We sat down with Jacqui Newling, SLM assistant curator, colonial gastronomer, author of our Eat your history book and 'cook' from our Cook and Curator blog, to learn more about her wonderful insights into food heritage from her experience combing through old cookery books, deciphering handwritten recipes, experimenting with heirloom produce, rediscovering lost culinary arts, and enjoying family stories from our wonderful museums and historic house collections.



Tell us about the most delicious recipe you have encountered from our collections

That's a tough choice, but it would be Mrs Beeton's Christmas plum pudding recipe from various editions in our collections.  

From the dozen or so plum pudding recipes I tried for our Christmas pudding workshops, this one came up trumps - no flour, no sugar, moist and light yet richly flavoured.

View recipe 


Tell us about the most unusual recipe you have encountered from our collections

It's difficult to choose between mock turtle soup and calf’s feet jelly - both involving parts of animals we no longer work with in our kitchens, definitely out of my comfort zone, but symbolise how our tastes, values and culinary skills have changed over time, and what we’d now regard acceptable as food.

View recipe


Tell us about the simplest recipe you have encountered from our collections

It would have to be chilli vinegar, from Mrs Beeton’s book of household management, (1863) Rouse Hill House & Farm collection. Two ingredients! What could be easier! Traditionally used as a condiment for fish when lemons were out of season, but adds wonderful pep to all sorts of dishes, from rice to soups to meat dishes.  

View recipe


Which SLM property is your favourite to cook at

Vaucluse House - while our colonial kitchens aren’t entirely functional these days, I love the design of the Vaucluse House kitchen wing, the practical functions of the dairy, larder, scullery and cellars and proximity to the kitchen garden and original water source, and their relationship with the main kitchen.

Discover more recipes and stories as part of our celebration of food this week via our Discover SLM page.


Hear more from Jacqui

Eat Your History book

Discover forgotten tastes and treasures from our historic kitchens in the delightful Eat your history book by Jacqui Newling. Visually rich and featuring over 40 recipes, the book dishes up stories and recipes from Australian kitchens and dining rooms from 1788 up to the 1950s.

For a limited time, receive an exclusive Susannah Place tea towel valued at $9.95 when you purchase our Eat your history book $49.99, shipping additional.

SLM members receive a 10% discount, shipping additional.

Jungle House outlook Photo © Michael Lassman

Sydney Open

Share your thoughts on Sydney Open 2020Friday 13 November 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this year's Sydney Open. We’d love to hear your thoughts about our first-ever digital program, and we invite you to complete our short online survey. 

Artworks on sideboard

Media release

Meroogal Women’s Art Prize 2020 Winners’ AnnouncementWednesday 23 September 2020

The Meroogal Women’s Art Prize celebrates the creativity of female artists in NSW. The 2020 Winners were announced at a modest event at the Meroogal house museum.

Group of people in front of historic house.

Rouse Hill Estate

Play along with us: House Music at Your HouseMonday 17 August 2020

We invite you to join us in a new musical experiment, bringing the music of the 19th century into the 21st century. We’ve delved into the hundreds of popular songs that survive in the collection at Rouse Hill Estate and we’ve also asked some brilliant musicians to help you explore these pieces of music from their homes and in our historic houses.