Wednesday, June 20, 2012
On days when my writing is stalling, I construct elaborate salads for lunch. Grilled peppers, freshly steamed beans, roasted beetroot, tahini dressings. They are a beautiful and delicious monument to my blocks and procrastination.
On days when it is all flowing and I only break for essential sustenance, it's a two ingredient meal. Rice, soy sauce. Miso, noodles. Spinach, baked beans. Toast, egg. Spaghetti, Vegemite.
I came to Vegemite late in life. Eschewed it as a child in favour of peanut butter. Discovered its miracle powers as a young, jet lagged, lovesick world traveller fighting a tropical fever in Singapore. Since then it has always been my spread of choice when soothing is required. It goes surprisingly well with avocado on toast. When I saw this recipe in Nigella Lawson's Kitchen (but her version is with Marmite) I was compulsively curious.
What a treat. Savoury, salty and so simple. Four ingredients rather than my usual two, but what the hell. I can be flexible. And when you're writing a particularly gut-wrenching scene in your novel, sometimes you need comforting nursery-type food with an Antipodean twist.
Serves 2, or 1 hungry writer who went for a run that morning
1 heaped teaspoon Vegemite
1 heaped tablespoon butter/non-dairy spread
Parmesan cheese, as much as you like
Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Place pan back on the heat. Add Vegemite and butter, letting it gently melt and combine. Let it sizzle a tiny bit, but don't let it brown. Add a splash of the pasta water and stir. Once all melted and amalgamated, add the pasta and stir to coat in the sauce and heat through. Add more pasta water if it needs it.
Tumble into bowls and serve with plenty of Parmesan cheese. I used Cheezly's vegan parmesan which is very good.
Are you a Vegemite fan? (I know it's a divided subject!)