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I can see a TV show coming soon – great work you two!
Congratulations Scott and Jacqui and all the rest of the HHT staff involved in putting this blog up. I’ve bookmarked it and look forward to the monthly updates. What a great way to bring some of the history relating to historic houses and the people that lived in them to life,
Just arrived home from Tasmania where we have been steeped in colonial history to find your fabulous blog. Congratulations, it looks really great, and I look forward to future editions. Not sure I will try the calves foot jelly though!
Congratulations Jacqui & Scott. What a great way to educate us about our rich colonial history from a food point of view. I am looking forward to more insights into our tasty past!
So can I Sandra! Congrats to all involved – this is fantastic! I can’t wait to see what you have to present at the other sites.
We have ‘shelly mortar’ at the Barracks as well!
Hi Mikhaila – thanks for reminding us! Maybe we need a picture for the blog?
What a lovely site Scott, I look forward to having a good peruse. best Robin
Hi Jacqui & Scott, love your new blog. Congratulations to everyone involved! Barb
I loved this description of the reinvention of Christmas in the colony and the photos of decorations from E Farm and VH, plus loads of information and inspiration. (Author, author!). I’m rushing off to my garden to find materials with which to decorate my fireplaces. Happy Christmas to you both!
Congratulations Jacqui, Scott and Co – loving the blog, the clever videos, the crazy recipes and the fresh take on old places – keep it up.
I can remember my mother making numerous Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings in cloths in the weeks before Christmas. She would cut all the fruit by hand and then have a weekend of cooking so that the puddings and cakes could mature before Christmas Day. We all had to have a stir of the pudding mixture and make a wish before putting them in the cloths tieing them up and letting them hang after par cooking them in a bg boiler on the stove. On Christmas day the puddings were then recooked for ages on the stove and served hot with custard
This was always our first indication (apart from advertising) that Christmas was on it’s way.
Hi Kim, a treasured memory to have – I hope you’re keeping up the tradition, perhaps not to your Mum’s volume but at least for your own nearest and dearest. Best festive wishes, Jacqui
Congratulations Scott on this excellent blog- both interesting and beautifully presented.
When I was growing up in the 1950s-60s there was always a young eucalypt sapling cut and tied to the small porch at the back door entrance of my grandparents house in country NSW at Xmas. As the sapling was always fresh on Xmas day I am not sure how many other families followed this practice.
Thank you to the contributors of this blog – I am really enjoying reading each instalment and learning more about the domestic side of Australian history.
I am interested in the make of the old wood stove in the kitchen at Elizabeth Farm. Do you know what it is?
I have this book and love it. A true labour of love by Mrs E, even if she does hide a sting in a tail or 2. I cannot imagine how long it would have taken to write such a letter!
Thank you for a lovely blog, only recently found but treasured already!
We’ve been asked about the make of the blue and white crested Macarthur dinner service: it’s by the English manufacturer Chamberlain, which operated in the porcelain center of Worcester from 1783-1851. The base is marked ‘Chamberlains / Worcester’. A set in the same pattern as the Macarthur service, minus the added crest (a laurel wreath with the motto Fide et Opera – ‘Faith and Works’), is typically on display at Elizabeth Bay House in the breakfast room, while additional pieces can be seen on the dresser in the Butlers Pantry. The gilt ‘snowflake’ decoration in the center of the plate is missing from most of those plates and bowls, worn away by many years of use.
Green bananas are used in some curry dishes on Norfolk Island – the cooking usually brings out a sweetness in the banana pieces, and being green they hold together, but they can also quite bland. The islanders use them as a vegetable in this way, and they usually add a nice texture even if sometimes tasteless.
I wonder if they’re plantains, which are best cooked when they’re green? Do you remember them as being larger than everyday bananas? On my kitchen table at home right now I actually have some plantains that I’m going to try cooking for the first time. I’m thinking in a curry, so any tips gratefully received!
HI Bruce, the early journals often make reference to harvesting the wild (therefore native?) bananas on Norfolk. I doubt the convicts were making curries, but they certainly would have provided valuable nutrients and welcomed variety to their diet. sadly, no references as to how they were prepared – cooked in with rice or added to stews? Roasted in their skins? It’d be fun to experiment with them.
Thanks for responding to the story! Jacqui
In Norf’k language bananas are called ‘plan’ or ‘plun’, presumably an abbreviation of plantain, although some people distinguish between plun and plantain. They aren’t native to the island, but were taken there by Polynesians about 600-800 years ago. Lt Gov King found them growing in Arthurs Vale in 1788, but I haven’t noticed how they ate them then (raw or cooked). The islanders today use them in all sorts of ways, I have some Norfolk cook books with banana/plan recipes. The plan today are much smaller than you get on the mainland, usually with lots of blotches and blemishes on the skin, various shades of green and yellow skins, sometimes red, and a beautiful sweet taste and creamy texture when ripe, much nicer than the great big bright yellow ones you get here that leave an unpleasant film on your teeth! One of my favourite island ways was little pancakes or pikelets into which slices of ripe plun were pushed while cooking, and then served hot with honey and/or porpay jelly (made from wild red guavas) – delicious with coffee, and probably not from the convict period!
Ok Bruce, enough! you’ve got us salivating! Clearly a trip to Norfolk Island is required to investigate the local fare. I’m very sure pancakes would have been on the colonists menu at least occasionally, cooked on shovels probably! As there was no sugar in their rations, the fruit would have provided a rare opportunity for a sweet treat.
Perhaps they had them with ‘coffee’ too – the early colonists made a mock coffee by roasting wheat grains – a process still used today in some caffeine free coffee alternatives. I’ll stick with tea!
here’s your answer, and a bit of the kitchen’s background.
Sir Edward Macarthur who inherited Elizabeth Farm, died in 1872, but left a life interest in the property to his wife Sarah. At that stage it was tenanted to Thomas Icely. From 1875 to 1881 – when the property was sold – it was leased by William Billyard. When he moved in he complained (and quite rightly we say!) that there was no cooking range in the kitchen. The range visitors see today, restored and functioning, may have been installed by the Swann family after they purchased Elizabeth Farm in 1904. It was manufactured by the Sydney firm Lassetter and Company. The Swann sisters continued to use the kitchen until 1968, when they sold the house to the Elizabeth Farm Museum Trust. The Elizabeth Farm kitchen is in its own freestanding building, which was a common precaution in colonial houses and for good reason – the original kitchen burnt down in 1805!
You can see a photo of the range here and a close up here.
Hey Scott Hill – great pic of the Macarthur Institute sheep, with or without the spots. I don’t think there’s any doubt that John Macarthur was the ‘man of the moment’ back in 1804-5 and that if he hadn’t fronted up to the old cranky pants Joseph Banks with his self serving bravado and plans for New South Wales then things would have panned out differently for the colony (and us I guess) for better or worse who’s ta say…
See our follow-up post: Shelly mortar – part 2 for the Hyde Park Barracks photo mentioned above.
When I think about what collared eel must look like, I imagine a box of starched detachable collars! You can see a great example here.
Wonderful commentary and such a great, interesting and informative web site.
It would be good to recreate that dinner (as much as its possible) on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend this year, the 225th anniversary. Some ‘good old English porter’ would be a treat!
Lt Gov King on Norfolk Island noted in his journal (4th June 1788) that “At sunrise hoisted up the colours, in observance of the anniversary of His Majesties Birth Day and gave each of the people some liquor to drink His Majesties health and at their request excused them from any work in the afternoon”. He doesn’t say more about food that day, but entries either side of the day show they were planting plantain suckers (taken from the rivulet, now Windmill Creek), bananas and limes (that he had brought with him) in ‘the plantation’ (in Arthurs Vale), clearing ground and sowing wheat of the north east side of the hill (presumably Mt George, now Flagstaff Hill), and sending the boat out to fish on days when the weather allowed (they caught 30 fish on the 5th, species not stated, on the 15th the boat overturned and one man drowned). The weather on the Birth Day was “Fresh gales and cloudy”. Entries close to this day record that he had only a few casks each of meat, bread and flour left, and put the men on to a 2/3 ration (women remained on their original allowance – which was 2/3 of the men’s allowance). The next day (5th June) the people were ‘served’ 1/2 their allowance of pork, and 1 peck (about 4 kgs?) of wheat, and then two days later (7th June) 2 pecks of wheat each (although this last entry may be seed wheat for sowing?). Not sure what the bread was in the casks – perhaps ship’s biscuit?
Life at Norfolk was far less colourful than at Sydney. With so few ‘residents’ – exiles might be a better term – it must have seemed so terribly remote and cut off from anyone and anything. You’d have to wonder what accursed luck you had to end up there, and then to cap it off, food shortages were a way of life, most severely chronic in 1789 and 1790, in both settlements. They did enjoy the odd turtle though – highly esteemed in those days and the focus of a future blog post – of course the seasonal ‘mutton’ birds.
About the bread – it could well have been ‘ship’s biscuit’ if it was 1788, only a few months after settlement. A bakery for ‘the public’ was in operation very quickly at Sydney, with its own dedicated bakers, but I doubt the same in Norfolk with only thirty or so colonists. So yes, the wheat was probably for sowing, and once the crops were established & harvested the grain would have to be ground using hand mills, which would have been no easy task. No ‘Wonder-white’ in those days – but very high in fibre and naturally low GI – but I’m sure this wasn’t seen as a benefit of any kind.
thanks for the evocative quotes Bruce, Jacqui
Thanks for the breakdowns in grams- will definitely incorporate that info into our convict kitchen displays. I have a kit of those rations (in correct weights) to help people get a better understanding of what the numbers on a page mean. On Aus Day one gentleman thought it was quite a generous ration, much to my surprise. Soon figured out he thought that was the daily ration 🙂
HI, your convict kitchen display sounds like a great idea – I’ll have to come up and see it! It is rather hard to equate when just reading it as an allowance list. cheers, Jacqui
At the Redcoats and Convicts day at the HPB it looks extra good thanks to the Vaucluse house vege donations 🙂 I now have 1 garden bed with Vaucluse melons and rosellas thanks to seed saving after the event!
Scott fascinated to see your work, must return next time we are in Sydney town, blast from the past Anne and Michael Gregory
Amitav Ghosh’s “River of Smoke’ (2011) has some great descriptions of the painting workshops in Canton in the early 19th century, working on paper, and also producing fine paintings of Chinese flowers and plants for botanical collectors in Europe, and scenes and other subjects for orders received from Europe.
For a summer cocktail elderflower cordial makes a delicious substitute for vermouth in a gin martini. The ready made cordial can sometimes be tricky to find so I’ll have to try this recipe.
I’ve been taking advantage of the last of the season’s stone fruit, and added a splash of elderflower cordial (undiluted) to a pot of poached peaches, instead of the more heavy-handed vanilla or cinnamon. Divine!
Absolutely fascinating. Will visit next time I’m in Syd & will suggest that family there do so.
Oh for the poor masses if Ellis felt the food of not a high enough standard!
It is a beautiful memorial. Wish I could have been there on St Patrick’s Day.
I have my very own melon ripening on the vine right now, grown from seeds saved from a Vaucluse House melon! And the chooks are enjoying getting in under the vine and laying there rather than in the nest box.
I love this blog because you never fail to come up with such interesting posts!!
My Mum used to make a variation of the ‘sea pie’ using minced meat as the stew and then topping it with a scone dough lid. It was fantastic and fed a family of 7 kids!
Hi Jacqui and Scott
I was so inspired by the jam making session at Elizabeth Farm, and although I haven’t seen those lovely old books you brought that day, I did buy Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Dariana Allen. I’ve also been making jams, jellies and chutney, and next is membrillo! I also have a medlar in my front yard which is fruiting right now. I have yet to discover its uses!
Roberta Fassina, Toongabbie. HHT member
Having lost my mother at 19 in Canberra, by the time our first baby was born, it was 1975 in Surrey, England, eight or so years later. I relied almost solely for advice upon her old copy of` ` Mrs Beeton`s Household Management `, and despite the entertaining ideas about decorating a nursery, ( and also cooking Australian native wildlife ! ) , it was clear that some things NEVER CHANGE ! Thank you, Isabella ! You saved the day then, and again back in Australia, by providing a recipe for `steak and kidney pudding ` for British Grandad`s birthday one year.
Lovely start to Meroogal. Bob’s Pudding was a hit at home esp with a big blob of cream!
Greek biscuits are about to be made…
Im loving the blog and learning lots, thankyou!
Looking forward to the month of Meroogal posts! I’m sure they’ll be fabulous and delicious.
early risers and all that ‘invisible’ housework eh… I hope those afternoon visitors didn’t stay too late
Reminds me of the scene in Like Water For Chocolate (? I think that’s right) where the cook cries into the wedding cake and everybody becomes overwhelming sad for lost love upon eating it! Did you get teary giggles eating Anna’s bread?
Its been a while since I read that book – must revisit it!
With all our popping down the shop, it is easy to forget that eggs are really a seasonal food. Preserving them to last even part way through winter would have been vital. These days I just make a quiche and freeze it if the girls give too many 🙂 not quite the same though
HI Louise, it seems to be a catch-22 situation – while we question the processing methods we use to keep eggs in constant supply we forget that sometimes there just might not be any on hand. Hence the eggless puddings recipes during the war years… or indeed, in the Bobs pudding recipe. cheers, Jacqui
And not forgetting too that the average egg bought at the supermarket these days is a bit of a whopper compared to those used by the ‘Roogals and Rouses. You really notice this when you try and balance a modern boiled egg in an antique eggcup – they rarely sit with any stability and the scale looks decidedly odd. When Ive set a recreated breakfast table (such as at Elizabeth Bay House) I’ve often used blown eggs courtesy of the Rouse Hill chickens, which are Bantam eggs (the smaller Bantam breeds of chicken can be prodigious layers as you see in the photo above) and hence that bit smaller, and have slight variations in colour that you rarely see in a carton of eggs these days. Changes in egg size is just one factor that needs to be considered in designing recipes, or updating historic recipes.
These biscuits are so more-ish it’s dangerous… You have been warned.
Do you think this recipe is a variation on spotted dick? Perhaps fruit such as dried currants might be soaked overnight in tea to give a flavour.some addition to the rather basic ingrdients. This type of pudding could be made by folk out camping or away from a kitchen.
HI Helen, yes, I do think this one of many variations on what has become the ‘ubiquitous’ English boiled pudding. In Australia it seems we’ve only clung to the rich Christmas plum pudding and opted for boiled fruit cakes over puddings like spotted Dick – a concession to our climate I suspect. I soak my Christmas pudding fruit in Lady Grey tea – not a very traditional blend but delightfully aromatic. I reckon good old fashioned black English breakfast tea would be more appropriate for Bob’s pudding – in keeping with the austerity theme – even in hard times, a pot of tea would bring cheer.
If you try it out, please send us a note or a pic – especially if you make it in a camp oven!
Thanks Scott for showing this very special image. It’s not only at a certain time of day but only a few months of the year. We love it.
Aren’t these quirks of light and reflection fantastic! Late each winter we get a beautiful rainbow cast through our dining room and into the kitchen – it never fails to produce a feeling of wonder. It’s quite reminiscent of the winter solstice phenomenon at Elizabeth Bay House – has to be seen to really appreciate – which if you’re willing to get up early enough, there’s a special breakfast event this June 21st (details on the Sydney Living Museums website). Jacqui
How lucky are we?!! Having frocked up for the Rouse costume collection Bethany’s now donned an apron to help us in the kitchen! We’re so lucky to have had such enthusiastic support from Volunteers and Interns, bringing their skills and passion, adding extra flavour to our projects and helping us keep our many pots on the boil. many thanks to you Bethany, Jacqui
Yes, when I was teaching food tech to a group of home educated girls a couple of years ago we tried a few of Mrs Beeton’s recipes. The fruit cake was a major disappointment. Then we did Zoe research on this wise lady who we had imagined had many years of experience as a cook and discovered an entirely different woman.
The girls decided that some things, including their Grandmother’s recipes can and have been improved on. I’m feeling like a Victoria sponge cake now… Mmm think I’ll use my reliable ” Commonsense Cookery Book”.
Hi Roz, Mrs Beeton’s personal story is extraordinary – rather than being an experienced ‘grandmotherly type’ she was a mere 22 years old when she wrote the book! (There’s a fabulous biography on her by Karen Hughes, The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton). Mind you, she ‘borrowed’ heavily from previous authors, so can’t take full credit or blame for most recipes. And as with any old recipes, the ingredients and technology we use have changed – something as simple as the size of an egg will alter the result for a cake for example, so its always a bit of a mystery as to how something will turn out, and takes a lot of practice and revision to perfect some of them.
Enjoy your cream sponge!
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Hi Evan, by all means! Your blog looks fabulous – mouthwatering pics. Make sure you come and visit when you’re next in Sydney – I think you’d love the Vaucluse House kitchen garden. cheers, Jacqui
Great, thank you. I have mentioned you in my post about preserving lemons incase poeple need extra tips on sterilising their jars. Thank you for the invite. I may take you up on that offer as I am in Sydney every now and then. Feel free to have a look over the post http://thefoxandhoundfood.com/?p=146
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That’s a very good question Gary! I hadn’t noticed an aversion to pepper and chilli – she does throw a bit of cayenne around, but you’re right, she’s not an advocate for garlic. I do find she’s a bit obsessed with allspice – she seems to put it almost everything that calls for spices, dispensing with the more traditional cinnamon and nutmeg and clove.
I think I would accept a dinner invitation, because I’d love to take a peek at her ‘test kitchen’ but the dinner conversation might be a bit too aspirational Victorian for me!
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Taking on board all that useful nose-blowing, mucus snuffling, honking and hawking advice… another great post from Mr Fork.
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The dinner plates look lovely but I’m curious about how you’d set the table – for the first course you’re eating soup but also pie and fish so would you need a bowl and a plate and a soup spoon, fish fork, knife and fork, etc?
HI Pamela, yes, it was quite a rigmarole! You’d arrive at the table with plates in situ, and all the cutlery you’d need for each component of the first two courses. Soup would be ladled into bowls by the host or lady of the household, to be passed to the diners. Attendants would remove the spent bowl and you could continue to the next item, generally the fish, then proceed from there. Fresh plates could be brought to the table by servants if required. Once the second course was complete, the entire table would be cleared, the cloth removed to expose the polished wooden table top, and dessert course – cheeses etc would be served on d’oyleys, with fresh plates and cutlery.
While it seems onerous to have to dine that way, and a lot of work for the servants, just imagine the washing up at the end of it all!
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I love this insight into the underground activities at Elizabeth Bay House.
Good one. Shared.
Thanks Keith. I’m sure you’ve eaten your fair share of past repasts – got a favourite woodsman’s recipe to share?
CONGRATULATIONS!! I am thrilled for you all. They are well-deserved wins. BRAVO BRAVISSIMO.
Congratulations on a very deserved win. Bravo!
It’s been a pleasure to be working on this project with you – congrats to all and particularly to Sarah for her design!
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This is a very intersting post. The recipes look very intersting. Will haver to try them out when we are entertaining next.
Let us know how you get on Jim 🙂
only if Jim’s not cooking the spag bol … tomato soup and tomato sauce … how appetizing
What a wonderful recipe for Sousoukakia, you can definitely tell that this recipe is from Smyrna (modern day Ismir). The Greek version, Keftedes, are little lighter than this typically Smyrnean version and omit the red wine. I wonder if Dorothea added any spices to this recipe such as parsley or oregano? Thank you for sharing, it’s taken me back to my great grandfather’s origins and subsequent migration from Smyrna to the island of Samos in Greece.
HI Irene, it’s lovely isn’t it, when food evokes fond memories – and yours is even more interesting as its not just nostalgia but about shared or parallel histories, connecting people, time and place – your family heritage.
and yes, I wondered about the herbs too – I think I’d add oregano (and I’d keep the red wine!). I was also thinking that in Greece and Turkey they were probably made with lamb or goat rather than ground beef, but that’s testament to how we adapt traditional recipes to new circumstances.
Thanks so much Irene.
I bet the whole house had a delicious aroma Margaret! My mouths watering as I think of it! cheers, Jacqui
Shortbread biscuits- mixed, baked and eaten.
Thanks for the recipe.
I went to the “Vintage Sundays: Regency” and had the Regency Tea which was served with a choice of 4 historically accurate teas. I can remember 3 of them – Gunpowder Green, Orange Pekoe and Hyson – but I’m not sure about the fourth. Was it Lap sang Souchong?
It was Oolong, which is a semi-fermented green tea. Like Hyson – “which can take 3 or 4 waters” – its a stronger leaf that you can ‘top up’ in the pot to get extra cups after the first brew.
Hi Nicole, it was Oolong, a green tea. Its a strong leaf that can take “several waters”, so you can top up the pot once or twice.
Classic – had me completely convinced until I looked at the posting date!
Insider tip! We got to try last night at the official launch of the exhibition – its amazing mixed 50/50 with bubbly! Grown-ups Bellini – wicked!!
James Squire was making peach cider at Kissing Point in late 18C/early 19C (can’t find my reference for that just at the moment), and I noticed in HRNSW, Vol 6, p357, Governor Bligh writes “Peach cyder might be made in large quantities, but we have not yet been able to prevent it from fermenting and becoming sour, which I have attributed to its not being sufficiently racked and cleansed of the pulpy substance of the fruit. The premium of a cow, which Government offered last year to the person who would produce the best two hogsheads, may have a good effect.”
Hi Bruce, yet again peach cider and pigs connect – though it does get confusing when offering a cow for hogsheads! He must have been very keen to ‘value add’ the glut of peaches in this way – even in Bligh’s time cows were relatively scarce and a sought after asset in many households.
Thanks for the reference lead! J
Bligh was trying to discourage the consumption of rum and strong spirits, so may have seen cider as a viable alternative (like King establishing the brewery at Parramatta as an alternative to spirits). Unfortunately the offer of a valuable cow wasn’t enough on 26 January 1808. I wonder if he ever thought “a cow, a cow for my colony”!
Quite a special post for us – its number 100! While we gather round the celebratory punch bowl, special thanks to all those in the C&C team who make this blog possible, and to all of you who’ve sent in your good wishes and comments. Its been great meeting so many of you at the Eat Your History exhibition and related programs. Its been quite a year; here’s to the next 100!
I have the third edition of the Shoalhaven Presbyterian Women’s Guild Cookery Book, published in 1954 – my great aunt Kathleen A. Coulthart (nee Aldous) was one of three joint convenors that put this edition together. The Meroogal pudding still features! Here’s the cover and a ‘recipe to make us happy and agreeable to other people’.
Thank you so much Laila! That’s one of the wonderful things about these community compilations, that sense of belonging and continuing connections between past and present, and future generations. REally good of you to share this with us! cheers, Jacqui
And I think that ‘recipe’ deserves its own blog post! What a nice lady Mrs Brunskill of Wagga Wagga must have been 😉
I’m confused – is pekoe a green or a black tea – you seem to imply both.
Lovely story. Haven’t seen the exhibition yet, but heard Jacqui Newling speak at ‘Words and Food Festival’ last month. Being Italian/Australia, the above is relevant to me. I posted on my blog ‘The Good the Bad and the Italian’ a while ago about pasta shapes. http://ambradambra.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/pasta-shapes-my-memories/
I am really astonished to know that biscuits could be offered to those who come
to visit the departed one.
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Thanks for referencing my book The Immigrant Bees. The comment above that bees were not successfully imported until the 1840s is incorrect. The year 1822 is commonly accepted for their successful introduction but I have several references that many more attempts were made, including those of the Macarthurs at Camden Park. Regards, Peter
Hi Peter, thanks for clarifying that. That does make more sense, because if memory serves me correctly, D’Arcy Wentworth kept bees – on his Newlington property? And he died in 1827. So I’m sorry I misconstrued your work. Would I be right in thinking that it took several years for the bees to become established in the colony? Market lists from the 1840s indicate that honey and beeswax were still being imported and commanding high prices, so perhaps that’s where I drew the later date from. But I guess they made their mark agriculturally long before then? A fascinating topic we’d love to hear more about in this blog. with regards, Jacqui
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I tasted the Fragrant Peach Jam at the Elizabeth Farm Open Day and have just had a go at making some myself. When I was grinding the cardamom I noticed 8 pods yields 1 teaspoon when the recipe says 1 tablespoon. Which is the correct quantity to use in the jam?
Hi Nicole, the 8 cardamom pods is correct and it should be one teaspoon. Thank you for picking that up – I hope we haven’t delayed your jam making waiting for the answer. At the end of the day, it’s entirely at your discretion how much you use, I’m a cardamom fiend, so a teaspoon wouldn’t nearly be enough for me! I’ll re-edit the recipe for future use. Best regards, Jacqui
I love how this is positively spotless – despite years and years of use. The blue is lovely. I’ve seen others that are green, but the blue is just beautiful! I am visiting an old friend tonight, and the last time I saw him (some twenty years ago!) he had one in his kitchen. I’m hoping it’s still there.
How is yours going?
Hi Kelly, yes, it has been very well loved and looked after thanks to Eve’s TLC. You really don’t see blue ones very often. I rented a charming house in Greenwich with friends in the 80s which had a blue Kooka – in pretty good nick if I rmember correctly. I remember it made excellent pastry, back in my quiche-making days! There’s something about out new ovens that simply doesn’t compare.
Jacqui I found this post very interesting not least of all because I had never heard of blancmange being set with gelatine. I’ve always made it, as my mother did, with cornflour so the mould would set without refrigeration. Although I now know that both Beeton and Acton used isinglass it still seems that the ladies of Rouse Hill were one step ahead of the technology.
Hi Alison, thanks for your query – blancmange is one of those fascinating dishes that has had many incarnations over time so its caused me to consult an array of recipes and cookbooks to track its evolution! My understanding is that it originated as a middle eastern style almond milk pudding, sometimes with rice which would probably be closer to what the English call a flummery. Probably responding to a more northen European dairy influence, blancmange turned into a milk pudding set with isinglass, as you note, in the C19th. The emergence of commercial gelatine in the mid-1900s saw it taking the place of isinglass in many recipes. The cornflour version seems to have become common in the early-mid C20th although the Golden Wattle and Goulburn cookery books from the 1930s call for gelatine. My 1960s Commonsense Cookery book (and indeed the 2014 centenary edition) uses boiled milk and cornflour and I suspect the original 1914 edition may too. I’m wondering if this is aligned with the prolific number of companies advertising corn flour in Australian cookbooks from the 1890s onwards – a burgeoning local industry perhaps? It’s not an ingredient you see in British C19th cookery texts. Just a thought…
Interestingly the Commonsense cookery books and instructs that you stand the mould in a shallow basin of cold water until it sets – just as Nina did using their well at Rouse Hill.
And as Eliza Acton point out – pink or strawberry blancmange is of course an arguement in terms as it is no longer white. She suggests it should instead be called a moulded strawberry cream or bavaroise, which we would make these days, with gelatine.
Do you have fond memories of blancmange Alison – and is it a dish you’d make for your own family now? Cheers, Jacqui
Hi there, I have a green one that I ripped out of an old house I purchased. I still have it and adore it…..it has all it’s bits and pieces including the flue and top shelf, it also is clean as a whistle…..We have just built a new house and don’t have a need for it…..thinking of selling it. I wonder what it would be worth?
Hi Delphini, I tend not to follow dollar value of these icons of our past, instead focus on their heritage value, so can’t really help you with prices. I think you’d have to check recent sales records from eBay or second hand dealers to find out a current value for your stove.
In my early days of teaching as a Home Economics teacher in the late 1970s, the Common Sense Cook Book was the one we always used. I have 2 editions at home from the 1970s and 1980s, still in use for some recipes. I am quite familiar with the methods, and I usually refer to it now for quantities and ratios of ingredients. There are 2 recipes I did not like, but I had to teach back in the 1970s which were blancmange and beef tea. I still cook ox tongue though – a tradition in my family.
HI Margaret, Like you, I still flip through my 1980s copy to check ratios for classic dishes – like eggs:milk for custard or Yorkshire puddings etc. I’m working on blancmange recipes for this blog at the moment – see Alison’s comment on blancmange in our “Marching on’ post from March 13. I’m not sure I like the cornflour style that the CSCB purports but will make it in the interests of good research. I do actually like beef tea, especially if its made with good veal jus… I’m yet to try the CSCB recipe.
I’ve now challenged my son to cook something from the centenary edition each week – in fact it’s shepherd’s pie when I get home from work tonight!
Just found your blog in my search for information on the manufacture of Ke-Peg. We here in the states can buy it online, but I am having a hard time finding out exactly what is IN it. There is a similar product that can be homemade using melted beeswax thinned with olive oil.
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Just came across your blog, it’s fantastic. Thanks for sharing this recipe. We made our first Simnel Cake for Easter this year!
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Such a wonderful, and vitally important project! I’m currently researching the recipes from Meroogal to be sources of inspiration for a proposal I’m working on for the Women’s Prize this year, is there anywhere I can look at the translated documents? I can’t find a direct contact to anyone, so thought I’d try my luck writing here. Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated.
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HI Bianca, I’m delighted you’ve been so inspired by the Meroogal cookery stories. We are currently in the process of recipe testing some of the Meroogal recipes so that we can upload a manuscript recipe book onto the blog, complete with transcripts and a modern redaction for each recipe. I’ll keep you posted on our progress, cheers, Jacqui
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Alison has pursued her interest in blancmange and its history on her blog, http://onecrumbatatime.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/biancomangiare.html
Seems we’re on a mission to revive another forgotten culinary favourite…
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Writing about the plague in Sydney in 1900, Professor Anderson Stuart commented on the number of potentially flea-carrying animals in the city. He noted that the goat was the poor man’s cow and relayed an observation from a friend that he had once counted 36 goats from one vantage point in the Haymarket. See link at http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/museum/mwmuseum/index.php/Bubonic_Plague_comes_to_Sydney_in_1900
Stuart recommended that keeping goats in the city should be banned. Is this when goats disappeared from cities, allowing their milk and cheese to be considered gourmet items decades later?
That makes loads of sense Nancy, thank you for making the link! It’s possibly why there are goats shown in the Wilson painting of the Rocks in 1902. I love the notion of poor-man’s cow – completely opposite to today’s market, where goats’ cheeses are indeed a gourmet delight!
Warmest wishes, Jacqui
The “nanna” tip I was always taught, especially if there are lemons in the recipe, is to wipe your bowl out with the mostly-squeezed-out half of a the lemon…it will cut through any dreaded specks of grease that might kill your stiff peaks! 🙂
That’s an excellent tip – thank you, and your ‘Nanna’ for passing it on!
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Thank you for this wonderful blog. It gives so many insights into the fascinating history of Australian food. The Quong Tart story is particularly notable, given the prevailing ‘white Australia” sentiment of those times.
It is a fascinating story isn’t it Jan. We’ve only just touched on it but the Celestial Sydney exhibition explores Quong Tart and many other Chinese immigrant stories in a very accessible and evocative way. I’m looking forward to next week’s blog post – from Nicola Teffer, the exhibition’s curator, who gives us another aspect of Quong Tart’s tearooms on a more socio-political scale, and offers further insight into the life and times of late C19th Sydney. Cheers, Jacqui
Very interesting! Thanks for posting.
So delighted you’re enjoying our stories Jennifer, cheers, Jacqui
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How topical I’ve just boiled up eggs from my son’s chickens for lunchtime sandwiches.
Yum, the description os kangaroo kebabs made me hungry. So neat! But living in Canada, I have to ask…what does kangoroo taste like? Is it strong in flavour and gamey? Or lean and mild?
Late response but I’ll add it anyway. It tastes a lot like venison but with a certain slightly distinct tone of its own. I think many could be easily be fooled into thinking it was venison. It has a uniquely off smell to it when it’s raw which could put many off eating It but he smell soon disappears once you start cooking it.
Hi Simon, thank you for joining the discussion – kangaroo meat does have its own distinct smell but adapts itself so well with bold flavours such as soy sauce for Asian cookery, and more traditionally, wine and juniper etc. One of our SLM food volunteers flavours kangaroo for Hungarian goulash, using lots of paprika, which sounds very tempting to try. cheers, Jacqui
Mrs Lance Rawson, the writer of ‘The Antipodean Cookery Book’ also wrote quite extensively about raising poultry in Australia. Her book ‘The Australian Poultry Book’ was in its second edition in 1894, and that same year she began a series of articles for The Queenslander called The Poultry Yard with all sorts of practical advice.
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Hi Kim, thanks for this: a prime example of where you went for
information in the pre-google era. Publications like Rawson’s (as with
Loudon’s many years earlier) also reflect the increasing suburbanisation
of the Australian cities from the mid 19th century onwards, and yards
(the proverbial quarter-acre block) that were substantially bigger than
those seen today and could contain a vegetable garden, fruit trees and a
chicken coop. (Though as we noted, even the tiny rear yards at Susannah
Place could house a chicken or two). I certainly remember my
great-grandmother keeping chickens – and tales of the ‘Sunday chop’.
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My son Jack has started his day with a googy and soldiers (wearing a Vegemite uniform) every school day of his life. He’s now doing his HSC exams so mornings just won’t be the same again. 4 mins 10 seconds (for new XL eggs, 4 only for L) for firm white but runny yolk – perfect for dipping soldiers.
Roast beef and plum pudding seem to have been a theme in Hyde Park Barracks history! After all the convicts were long gone, the aged and destitute women of the Hyde Park Asylum were also treated to beef and pudding on the monarch’s birthday in 1882:
‘The old ladies were regaled with a bountiful dinner of
roast beef and plum pudding, washed down by a glass of ale. A harper and
violinist were afterwards introduced, to whose music some of the old girls
danced jigs as merrily as they would have done some 50 or 60 years ago.’
(Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May 1882)
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That’s a splendid addition to the story Fiona. It’s nice to know that they had some fun and merriment during their time at the barracks.
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The White Cloud referred to in the original recipe was a shortening made by Armour’s of Chicago from cottonseed oil and oleo stearine. It was later manufactured in Australia by Vegetable Oils Pty Ltd. A White Cloud Recipe Book was published in 1930 by Margaret Harris. The product was still around as late as 1954, when an advertisement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald suggesting it was a product much used by “Continental chefs.” The Copha brand was registered by Lever Brothers in 1916.
That’s fascinating Jan. It’s interesting to see the commercialised products take hold in the early twentieth-century. White Cloud sounds decidedly unappealing, but a ‘convenient’ alternative to the traditional animal fats I suppose. Dessicated coconut seems to have arrived on the market with a sudden burst, being added to all manner of desserts and biscuit recipes in the early decades of the 1900s (the modern ANZAC, lamingtons, Monte Carlo and iced Vo-Vos are classic examples). I’m wondering if it was a new Australian industry, or perhaps sourced elsewhere, no doubt within the British Empire?
The same ledger book from Meroogal has another cocoanut ice recipe that is simply sugar, milk and coconut, no copha or butter, and a little glucose ‘if liked, not essential though’. The copha version had a silkier texture and better mouth feel.
cheers, and thanks for your input Jan! Jacqui
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There’s an adaption of the same Hannah Glasse Salmagundy recipe in “Dinner with Mr Darcy” by Pen Vogler. The accompanying photograph shows the salad in the sculptural sugar-loaf arrangement.
How splendid! I will have to track down a copy. Does it look appetising? Except for a mention in maria Macarthur’s letter from her godmother, ‘Mrs E’ I’m yet to find a colonial reference. perhaps they’ll now catch on and there will have been a mere two century delay! many thanks Nicole!
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Those pies look amazing! My mum used to always talk about getting suet for the Christmas puddings but it was decades before I found out what it actually was.
It’s really not as scary as it seems Pamela, I’m keen to use suet more often after these successes! Feather and Bone butchery in Marrickville can supply it which will be easier than flying it up form Tassie!
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Anzac biscuits first appear as ‘Anzac crispies’ in New Zealand too – in a recipe book published in 1919, if this ever so slightly ‘biscuit on shoulder’ Kiwi article is to be believed: http://bit.ly/1Dl0f9X. The earlier recipe gives double the quantities of the Argus one, it seems. A common ancestor somewhere? Yours in golden syrup and Anzac spirit!
Absolutely common ancestry Helen – well spotted – and an interesting article! Its fascinating watch the to and fro and claims to fame and originality across both side of the ditch! these should be things that bind us not divide us!
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“bring you a taste of life at Rouse Hill during colonial times and in the early 1900s”.
The 1900s is the 20th century, why are you writing about the 20th century?
Hi Keith, five generations of the Rouse family lived at Rouse Hill House from the early 1800s until the late 20th century, finally vacating the property in the 1990s. Officially, the colonial era ended in 1901 with Federation, and while the C20th seems like only yesterday to many of us, the early 1900s are just as significant a part of the Rouse Hill House and Farm’s history.
The cookery books remaining in the collection date between 1851 and the 1950s, many of them showing signs of what was cooked and eaten. While very much informed by colonial tastes, it would be misleading to reference recipes and cookbooks from the early 1900s, including Nina Terry’s (née Rouse) 1903 edition of Mrs Maclurcans cookery book, which Jacky refers to in this article, or their Commonsense cookery book (c1917) for example, as colonial.
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Love this Blog- and have visited Chatsworth House. Mind you the Godwin sideboard is one of my favourites http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=118510
Those old sets are so much more beautiful than the modern designs… How sad!
This blog is so beautifully designed, simply stunning and informative. the photos are excellent quality.
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Today many of us run out of the house and grab a coffee on our way to work, most times a sandwich does for lunch and then at dinner many families try to sit down together, but struggle to do this. Thanks for this interesting post giving us a taste of past dining, and it’s preservation.
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Dear Cook and Curator
The historical insight into bread making and oven design was both informative and inspiring. Must watch combustibles in kitchen, didn’t realise flour was so reactive.
I have been making bread for 25 years now and it is refreshing to read your no need to knead recipe. My starter is 23 years young and has performed in rigorously and gently kneaded loaves. It is definitely worth nurturing the humble loaf!
If I may add a tip it would be to lightly sprinkle a bit of water or spray dough with an atomiser just before baking it in the oven. Keeping a lid on the dutch oven whilst cooking has a similar effect.
HI Hannah, a 23 year old starter is most impressive! thanks for the tip – Im sure many of our readers will find it useful.
Using the lid on the Dutch oven does seem to keep the loaf from drying out, and for the final 15 minutes with lid off I turn off the fan which meant the crust doesn’t harden too much.
For my latest loaf I used 50/50 ’00’ flour and wholemeal – it produced a denser crumb but lovely flavour – how’s everyone else in bakery mode doing with this recipe?
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Sounds a bit like my garden at the moment, just watching two wrens in a rose bush. Spring – lovely!
It is lovely isn’t it! The birds are in full flight and full voice – especailly at first light – much nicer than being woken by aeroplanes! Jacqui
Hi Mr B; At Rouse Hill House I keep a big pot saucer of water up near the house for the blue wrens. They’re usually splashing around in it before I get 5 meters away. A real delight!
What an absolutely wonderful day. The talk from Scott and Westerly was fascinating. Thank you so much.
Well thankyou Michael, glad you enjoyed it! I especially loved Westerly’s description of her father as the destroyer of olives.
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What a yummy Christmas gift.
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I have been using the cloth method for many years. It is fussy. You need to get a recipe and measure it accurately, or it will fail in a sorry mess. I will try the bowl. I do not know what it takes to keep a pudding to cure for a month without getting mould on it. Is alcohol the solution?
Speaking as an historian and heritage advocate who cooks, I thank you for the complete package. Bluey Quilty
HI Bluey, thank you for your compliment, and for taking the time to join the conversation. Please let us know how you fair using a pudding bowl – alcohol should certainly help the keeping quality but I’ve heard many complaints about mould on puddings – especially cloth-bound puds. And given our summer humidity it’s not surprising. I tend to keep my puddings in the fridge to be on the safe side. cheers, Jacqui
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Just picked up my copy at the Coop Bookshop and looking forward to it as Christmas reading!
Thank you Nancy, I hope you’re enjoying it – being a bit meaty for your tastes! Happy New Year, Jacqui
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I was taught, and experienced, that if you ate green bananas, you’d get a tummy ache. They certainly have a floury, sticky taste if they are not quite ripe. Do you not get a tummy ache if you cook the green bananas?
HI Alison, no tummy aches from eating them cooked in the curry, but they are very filling and the dish quite rich. The fresh onion and leafy herbs helped temper their starchy density. cheers, Jacqui
There are a few corrections to this story. Nina Rouse married George Alan Terry (not Samuel – who was GA Terry’s father!), and who had inherited Box Hill from his father. The person that gave Emma Rouse the Mrs Beaton cookbook was her aunt (Jane Kennerley, nee Rouse (1809-1877) (she was a daughter of Richard Rouse)). Jane married Alfred Kennerley in 1834, they lived at The Retreat, aka Kelvin, Bringelley before moving back to England and then returning to live in Tasmania, where he became Premier (1873-76)
Thank you for picking this up, I have amended the text accordingly. And for the extra information about Emma’s Aunt. The Mrs Beeton book would have been a generous gift, possibly a belated 21st birthday present for Emma? Despite the poor condition of the book, the inscription from Mrs Kennerley survives in the title page. with kind regards, Jacqui
Glad to be of help!
I doubt very much that Granny Terry (Nina) would have done something as extreme as placing the blancmange in the well outside. When I was a child (60 years ago) there was an ice chest that stood outside the kitchen door. Many years later the ice chest was moved to the cellar (which was the last place I saw it).
Hello, thank you for your memories of the ice chest being at the kitchen door, in the arcade, I’m imagining? I believe it is still in the cellar – ‘The Curator’ wrote as story about it titled ‘Cold comfort’ in May 2014 – you may recognise it in the photos.
The reference for Nina’s blancmanges being chilled in the well was from a Rouse family member’s oral history. We have other reports of the same technique being followed at Meroogal when there was no ice in their chest in the early 1900s.
You would have to balance the food carefully – you wouldn’t want to let a blancmange or jelly slip, or drop one down too deep!
Yes. It was in the arcade. I will look for the photos.
Hi, thank you Nicole. Yes, the recipes on the link are ‘skewiff’ but the ingredients give the gist of the dish. Green bananas are an important staple for many Island nations, and it makes sense that they’d be readily used in north Queensland as well. Hannah Maclurcan managed the Queen’s Hotel in Townsville when she first published her cookbook, moving to Sydney in 1901. Cheers, Jacqui
Hi Dorothea, thank you so much for this background on the Hot Cross bun. Grains of Paradise would be an interesting addition – I will be sure to try it out (and interesting that they recommend Australian-based spice merchant Herbie’s Spices as a source!). Grains of Paradise have an unusual flavour, cardamom-like, as your link says, followed by a peppery heat that kicks in after a few seconds, and lingers on the palate. I imagine they would not have been cheap, even in the 14th century, so it was generous of the church to include them in food for the poor.
Thank you very much for your reply. However, it;s not such a surprise that Herbie’s Spices is mentioned. Dottie Tales is my blog. We lived in Sydney for many years and now are on the Central Coast. Herbie’s is always the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of spices.
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Congratulations Jacqui. Well-deserved recognition for a book that’s both a great read and a treasure trove of information.
Thanks so much for your well-wishes Jan!
The food was great!
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So no trotting out of the haunch of kangaroo for this occasion?
Hi Nancy – not at this particular banquet apparently, and no firm evidence for kangaroo being served to diners at the exhibition itself that I’ve found thus far, but Graham Pont refers to a menu from The Sydney Exchange which includes kangaroo and wild duck for a dinner for the Exhibition Commissioner, Patrick Jennings. I’ve added a paragraph to the post to satisfy others’ curiosity – so thank you for the prompt! Jacqui
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Love the Edward Abbott quote calling for ‘rum grog’ – here in France ‘grog’ means hot toddy. You’d have to go to a pretty up market bar to get one with nutmeg but this is good inspiration for the next one I make at home!
Thank you for this – its fascinating how things translate across cultures isn’t it! I’m sure they have a bit more finesse than what is renowned to be a rough-and-ready ‘grog’ here in the colony!
This Nutmeg Cake recipe is my favourite use for ground nutmeg:
2 cups plain flour
2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon mixed spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 180oC and grease a 20cm springform cake tin. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, mixed spice and baking powder, then rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Spoon almost half this mixture over the base of the prepared tin. Whisk the bicarbonate of soda, egg and nutmeg into the milk, then add the milk mixture to the remaining flour mixture. Stir well.
Pour the batter over the crumbs in the tin, then sprinkle the white sugar over the top. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until golden brown and springy to the touch. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of good thick cream.
Thank you for sharing this Ian – it’s certainly my favourite as well – with good quality nutmeg such as yours. And never fails to please regardless of the occasion.
Thank you so much for sharing your nutmeg recipe Ian. Nutmeg and Mace are my two favourite spices.
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My husband longed for some grape scissors so I bought a lovely silver antique pair for his birthday. Alas, they failed to function and are now purely ornamental.
How disappointing Jan, but I’m sure they make a good conversation piece.
Oh no! That’s very disappointing. At the risk of sounding like that old IT line “have you tried turning it off and on again”, they only work in one direction. They do look good though as a fancy ornament!
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I have just been working on the Newcastle Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles which opened in 1871. Inmates there had soup, beef or mutton,
vegetables and bread for dinner at 1 each day – no mention of drippings but maybe that went without saying. The vegetables included parsnips, cabbages, carrots, onions,
cucumbers, potato, pumpkin and peas they grew on site. Was there room for a garden at the HPB?
HI Nancy – yes the Hyde Park barracks had their own vegetable garden for a short while, in the 1820s, which the convicts tended. It was located where the Cook & Phillip aquatic centre now stands. We did a story on it in 2013, http://blogs.hht.net.au/cook/the-convict-vegetable-garden-that-never-really-was/ and our librarian Matthew Stephens had conducted further research if you want more detail. I’m pretty sure vegetables were bought in after it was disbanded. Thank you for the Newcastle information, it seems they were working with similar systems. best, Jacqui
Hi Nancy, that sounds like really interesting work, and a very comparable diet! There was a bit of a garden out the front of the Barracks (there’s a note about it being destroyed by goats) but my impression is that it was a few decorative bushes and shrubs, rather than a vegetable garden.
Thank you for this story. When I was working in Huntsham Court, England, in 1984, I would have to wheel around an elegant trolley after dessert. On the trolley was a selection of cheeses and grapes. The grapes were always cut with scissors. It didn’t seem strange to me as my father has always had this practice. If only I had payed greater attention to what the scissors looked like. Would dearly love some for myself now.
Hi Karen, while you’ll get them in antique stores, keep an eye out in ‘olde wares’ and second hand shops. Ive seen many a pair in my years of hunting nick-nacks. Just look for that distinctive L-shaped lower blade.
You can still buy them new as well, but that’s not nearly as much fun as tracking down an old pair. Cheers, Scott
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Hi Hannah – yes please let us know your findings. It’s probably easier to manage than grating butter…
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My mum was so excited to receive this book. As we speak she is trying her hand at making pastry with real suet. The book has re inspired the cook and I for one am so grateful that I will be taste tester of many of the recipes from your book. We thank you.
HI Carol – I am so delighted to know this! Thank you 🙂
Please let us know what your favourites are as you taste your way through the recipes. Best wishes, Jacqui
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First time I have seen this – congratulations, I think it is fascinating!
Welcome Sue! We try and put a new story out each week, usually on a Thursday, some with recipes. You can subscribe and have us pop into your mailbox each week for easy access. Happy Christmas, Jacqui
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I was reading some old recipes and the oven temperatures were described as Slow, Quick, Fairly Hot etc. I was able to find a conversion table for these terms but how did the pioneer cook actually know and make a ‘quick oven’, ‘good oven’, ‘slow oven’ or a ”fairly hot oven’?
Hi Adele, good cooks learnt from experience. The common guide was to fling a tablespooful of flour into the oven and see how quickly it ‘caught’ or blackened. Perhaps other readers will have tips for us?
This recipe looks wonderful I can’t wait to give it a try – possibly with the addition of the rum butter filling and crystallized ginger pieces. YUM!
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Who would have imagined that a chair could tell you so much!
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Is the dining table the same as the one mentioned in this book, belonging to Fitzwilliam Wentworth? (Fitzwilliam Wentworth owned Greystanes House circa 1870s)
sorry but that cant be the same set. Fitzwilliam only owned Greystanes briefly (from 1875 – 1881 I’ve read), and he didn’t acquire this set until the sale of the Vaucluse contents some two decades later. Well spotted though!
great info! thanks for sharing.
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thats a great story mate! thanks for sharing this
Love your posts. Today’s book looks very interesting, but having just rung my local bookseller I virtually need a second mortgage to pay the $A165 plus cost. I really hope its worth it.
HI Darryl, I agree, it is quite an impost, Rowman & Littlefield are an ‘academic’ publisher, aimed at libraries rather that retailers. It is a great shame that a local Australian publisher did not take the plunge and commission the work and make it more accessible. I suggest you borrow this book from a library and then decide if you want invest in your own copy. There are sample chapters on google books https://books.google.com.au/books?id=2-33DAAAQBAJ&pg=PA132&lpg=PA132&dq.
Thank you for sending through the comment, and for bringing this up, Jacqui
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Still, it’s hard to see that a mixture of spirits, lemon juice, sugar and hot water could give the memorable hangovers that Thackeray and others report. Perhaps the rum, arrack and brandy had more congeners, or maybe a lot was consumed. Two pints is just over a litre, so maybe 6 cups? Modern punch seems to be heavier on the fruit juice, lighter on the alcohol.
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Hi Andrew, best contact the Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection about reproducing images from their collection. Regards, Jacqui
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how about some jellied eels in Sydney, Australia? It appears not a chance, sadly.
HI Ann, a few – very few – Sydney restaurants have eel on their menus from time to time, Four 14 for example, but not jellied as far as I know. I’m intending to cook some this way for our Eel Festival at Elizabeth Farm in autumn, as well as collaring them, so it will be a fun experiment to see how they turn out. Cheers, Jacqui
thank you for your reply, Jacqui.
I am not sure where the farm is, but I am sure you’ll have some slippery fun catching the eels.
As a child growing up in Moscow, I was sometimes taken to a very posh restaurant at an international hotel by my mum, and this was a very special treat for us… I recall having eel there and how delicious it was, I loved the rubbery texture…
I have never tried them jellied as in the English recipe, but I am guessing I would have loved them. I might have to go to London in search of them…
HI again Ann, Elizabeth Farm is in Parramatta. The word Parramatta relates to eels in Darug language. If you click on the word ‘eels’ in the first line of this blog post it will open a link to this year’s Eel Festival. Perhaps we’ll see you there next year! Jacqui
Yes, I just saw that post and was about to look up the festival on google for next year’s dates… If there is a chance to sample some eel dishes at the festival, I would definitely go… yum
Really made me chuckle. Arrived here after checking out the fiddle and shell silverware. I own a Mrs Beeton’s cookbook gifted to me by my mother in law, yonks ago. I must find it and have a peek. I didn’t realise Mrs B had such a sense of humour. Thanks
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A fascinating article, I didn’t know we had war bonds too, I thought they were an American thing. Thank you for enlightening me!
Looking forward to the recipes.
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What a big five years, congratulations both!
Thanks Maddi, and for all your input over the whole five years.
Congratulations on your fifth birthday. Always fascinating – my only regret is being in Melbourne so I don’t get to visit SLM in person.
Thanks Jan, do let us know if ever you’re up here. We’re very excited about your new book! Congratulations! Jacqui
Jacqui and Scott -well done on a marvelous five years. Opening the links to a new post of The Cook and the Curator is always a joy, followed by a new horizon. Along with the likes of Barbara Santich, you have lifted our understanding of Australian culinary history. I have only made it to one of you events, dismembering in a pig in the outbuildings of Vaucluse House, but I have had to install additional shelves in the kitchen to store the books acquired and foods created after reading your blog. Thank you so much!
Hi David, that’s a great compliment. And thank you, for being at our ‘virtual’ table – we look forward to sharing more with you. I have strong memories of that Colonial gastronomy program – the Vaucluse House cellars took on a temple-like reverence with Grant from Feather and Bone at the helm.
I think everyone’s fingers have defrosted now!
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My sister Beth Hise shared your blog with me when a friend here in Shaker Heights Ohio was looking for help with recipes to use with the medlars that her husband grew in their front yard. I copied this blog to her. It’s amazing!
Hi Amy, it’s great to hear we are able to share our knowledge across the globe! Since writing this post I’ve been successful making medlar ‘cheese’ – quince paste style. It doesn’t yield nearly as much as the jelly, but was an interesting test of my abilities! The jelly is much simpler and equally nice with a soft washed rind cheese or aged cheddar. Do let us know how your friend goes using their fruit. Best regards, Jacqui
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Another interesting article. Thank you. Yes freezing food is certainly something we take for granted these days and its all thanks to the pioneering people of the 19th century.
Thanks Clare. I’m always left wondering how many experiments ended up with episodes of food poisoning , but I guess it’s only those who lived to tell the tale that succeeded! cheers, Jacqui
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So interesting, it would be good to be encouraging such frugality now, with a make do, and mend, attitude to clothing too.
Oh dear. I’m sounding like my parents. Hahaha.
I enjoy these immensely, thank you.
HI, indeed Manja-Freya. There’s a lot we can learn from past generations. We are fortunate not to ‘have to’ but all the same, we can act more responsibly about utilising leftovers and reducing food waste. And same principles for clothing and other material goods.
Thank you for this insight. My mother used to tell the story of an Uncle who came to visit and used all their butter ration in the meal he cooked. I never thought to ask why. He was from Melbourne – perhaps he was accessing black market butter. Also interesting that he cooked.
Yes, good on him – even if it meant dripping for the rest of the week! I hope it was a delicious memory.
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what a great exposition, thanks curator and cook for such an interesting subject…do you know much a bout the chook breeds that were raised/consumed at the SLM properties?
HI Sheridan, we haven’t any specifics that I know of. The Rouse’s kept breeding books which give us a general point of reference but no annotations that direct us to what they may have had on their table. We have the charming picture of Belle Thorburn feeding the hens at Meroogal from 1925, http://blogs.sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/cook/the-best-laid-plans/ , but I’m not well enough educated in the breeds to work out what type they are, especially given its a black and white image. Perhaps other readers can help identify them? cheers, Jacqui
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Thank you for this information! I have been looking everywhere for a 19th century source for information about bone dishes. You are right- the information is very scarce. Thanks for sharing!
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What an excellent blog! Why have I only just discovered this? I am going to be working my way through your back catalogue!
HI Shirley, we’re delighted you’ve found us – welcome to the Cook and the Curator’s table! Jacqui
I take no responsibility when you get to the rum punch recipes LOL. Welcome aboard! Scott 🙂
https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e1dc0f32dbb7bceeae2b467bca5d51a403b4ec700a0236ef16df45a0892217be.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5d74f594ed43beb220af17cb64badaa6d1747c2de8c1d9623c48db2d1fce61da.jpg I made this yesterday. Was a hit with the kids & adults alike. Main challenge I had was only having titanium strength sheet gelatin instead of powdered as per recipe. This requires heat to dissolve, however recipe requires the cream to be whipped & heat is the enemy of whipped cream. I solved this by whipping 90% of the cream to firm peaks, whilst I used the final 10% of cream to heat along with the gelatin. Once fully dissolved I cooled to room temperature then folded through whipped cream a few teaspoons at a time. Final consistency was of soft whipped cream & set beautifully. Great recipe, final product looked great & was a hit!
That’s wonderful Alison – and delicious pics!
We’re delighted to have inspired you to such an extent and thank you so much for the directions for using sheet gelatin. I’m sure other readers will find them useful.
Oh delicious!! Yes titanium strength gelatine can be a trial to use, but it gives great results. Thanks for the tip! Cheers, Scott