As 2012 draws to a close, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on how dramatically our food culture has altered, almost in perfect parallel with our social culture, by comparing culinary texts from 1812 and 1912. Continue reading
Do you painstakingly prepare a pudding each year for Christmas Day only to find that, by the time it’s served, your family and friends have indulged in the festive spread a little too eagerly? Or, as often happens in Sydney, fresh mangoes, berries and cherries win out over hot pudding? Don’t despair – your efforts weren’t wasted!
A variant of Beeton’s brandy butter sauce is my favourite way to use up leftover pudding on Boxing Day when friends start dropping in.
Merry Christmas from all at the Cook and the Curator!
As we hoe into just that one extra slice of pudding (can I have that end bit, and yes, I will have the custard thanks), we cant help but share this wonderfully over-the-top comparison between a British and Australian Christmas. Its the introduction from that most traditional Christmas tale, the Dickens-style ‘Yuletide ghost’ story. Enjoy! Continue reading
Sydney’s newspapers from the 1840s indicate that there was no shortage of good fare for the festive table, advertising plenty of both imported and local produce. Cooks, on the other hand, could be hard to come by. Continue reading
Publishing recipes in poetry seems to have been a nineteenth-century whimsy. Making reference to Eve’s proverbial ‘forbidden’ fruit, the apple, ‘Mother Eve’s Pudding’ was very popular in the early 19th century Continue reading
A collection of precious mementos of shared tastes and Christmases were collected and kept inside a family manuscript cookbook that was donated to the HHT in 2011. The cook book was handwritten between 1832 and 1835, by an unknown author. Continue reading
Think back to a time before tinsel, fairy lights and singing Santas. In early 19th century Britain, the favourite Christmas decorations were the age-old ‘holly and the ivy’, along with evergreens such as mistletoe and pine. In Australia however, where the vegetation was evergreen, the symbolic value of a few precious green leaves emerging from a snow-covered landscape was replaced with scenes of abundance. Continue reading
Mince pies were exactly that; they were made with minced meat or, more traditionally, minced ‘neat’s’ (ox) tongue, enriched with spices and sweetened with dried fruit. Eliza Acton (1845) clearly had a preference for tongue – ‘boiled tender and cut free from the rind’ – in her ‘Mincemeat receipt’, nominating the ‘inside of roasted sirloin’ as an alternative.
In keeping with British tradition, plum pudding was once ubiquitous for any celebratory occasion – not just Christmas. At the feast that was held to mark the opening of Hyde Park Barracks in 1819, Governor Macquarie served roast beef and plum pudding to 600 convicts.