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.

Door knocker on the front door of Meroogal


Annual Appeal 2020Monday 4 May 2020

man with large camera photographing stone turret.
View of house across lawn.

Vaucluse House

Conservation in action: Vaucluse House turretsThursday 23 July 2020

Woolshed, Rouse Hill House and Farm

New online

The Woolshed: a rude timber buildingTuesday 23 June 2020

The Woolshed at Rouse Hill Estate, constructed c. 1858, is an example of the type of ‘rude’ timber farm buildings that can be found throughout rural Australia. These building are usually uncomplicated structures, built using materials readily available and often have a naïve, simple character.