The art in eating artichokes

Fresh globe artichokes Photo © Jacqui Newling for Sydney Living Museums

Artichokes are in their prime at the moment. They are a member of the thistle family, and have been popular in the Mediterranean region since antiquity, but to many Australians they still seem very curious and foreign – partly because we’re not quite sure how to prepare and eat them. We’re more likely to buy their ‘hearts’ ready-pickled in brine or oil as an antipasto ingredient than cook them whole, which is a shame, because freshly cooked artichokes are a fun and highly sensorial food to eat – best eaten without cutlery and nibbled on rather than dined upon. Continue reading

Hannah’s long lunch

Hannah's Long Lunch at Hill end Ranch Photo © Di Greenhaw

The Cook has had a very fruitful month away from the blog-sphere getting lots of study done, and happily, indulging in some gastronomic delights along the way. While the mutton bird experiments were interesting (and a story for another time) a true highlight was a fundraising event held in the historic gold mining town of Hill End which was founded on the indomitable colonial cookery author, Hannah Maclurcan. We have a particular attachment to Hannah Maclurcan as one of her books remains in our collection at Rouse Hill House and Farm. It belonged to Nina Terry (nee Rouse) and the many pencil markings, food splodges and spatters tell us that Nina’s tastes were much in line with Hannah’s! Continue reading

Spring harvest festival – this weekend

Jacqui Newling, ‘the Cook’, and Scott Hill, ‘the Curator’, in the kitchen at Elizabeth Farm. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Our gardens with fruit and vegetables are extensive; and produce abundantly. It is now spring, and the eye is delighted with a most beautiful variegated landscape; almonds, apricots, pear and apple trees are in full bloom; the native shrubs are also in flower, and the whole country gives a grateful perfume … Continue reading

A kitchen garden in spring

A bee in the borage in the kitchen garden at Vaucluse House. Photo Helen Curran © Sydney Living Museums

This Sunday 11 October, Vaucluse House is celebrating its 100th anniversary as a house museum with a free community open day. It’s also the 15th birthday of our recreated Victorian kitchen garden – and it’s never looked better! Amid the spring abundance you’ll find heirloom tomatoes, tender sugar-snap peas and colonial favourites like white icicle radishes, sugar-loaf cabbages and salsify.

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