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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The ‘cocoanut’ ice challenge

Coconut ice

'Cocoanut' ice. Photo Jacqui Newling © Sydney Living Museums

“½ cup of milk, 2 cups of sugar, 25 grams copha, 3/4 cup of coconut. How hard can it be to make coconut ice?” For the past few months a dedicated team of passionate and curious volunteer cooks have been testing out manuscript recipes from our families’ collections. One of the team, Paula Southcombe, reflects on one of the more challenging recipes: Continue reading

Beating ’round the bush

'Rapid' rotary egg beater, c1950s.

'Rapid' rotary egg beater, c1950s. Photo © Sydney Living Museums

We’re all aware of food fads and trends, especially these days on our quest for anything new, different or with newly identified health attributes (hello kale!). But sometimes food trends are the result of changing technologies, enabling a particular dish or cooking technique to be widely accessed rather than be reserved for restaurants with commercial equipment, trained chefs or a fleet of kitchen hands (or servants as the case may have been in centuries past). Continue reading

The best laid plans…

Eggs from the chickens at Rouse Hill House and Farm

Eggs from the chickens at Rouse Hill House and Farm. Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums

“Nothing is worse than stale eggs” states Isabella Beeton,
“… stale, or even preserved eggs, are things to be run from, not after.”

I can imagine having to run after chickens but not eggs, but needless to say, fresh is always best. Continue reading

“The lighter they are the quicker they fall”


Apple hedgehog. Photo Jacqui Newling © Sydney Living Museums

When I was a child my dad would confuse me by asking “do you say the yolk of an egg is white or are white?” But it is their yin-yang, rich-light; oily-dry duality that makes eggs such a versatile food. While the sun shines in the yolk it is the whites that bring light to many a dish, including omlets, meringues and snows. 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

The old boiler

Celebration meal, part of the recreation of a symetrical a la Francaise setting, filmed for the Eat Your History exhibition

Boiled fowl, part of a meal filmed for the Eat Your History exhibition. Photo © Sydney Living Museums

In this, the KFC and BBQ’d chicken age, where even good quality cooked chooks can cost less than a fresh chicken to prepare at home, it seems extraordinary that on the most elegant tables in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there was an open preference for boiled fowl. 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

Previously on the menu