Dress to impress

Skipping Girl Vinegar Sign (detail)

Skipping Girl Vinegar Sign (detail). Photo © Lisa Gervasoni

It’s not often you find a poet in the kitchen, but recording recipes as poems was not an uncommon practice in the nineteenth century. ‘Mother Eve’s pudding‘ is included in Edward Abbott’s English and Australian Cookery Book (for the many and the upper ten thousand), Thackeray wrote an ‘Ode to curry’, but I digress… More pertinent to our summer salads theme, I recalled Sydney Smith’s salad recipe ‘in verse’ (also in Abbott) penned in 1839.  Continue reading

Salad days

All the makings of an heirloom salad in the kitchen garden at Vaucluse House

All the makings of an heirloom salad in the kitchen garden at Vaucluse House. Photo © Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums

As the new year kicks in and the temperature rises, January is salad time for most Australians, as a meal in itself or along side anything that can be barbequed!  Continue reading

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

Christmas cookery

Make at home edible Christmas gifts.

Christmas rum balls. Photo Jacqui Newling © Sydney Living Museums

T’is the week before Christmas – and egads! I’d better get on with the festive fare. It’s not too late to make a pudding, for the family table or as a gift for friends, or home made treats that follow long-standing Christmas traditions. Continue reading

A sobering thought

Glasses and decanter

Glasses and decanter. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

‘The inhabitants of a beer-drinking or spirit drinking country will never possess the vivacity of those who live in a wine producing land’ Phillip Muskett, 1893

Visiting Orange during Wine Week encouraged me to reflect further on colonial wine culture. The Australian wine industry started with the first fleet, which arrived with grape vine cuttings in 1788.

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History on the menu: colonial tastes in food and wine

History on the menu. Orange Wine Week 2014

History on the menu, Orange Wine Week, 2014. © Orange City Council

How can one refuse an invitation to a wine festival? Colonial gastronomy headed west to picturesque Orange, New South Wales, to support their Villages of the heart: telling rural stories project. Renowned as central New South Wales’ food bowl, the Orange district also boasts a vibrant ‘cold climate’ boutique wine industry.

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Previously on the menu