RECIPES: Chef Rosina Oliver.
RECIPES: Chef Rosina Oliver. Warwick Daily News

Taste test the 1860s during Cri birthday bash

TIME travel back 150 years and imagine what your ancestors were supping on.

Criterion Hotel chef Rosina Oliver has made it her mission to find out just what those meals were.

From April to October, the hotel will begin its birthday celebrations and Ms Oliver is creating a menu based on popular meals served from the 1860s through to the turn of the century.

"It's the type of fare I love to cook, simple, healthy and drawing on a wonderful array of fresh produce that people had so readily available to them back then,” Ms Oliver said.

"Nothing was deep fried, the flour was ground, the vegetables were picked daily and the meat was what was available on the day. The meals would have tasted so much better than a lot of the modern over processed cuisine we eat today.”

Ms Oliver has been donated a 100-year-old recipe book to help with inspiration for the menus.

Prickly pears, chokos and quandongs are among ingredients she hopes Warwick gardeners and farmers will help supply for the birthday celebrations.

"Just like the the turn of the century, as a chef I will be calling on people in the area to drop in fresh produce or have us retrieve it to turn it into something special for the table,” she said.

"We are lucky we have access to great butchers and farm fresh eggs here in Warwick and I am even planning to grind the flour from scratch and make fresh butter every day.”

Smoke cod casserole, Lady Betty sponge, fruit flummery, pressed tongue, slow-cooked meats and home-made ginger beers are among the many yesteryear delights she plans to serve up for degustation evenings and themed dinners.

"It won't be all mutton, tripe and damper that is for sure. It's surprising how many recipes I have found that are still favourites today but the freshness of the produce will really make the meals shine.”

Ms Oliver said feedback from customers eager to sample the dishes from the past had been overwhelming.

"We have had many suggestions and I plan to please all taste buds,” she said.

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