Sydney is blessed with wonderful weather; autumn is lovely and filled with sunny clear days. Today, 2 May 2010, is just one of those perfect days, 26 degrees Celsius and clear skies. Living the modern, hectic lives we all seem to lead these days, means you really appreciate sitting down, relaxing and having a Sunday lunch with friends.

Today we are having a traditional Sunday lunch that had humble origins dating back to the 1800’s. It is one of the most comforting of pastimes.

We are greeted by yellowing foliage that covers the ground hiding the remaining greenness of summer. The days are still gorgeous and even more so as we are among friends whose company we will enjoy to the very last smile.

The air is sweet and the glow of the sun filters through the trees to warm the table where we will sit.

Kerry had a great idea for the pre lunch cocktail drink. It’s called Bellini. Bellinis are made by mixing peach juice with the Prosecco sparkling wine. Prosecco is an Italian dry sparkling wine made from a variety of white grape of the same name. It’s a great substitute for champagne.

I drink my cocktail until the last drop and I contemplate what my future will hold and especially the happiness of being with friends for the next few hours.

They say this recipe comes from the notes kept by Sir Kenelm Digby in the early 1600’s that were included in a cook book that was published from his notes several years after his death in 1669. Others say it has an older origin, perhaps dating from the middle of the Tudor period.

What we know for sure is that Kerry had it handed down to her from her mother so it has been in her family for nearly eighty years meaning that our lunch will be cooked with  knowledge passed on from generation to generation.

What we are talking about is the recipe for Plum Jam Beef Stew. It has all the characteristics of what we consider to be the very foundation of a good, heart-warming stew. Today, Kerry has prepared it without the slow cooked vegetables, but instead opted for a bed of boiled white rice and a mixed salad prepared by Lyn and Shelly.

80 year old recipe for Plum Jam Stew, a wonderful fruity beef casserole.

lean stewing beef, diced

2 onions, peeled, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 heaped tbs plain flour

1/2 tsp chilli powder or Tabasco

1 lemon, zested 

plus 1 tbs juice

1/2 cup plum jam.


We finish off the meal with Joan’s cheese cake and cream, coffee and Kerry’s chocolate slice and then sit back to enjoy the greenish light of the backyard and the autumn sun’s last yellow rays which are warm and tender.


If eating together is a highlight of your week wait  till the end for clean up, resist the urge to rush straight into the kitchen clearing plates. Allow everyone the time to finish their meal, their conversation and then get the dishes done.



  1. Hmm.. I think I like the company you keep! Sure to add colorful charm to the lunch meal shared.

    Never would have thought beef -and- plum jam, but I’ll put it on my list to try. Thanks Sean!

  2. Hey we had you by 2 degrees today (after me the dumb American had to look up the Celcius to Fahrenheit conversion table).

    The stew sounds wonderful, and your last paragraph is one that I need to save and reread in the future. I am guilty of rushing to the next station–clearing the table being one to-do.

  3. Hi Slamdunk,
    Glad to hear the snow has gone………it’s now your turn for the flies………….I was over at your place this morning and was reading that very interesting missing persons case…………….as always well researched coverage.

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