All a-buzz with honey from the kitchen garden

Bee skep (detail) in Jeremy L Cross, ‘The true Masonic chart’ AS Barnes and Co, New York, 1855. Courtesy State Library of New South Wales call number T0402300

Bee skep (detail) in Jeremy L Cross, ‘The true Masonic chart’ AS Barnes and Co, New York, 1855. Courtesy State Library of New South Wales call number T0402300

A hive of industry, and busy as a bee – the work of the humble ‘bumble’ and ‘honey’ bee is extraordinary – their efforts providing honey for sweet treats, such as the honey toffee (recipe below) and bees wax, highly coveted for candles in our colonial past. But more importantly, bees are integral to agriculture, and our own survival, globally.

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An apple a day

Apple charlotte. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Apple charlotte. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Before you crush all your apples into cider as the Curator had us doing last week, we thought we’d celebrate ‘Eve’s fruit’ with some tried and tested family favourites from our heritage kitchens. We’ve featured apple hedgehogs and apple snow in more summery posts, but Apple Charlotte, pictured above, and Auntie Tottie’s Apple cake make perfect autumnal fare.  Continue reading

Birds of a feather – rosella jam

Crimson Rosella. Pennantian P[arrot] (Detail). Watercolour on paper watermarked ‘J Whatman’. Volume 04: Zoology of N. [New] Holland etc. [Album view] item 43. © State Library of New South Wales  PXD 1098 / vol. 4

Crimson Rosella. Pennantian P[arrot] (Detail). Watercolour on paper watermarked ‘J Whatman’. Volume 04: Zoology of N. [New] Holland etc. [Album view] item 43. © State Library of New South Wales PXD 1098 / vol. 4

Taking advantage of the relative calm that the new year has brought, I’ve been savouring some of the manuscript and heirloom recipes in our collections. Expect to find in the next few weeks a thatched roof pie, a meat souffle and sago plum pudding, but today’s pick is ‘Rosella Jam’. Continue reading

Pantry pickles

Pickles in the pantry cupboard at Vaucluse House. Photo © James Horan for Sydney living Museums

Pickles in the pantry cupboard at Vaucluse House. Photo © James Horan for Sydney living Museums

Latoya Schadel shares one of the pleasures of working in the Vaucluse House team:

I just love our days at Vaucluse House when we begin the working day with a walk through the bountiful kitchen garden. Sometimes, when produce is at its peak, our gardeners bring us a basket full of goodies to sample. Continue reading

Eat your history – the book!

Jacqui Newling, author of Eat your history: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Jacqui Newling, author of Eat your history: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Handwritten recipes passed through the generations, tales of goats running wild in colonial gardens and early settlers’ experimentation with native foods…
Eat your history dishes up stories and recipes for Australian kitchens and dining tables from 1788 to the 1950s.

Jacqui Newling, resident gastronomer at Sydney Living Museums, invites you to share forgotten tastes and lost techniques, and to rediscover some delicious culinary treasures. Continue reading

The art in eating artichokes

Fresh globe artichokes Photo © Jacqui Newling for Sydney Living Museums

Fresh globe artichokes Photo © Jacqui Newling for Sydney Living Museums

Artichokes are in their prime at the moment. They are a member of the thistle family, and have been popular in the Mediterranean region since antiquity, but to many Australians they still seem very curious and foreign – partly because we’re not quite sure how to prepare and eat them. We’re more likely to buy their ‘hearts’ ready-pickled in brine or oil as an antipasto ingredient than cook them whole, which is a shame, because freshly cooked artichokes are a fun and highly sensorial food to eat - best eaten without cutlery and nibbled on rather than dined upon. Continue reading