Rouse Hill recipes

Through most of the nineteenth century, Rouse Hill House was the social hub of the district.

The Rouse family regularly played host to formal society dinners, long luncheons and sociable tea parties, plus major family events to celebrate birthdays, weddings and Christmas.

The family’s surviving cookery books, in various states of repair, date between the 1850s and the 1950s. Each book is of interest in itself, but as a collection they stand testament to the social and cultural changes that this family, and indeed, Sydney itself underwent in this 100 year period. They demonstrate the gradual emergence of Australian identity from the late 1800s through food and recipes, native and localised ingredients such as kangaroo tail soup, jugged wallaby, curried bananas, rosella jam and prickly pear jelly.

Through their tattered and splattered pages we can see which dishes were popular in the Rouse household over many generations – here’s a small sample from the Rouse family cookery books collection.

The book of household management

3rd edition Mrs Beeton, S O Beeton, London, 1863.

The book of household management

(edition unknown) Mrs Beeton, Ward, Lock & Co, c1880.

Australian cookery: recipes for the people: as given at the Centennial Exhibition, Melbourne, 1888-89

M J Pearson, Melbourne, 1894.

Mrs Maclurcan’s cookery book: a collection of practical recipes, specially suitable for Australia

Hannah Maclurcan, George Robertson & Company, Australia, c1903.

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Dr Jacqui Newling

Dr Jacqui Newling


Jacqui is a passionate public historian, her curatorial practice shaped by a hungry mind. Jacqui has a PhD in History and a Le Cordon Bleu Master’s Degree in Gastronomy. Interrogating and interpreting history, place, and social culture through a gastronomic lens, she is a leading voice in Australian food culture and identity in settler-colonial contexts, past and present. Her doctoral thesis examines the role of food and food insecurity in the founding of colonial NSW. Jacqui is author of the award-winning book Eat Your History: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens, 1788-1950. She co-curated the Eat Your History: A Shared Table exhibition at the Museum of Sydney, and is the ‘Cook’ in the blog, The Cook and the Curator. Jacqui curated a series of ‘hands-on’ gastronomy programs in our house museums and in the Villages of the Heart partnership in regional NSW. Jacqui’s curatorial expertise also extends beyond the kitchen – she curated the End of Transportation digital exhibit at the Hyde Park Barracks, the Collected exhibition and Enchanted valley digital interactive at Museum of Sydney and was a co-curator in the Unrealised Sydney and History Reflected exhibitions

A manuscript cookbook from Meroogal

Cooking was an integral part of the rhythm of life for the family at Meroogal, near Nowra on the south coast of New South Wales

Bischofsbrot (Bishop’s Bread)

Studded with colourful glacé fruits, Bischofsbrot, or Bishop’s bread, is an egg-rich, sweetened loaf popular in northern Europe

Cook & Curator

Eier auf Florentiner Art (Eggs Florentine)

This classic recipe is simple to make yet rich and flavoursome. Perfect for a weekend brunch or a light supper

Women sifting icing over the top of a table of cakes
Cook & Curator

Orange cake

The zest of citrus and a hint of whisky gives this cake a wonderful fragrance. Served for afternoon tea, it’s sure to become a staple in your household