• A calf's foot. Photograph Jacqui Newling © HHT
  • A calf's foot sectioned. Photograph Jacqui Newling © HHT
  • Boiled down calf's foot. Photograph Jacqui Newling © HHT
  • Photograph Jacqui Newling © HHT
  • Photograph Jacqui Newling © HHT
  • Calf's foot jelly. Photograph Jacqui Newling © HHT

Calf’s foot jelly

Calves' feet can be difficult to find in conventional butchers shops, but can be purchased in suburbs that cater for Korean and Chinese communities, such as Campsie or Ashfield in Sydney. More than just the hoof, a calf's 'foot' can be up to 30 cm long, and as they are nearly all bone, ask the butcher to cut each one into three or four pieces so they'll fit into a domestic pot (albeit a large one!).

Making gelatine this traditional way is at least a two-day process.

Ingredients

  • 4 calves' feet (each cut into three or four pieces)
  • 2 egg whites, whipped until frothy
  • 2 eggshells (crushed)

Cooking the calves

Place the calves' feet pieces into a lidded stockpot or large saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Cook, partially covered, on a medium heat to maintain a strong simmer for about 2 hours.

Clarifying process

Strain the extracted liquid through a sieve lined with muslin or clean kitchen cloth, discarding any solids. Refrigerate the liquid for several hours or overnight to allow any fat to rise to the surface.
Skim off as much of the oily layer as possible using a large metal spoon. You will be left with a dense jellied mass which then needs to be clarified.

Combine the beaten egg whites with the crushed eggshells and place the mixture in a medium sized saucepan with the calf’s foot extract over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10–15 minutes. As the liquid simmers the impurities are drawn into the egg white and eggshell mixture.

Skim the surface of the liquid carefully and strain the jelly through fine muslin, discarding any solids. Refrigerate until set. The jelly should be able to hold its form quite strongly; if it is still liquid, reduce by boiling it on the stove to the desired concentration.

Making the jelly

Melt the 'solid' jelly in a pan over low heat and strain again through a dampened linen tea towel or muslin, using a very fine strainer. The clear jelly is now ready to flavour for use in any recipe calling for jelly - usually this would be with some white wine, orange blossom water or lemon juice. The jelly would be coloured with natural food dyes such as spinach, beetroot juice or a saffron infusion.

This recipe first appeared in the post 'Take a gang of calf's-feet' on November 28, 2012.

Have you tried this recipe?

Use the comments box below to upload comments and photos.

  • http://www.hht.net.au Sandra Lee

    I can see a TV show coming soon – great work you two!

  • http://www.mgnsw.org.au Tamara Lavrencic

    Congratulations Scott and Jacqui and all the rest of the HHT staff involved in putting this blog up. I’ve bookmarked it and look forward to the monthly updates. What a great way to bring some of the history relating to historic houses and the people that lived in them to life,

  • Kim Caldwell

    Just arrived home from Tasmania where we have been steeped in colonial history to find your fabulous blog. Congratulations, it looks really great, and I look forward to future editions. Not sure I will try the calves foot jelly though!

  • http://www.herbies.com.au Ian Hemphill

    Congratulations Jacqui & Scott. What a great way to educate us about our rich colonial history from a food point of view. I am looking forward to more insights into our tasty past!

  • Dave Key

    So can I Sandra! Congrats to all involved – this is fantastic! I can’t wait to see what you have to present at the other sites.

  • Mikhaila

    We have ‘shelly mortar’ at the Barracks as well!

    • ondinee

      Hi Mikhaila – thanks for reminding us! Maybe we need a picture for the blog?

  • http://www.robincowcher.com.au Robin Cowcher

    What a lovely site Scott, I look forward to having a good peruse. best Robin

  • Barbara Konkolowicz

    Hi Jacqui & Scott, love your new blog. Congratulations to everyone involved! Barb

  • Barbara Konkolowicz

    I loved this description of the reinvention of Christmas in the colony and the photos of decorations from E Farm and VH, plus loads of information and inspiration. (Author, author!). I’m rushing off to my garden to find materials with which to decorate my fireplaces. Happy Christmas to you both!

  • Gary Crockett

    Congratulations Jacqui, Scott and Co – loving the blog, the clever videos, the crazy recipes and the fresh take on old places – keep it up.

  • Kim Archibald

    Hi Jacqui
    I can remember my mother making numerous Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings in cloths in the weeks before Christmas. She would cut all the fruit by hand and then have a weekend of cooking so that the puddings and cakes could mature before Christmas Day. We all had to have a stir of the pudding mixture and make a wish before putting them in the cloths tieing them up and letting them hang after par cooking them in a bg boiler on the stove. On Christmas day the puddings were then recooked for ages on the stove and served hot with custard
    This was always our first indication (apart from advertising) that Christmas was on it’s way.

    • The Cook

      Hi Kim, a treasured memory to have – I hope you’re keeping up the tradition, perhaps not to your Mum’s volume but at least for your own nearest and dearest. Best festive wishes, Jacqui

  • Barbara Konkolowicz

    Delightful

  • Margaret Wallace

    Congratulations Scott on this excellent blog- both interesting and beautifully presented.

  • Colleen Morris

    When I was growing up in the 1950s-60s there was always a young eucalypt sapling cut and tied to the small porch at the back door entrance of my grandparents house in country NSW at Xmas. As the sapling was always fresh on Xmas day I am not sure how many other families followed this practice.

  • Ineke Henskens

    Thank you to the contributors of this blog – I am really enjoying reading each instalment and learning more about the domestic side of Australian history.

  • Libby

    Hi there,
    I am interested in the make of the old wood stove in the kitchen at Elizabeth Farm. Do you know what it is?
    Many thanks,
    Libby

  • http://www.cookiejarcupcakes.com Louise

    I have this book and love it. A true labour of love by Mrs E, even if she does hide a sting in a tail or 2. I cannot imagine how long it would have taken to write such a letter!
    Thank you for a lovely blog, only recently found but treasured already!

  • The Curator

    We’ve been asked about the make of the blue and white crested Macarthur dinner service: it’s by the English manufacturer Chamberlain, which operated in the porcelain center of Worcester from 1783-1851. The base is marked ‘Chamberlains / Worcester’. A set in the same pattern as the Macarthur service, minus the added crest (a laurel wreath with the motto Fide et Opera – ‘Faith and Works’), is typically on display at Elizabeth Bay House in the breakfast room, while additional pieces can be seen on the dresser in the Butlers Pantry. The gilt ‘snowflake’ decoration in the center of the plate is missing from most of those plates and bowls, worn away by many years of use.

  • Bruce Baskerville

    Green bananas are used in some curry dishes on Norfolk Island – the cooking usually brings out a sweetness in the banana pieces, and being green they hold together, but they can also quite bland. The islanders use them as a vegetable in this way, and they usually add a nice texture even if sometimes tasteless.

  • The Curator

    Hi Bruce,
    I wonder if they’re plantains, which are best cooked when they’re green? Do you remember them as being larger than everyday bananas? On my kitchen table at home right now I actually have some plantains that I’m going to try cooking for the first time. I’m thinking in a curry, so any tips gratefully received!
    Cheers, Scott

  • The Cook

    HI Bruce, the early journals often make reference to harvesting the wild (therefore native?) bananas on Norfolk. I doubt the convicts were making curries, but they certainly would have provided valuable nutrients and welcomed variety to their diet. sadly, no references as to how they were prepared – cooked in with rice or added to stews? Roasted in their skins? It’d be fun to experiment with them.
    Thanks for responding to the story! Jacqui

    • Bruce Baskerville

      In Norf’k language bananas are called ‘plan’ or ‘plun’, presumably an abbreviation of plantain, although some people distinguish between plun and plantain. They aren’t native to the island, but were taken there by Polynesians about 600-800 years ago. Lt Gov King found them growing in Arthurs Vale in 1788, but I haven’t noticed how they ate them then (raw or cooked). The islanders today use them in all sorts of ways, I have some Norfolk cook books with banana/plan recipes. The plan today are much smaller than you get on the mainland, usually with lots of blotches and blemishes on the skin, various shades of green and yellow skins, sometimes red, and a beautiful sweet taste and creamy texture when ripe, much nicer than the great big bright yellow ones you get here that leave an unpleasant film on your teeth! One of my favourite island ways was little pancakes or pikelets into which slices of ripe plun were pushed while cooking, and then served hot with honey and/or porpay jelly (made from wild red guavas) – delicious with coffee, and probably not from the convict period!

      • The Cook

        Ok Bruce, enough! you’ve got us salivating! Clearly a trip to Norfolk Island is required to investigate the local fare. I’m very sure pancakes would have been on the colonists menu at least occasionally, cooked on shovels probably! As there was no sugar in their rations, the fruit would have provided a rare opportunity for a sweet treat.
        Perhaps they had them with ‘coffee’ too – the early colonists made a mock coffee by roasting wheat grains – a process still used today in some caffeine free coffee alternatives. I’ll stick with tea!
        cheers, Jacqui

  • The Curator

    Hi Libby,
    here’s your answer, and a bit of the kitchen’s background.
    Sir Edward Macarthur who inherited Elizabeth Farm, died in 1872, but left a life interest in the property to his wife Sarah. At that stage it was tenanted to Thomas Icely. From 1875 to 1881 – when the property was sold – it was leased by William Billyard. When he moved in he complained (and quite rightly we say!) that there was no cooking range in the kitchen. The range visitors see today, restored and functioning, may have been installed by the Swann family after they purchased Elizabeth Farm in 1904. It was manufactured by the Sydney firm Lassetter and Company. The Swann sisters continued to use the kitchen until 1968, when they sold the house to the Elizabeth Farm Museum Trust. The Elizabeth Farm kitchen is in its own freestanding building, which was a common precaution in colonial houses and for good reason – the original kitchen burnt down in 1805!
    You can see a photo of the range here and a close up here.

  • Gary Crockett

    Hey Scott Hill – great pic of the Macarthur Institute sheep, with or without the spots. I don’t think there’s any doubt that John Macarthur was the ‘man of the moment’ back in 1804-5 and that if he hadn’t fronted up to the old cranky pants Joseph Banks with his self serving bravado and plans for New South Wales then things would have panned out differently for the colony (and us I guess) for better or worse who’s ta say…

  • ondinee

    See our follow-up post: Shelly mortar – part 2 for the Hyde Park Barracks photo mentioned above.

  • alyshab

    When I think about what collared eel must look like, I imagine a box of starched detachable collars! You can see a great example here.

  • Veronica

    Wonderful commentary and such a great, interesting and informative web site.
    Thank you

  • Bruce Baskerville

    It would be good to recreate that dinner (as much as its possible) on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend this year, the 225th anniversary. Some ‘good old English porter’ would be a treat!

    Lt Gov King on Norfolk Island noted in his journal (4th June 1788) that “At sunrise hoisted up the colours, in observance of the anniversary of His Majesties Birth Day and gave each of the people some liquor to drink His Majesties health and at their request excused them from any work in the afternoon”. He doesn’t say more about food that day, but entries either side of the day show they were planting plantain suckers (taken from the rivulet, now Windmill Creek), bananas and limes (that he had brought with him) in ‘the plantation’ (in Arthurs Vale), clearing ground and sowing wheat of the north east side of the hill (presumably Mt George, now Flagstaff Hill), and sending the boat out to fish on days when the weather allowed (they caught 30 fish on the 5th, species not stated, on the 15th the boat overturned and one man drowned). The weather on the Birth Day was “Fresh gales and cloudy”. Entries close to this day record that he had only a few casks each of meat, bread and flour left, and put the men on to a 2/3 ration (women remained on their original allowance – which was 2/3 of the men’s allowance). The next day (5th June) the people were ‘served’ 1/2 their allowance of pork, and 1 peck (about 4 kgs?) of wheat, and then two days later (7th June) 2 pecks of wheat each (although this last entry may be seed wheat for sowing?). Not sure what the bread was in the casks – perhaps ship’s biscuit?

    • The Cook

      Life at Norfolk was far less colourful than at Sydney. With so few ‘residents’ – exiles might be a better term – it must have seemed so terribly remote and cut off from anyone and anything. You’d have to wonder what accursed luck you had to end up there, and then to cap it off, food shortages were a way of life, most severely chronic in 1789 and 1790, in both settlements. They did enjoy the odd turtle though – highly esteemed in those days and the focus of a future blog post – of course the seasonal ‘mutton’ birds.

      About the bread – it could well have been ‘ship’s biscuit’ if it was 1788, only a few months after settlement. A bakery for ‘the public’ was in operation very quickly at Sydney, with its own dedicated bakers, but I doubt the same in Norfolk with only thirty or so colonists. So yes, the wheat was probably for sowing, and once the crops were established & harvested the grain would have to be ground using hand mills, which would have been no easy task. No ‘Wonder-white’ in those days – but very high in fibre and naturally low GI – but I’m sure this wasn’t seen as a benefit of any kind.

      thanks for the evocative quotes Bruce, Jacqui

  • http://www.facebook.com/louise.lathouwers Louise Lathouwers

    Thanks for the breakdowns in grams- will definitely incorporate that info into our convict kitchen displays. I have a kit of those rations (in correct weights) to help people get a better understanding of what the numbers on a page mean. On Aus Day one gentleman thought it was quite a generous ration, much to my surprise. Soon figured out he thought that was the daily ration :)

    • The Cook

      HI, your convict kitchen display sounds like a great idea – I’ll have to come up and see it! It is rather hard to equate when just reading it as an allowance list. cheers, Jacqui

      • http://www.facebook.com/louise.lathouwers Louise Lathouwers

        At the Redcoats and Convicts day at the HPB it looks extra good thanks to the Vaucluse house vege donations :) I now have 1 garden bed with Vaucluse melons and rosellas thanks to seed saving after the event!

  • Anne Gregory

    Scott fascinated to see your work, must return next time we are in Sydney town, blast from the past Anne and Michael Gregory

  • Bruce

    Amitav Ghosh’s “River of Smoke’ (2011) has some great descriptions of the painting workshops in Canton in the early 19th century, working on paper, and also producing fine paintings of Chinese flowers and plants for botanical collectors in Europe, and scenes and other subjects for orders received from Europe.

  • Phil

    For a summer cocktail elderflower cordial makes a delicious substitute for vermouth in a gin martini. The ready made cordial can sometimes be tricky to find so I’ll have to try this recipe.

    • The Cook

      I’ve been taking advantage of the last of the season’s stone fruit, and added a splash of elderflower cordial (undiluted) to a pot of poached peaches, instead of the more heavy-handed vanilla or cinnamon. Divine!

  • jaki

    Absolutely fascinating. Will visit next time I’m in Syd & will suggest that family there do so.

  • jaki

    Oh for the poor masses if Ellis felt the food of not a high enough standard!

  • http://www.facebook.com/louise.lathouwers Louise Lathouwers

    It is a beautiful memorial. Wish I could have been there on St Patrick’s Day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/louise.lathouwers Louise Lathouwers

    I have my very own melon ripening on the vine right now, grown from seeds saved from a Vaucluse House melon! And the chooks are enjoying getting in under the vine and laying there rather than in the nest box.

  • Kylie Willison

    I love this blog because you never fail to come up with such interesting posts!!

  • Anna

    My Mum used to make a variation of the ‘sea pie’ using minced meat as the stew and then topping it with a scone dough lid. It was fantastic and fed a family of 7 kids!

  • Roberta Fassina

    Hi Jacqui and Scott

    I was so inspired by the jam making session at Elizabeth Farm, and although I haven’t seen those lovely old books you brought that day, I did buy Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Dariana Allen. I’ve also been making jams, jellies and chutney, and next is membrillo! I also have a medlar in my front yard which is fruiting right now. I have yet to discover its uses!

    Roberta Fassina, Toongabbie. HHT member

  • Margaret

    Having lost my mother at 19 in Canberra, by the time our first baby was born, it was 1975 in Surrey, England, eight or so years later. I relied almost solely for advice upon her old copy of` ` Mrs Beeton`s Household Management `, and despite the entertaining ideas about decorating a nursery, ( and also cooking Australian native wildlife ! ) , it was clear that some things NEVER CHANGE ! Thank you, Isabella ! You saved the day then, and again back in Australia, by providing a recipe for `steak and kidney pudding ` for British Grandad`s birthday one year.

  • Sandra

    Lovely start to Meroogal. Bob’s Pudding was a hit at home esp with a big blob of cream!

  • margaret

    Greek biscuits are about to be made…
    Im loving the blog and learning lots, thankyou!

    Margaret

  • Anna

    Looking forward to the month of Meroogal posts! I’m sure they’ll be fabulous and delicious.

  • Gary Crockett

    early risers and all that ‘invisible’ housework eh… I hope those afternoon visitors didn’t stay too late

  • http://www.facebook.com/louise.lathouwers Louise Lathouwers

    Reminds me of the scene in Like Water For Chocolate (? I think that’s right) where the cook cries into the wedding cake and everybody becomes overwhelming sad for lost love upon eating it! Did you get teary giggles eating Anna’s bread?

    • The Cook

      Its been a while since I read that book – must revisit it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/louise.lathouwers Louise Lathouwers

    With all our popping down the shop, it is easy to forget that eggs are really a seasonal food. Preserving them to last even part way through winter would have been vital. These days I just make a quiche and freeze it if the girls give too many :) not quite the same though

    • The Cook

      HI Louise, it seems to be a catch-22 situation – while we question the processing methods we use to keep eggs in constant supply we forget that sometimes there just might not be any on hand. Hence the eggless puddings recipes during the war years… or indeed, in the Bobs pudding recipe. cheers, Jacqui

  • http://www.facebook.com/craig.coventry Craig Coventry

    Yum!

  • The Curator

    And not forgetting too that the average egg bought at the supermarket these days is a bit of a whopper compared to those used by the ‘Roogals and Rouses. You really notice this when you try and balance a modern boiled egg in an antique eggcup – they rarely sit with any stability and the scale looks decidedly odd. When Ive set a recreated breakfast table (such as at Elizabeth Bay House) I’ve often used blown eggs courtesy of the Rouse Hill chickens, which are Bantam eggs (the smaller Bantam breeds of chicken can be prodigious layers as you see in the photo above) and hence that bit smaller, and have slight variations in colour that you rarely see in a carton of eggs these days. Changes in egg size is just one factor that needs to be considered in designing recipes, or updating historic recipes.

  • M

    These biscuits are so more-ish it’s dangerous… You have been warned.

  • Helen Bryant

    Do you think this recipe is a variation on spotted dick? Perhaps fruit such as dried currants might be soaked overnight in tea to give a flavour.some addition to the rather basic ingrdients. This type of pudding could be made by folk out camping or away from a kitchen.

    • The Cook

      HI Helen, yes, I do think this one of many variations on what has become the ‘ubiquitous’ English boiled pudding. In Australia it seems we’ve only clung to the rich Christmas plum pudding and opted for boiled fruit cakes over puddings like spotted Dick – a concession to our climate I suspect. I soak my Christmas pudding fruit in Lady Grey tea – not a very traditional blend but delightfully aromatic. I reckon good old fashioned black English breakfast tea would be more appropriate for Bob’s pudding – in keeping with the austerity theme – even in hard times, a pot of tea would bring cheer.
      If you try it out, please send us a note or a pic – especially if you make it in a camp oven!

  • Cheryl

    Thanks Scott for showing this very special image. It’s not only at a certain time of day but only a few months of the year. We love it.

    • The Cook

      Aren’t these quirks of light and reflection fantastic! Late each winter we get a beautiful rainbow cast through our dining room and into the kitchen – it never fails to produce a feeling of wonder. It’s quite reminiscent of the winter solstice phenomenon at Elizabeth Bay House – has to be seen to really appreciate – which if you’re willing to get up early enough, there’s a special breakfast event this June 21st (details on the Sydney Living Museums website). Jacqui

  • The Cook

    How lucky are we?!! Having frocked up for the Rouse costume collection Bethany’s now donned an apron to help us in the kitchen! We’re so lucky to have had such enthusiastic support from Volunteers and Interns, bringing their skills and passion, adding extra flavour to our projects and helping us keep our many pots on the boil. many thanks to you Bethany, Jacqui

  • Roz Hancock

    Yes, when I was teaching food tech to a group of home educated girls a couple of years ago we tried a few of Mrs Beeton’s recipes. The fruit cake was a major disappointment. Then we did Zoe research on this wise lady who we had imagined had many years of experience as a cook and discovered an entirely different woman.
    The girls decided that some things, including their Grandmother’s recipes can and have been improved on. I’m feeling like a Victoria sponge cake now… Mmm think I’ll use my reliable ” Commonsense Cookery Book”.

    • The Cook

      Hi Roz, Mrs Beeton’s personal story is extraordinary – rather than being an experienced ‘grandmotherly type’ she was a mere 22 years old when she wrote the book! (There’s a fabulous biography on her by Karen Hughes, The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton). Mind you, she ‘borrowed’ heavily from previous authors, so can’t take full credit or blame for most recipes. And as with any old recipes, the ingredients and technology we use have changed – something as simple as the size of an egg will alter the result for a cake for example, so its always a bit of a mystery as to how something will turn out, and takes a lot of practice and revision to perfect some of them.

      Enjoy your cream sponge!

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  • The Cook

    Hi Evan, by all means! Your blog looks fabulous – mouthwatering pics. Make sure you come and visit when you’re next in Sydney – I think you’d love the Vaucluse House kitchen garden. cheers, Jacqui

    • evan

      Great, thank you. I have mentioned you in my post about preserving lemons incase poeple need extra tips on sterilising their jars. Thank you for the invite. I may take you up on that offer as I am in Sydney every now and then. Feel free to have a look over the post http://thefoxandhoundfood.com/?p=146

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  • The Cook

    That’s a very good question Gary! I hadn’t noticed an aversion to pepper and chilli – she does throw a bit of cayenne around, but you’re right, she’s not an advocate for garlic. I do find she’s a bit obsessed with allspice – she seems to put it almost everything that calls for spices, dispensing with the more traditional cinnamon and nutmeg and clove.
    I think I would accept a dinner invitation, because I’d love to take a peek at her ‘test kitchen’ but the dinner conversation might be a bit too aspirational Victorian for me!

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  • Gary Crockett

    Taking on board all that useful nose-blowing, mucus snuffling, honking and hawking advice… another great post from Mr Fork.

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  • Pamela

    The dinner plates look lovely but I’m curious about how you’d set the table – for the first course you’re eating soup but also pie and fish so would you need a bowl and a plate and a soup spoon, fish fork, knife and fork, etc?

    • The Cook

      HI Pamela, yes, it was quite a rigmarole! You’d arrive at the table with plates in situ, and all the cutlery you’d need for each component of the first two courses. Soup would be ladled into bowls by the host or lady of the household, to be passed to the diners. Attendants would remove the spent bowl and you could continue to the next item, generally the fish, then proceed from there. Fresh plates could be brought to the table by servants if required. Once the second course was complete, the entire table would be cleared, the cloth removed to expose the polished wooden table top, and dessert course – cheeses etc would be served on d’oyleys, with fresh plates and cutlery.

      While it seems onerous to have to dine that way, and a lot of work for the servants, just imagine the washing up at the end of it all!

      cheers, Jacqui

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  • Pamela

    I love this insight into the underground activities at Elizabeth Bay House.

  • Keith
    • The Cook

      Thanks Keith. I’m sure you’ve eaten your fair share of past repasts – got a favourite woodsman’s recipe to share?

  • Barbara Konkolowicz

    CONGRATULATIONS!! I am thrilled for you all. They are well-deserved wins. BRAVO BRAVISSIMO.

    • The Cook

      Thanks Barbara!

  • Adrian Wiggins

    Congratulations on a very deserved win. Bravo!

  • Ondine Evans

    It’s been a pleasure to be working on this project with you – congrats to all and particularly to Sarah for her design!

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  • Jim

    This is a very intersting post. The recipes look very intersting. Will haver to try them out when we are entertaining next.

    • The Cook

      Let us know how you get on Jim :)

    • Douglas

      only if Jim’s not cooking the spag bol … tomato soup and tomato sauce … how appetizing

  • Irene Karageorgiou

    What a wonderful recipe for Sousoukakia, you can definitely tell that this recipe is from Smyrna (modern day Ismir). The Greek version, Keftedes, are little lighter than this typically Smyrnean version and omit the red wine. I wonder if Dorothea added any spices to this recipe such as parsley or oregano? Thank you for sharing, it’s taken me back to my great grandfather’s origins and subsequent migration from Smyrna to the island of Samos in Greece.

    • The Cook

      HI Irene, it’s lovely isn’t it, when food evokes fond memories – and yours is even more interesting as its not just nostalgia but about shared or parallel histories, connecting people, time and place – your family heritage.
      and yes, I wondered about the herbs too – I think I’d add oregano (and I’d keep the red wine!). I was also thinking that in Greece and Turkey they were probably made with lamb or goat rather than ground beef, but that’s testament to how we adapt traditional recipes to new circumstances.
      Thanks so much Irene.

  • The Cook

    I bet the whole house had a delicious aroma Margaret! My mouths watering as I think of it! cheers, Jacqui

    • Hannah

      Shortbread biscuits- mixed, baked and eaten.
      Thanks for the recipe.

      Hannah

  • Nicole

    I went to the “Vintage Sundays: Regency” and had the Regency Tea which was served with a choice of 4 historically accurate teas. I can remember 3 of them – Gunpowder Green, Orange Pekoe and Hyson – but I’m not sure about the fourth. Was it Lap sang Souchong?

    • The Curator

      Hi Nicole,
      It was Oolong, which is a semi-fermented green tea. Like Hyson – “which can take 3 or 4 waters” – its a stronger leaf that you can ‘top up’ in the pot to get extra cups after the first brew.
      Cheers,
      Scott

  • The Curator

    Hi Nicole, it was Oolong, a green tea. Its a strong leaf that can take “several waters”, so you can top up the pot once or twice.
    Cheers, Scott

  • Graham M.

    Classic – had me completely convinced until I looked at the posting date!

  • The Cook

    Insider tip! We got to try last night at the official launch of the exhibition – its amazing mixed 50/50 with bubbly! Grown-ups Bellini – wicked!!

  • Bruce Baskerville

    James Squire was making peach cider at Kissing Point in late 18C/early 19C (can’t find my reference for that just at the moment), and I noticed in HRNSW, Vol 6, p357, Governor Bligh writes “Peach cyder might be made in large quantities, but we have not yet been able to prevent it from fermenting and becoming sour, which I have attributed to its not being sufficiently racked and cleansed of the pulpy substance of the fruit. The premium of a cow, which Government offered last year to the person who would produce the best two hogsheads, may have a good effect.”

    • The Cook

      Hi Bruce, yet again peach cider and pigs connect – though it does get confusing when offering a cow for hogsheads! He must have been very keen to ‘value add’ the glut of peaches in this way – even in Bligh’s time cows were relatively scarce and a sought after asset in many households.
      Thanks for the reference lead! J

      • Bruce Baskerville

        Bligh was trying to discourage the consumption of rum and strong spirits, so may have seen cider as a viable alternative (like King establishing the brewery at Parramatta as an alternative to spirits). Unfortunately the offer of a valuable cow wasn’t enough on 26 January 1808. I wonder if he ever thought “a cow, a cow for my colony”!

  • The Curator

    Quite a special post for us – its number 100! While we gather round the celebratory punch bowl, special thanks to all those in the C&C team who make this blog possible, and to all of you who’ve sent in your good wishes and comments. Its been great meeting so many of you at the Eat Your History exhibition and related programs. Its been quite a year; here’s to the next 100!

  • Laila

    I have the third edition of the Shoalhaven Presbyterian Women’s Guild Cookery Book, published in 1954 – my great aunt Kathleen A. Coulthart (nee Aldous) was one of three joint convenors that put this edition together. The Meroogal pudding still features! Here’s the cover and a ‘recipe to make us happy and agreeable to other people’.

    • The Cook

      Thank you so much Laila! That’s one of the wonderful things about these community compilations, that sense of belonging and continuing connections between past and present, and future generations. REally good of you to share this with us! cheers, Jacqui

      • The Cook

        And I think that ‘recipe’ deserves its own blog post! What a nice lady Mrs Brunskill of Wagga Wagga must have been ;)

  • Therese

    I’m confused – is pekoe a green or a black tea – you seem to imply both.

  • ambradambra

    Lovely story. Haven’t seen the exhibition yet, but heard Jacqui Newling speak at ‘Words and Food Festival’ last month. Being Italian/Australia, the above is relevant to me. I posted on my blog ‘The Good the Bad and the Italian’ a while ago about pasta shapes. http://ambradambra.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/pasta-shapes-my-memories/

  • Bellow Carson

    I am really astonished to know that biscuits could be offered to those who come
    to visit the departed one.

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  • peter b

    Thanks for referencing my book The Immigrant Bees. The comment above that bees were not successfully imported until the 1840s is incorrect. The year 1822 is commonly accepted for their successful introduction but I have several references that many more attempts were made, including those of the Macarthurs at Camden Park. Regards, Peter

    • The Cook

      Hi Peter, thanks for clarifying that. That does make more sense, because if memory serves me correctly, D’Arcy Wentworth kept bees – on his Newlington property? And he died in 1827. So I’m sorry I misconstrued your work. Would I be right in thinking that it took several years for the bees to become established in the colony? Market lists from the 1840s indicate that honey and beeswax were still being imported and commanding high prices, so perhaps that’s where I drew the later date from. But I guess they made their mark agriculturally long before then? A fascinating topic we’d love to hear more about in this blog. with regards, Jacqui

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  • Nicole

    I tasted the Fragrant Peach Jam at the Elizabeth Farm Open Day and have just had a go at making some myself. When I was grinding the cardamom I noticed 8 pods yields 1 teaspoon when the recipe says 1 tablespoon. Which is the correct quantity to use in the jam?

  • The Cook

    Hi Nicole, the 8 cardamom pods is correct and it should be one teaspoon. Thank you for picking that up – I hope we haven’t delayed your jam making waiting for the answer. At the end of the day, it’s entirely at your discretion how much you use, I’m a cardamom fiend, so a teaspoon wouldn’t nearly be enough for me! I’ll re-edit the recipe for future use. Best regards, Jacqui

  • Kelly

    I love how this is positively spotless – despite years and years of use. The blue is lovely. I’ve seen others that are green, but the blue is just beautiful! I am visiting an old friend tonight, and the last time I saw him (some twenty years ago!) he had one in his kitchen. I’m hoping it’s still there.
    How is yours going?

  • The Cook

    Hi Kelly, yes, it has been very well loved and looked after thanks to Eve’s TLC. You really don’t see blue ones very often. I rented a charming house in Greenwich with friends in the 80s which had a blue Kooka – in pretty good nick if I rmember correctly. I remember it made excellent pastry, back in my quiche-making days! There’s something about out new ovens that simply doesn’t compare.
    cheers, Jacqui

  • Alison

    Jacqui I found this post very interesting not least of all because I had never heard of blancmange being set with gelatine. I’ve always made it, as my mother did, with cornflour so the mould would set without refrigeration. Although I now know that both Beeton and Acton used isinglass it still seems that the ladies of Rouse Hill were one step ahead of the technology.

  • The Cook

    Hi Alison, thanks for your query – blancmange is one of those fascinating dishes that has had many incarnations over time so its caused me to consult an array of recipes and cookbooks to track its evolution! My understanding is that it originated as a middle eastern style almond milk pudding, sometimes with rice which would probably be closer to what the English call a flummery. Probably responding to a more northen European dairy influence, blancmange turned into a milk pudding set with isinglass, as you note, in the C19th. The emergence of commercial gelatine in the mid-1900s saw it taking the place of isinglass in many recipes. The cornflour version seems to have become common in the early-mid C20th although the Golden Wattle and Goulburn cookery books from the 1930s call for gelatine. My 1960s Commonsense Cookery book (and indeed the 2014 centenary edition) uses boiled milk and cornflour and I suspect the original 1914 edition may too. I’m wondering if this is aligned with the prolific number of companies advertising corn flour in Australian cookbooks from the 1890s onwards – a burgeoning local industry perhaps? It’s not an ingredient you see in British C19th cookery texts. Just a thought…

    Interestingly the Commonsense cookery books and instructs that you stand the mould in a shallow basin of cold water until it sets – just as Nina did using their well at Rouse Hill.

    And as Eliza Acton point out – pink or strawberry blancmange is of course an arguement in terms as it is no longer white. She suggests it should instead be called a moulded strawberry cream or bavaroise, which we would make these days, with gelatine.

    Do you have fond memories of blancmange Alison – and is it a dish you’d make for your own family now? Cheers, Jacqui

  • Delphini Delphinaki

    Hi there, I have a green one that I ripped out of an old house I purchased. I still have it and adore it…..it has all it’s bits and pieces including the flue and top shelf, it also is clean as a whistle…..We have just built a new house and don’t have a need for it…..thinking of selling it. I wonder what it would be worth?

  • The Cook

    Hi Delphini, I tend not to follow dollar value of these icons of our past, instead focus on their heritage value, so can’t really help you with prices. I think you’d have to check recent sales records from eBay or second hand dealers to find out a current value for your stove.

  • Margaret

    In my early days of teaching as a Home Economics teacher in the late 1970s, the Common Sense Cook Book was the one we always used. I have 2 editions at home from the 1970s and 1980s, still in use for some recipes. I am quite familiar with the methods, and I usually refer to it now for quantities and ratios of ingredients. There are 2 recipes I did not like, but I had to teach back in the 1970s which were blancmange and beef tea. I still cook ox tongue though – a tradition in my family.

    • The Cook

      HI Margaret, Like you, I still flip through my 1980s copy to check ratios for classic dishes – like eggs:milk for custard or Yorkshire puddings etc. I’m working on blancmange recipes for this blog at the moment – see Alison’s comment on blancmange in our “Marching on’ post from March 13. I’m not sure I like the cornflour style that the CSCB purports but will make it in the interests of good research. I do actually like beef tea, especially if its made with good veal jus… I’m yet to try the CSCB recipe.
      I’ve now challenged my son to cook something from the centenary edition each week – in fact it’s shepherd’s pie when I get home from work tonight!
      cheers, Jacqui

  • annieflies

    Just found your blog in my search for information on the manufacture of Ke-Peg. We here in the states can buy it online, but I am having a hard time finding out exactly what is IN it. There is a similar product that can be homemade using melted beeswax thinned with olive oil.

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  • http://www.baker-maker.com Irene [baker-maker.com]

    Just came across your blog, it’s fantastic. Thanks for sharing this recipe. We made our first Simnel Cake for Easter this year!

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  • Bianca

    Such a wonderful, and vitally important project! I’m currently researching the recipes from Meroogal to be sources of inspiration for a proposal I’m working on for the Women’s Prize this year, is there anywhere I can look at the translated documents? I can’t find a direct contact to anyone, so thought I’d try my luck writing here. Any assistance would be gratefully appreciated.

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  • The Cook

    HI Bianca, I’m delighted you’ve been so inspired by the Meroogal cookery stories. We are currently in the process of recipe testing some of the Meroogal recipes so that we can upload a manuscript recipe book onto the blog, complete with transcripts and a modern redaction for each recipe. I’ll keep you posted on our progress, cheers, Jacqui

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  • The Cook

    Alison has pursued her interest in blancmange and its history on her blog, http://onecrumbatatime.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/biancomangiare.html
    Seems we’re on a mission to revive another forgotten culinary favourite…

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  • Nancy Cushing

    Writing about the plague in Sydney in 1900, Professor Anderson Stuart commented on the number of potentially flea-carrying animals in the city. He noted that the goat was the poor man’s cow and relayed an observation from a friend that he had once counted 36 goats from one vantage point in the Haymarket. See link at http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/museum/mwmuseum/index.php/Bubonic_Plague_comes_to_Sydney_in_1900

    Stuart recommended that keeping goats in the city should be banned. Is this when goats disappeared from cities, allowing their milk and cheese to be considered gourmet items decades later?

  • The Cook

    That makes loads of sense Nancy, thank you for making the link! It’s possibly why there are goats shown in the Wilson painting of the Rocks in 1902. I love the notion of poor-man’s cow – completely opposite to today’s market, where goats’ cheeses are indeed a gourmet delight!
    Warmest wishes, Jacqui

  • https://twitter.com/itisliz itisliz

    The “nanna” tip I was always taught, especially if there are lemons in the recipe, is to wipe your bowl out with the mostly-squeezed-out half of a the lemon…it will cut through any dreaded specks of grease that might kill your stiff peaks! :)

  • The Cook

    That’s an excellent tip – thank you, and your ‘Nanna’ for passing it on!

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  • Jan O’Connell

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. It gives so many insights into the fascinating history of Australian food. The Quong Tart story is particularly notable, given the prevailing ‘white Australia” sentiment of those times.

  • The Cook

    It is a fascinating story isn’t it Jan. We’ve only just touched on it but the Celestial Sydney exhibition explores Quong Tart and many other Chinese immigrant stories in a very accessible and evocative way. I’m looking forward to next week’s blog post – from Nicola Teffer, the exhibition’s curator, who gives us another aspect of Quong Tart’s tearooms on a more socio-political scale, and offers further insight into the life and times of late C19th Sydney. Cheers, Jacqui

  • Jennifer O’Callaghan

    Very interesting! Thanks for posting.

  • The Cook

    So delighted you’re enjoying our stories Jennifer, cheers, Jacqui

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  • GeniAus

    How topical I’ve just boiled up eggs from my son’s chickens for lunchtime sandwiches.

  • Maisa Leibovitz

    Yum, the description os kangaroo kebabs made me hungry. So neat! But living in Canada, I have to ask…what does kangoroo taste like? Is it strong in flavour and gamey? Or lean and mild?

  • Kim

    Mrs Lance Rawson, the writer of ‘The Antipodean Cookery Book’ also wrote quite extensively about raising poultry in Australia. Her book ‘The Australian Poultry Book’ was in its second edition in 1894, and that same year she began a series of articles for The Queenslander called The Poultry Yard with all sorts of practical advice.

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  • The Curator

    Hi Kim, thanks for this: a prime example of where you went for
    information in the pre-google era. Publications like Rawson’s (as with
    Loudon’s many years earlier) also reflect the increasing suburbanisation
    of the Australian cities from the mid 19th century onwards, and yards
    (the proverbial quarter-acre block) that were substantially bigger than
    those seen today and could contain a vegetable garden, fruit trees and a
    chicken coop. (Though as we noted, even the tiny rear yards at Susannah
    Place could house a chicken or two). I certainly remember my
    great-grandmother keeping chickens – and tales of the ‘Sunday chop’.
    Cheers, Scott.

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  • Jane

    My son Jack has started his day with a googy and soldiers (wearing a Vegemite uniform) every school day of his life. He’s now doing his HSC exams so mornings just won’t be the same again. 4 mins 10 seconds (for new XL eggs, 4 only for L) for firm white but runny yolk – perfect for dipping soldiers.

  • Fiona Starr

    Roast beef and plum pudding seem to have been a theme in Hyde Park Barracks history! After all the convicts were long gone, the aged and destitute women of the Hyde Park Asylum were also treated to beef and pudding on the monarch’s birthday in 1882:

    ‘The old ladies were regaled with a bountiful dinner of
    roast beef and plum pudding, washed down by a glass of ale. A harper and
    violinist were afterwards introduced, to whose music some of the old girls
    danced jigs as merrily as they would have done some 50 or 60 years ago.’
    (Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May 1882)

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  • The Cook

    That’s a splendid addition to the story Fiona. It’s nice to know that they had some fun and merriment during their time at the barracks.

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  • Jan O’Connell

    The White Cloud referred to in the original recipe was a shortening made by Armour’s of Chicago from cottonseed oil and oleo stearine. It was later manufactured in Australia by Vegetable Oils Pty Ltd. A White Cloud Recipe Book was published in 1930 by Margaret Harris. The product was still around as late as 1954, when an advertisement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald suggesting it was a product much used by “Continental chefs.” The Copha brand was registered by Lever Brothers in 1916.

    • The Cook

      That’s fascinating Jan. It’s interesting to see the commercialised products take hold in the early twentieth-century. White Cloud sounds decidedly unappealing, but a ‘convenient’ alternative to the traditional animal fats I suppose. Dessicated coconut seems to have arrived on the market with a sudden burst, being added to all manner of desserts and biscuit recipes in the early decades of the 1900s (the modern ANZAC, lamingtons, Monte Carlo and iced Vo-Vos are classic examples). I’m wondering if it was a new Australian industry, or perhaps sourced elsewhere, no doubt within the British Empire?
      The same ledger book from Meroogal has another cocoanut ice recipe that is simply sugar, milk and coconut, no copha or butter, and a little glucose ‘if liked, not essential though’. The copha version had a silkier texture and better mouth feel.
      cheers, and thanks for your input Jan! Jacqui

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