The Wentworth Falls Country Club blog


Leave a comment

Easter Culinary Traditions

Easter is an annual festivity that calls for family gatherings and the consumption of great amounts of delicious food. It wouldn’t be Easter without chocolate eggs, hot cross buns, fish on Good Friday and a Sunday roast lamb. But where do these traditions come from and how have they changed over time? Within our Wentworth Falls Country Club blog this month we will have a look at the history and symbolism of some of our most common Easter dishes and also describe a simple yet delicious recipe for hot cross buns!

hot cross buns copy

Easter food symbolism
Much has been written about the symbolism and traditions of Easter foods. It is interesting to note that the historical interpretations of Easter fall under three categories. These are the religious symbolism, the pagan rites and the modern interpretation and evolutions. The modern take with egg hunts for the children (and adults!), delicious seafood dinners on Friday and an abundance of hot cross buns is by far our favourite.

According to the Oxford Companion to food, Easter foods are primarily those of Easter Sunday, the day on which Jesus rose from the dead, a day of special rejoicing for Christians, who rejoice too at reaching the end of the long Lenten fast. The concept of renewal and rebirth is responsible for the important role played by the egg in Easter celebrations, a role which no doubt antedates Christianity. There are also special foods associated with the other days in the Easter calendar. In Europe, there is a general tradition, not confined to Christians, that Easter is the time to start eating the season’s new lamb, which is just coming onto the market then. Easter breads, cakes, and biscuits are a major category of Easter foods, perhaps especially noticeable in the predominantly Roman Catholic countries of south and central Europe. Traditional breads are laden with symbolism in their shapes, which may make reference to Christian faith.In England breads or cakes flavoured with bitter tansy juice used to be popular Easter foods. The most popular English Easter bread and now also Australian is the hot cross bun.

Easter Eggs
Eggs are traditionally connected with rebirth, rejuvenation and immortality. This is why they are often associated with Easter. Eggs were colored, blessed, exchanged and eaten as part of the rites of spring long before Christian times. Even the earliest civilizations held springtime festivals to welcome the sun’s rising from its long winter sleep. They thought of the sun’s return from darkness as an annual miracle and regarded the egg as a natural wonder and a proof of the renewal of life. As Christianity spread, the egg was adopted as a symbol of Christ’s Resurrection from the tomb. For centuries, eggs were among the foods forbidden by the church during Lent, so it was a special treat to have them again at Easter. In Slavic countries, baskets of food including eggs are traditionally taken to church to be blessed on Holy Saturday or before the Easter midnight Mass, then taken home for a part of Easter breakfast. People in central European countries have a long tradition of elaborately decorated Easter eggs. Polish, Slavic and Ukrainian people create amazingly intricate designs on the eggs. They draw lines with a wax pencil or stylus, dip the egg in color and repeat the process many times to make true works of art. Every dot and line in the pattern has a meaning. Yugoslavian Easter eggs bear the initials “XV” for “Christ is Risen,” a traditional Easter greeting. The Russians, during the reign of the tsars, celebrated Easter much more elaborately than Christmas, with Easter breads and other special foods and quantities of decorated eggs given as gifts. The Russian royal family carried the custom to great lengths, giving exquisitely detailed jeweled eggs made by goldsmith Carl Faberge from the 1880’s until 1917.

02zb-easter-holy-week-easter-eggs-bucharest-romania

This custom is found not only in the Latin but also in the Oriental Churches. The symbolic meaning of a new creation of mankind by Jesus risen from the dead was probably an invention of later times. The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter. The egg is the emblem of the germinating life of early spring. Easter eggs, the children are told, come from Rome with the bells which on Thursday go to Rome and return Saturday morning.

Fish on Good Friday

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ following his time in the desert and his triumphal re-entrance into Jerusalem. This is a very important event in many Christian churches and is seen by some as the foundation of the Religion. Many churches hold special services on Good Friday to remind their congregations about Christ’s suffering.  Good Friday falls on the Friday before the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox.

It can seem strange that a day of death and suffering is known as ‘Good’ Friday. There are a number of theories as to why the day marking the crucifixion of Jesus is known in this way.  The word ‘Good’ may be a different spelling or rendering of ‘God’ or it may have another, now lost, meaning of ‘holy’. Another theory is that the tragedy of the crucifixion of Jesus brought great ‘good’ to his followers.

Sunday Lamb

The roast lamb dinner that many eat on Easter Sunday goes back earlier than Easter to the first Passover of the Jewish people. The sacrificial lamb was roasted and eaten, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs in hopes that the angel of God would pass over their homes and bring no harm. As Hebrews converted to Christianity, they naturally brought along their traditions with them. The Christians often refer to Jesus as The Lamb of God. Thus, the traditions merged.

easterroast_wide-a31137e6e32e5fc5c60ed60d91695392bd68e745-s6-c30

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns are an Easter favorite in many areas. The tradition allegedly is derived from ancient Anglo-Saxons who baked small wheat cakes in honor of the springtime goddess, Eostre. After converting to Christianity, the church substituted the cakes with sweetbreads blessed by the church.

According to Holiday Symbols and Customs the pagans worshipped the goddess Eostre (after whom Easter was named) by serving tiny cakes, often decorated with a cross, at their annual spring festival. When archaeolgists excavated the ancient city of Herculaneum in southwestern Italy, which had been buried under volcanic ask and lava since 79 B.C., they found two small loaves, each with a cross on it, among the ruins. The English word “bun” probably came from the Greek boun, which referred to a ceremonial cake of circular or crescent shape, made of flour and honey and offered to the gods. Superstitions regarding bread that was baked on Good Friday date back to a very early period. In England particulary, people believed that bread baked on this day could be hardened in the oven and kept all year to protect the house from fire. Sailors took leaves of it on their voyages to prevent shipwreck, and a Good Friday loaf was often buried in a heap of corn to protect it from rats, mice, and weevils. Finely grated and mixes with water, it was sometimes used as a medicine. In England nowadays, hot cross buns are served at breakfast on Good Friday morning. They are small, usually spiced buns whose sugary surface is marked with a cross.

In the English Bread and Yeast Cookery book, hot cross buns first became popular in Tudor days, at the same period as the larger spice loaves or cakes, and were no doubt usually made form the same batch of spiced and butter-enriched fruit dough. For a long time bakers were permitted to offer these breads and buns for sale only on special occasions, as is shown by the 1592 decree, under Elizabeth I, whereby ‘no bakers at any time or times hereafter make, utter, or sell by retail, within or without their houses, unto any of the Queen’s subject any spice cakes, buns, biscuits, or other spice bread (being bread out of size and not by law allowed) except it be at burials, or on Friday before Easter, or at Christmas, upon pain or forfeiture of all such spiced bread to the poor’. If anybody wanted spice bread and buns for a private celebration, then, these delicacies had to be made at home. In the time of James I, further attempts to prevent bakers from making spice breads and buns proved impossible to enforce, and in this matter the bakers were allowed their way. Although for difference reasons, the situation now is much as it was in the late seventeenth century, spice buns appearing only at Easter.

Here is the original hot cross buns recipe from 1875. Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations –

Hot Cross Buns
Mix two pounds of flour with a small tea-spoonful of powdered spice and half a tea-spoonful of salt. Rub in half a pound of good butter. Make a hollow in the flour, and pour in a wine-glassful of yeast and half a pint of warmed milk slightly coloured with saffron. Mix the surrounding flour with the milk and yeast to a thin batter; throw a little dry flour over, and set the pan before the fire with the milk and yeast to a thin batter; throw a little dry flour over, and set the pan before the fire to rise. When risen, work in a little sugar, one egg, half a pound of currants, and milk to make a soft dough. Cover over as before, and let it stand half an hour. Then make the dough into buns, and mark them with the back of a knife. Time, fifteen to twenty-minutes to bake. Sufficient for twenty-four buns.

 

We would love to hear from you as to what your culinary traditions over the Easter holidays are. Please comment below on the Wentworth Falls Country Club blog. We hope you have a wonderful Easter holiday season.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The Society of Mountain Artists

How do you find that moment of inner peace to stop, reflect and be inspired to express yourself from a creative point of view? The overall health benefits of artistic expression have been reiterated multiple times on all the most respectable publications. In the past few years many people have turned to ‘The Artist Way’ by Julia Cameron to improve their wellbeing. The book focuses on helping people with what is called artistic creative recovery by teaching them techniques and exercises to harness their creative talents and skills.

The Society of Mountain Artists has facilitated the sharing of artistic passions for people with similar interests for almost 30 years and has been holding regular committee meetings at the Wentworth Falls Country Club.

Society of Mountain Artists

Maunie Kwok, a Wentworth Falls resident, finds her inspiration through painting. At times, in the early mornings she walks down to the Wentworth Falls lake and sits down to enjoy the beautiful morning mist gently moving in. This moment of reflection and introspection allows her to find that inspiration for the next topic to be expressed on canvas. Maunie is a Committee member of the Society of Mountain Artists and really enjoys the interaction with other artists and all the activities that are ultimately conducive to her general wellbeing.

Society of Mountain Artists mission and history

The Society of Mountain Artists is a organisation of over 100 members who have been meeting since 1986 with the intent of promoting the enjoyment of art, increasing community awareness and providing opportunities to expand knowledge in artistic skills.

Started by two artist friends, Sheila Todd and Kath Kelly, the idea was to form a group made up of artists of varying skill levels, like-minded friends and partners who enjoy sharing their skills, ideas, encouragement and inspiration in a friendly atmosphere.

They met initially in private homes and various locations in Wentworth Falls and Leura and in 2003 the Society of Mountains Artists (SMA) became Incorporated. Nowadays, the Society regularly meets at the Wentworth Falls Country Club for monthly Committee meetings and various events. As a testament to their great community efforts the SMA members have grown from Sheila and Kath to over 100 participants.

The SMA is part of a vibrant Blue Mountains arts community. Besides having an online Gallery, the Society provides a number of activities that promote the enjoyment of art, as well as providing opportunities to enhance traditional or contemporary artistic skills.

Some of the events include a demonstration by a visiting artist at monthly general meetings, a critique of members’ work, en plein air painting days, an annual holiday, annual exhibitions plus other activities.

For more information on how to become a member please visit www.mountainartists.org.

SMA Artists

Some artists have found their inspiration by painting the dramatic views offered throughout the Blue Mountains, others have interpreted the flowing views of the golf course in Wentworth Falls.  One of the most prolific artists of the SMA is Dennis West. Maunie and Dennis met in 2002 during a beginners painting class. Maunie describes the work Dennis was doing as being absolutely exceptional and looking quite professional. At which point Maunie asked Dennis ‘ Why would you come to a beginners painting class if you are already so advanced with your painting skills?’. Dennis had just moved to the Blue Mountains and wanted to get in touch with the local Community in an environment he enjoyed. That year both Maunie and Dennis joined the Society of Mountain Artists.

Dennis states: I enjoy painting in a wide variety of styles, using various mediums excluding oils. Architecture, townscapes and various forms of transport are a particular interest of mine. I can interpret them as detailed drawings or produce paintings that reflect the atmosphere created by the subject. I manage to find challenges in most subjects. Belonging to the Society has stimulated my interest in plein air painting and I enjoy the immediate results and demands engendered by a change of focus. My particular interest is in historical aviation, the Guild of Aviation Artists in London where venues where I regularly displayed my work. I have studied with Barry Watkin in pastels and with both Joseph, Zbukvic and Alvaro Castagnet in watercolour’.

dw_typhoon_duxford_fin

For more of Dennis West’s work please view http://bit.ly/1jHvOp9.

Another inspirational artists is Anna Marshall.

Anna was born in Singapore but grew up in England, northwest of London. From an early age she taught herself calligraphy and illuminated lettering which won her a number of art awards at local art shows.

am_homagehundertwasser_fin

In the early 1960s Anna emigrated to Tasmania with her young family. Her passion for art was put on hold for almost 20 years while taking care of a demanding family. In 1984 Anna Marshall decided it was time to return to express herself from an artistic perspective by producing a number of award winning pieces.

She has since been very active as she states. ‘I have attended courses at Roseville Art Centre, the summer and winter schools in Toowoomba and Bathurst, and was a member of the Hornsby Art Society. I have won various art awards over the years, and have won awards for embroidery and toy and doll making at the Royal Easter and Castle Hill Shows.

After retirement and moving to Leura, I joined the Society of Mountain Artists and the Blackheath Art Society, both of which are a source of new friends, new ideas, and incentives to explore all areas of painting.’

For more of Anna Marshall’s work please visit http://bit.ly/M305jk.

Wentworth Falls setting

 

The Blue Mountains’ area, including Wentworth Falls, is home to numerous exceptional artists who escape the hustle and bustle of busy cities to stop, reflect and pursue their inner passions. The gorgeous views, natural environments and slower pace of life create the perfect ambiance for this.  Some are experienced professionals with many masterpieces under their belt while others are beginners who are exploring new realms.

 

The Community

The Wentworth Falls Country Club and the Society of Mountain Artists share a common goal when discussing the topic of the local Community. Matt Lark, Secretary Manager at WFCC, has worked hard to uphold one of the founding principles of the Club that is to support the local community in a healthy and constructive manner. Maunie Kwok, on behalf of the Society of Mountain Artists, is grateful to Matt and the Club for all their efforts and assistance in allowing the Society to meet in such a magnificent setting.

100 years of celebrations

How do you satisfy your creative needs? How do you find time in your busy life to dedicate to your creative outlet? Please comment below on the Wentworth Falls Country Club blog.

Also, if you are interested in learning more about the  Society of Mountain’s Artists please feel free to contact them on info@mountainartists.org. Alternatively, a small group of SMA artists meet at the Wentworth Falls Club on the third Tuesday of each month to paint from 10am to approximately 1pm.


Leave a comment

Choosing the perfect place to tie the knot? Look no further.

Wedding at WFCC

When Emma Halpin had to choose the venue for the most important day of her life, she was faced with a daunting decision to be made. Where would be the most suitable place for her wedding ceremony and reception? Having grown up in the upper Blue Mountains she was set on finding the ideal venue in and around the Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba area. But how exactly did she make that decision? Brides-to-be put a great deal of effort and time into selecting wedding venues and making sure that their day is memorable to say the least. More often than not they will choose venues that are geographically located in the city or town where they were born or grew up. But still, the choice is abundant. Also, its not only about the place, its also about other aspects such as cost, facilities and professionalism.

The planning of a wedding is admittedly an incredibly stressful task and can put a significant strain on the relationship between the bride and groom to be. Every bride dreams of a smooth ceremony and reception in a sensational setting with glorious food while surrounded by their loving family and friends. But how does this all come together seamlessly? And how do you reduce the chances of things going wrong?

According to a number of wedding publications including the Wedding Notebook and the Knot, there are three types of criteria that are essential to choosing your perfect wedding venue.

Budget

Topping almost all of the resources’ lists is working within an acceptable budget and sticking to it. Staying within your budget and not breaking the bank is critical. Emma researched a great deal of venues in the upper Blue Mountains and was astounded by the astronomical costs of hosting a wedding ceremony and reception. When calculating what needs to be included and what could be done without, costs can escalate very quickly. So how do you obtain that peace of mind knowing that you have set aside a budget for that special day and do not wish to spend more? Emma Halpin got married in December of 2011 at the Wentworth Falls Country Club and truly had a memorable experience. One of her main concerns was that of not exceeding a set budget. This issue was one of the first ones addressed by Matt Lark at the Club. Emma and Matt agreed on what needed to be delivered and how much it would cost, without any surprises.  Most resources suggest to read the contract and its fine print and make sure you agree on a final figure that includes any extras or additional costs.

Professionalism

The second most important element when selecting a venue is making sure that the staff that will be running the show are competent and professional. The last thing the bride wants to do is stress about how her guests are being dealt with. Professional staff will be informing both the bride and groom and the guests as to the sequence of service and what will happen next. But what if something goes wrong? What if the band couldn’t make it because their car broke down or the lights go out or it suddenly starts to pour down with rain? Having professional staff will allow the bride to assume a certain degree of ‘tranquillity’ knowing that her special day and her guests are being handled with the upmost professionalism. With staff at a venue you can immediately gauge how switched on and organized they are as they have checklists, run sheets, info packs, ‘oops gifts’ and all the other necessary tools to run an event as the bride wants it to be run. Emma Halpin was overwhelmed by the way the Wentworth Falls Country Club staff dealt with her needs and requests. Matt Lark was pivotal in making sure that all bases were covered and the event would unfold as planned. During the ceremony on the 4th tee of the golf course, a loud power tool was switched on a property nearby. The staff members were on to it in a heat-beat and managed to restore the peaceful setting that typifies the Wentworth Falls area.

IMG_91570569678003

Flexibility

The third element that really has an impact on whether the wedding reception is going to be a success or a flop is how accommodating and flexible the venue staff are. Brides will have many parts of the event that they will want to tailor to their needs including seating arrangement, access to facilities and use of equipment. Emma was blessed to have her mother Sue Barry to help her with most of the organisation of the event. Sue has a great deal of experience in the hospitality industry and was able to collaborate with WFCC staff on various fronts. Both Sue and Emma acknowledged how accommodating the WFCC staff were to their many requests.  Also, with any sort of event, anything could go wrong. It is up to the staff to be able to communicate efficiently and swiftly with the decision makers in order to find solutions. Many other splendid couples who tied the knot at the WFCC expressed the same sort of appreciation towards the staff at the Club. Being such an important day, brides want to be sure that they are in good hands and that they can rely on the staff knowing how to deal with situations in the best way possible.

wedding golf

These have been identified as some of them most important elements to take into consideration. There is also one other aspect that should be mentioned at this stage and that is the full integration between suppliers and venue staff. The bride and groom want to be sure that there is full cooperation between suppliers such as florists, bands and the venue staff so as to provide that unique and memorable experience without any hiccups. Raegan Carroll recently tied the knot at the Wentworth Falls Country Club and her thoughts were similar to Emma’s. She was overwhelmed by the organisation and professionalism of the staff that gave her peace of mind and the ability to fully enjoy her special day.

The fact that a turnkey solution could be offered was greatly appreciated. Guests are taken care of from start to finish including accommodation, transport, special needs (juniors, seniors, etc.) and all the details that could rapidly put anyone off even attempting to organise a wedding.

What has your experience been with you wedding ceremony and reception? Did you find that the above points were the most important ones or did you find other key aspects? We would love to hear from you so please comment below.

The Wentworth Falls Country Club specialises in functions and events, weddings, wakes, anniversaries, birthdays, product launches, corporate days and is capable of accommodated your needs to meet and exceed your expectations. For further information please contact us on (02) 47571202 and ask to speak with our functions coordinator – Jackie Colquhoun.