Eat Nice Life Reminders Pip-Life

Long Live Savoury Toast!

January 19, 2021

Does YOUR family make anything like the Tasmanian favourite, Savoury Toast?

I’m not talking about Welsh rarebit (which is pre-cooked and contains beer) or Cheesy Toast (Stephanie Alexander’s famous and much-loved recipe from her Richmond Hill Café and Larder.)

I’m talking about good old fashioned melty cheese mixed with sauces/relish and spices, piled on sliced bread and grilled/baked until bubbly and a bit golden/burnt. (Sometimes with egg or ham or bacon, often not.)

I grew up with Savoury Toast and it’s a life-long favourite to be turned to when things are tiring or overwhelming or a bit chilly out. Some say that Savoury Toast is a Tasmanian quirk of cheesy weirdness. I like this idea, but I suspect that other states and territories have something similar on the menu, albeit closeted away and eaten from the kitchen table on crisp mornings or chilly nights.

I’m not the only Tasmanian turning to Savoury Toast (or as my family call it Cheese Spread On Toast.) Last year the editor of the Illawarra Mercury Julian O’Brian wrote about his nostalgic pandemic longings for ST. I must say his toast looks delightfully rustic … and you can find the recipe for his crowdsourced version of “heaven on earth” here. #Bacon-y

ABC Radio Hobart also ran a segment about Savoury Toast a wee while ago, chatting to northern Tassie local Ange Wilson about what makes this toast such a firm favourite. Ange mentioned that she does hers in the OVEN and that she often has it cold. On a boat. Imagine it?! #Inspiring

After the segment, the ABC were hit with a swathe of delighted and wistful comments from toasty cheese enthusiasts. Some offered recipe tips, others pointed readers to various Tasmanian cafés where Savoury Toast is still on the menu. #Helpful

There are other recipes on forums and in chat groups across the internet, if you’re keen to diver deeper.

When I was researching ST I found a recipe for something called Tomato Cheese in the Esk Valley CWA Cookbook. I think it’s a cousin of the usual Savoury Toast as it explores similar themes although it’s a pre-cooked mix, like Welsh rarebit.

In my family, I THINK the recipe originated from my paternal grandmother, Nanna Icky. My aunty sent me Icky’s handwritten recipe for Savoury Toast which seemed to point to that.

The recipe was then tweaked and riffed-off until it had morphed into something that would warm your insides on a wintry morning (while possibly burning the roof of your mouth, if you were too quick and greedy!)

It wasn’t written down, but my brother recreated his version of our family’s Cheese Spread (aka Savoury Toast). My first version of his recipe is in my book Craft For The Soul and it’s very good, I must say.

When I moved back here I was determined to dig deeper into ST and tweak that recipe further. I came up with something that truly, rooly does resemble the ST of our childhood. One that my Mum scored an 11 out of 10 on the Cheese Spread ranking.

Here’s how to make it. Be warned, it’s not for the delicate palate.

How to make Pip’s Savoury Toast

Makes enough to top 10 slices of bread

250g of mozzarella cheese, grated
250g of mild cheddar cheese, grated
250g of tasty cheese, grated
2 tablespoons of tomato relish
250ml of tomato sauce (or ketchup)
150ml of BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons of Keen’s curry powder (or similar)
1 tablespoon of Keen’s mustard powder (or similar)
1 tablespoon of mild paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of white pepper

Mix together. Spread on sliced, buttered toast bread and grill on the ‘toast’ setting in a toaster oven so both sides toast simultaneously. (OR grill one side of the bread, then flip it over and spread the cheese mix thinly across the un-grilled side. Then grill until bubbly.) It’s quite important that it burns a tiny bit, so just keep that in mind.

Once you have made the mix and tried it on toast, you can adjust it to taste by adding more cheese or curry powder or salt … or whatever. Our family occasionally added mashed potato to the mix. Sometimes even egg. We always had ours HOT and grilled or toasted – on sliced white bread – in the toaster oven. None of this baked palaver, but YOU DO YOU Savoury Toast fanciers. Bake if you want to!

There are clearly recipes for Savoury Toast tucked into family recipe books across the state. Possibly across the country. Perhaps you have one you’d like to share? Please DO! You can add it in the comments or email it to me? Maybe I can make us a booklet of Savoury Toast recipes?!

Of course, you might find all this chatter quite perplexing and wish you had never heard about Savoury Toast. I understand this too. Feel free to scratch your head and wander away …

Or read on and come over to the spicy, cheesy side? That could be grand, too! You won’t regret it.

x pip

 

10 Comments

  • Reply Louise February 9, 2021 at 1:39 PM

    We grew up with something similar. Just no bread. Or extras. It was called “cheese on a plate”, which was just that. Cheese grated into a circle on a dinner plate, under the grill until melted, gooey and bubbling, then out of the grill, slather it with HP sauce, done. Amazingly good!

    • Reply Pip February 14, 2021 at 2:06 PM

      That sounds incredible! I love these weird childhood recipes. They make me feel less weird about my own!! Thanks Louise! x

      • Reply Jane March 8, 2021 at 7:38 AM

        We had this too. Sometimes grilled an egg with it too. Oh special memories

  • Reply KWadsworth January 25, 2021 at 12:37 AM

    I think that in the USA people just go for pizza instead. It satisfies the same kind of bread-with-cheese-and-tomato-based-sauce-thing cravings.

    And I live in New York City where you can’t go three blocks without running into a cheap restaurant selling pizza by the slice alone for only a couple dollars, so it’s become part of the background fabric of the city.

  • Reply Anna Scott January 22, 2021 at 8:53 PM

    I had never heard of savoury toast.. ! It looks too delicious for words – too bad, I just had dinner. But now I know what is on the menu for lunch tomorrow.
    X

  • Reply Isabel January 22, 2021 at 9:29 AM

    I have nothing to add in terms of Savoury Toast recipes (other than I want to eat it NOW) but may I just say how beautiful that top photo is, Pip? The light, the golden toast on the blue and white plate, the cute salt and pepper shakers, the corked bottles of tea leaves, the bowl of apricots, the knife with crumbs still clinging to its blade and THE VIEW. Sigh. Tres hygge. Nice photography!

    • Reply Isabel January 22, 2021 at 9:31 AM

      Oh, and of course the cuppa tea and teapot with her gorgeous teal and tangerine checkered cosy. How could I forget that? The pièce de résistance.

  • Reply Mel G January 20, 2021 at 12:11 AM

    The closest I’ve had to ST was my dad’s favourite – make toast, spread with butter, spread with fruit chutney, top with a slice of Coon Tasty then grill until melty and bubbly. But I’m totally here for a ST booklet!

  • Reply Reannon January 19, 2021 at 7:07 PM

    Gosh, I am HERE for all this savoury toast chat! I feel like it could be on the cards for us over the weekend 🙂

  • Reply Karena January 19, 2021 at 2:07 PM

    Hi Pip! I’m loving your Tasmanian adventures! 🙂 Funnily enough, I was just doing some mince-on-toast research the other day. It’s one of those comforting cooler weather dishes my grandma used to make us, and I still make now (albeit a vegan version). I’d always assumed its origins were English until I found various friends from the UK had never heard of it. Apparently Mince on Toast is an Antipodean specialty. Wherever it’s from, it’s delicious! Anyway, I was searching Trove for savoury mince and came across a few savoury cheese recipes. I just checked back through my history, and this one from a 1952 issue of The Australian Woman’s Mirror called “Savoury Rarebit” is similar to your family recipe, except tomato soup is used, with cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce, and it’s pre-cooked. https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-482990764/image?WID=1232 I came across another with peeled and seeded chopped tomatoes in it, which reminds me a little of the Chilli con Queso I make (I’ve never thought to grill it on toast, but what a good idea). Since vegan cheese can be a little on the bland side, I often add flavour-boosting ingredients before grilling it (and oat cream or mayo to help it melt) – Worcestershire sauce, tomato relish, dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, chives, spring onions, capers, shiro miso, etc (but not all at once!). Anything is made better by serving it on toast; especially accompanied by a steaming mug of tea!

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