Celebrate Mother’s Day with some cherished favourites – made with love over the generations ­– from our new book,Eat your history: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens. 

A visit to Elizabeth Farm, Australia’s oldest homestead, takes us back to Jane Austen’s era. Built in 1793, it was home to members of the Macarthur family until the 1850s.

In the early 19th century places for genteel women like Elizabeth Macarthur to meet were limited in the colony, with public houses and coffee palaces entirely unsuitable.  The only option was to entertain guests at home. The trend was known as ‘morning calls’, though many took place in the afternoon. Guests would be served tea, often a blend of green, black and fragrant leaves and flowers, made to the mistress of the household’s preference, with accompanying sweet and savoury snacks. With its cosy drawing room, lush gardens and shady verandah, Elizabeth Farm offered plenty of options for elegant entertaining.

Elizabeth Farm. Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Baked cheesecakes made with fresh ricotta-style cottage cheese appear in many cookery texts from the period. The original recipe for these cheesecakes, published in 1816, gives instructions for making fresh cheese from ‘the curd of three quarts of milk’. It was not unusual for families of the time to have their own ‘milch’ goat or, on larger properties, a house cow to provide fresh milk each day. They would also have had to make their own ‘puff paste’, which meant making cheesecakes was quite an accomplishment. These days, however, most of the work is done for us, even when we make things ‘from scratch’.

About the Author

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Jacqui Newling
Assistant curator
Creative Services
Jacqui brings over ten years of ‘visitor first’ interpretation experience to her role as a curator at SLM. She specialises in place-based social history and heritage, bringing meaningful stories from our past to contemporary audiences through various forms of media, from exhibitions to interactive opportunities for visitors in our museums. 

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Employment

20/HAM003 Library TechnicianFriday 7 August 2020

View of sunlit Modernist house in garden setting.

Media release

A fresh vision for Sydney Living MuseumsTuesday 16 June 2020

During lockdown, Sydney Living Museums (SLM) and NSW State Archives had a unique opportunity to reflect, reassess and reimagine the purpose of our partnership and our engagement with audiences, existing and potential.