Preserving old recipes


You may remember that I like making my own cordial for the family.  When you want something more flavourful than water, nothing beats a homemade cordial on a hot, hot day.  Yes I know that a lot of you are only just getting over a surplus of snow, but where I am it’s a bit on the warm side.  Oh, you know…….you can drink cordials hot too!!!  I love hot elderflower cordial.

In the past I have put up recipes for elderflower cordial, rosehip cordial, and rhubarb cordial.

Yesterday a friend put me onto these old recipes from Australia’s colonial era, and I am very excited about them.  Can’t wait to give the “Rasped Lemon Sherbet” a go.

A refreshing drink from our colonial past | Photographer: | Jacqui Newling

The article also talks of an event where “Colonial gastronomist, Jacqui Newling, is revealing the lost arts of the domestic ‘stillroom’ on Sunday in this hands-on workshop and exhibition by the NSW Historic Houses Trust.” If I was local I’d be there like a shot.

Do you remember me talking about starting a stillroom book a long time ago?  Here you’ll find the original post to refresh your memory.

“Once upon a time houses and estates had stillrooms, which by it’s basic definition was a room that contained a still.  This was the place where the lady of the house, or her household staff, made remedies and preserved foods for leaner seasons.  Many distillations started out as medicine and later became popular as recreational beverages such as liqueurs.

A stillroom book would contain recipes, family health information, treatments tried, but also notes and inspirations, things of importance to the household, anything and everything that would be meaningful to the next generation.  These books were handed down the maternal line and were prized possessions, some were even later published.”

I posted on Comfrey Cottages about the book I started and what I put in it.  Just last week, Leslie from Comfrey Cottages showed the beginnings of her project and gave me serious stillroom book envy.

Just like I am excited about these old recipes coming my way, our present day recipes will one day be just as precious to those who come after us.

How would you feel if you suddenly found a stillroom book from your great-great grandmother? Wouldnt that be amazing?  The insights into her daily life, dreams and tragedies – surely a valued possession for you and those who come after you.

Once again, I would love to encourage you too to write down your family health histories, remedies gleamed from neighbours or distant aunts, your favourite inspirational quote, share experiences of what worked and what didn’t, make notations about particularly great harvests from the garden and what you chose to make with it.

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