Tag Archives: fromage homage

Badass smoky chilli cheese beer bread

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Badass: seriously scary or seriously impressive. Words related to badass: epic, beast, Chuck Norris.

This bread doesn’t make me think of Chuck Norris. Though Chuck may like eating this bread* – a hefty, moist wholemeal affair, laced with parmesan and slathered in a spicy-smoky-sweet-salty sauce. There are browned crusty bits from the parmesan, and caramelised savoury bits from the smoky-chilli sauce. It’s not your average bread roll, this is chilli, smoky, cheesy, surprising goodness. And, you know, beer bread!

* Actually, I don’t know, what does Chuck Norris like to eat?

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After an eventful two weeks, this bread celebrated being back in the kitchen with time to play with food. It started with mild food poisoning, a few work dinners (ironically…), then a short trip to Singapore, baking cakes for friends who are moving away, and maybe taking on a new job at work (eeeeeep).

Crazy times, calls for crazy bread. Oui?

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The sauce features Korean red pepper paste, gochujang, which looks like a brilliant red version of miso. Sure, it’s spicy, but gochujang also has gorgeous sweet, salty, sour, umami flavours. Traditionally made by fermentation in large earthenware jars, the lingering, complex flavours develop as as hot chlli / pepper powder is fermented with glutinous rice, soy beans, salt and maybe some sweetener (honey, rice syrup).

While gochujang is traditionally used for soups, stews and rice cake dishes, it’s also used in ketchup and aioli, and jazzing up grilled cheese, tacos and quesadillas. So, I thought, why not use it in bread?

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It must be Australia Day: not-quite-poutine meets vegemite

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Update (26 Jan): added link to this month’s “Cheese please!” challenge, hosted by Fromage Homage. Check out the post about tasting Colin, the home-made cheddar.

I’ve resurfaced! Mid-January was a time of mysterious illnesses (caught from work colleagues who caught it from exotic holiday locations), early bedtimes and absence from the blogosphere. Thankfully the exotic bugs have departed, and I’ve picked up the camera again.

Just in time for Australia Day. And what could be more Australian than vegemite? (If you like the sound of golden toasted cheddar on polenta chips with just enough vegemite to add a salty kick, read on, this is a post for you.)

Vegemite

The black, unctuous, salty, umami-laden yeast extract spread that seems to be a practical joke for everyone else, and a Masterchef ingredient for us.

The taste of the stuff seeps into the memories of old time Aussie kids, as does the ditty that can rouse a hipster crowd to a sing-along:

“We’re happy little Vegemites / As bright as bright can be. /
We all enjoy our vegemite, / for breakfast lunch and tea. […]”

Even growing up in a migrant family, I ended up eating and loving the stuff. When we were travelling through Copacabana, Bolivia, a couple of years ago, we met another group of Australians. They had packed a family-sized tube of vegemite and were having it on toast at the breakfast table. And suddenly I had such a fierce hankering for vegemite, that I asked them if I could have some.

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‘Poutine’

In October 2013, vegemite turned 90. With that in mind, I thought about making something involving vegemite for Australia Day. Somehow we ended up with a riff on poutine – a poutine in concept rather than execution.

The idea developed like this, in a Smeagol-vs-Gollum style interior dialogue:

think vegemite –>
mmm cheese –>
ok think vegemite –>
cheesy polenta chips –>
ok, let’s think vegemite –>
Cheesybite! (vegemite and cheese spread) –>
eww Cheesybite –>
I’ve got it, polenta chips with vegemite and cheese –>
erm, you serious? –>
with vegemite gravy and cheese! –>
with polenta chips? –>
sure, it’ll be like poutine, except with polenta chips, and vegemite gravy –>
*looks dubious, but goes with the flow*

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