Celebrate spring with our unique online artisan food event, Spring Harvest: Online Edition.

Explore the rich culinary history of Vaucluse House through an exciting online program of talks, live food demonstrations, virtual garden toursrecipes and more.

We teamed up with chef, author and host of River Cottage Australia Paul West, along with Cornersmith, The Urban Beehive, Archie Rose Distilling Co., food writer Barbara Sweeney, chef Holly Davis, artisan cheesemaker Kristen Allan and our own resident gastronomer Jacqui Newling and curator Dr Scott Hill, to bring you an online program that you can take enjoy from the comfort of your home.  

Plus, we've pulled together a range of Spring Harvest-inspired cookbooks and kitchen items available for purchase from our online store. 

Explore our full Spring Harvest program below.

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Welcome to Spring Harvest by Paul West


Online demonstrations

  • A photo of Uncle Fred from Fred's Bush Tucker

    Bush tucker 

    Live now

    Join Uncle Fred of Fred’s Bush Tucker as he shares his knowledge of traditional cooking techniques and flavours. 


  • A pineapple in the kitchen garden at Vaucluse House


    Live now

    For something different, learn how to make this zesty pickled pineapple and discover the historical significance of the ‘King of Fruits’. Sydney Living Museums’ resident gastronomer, Jacqui Newling, shares this simple-to-make recipe that can pack a surprising punch. Plus, it’s the perfect gift for friends and family!


  • Barmbrack Bread


    Live now

    To coincide with the anniversary of the ‘grand fete’ of 1831 at Vaucluse House, we’re making bread. For the fete’s joyous festivities, 4000 loaves of bread completed an enormous banquet. This serves as the inspiration for our baking demonstration: a Barmbrack loaf using currants made by chef, author and educator, Holly Davis.    


  • A photo of homemade cheeses on a cheeseboard


    Live now

    The Wentworth family's dairy maid would manage the milk that came in daily from the family’s ‘house cows’. From there, the milk could be transformed into cheeses of different varieties. In this video featuring artisan cheesemaker Kristen Allan, you'll learn the techniques involved in making washed rind cheese. 


  • View of side of large house through garden vegetable beds with green leaves in foreground.

    In the colonial kitchen 

    Live now

    Chef and author Paul West and our resident gastronomer Jacqui Newling take inspiration from the colonial kitchen garden to whip up an impressive salad that you can make at home. 


Meet our presenters and watch the videos when they go live at their scheduled times.

Online talks

  • Bees on honeycomb

    Bees and honey  

    Live now

    The beehives at Vaucluse House form the backdrop to this talk, featuring food writer and honey judge Barbara Sweeney and Urban Beehive’s Doug Purdie. Together, they’ll explore the extraordinary life of the honey bee, the complex workings of their hive and the hives’ role in the garden. Then join them in a honey tasting – you can follow along at home with a full jar of honey and a spoon – where they discuss the myriad qualities of this liquid gold.


  • Woman cooking over fire, stirring pot on stove / range in kitchen

    The timelessness of copper cookware 

    Live now

    The kitchen at Vaucluse House features an impressive batterie de cuisine of 137 pots, pans and jelly moulds made from copper. Colonial gastronomer Jacqui Newling, food writer Barbara Sweeney and antique dealer John Cunnington from The Art of Wine and Food discuss the collection, cooking with copper pots, their care and repair, history and provenance.  


  • The Dining table at Vaucluse House

    Dining etiquette 

    Live now

    The rituals involved in sitting down to a meal have changed over the years, with much less etiquette and finery seen at today’s dining tables. Using the Vaucluse House dining room as inspiration, Sydney Living Museums curator Dr Scott Hill will share tips on how you can transform your next meal into a culinary experience fit for the Wentworths.  


Meet the speakers and watch the videos when they go live at their scheduled times.

Virtual garden explorations 

  • A picture of chef and River Cottage host Paul West kneeling in a kitchen garden

    A visit to Vaucluse 

    Live now

    Join Paul West, chef, author and host of River Cottage Australia, as he explores Vaucluse House and its colonial kitchen and garden. During his visit, Paul meets curator Jacqui Newling and horticulturist Anita Rayner, who share some of the history of the property. Paul’s book, The edible garden cookbook & growing guide, is available for purchase through our Spring Harvest online shop

  • A photo of horticulturist Anita Rayner at Vaucluse House

    The kitchen garden 

    Live now

    Be led through the kitchen garden with Sydney Living Museums horticulturist Anita Rayner and find out what’s involved in the creation of a bountiful kitchen garden, ready for harvest. 


  • A path along the pleasure garden at Vaucluse House

    The pleasure garden

    Live now

    Discover the peaceful beauty of Vaucluse House’s pleasure garden, featuring exotic plants from all over the world. Sydney Living Museums’ Director of Heritage, Assets & Museums, Ian Innes, shares some of the history of the garden, as well as his favourite plantings.


Meet your tour guides and watch the videos when they go live at their scheduled times.

Spring Harvest online shop

Use it All
Backyard Bees Revised and Updated Paperback
Eat Your History

Shop our special Spring Harvest collection blooming with gorgeous gifts, kitchenwares and books ready for harvesting. 



  • A picture of fresh seafood

    Seafood chowder

    19th century cookbooks abound with fish recipes. Fish was baked, scalloped, put into pies, curried, potted and of course, made into soups, like the seaman’s chowder.

    See recipe


  • A picutre of a pineapple in a garden

    Pickled pineapple

    This pickle captures the flavours associated with the reaches of the British Empire in the nineteenth-century: ginger and allspice from Jamaica, pepper from India and cloves from Africa or Southern India.

    See recipe 

  • Homemade individual cheesecakes on a table

    Regency cheesecakes

    Baked cheesecakes made with fresh ricotta-style cottage cheese appear in many cookery texts from the early 19th century.

    See recipe

  • A table of jelly moulds and a calf's foot

    Calf's foot jelly

    Most cookery books from the mid-nineteenth century indicate that calf’s foot jelly was the most common form of gelatine in domestic cookery, for both sweet and savoury dishes.

    See recipe

  • Jars of pickled vegetables on a shelf

    Pickled fennel

    This 'very Simple Method, and exceedingly Good' recipe adapted from Mrs Beeton's Book of household management (1861) for fennel is delicious!

    See recipe

  • Mrs Wiseheart’s instructions for salad dressing.

    Mrs Wiseheart's salad dressing

    This dressing is in the 'salad cream' style – like a lighter version of a bearnaise sauce. It is delicious drizzled over cos lettuce or steamed asparagus.

    See recipe

  • Barmbrack bread

    Barmbrack is a naturally leavened Irish speckled tea cake. This particular recipe uses beer yeast (barm), which was commonly used to make bread in the 19th century. 

    See recipe

Blog posts from the Cook & the Curator

  • Of oyster shells and shelly mortar

    Oysters' value to the early colonists was very different from today: they were a vital component in building. In search of a local calcium supply – there is no limestone near Sydney – the colonists quickly turned to gathering shells. 

    Read more

  • King of fruits

    In your local greengrocer it’s hard not to find a stack of pineapples, and this isn’t including tinned slices or juice. Far from being the luxury item of the early 1800s, they’re now available everyday.

    Read more

  • A bullock roasted entire

    In an act of political defiance, William Charles Wentworth hosted a ‘grand fete’ at his home at Vaucluse on October 21, 1831. A ‘fatted ox’ was paraded around Sydney, with a promise that it would be barbequed next day on a spit, for all to enjoy! 

    Read more

  • Of palings, palisades and prickly pears

    Long before chicken wire, the early colonists had some fearsome options when it came to protecting their salad greens! At Vaucluse House’s kitchen garden you can see two nasty options for fencing a colonial kitchen garden – prickly pear and bush lemons.

    Read more

  • ...And the kitchen sink!

    If there was any role in any of our 19th-century houses that you’d want to avoid it would surely be the back-breaking, underpaid duties of the scullery maid.

    Read more

  • Dining a la mode

    As any Downton Abbey or Austen aficionado will tell you there are two obligatory scenes in a costume drama: the ball, and the dinner – and we do love a dinner that pulls out all the stops!

    Read more

  • The cloth is removed – it’s time for dessert!

    With the second course finished, it’s time for some precision table acrobatics as we re-set the table for dessert.

    Read more