In 1831, when Thomas Mitchell set off on his Journey into the Interior, he started the account metaphorically at Elizabeth Farm, in ‘A Garden’. The description of Macarthur’s estate served both as a symbolic starting point for his journey into the unknown, and also as a contrast to what he would describe as he journeyed into ‘the wilds’, leaving first the elegant houses, the gardens, the fields and, finally, even the scattered sheep-herds of the colony behind.
Happy New Year from all at The Cook and The Curator! With any luck, everyone’s had a good lie down to recover from a week of festivity and puddings and, in the finest January tradition, is now setting about breaking resolutions that were really a good idea at the time but in hindsight seem, well… Continue reading
Think back to a time before tinsel, fairy lights and singing Santas. In early 19th century Britain, the favourite Christmas decorations were the age-old ‘holly and the ivy’, along with evergreens such as mistletoe and pine. In Australia however, where the vegetation was evergreen, the symbolic value of a few precious green leaves emerging from a snow-covered landscape was replaced with scenes of abundance. Continue reading
What happens when you partner the ‘King of Fruits’ with a ‘rogue melon’? A delicious marriage of flavour and texture which also craftily extends the expensive, exotic pineapple with the more easily sourced jam melon.
The kitchen garden at Vaucluse House is a magnet for visitors. Starting on the sunny hillside, west of the house, fresh seasonal ingredients can be traced from the garden to storage in the larder, dairy and cellars, then to the kitchen where the cook prepared the family’s – and servants’ – meals, to the dining room and, ultimately, to the scullery – where the maids dealt with the inevitable washing up.
Vaucluse House is a gastronomer’s delight – and is very close to our hearts. Both Scott and I started our careers with the Historic Houses Trust as Guides at this magnificent nineteenth century family residence, which dates back to 1805.
In your local greengrocer it’s hard not to find a stack of pineapples, and this isn’t including tinned slices or juice. Far from being the luxury item of the early 1800s, they’re now available everyday.