An apple a day

Apple charlotte. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Before you crush all your apples into cider as the Curator had us doing last week, we thought we’d celebrate ‘Eve’s fruit’ with some tried and tested family favourites from our heritage kitchens. We’ve featured apple hedgehogs and apple snow in more summery posts, but Apple Charlotte, pictured above, and Auntie Tottie’s Apple cake make perfect autumnal fare.  Continue reading

Eat your history – the book!

Jacqui Newling, author of Eat your history: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Handwritten recipes passed through the generations, tales of goats running wild in colonial gardens and early settlers’ experimentation with native foods…
Eat your history dishes up stories and recipes for Australian kitchens and dining tables from 1788 to the 1950s.

Jacqui Newling, resident gastronomer at Sydney Living Museums, invites you to share forgotten tastes and lost techniques, and to rediscover some delicious culinary treasures. 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

Our daily bread

Our daily bread

Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

One of my greatest challenges in presenting our culinary past to museums audiences is working out what form foods took – what they looked like, their colour, shape and texture – when we only have written accounts to go by, and many of those offering only scanty detail. Continue reading

The daily bread oven

Baking oven and kneading trough detail

‘Baking oven and kneading trough’ (detail) from Charles Tomlinson, Illustrations of useful arts, manufactures, and trades, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, [1858]. Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney Living Museums RB 331.76 TOM

Now that your dough has had a chance to rise it’s time to heat the oven and get baking! Continue reading

The de Maliez mystery – in search of the governor’s French cook

A drawing of first Government House, Sydney, showing the surrounding gardens, water and meeting of Aboriginal and European peoples.

Governor's House at Sydney, Port Jackson 1791 by William Bradley. State Library of NSW Safe 1/14

Historical research is a curious thing. You find a fleeting reference or snippet of information that prickles your interest about a place, a person, an object or an incidence, then find yourself chasing leads that might shed more light on the subject. In this case, it is the mystery of Governor Arthur Phillip’s ‘French cook’.

Continue reading

Bake or roast? Now there’s a question.

Australian kitchen in Mrs Beeton's book of household management, circa 1880

View of an 'Australian Kitchen' (detail) showing a bottle jack in use, in Mrs Isabella Beeton, Mrs Beeton's book of household management, London, circa 1880. Sydney Living Museums R89/80

During one of the floor talks for Eat Your History: a Shared Table a conversation started at the curio wall regarding a piece of kitchenalia you never see anymore, the bottle jack, and a very old question indeed: do you bake, or do you roast? Continue reading

Discover some sneaky secrets

The Cook and the Curator in the Eat your history exhibition.

The Cook and the Curator in the Eat your history exhibition. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Join us on Sunday March 9 for our final behind the scenes floor talk at Eat your history: a shared table at Museum of Sydney at 2pm. The Cook and the Curator will take you through the exhibition and reveal some of the quirkier elements of the displays. Continue reading