Proof in the pudding

Baked carrot pudding made from an 1863 recipe in the Rouse Hill House & Farm collection. Photo © Jacqui Newling

Every well-used cookbook has a page that naturally falls opens from constant attention, or tell-tale food splatters or splodges that show evidence of popular use. What’s yours?

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Anzacs before ANZAC

Rolled oat biscuits aka Anzac biscuits from the Meroogal manuscript recipes collection circa 1909. Photo © Jacqui Newling, Sydney Living Museums

Anzac Day, April 25, will be very different for many of us this year, as we won’t be following commemorative marches or gatherings to mark the event due to public health concerns. But we can still take pause to reflect on the ways we support front line workers – whether Anzac ‘digggers’ or today’s health and community service providers – and continue the Anzac biscuit tradition, which is a legacy of community fundraising initiatives to help active and returned service men and women 100 years ago.

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Annual Eel Festival

Fred from Fred's Bush Tucker holds an eel ready for cooking at Elizabeth Farm Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Each autumn we celebrate Darug culture at our annual Eel Festival at Elizabeth Farm at Parramatta. This family-friendly event honours Parramatta’s namesake, the eel, and its significance to the local Burramattagal people, who would gather in autumn to trade goods and share stories and food.

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Yana Nura

A school student exploring the Yana Nura garden at Museum of Sydney. Photo © Declan May / James Horan Photography Pty Ltd for Sydney Living Museums

A native garden among the skyscrapers

Yana Nura, “to walk on Country” is a native garden at the Museum of Sydney that invites visitors to reflect, reconnect and learn about Aboriginal culture, past and present, on Gadi Country. Located on the outdoor mezzanine that overlooks the site of Australia’s First Government House and the area that the first colonial garden was installed on Aboriginal landscape, in 1788.

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“Boil 6 hours”

‘Christmas Pudding’ in The Book of Christmas (1888) by Hervey Thomas Kibble, illustrated by Robert Seymour https://archive.org/details/bookofchristmas00herviala/page/n34

With thousands of hectares ablaze with bush-fires across the country, and temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius in many regions week, including Sydney, the extremes of our environmental and climate crisis are omni- and ominously present, reinforcing the resounding message that we cannot sustain our current energy-hungry lifestyles.

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Spring Harvest at Elizabeth Farm

Spring Harvest Festival at Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

“It is now Spring, & 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, & the whole Country gives a grateful perfume.”
Elizabeth Macarthur to her friend Miss Kingdon, Parramatta, 1798  Continue reading

Bullseye! In search of Sydney’s first colonial kitchen

Recreated 1780s military field kitchen built at the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown, Virginia, USA. Photo © Jacqui Newling, Sydney Living Museums,.

While the Curator rattles the pots and pans, I’m looking at the cooking ‘apparatus’ upon which they were used at various points in time. We’ve recently looked at domestic hearth cookery from the early 1800’s, but today I’m taking us to the First Fleet encampment at Sydney Cove in 1788.

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Facing reality

Homemade brawn. Photo © Jacqui Newling.

Some recipes are a joy to follow, others can be quite challenging. For me, brawn is in the latter category. And a cautionary warning – some images in this article may be confronting or disturbing. No offence is intended in showing these images.

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A Birthday Feast

Students from Fort Street Public School sit down to a 'convicts' mess' of boiled beef, cabbage and potatoes, bread and plum pudding. Photo Andrew James (James Horan) for Sydney Living Museums

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the Hyde Park convict barracks, and local ‘convict’ students joined the Governor of New South Wales, the Honourable Margaret Beazley to celebrate.

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