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Taste of a Nation – Vegemite Scone Ring… Random Recipes #33

randomrecipes2I really missed Random Recipes in September as Dom from Belleau Kitchen took a mini break. He obviously spent that time concocting one of his more difficult RRs for us.  This time, the theme is ‘local ingredient’. That might seem easy but it can be a little tricky. Is local, ‘Must be from the neighbourhood’? Cue Wild Weed Salad and a possible visit to emergency. Is local, ‘The food stuff everyone associates with your neck of the woods even though it doesn’t grow nearby’? Cue, Pineapple Surprise. Is local, ‘Made locally but associated with another continent?’ Cue, grilled haloumi, made in the next suburb. Is local, ‘The thing you have in your freezer that you need to use up?’ Cue Goat Curry and commit to not buying so much goat from the local Indian grocer next time. What is ‘local’? I was clearly over thinking it. But I wanted my dish to be unique and show others what Australians are really made of.

Then, there was a sign. I was reading through the paper on my flight to Canberra and spotted a small article about a National Icon celebrating its 90th birthday on October 25th. Vegemite. You either love it or you hate it. I wouldn’t say it polarises the nation as most of us love it but it is fair to say that it’s an acquired taste. In the same way that those who have grown up with haggis or stinky tofu think nothing of having it as a staple in the fridge, those of us who grew up on Vegemite think nothing of slathering it on our hot buttered toast in the mornings. For that is truly how it is best served.

An Acquired Taste
Vegemite is a concentrated yeast extract that was reputedly a by-product of the brewing industry (though I can find no reference to this on the Vegemite website). It’s vegan friendly and full of Vitamin B and folate. And salt. We may say the soup’s too salty or complain about an over salted risotto yet, Aussies can handle Vegemite which is essentially a spoonful of spreadable salt. Salt is the second ingredient on the label so there’s no denying it’s an acquired taste. Oh, and it’s black. For a while, Vegemite was known as Parwill – ‘If Marmite…Parwill’ but thankfully they came to their senses and re-named it Vegemite. The old song goes ‘It puts a rose in every cheek’. Though sadly no longer Australian owned, it is still Australian made and worth celebrating as a distinct and local ingredient.

A slice of Vegemite Scone Ring with melting butter

Despite being in almost everyone’s cupboard across the land, there are surprisingly few recipes that use Vegemite. (Did I mention that it’s black and salty?) There is one well known dish – Cheese and Vegemite Scrolls or pull aparts. They’re very popular in kids’ lunch boxes, with many recipes on the Internet. In the spirit of Random Recipes though, I looked through my cookbooks for a recipe or one I could at least Presbyterian Women's Missionary Union Cookery Book with tattered cover and ring bindingadapt. I did find one for coffee scrolls and another for Chelsea buns but in the end, the most authentic was actually the Savoury Scone Ring recipe in the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union Cookery Book – 1975 reprint. They have chosen to adorn the cover with a picture of tinned apricots with maraschino cherries. This interesting little book has a forward from Martha Gardener, a list of ingredients converted to the new fangled metric system and a list of local Op Shops and Boy’s and Girl’s Homes at the back (so watch out kids or your parents may send you there). Very eclectic. The original recipe called for bacon which I omitted and replaced with Vegemite. I amped up the ‘local’ factor by using Pepe Saya cultured butter that I won in a recent competition run by Liz from Bizzy Lizzy Cooks. This isn’t a yeast bread but a simple scone dough so it’s something you can whip up quickly to impress your overseas visitors or make with the kids.

PWMU Savoury Scone Ring
Vegemite Scone Ring 2


  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp extra butter
  • 1 – 2 tbsp Vegemite*
  • I cup strong tasty cheese, grated (I used Mersey Valley)
  • 1 shallot (spring onion) diced
  • sesame seeds for decoration


  • Sift flour and salt into a bowl and rub 3 tablespoons of butter into flour until well combined
  • Add milk to flour and mix by hand until combined
  • Turn sticky dough out onto floured board and knead gently until a soft dough is formed (remember, this is a scone dough, not bread dough)
  • Roll dough into a rectangle, a few centimetres thick.
  • Combine 1 tablespoon of butter and Vegemite and spread over dough. You may add more Vegemite if you like to slather it on.
  • Sprinkle surface evenly with chopped shallots and grated cheese

Vegemite Scroll Trio

  • Roll long edge of dough to form a long cylinder
  • Curl dough around into a spiral and place on baking sheet
  • Snip top of scroll with scissors at regular intervals, paint top with milk (or an egg wash) and scatter sesame seeds on top
  • Bake in oven preheated to 230c for 15 – 20 minutes until browned
  • Serve whilst warm with unsalted butter

Vegemite Scone Ring 4

* In my opinion, there is of course, no substitute for Vegemite. Others may beg to differ and try to substitute Marmite, Promite or even tomato chutney but they will not be on my Christmas list

Click on this link to watch the original ‘Happy Little Vegemites’ ad. Not only will you get to hear the song but there are a few recipe tips in there too. Note that the Vegemite label remains almost unchanged 60 years after the commercial was made. I also suggest visiting the Vegemite website as they have lots of interesting information and pictures of the Taste of a Nation. Happy Birthday Vegemite.

Vegemite Scone Ring 1

17 comments… add one
  • belleau kitchen October 22, 2013, 5:56 pm

    oh my word that is a STUNNING bake… I love the idea of this… i'm afraid i'm in the haters camp but maybe it's not so bad when wrapped up in all the glorious sconny stuff… thanks so much for the entry this month xxx

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! November 2, 2013, 9:29 am

      I'm surprised how well it turned out. Of course, you are now off my Christmas card list but I will continue to join your challenges out of pity and charity.

  • Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things October 23, 2013, 7:02 am

    Fiona, what a wonderful post… a delicious recipe! And thank you for the very kind shout out to me and Pepe Saya. 'We're happy little Vegemite…. la la la la la!'.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! October 23, 2013, 4:29 pm

      Most welcome. Of course I've used the butter in many things but this is a nice little showcase. I hope you try the recipe.

  • Jan Rhoades October 23, 2013, 7:12 am

    Well, you know how long a jar of Vegemite lasts in this house!!! Soooo long that if your other half is around I have to hide the jar, or at least the label 🙂 The savoury scone ring looks delicious. Eaten warm with slathers of butter. I can think of no better way of consuming such a local delicacy

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! October 23, 2013, 4:30 pm

      I read today how Vegemite is 90 years strong and will outlive us all. Of course Eduardo tells me he doesn't like Vegemite. I've told him he's off the Chistmas list too.

    • Edward Rhoades October 26, 2013, 7:13 am

      I am sorry I didn't try it the other day but even after seeing all the effort you put into it… still a no.

  • Jan Rhoades October 26, 2013, 8:14 am

    I probably have one of the original-issue jars in my fridge somewhere 🙂

  • Stacy November 1, 2013, 8:23 pm

    I think if you are British you have to eat Marmite and if you are Australian, you have to eat Vegemite. It's a rule of some sort. My British husband says Vegemite is Marmite for wimps. 🙂 Frankly, as an American, I am not fond of either! But I do lovely most other savory things so this bread might be a good introduction to the flavor of Vegemite for me. It sure is a pretty loaf!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! November 2, 2013, 9:32 am

      Don't even get me started on Promite! As an American I'm sure you're thinking 'what the heck?' I'm not a great baker but this ring turned out surprisingly well and almost looks a little 'artisan', I'm sure you could substitute the back back into the recipe and it would be equally enjoyable.

  • Choclette November 4, 2013, 2:35 am

    Haha, love Marmite, but couldn't get on with Vegemite at all when I was in Oz. I remember making something very similar to your savoury scone ring many years ago and now feel I need to try it out again – with Marmite of course 😉

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! November 4, 2013, 7:40 pm

      Well yet another person to remove from the Christmas list. It's getting very small indeed! Yes, do try this with Marmite. Or, Nutella?…

  • Choclette November 4, 2013, 2:37 am

    PS Love the sound of that cultured butter. Keep meaning to make some, but it's one of the many things I don't seem to have got around to.

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! November 4, 2013, 7:44 pm

      It's an acquired taste, a little strong to start with but it safe to say I've acquired it.

  • Kylie Meller January 20, 2015, 10:01 pm

    That looks yum. I will be trying this for sure!

    • Fiona Ryan January 21, 2015, 8:39 pm

      It’s so easy Kylie that you’ll be impressing people at the drop of a hat!

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