Of decanters and claret jugs

Decanters and claret jugs as part of a setting recreating a birthday held for Alexander Macleay at Lake Innes

Decanters and claret jugs as part of a setting recreating a birthday held for Alexander Macleay at Lake Innes. Photo © Leo Rocker

Mainly used nowadays for allowing good wines to breathe, in the days before commercial bottling the decanter was de rigeur. As another festive season fades into your memory, settle back with a claret jug of restorative toast water – but don’t forget to clean it afterwards! Continue reading

War over the breakfast table!

Silverplate eggcup cruet from Elizabeth Bay House.

Silverplate eggcup cruet. Sydney Living Museums EB95/1-8. Photo © Paolo Busato for Sydney Living Museums

We often recreate breakfast scenes in our houses, evoking a time when the first meal of the day certainly wasn’t grabbed at a takeaway or drive-through. Here’s a tale of googy eggs, egg cups and bloody war at the breakfast table! Continue reading

Fowl play!

Davros the rooster and chickens at Rouse Hill House

Davros the rooster and chickens at Rouse Hill House. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide! BOOM BOOM! Okay that was far from im-peck-able. You could say it was egg-stremely bad! But how can I resist an egg-cellent yolk to introduce our new series of posts dedicated to the chicken and the egg! Continue reading

How to host a Regency breakfast

Regency breakfast hams and figs

Regency breakfast at Elizabeth Bay House. Photo Jacqui Newling © Sydney Living Museums

We recently hosted a Regency-style breakfast in the grand dining room at Elizabeth Bay House as a “money can’t buy” experience for the literacy charity, Room to Read. The offer included a personalised gastronomy-focused tour of the House followed by a breakfast which was based on the menu plan given to Maria Macarthur in 1812, Continue reading

Avoiding a baked back

Detail from a dining scene from Judy March 25th 1868

Detail of a dining scene from 'Judy', March 25th 1868, showing a chair back in use. Reproduced from John Gloag, Short Dictionary of Furniture, Allen and Unwin, London, 1972

If you’ve sat near a roaring fireplace you’ll know that you can get a tad cooked. While pole screens were an option in the drawing room, when dining there was another quick fix: introducing the chair screen. Continue reading

Dining by lamplight

The Rouse Hill dining room by candlelight

The Rouse Hill dining room by candlelight. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

Currently at various Sydney Living Museums Houses we’re running a series of night time tours, where you can see the houses as their original occupants saw them lit by candle and lamplight. Which raises the vexing question of just HOW should you light the historic dining table? Continue reading

The feast continues

Burleigh-ware trade plate advertising willow pattern, c1935

Burleigh-ware trade plate advertising 'Willow-pattern' crockery, c1935. Private collection. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

Treat yourself to talks, tours, tastes and hands-on workshops

Now that we’ve all recovered from a month of festive feasting, February has something to offer every foodie. Continue reading

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