A colonial Christmas

Christmas in the South - egg-nog party

Christmas in the South - egg-nog party, W.L. Sheppard, 1870. Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-109127

Diaries and journals  are a wonderful source of detail in reconstructing past lives. Writing in the 1830s and 40s, the young Annabella Boswell recorded Christmas at Lake Innes. In her diaries we read of puddings and roast beef, cakes and shortbread, decorations – and of a drink that was the precursor to egg-nog, itself a drink that we may never have tried but have all heard of at Christmas time. Continue reading

Yo ho ho and 45,000 gallons of rum!

Serving punch, watercolor with pen and brown and gray ink over graphite on moderately thick, slightly textured, blued white, wove paper .

Serving Punch, Thomas Rowlandson, between 1815 and 1820. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, http://collections.britishart.yale.edu/vufind/Record/1670710

For many of us, rum, or brandy perhaps, is the (bottled) spirit of Christmas! And Christmas isn’t Christmas at our place without Rum balls (recipe below). But a couple of hundred years ago in this colony, rum was universal. Our guest blogger this week is Fiona Starr, curator of Hyde Park Barracks and The Mint. Continue reading

Fiona Starr

Fiona Starr, with visitors enjoying the displays at the Mint on Australia Day.

Fiona Starr, with visitors enjoying the displays at the Mint on Australia Day. Photo © Narelle Spangher / Monde Photo, for Sydney Living Museums

Fiona’s love of history is hereditary – passed on by her mother and grandmother, each interested in colonial Australian history, genealogy, and world history, with a passion for visiting and learning about heritage sites around the world. Continue reading

Puddings, pies, peaches, parties and presents

Peaches fresh from the tree.

Peaches fresh from the tree. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

December is upon us, and it’s time to ready ourselves for Christmas and all its festivities. My Christmas plum puddings are on the stove as I write, the fruit mince is made and at the ready for ‘pies on call’ or Christmas ‘cassata’ if the big day is too hot to have the oven on.

The joy of edible gifts

In an age when so many of us simply have too much ‘stuff’ there is no better offering towards a party, a kris-kringle or to celebrate a friendship than an edible gift. With peaches in abundance, and at their best right now, Jacky Dalton, guide and resident foodie at Elizabeth Farm and Rouse Hill House & Farm, is guest blogger this week, sharing her beautiful peach jam recipe just in time to be bottled and decorated for special friends, neighbours, teachers or workmates, or indeed, to indulge in at home over the festive break. Continue reading

One thing I love about food

Edible kitchen gardens.

Edible kitchen gardens. Photo Jacqui Newling © Sydney Living Museums

One thing I love about food is that over time so much changes and at the same time so little changes.

Jared Ingersoll, 2013

Guest chef Jared Ingersoll and his mates at Studio Neon teamed up with Kate Walsh from Real Food Projects to host a truly original Farm to Table dining experience at Hyde Park Barracks as part of our feast of Eat your history programs. It was a thrill to be a part of! Jared worked really hard to ensure the food had historical integrity, working from colonial menus and heritage cookbooks, yet maintained his own style and commitment to using local, sustainable produce. Continue reading