter, at room temperature
15g Vegemite (or to taste!)
75g grated strong cheese (cheddar would work really well)
plain flour for rolling pastry
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Spread pastry sheet with butter, Vegemite and then sprinkle with cheese. Fold the pastry in half to encase the ingredients.
- Sprinkle pastry with some plain flour and use a rolling pin to roll out to original pastry sheet size. Cut into 12 strips and twist 2-3 times.
- Place on baking tray, brush with egg and bake for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Serve warm or cold.
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Recipe: Mia Donovan
Photo Credit: Renée S.