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Images of Canberra – Black Swan and Cygnets

By johnboy 6 November 2005 12

We came across this family trying to take shelter from the waterskiers on Lake Burley Griffin this afternoon.

Black Swan and cygnets

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12 Responses to
Images of Canberra – Black Swan and Cygnets
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Chris 12:40 pm 08 Nov 05

Sorry, should have made it clear it only applied to English swans – and someone has now told me that he thinks it was called’swan upping’ and that the beaks weren’t nicked or cut, just dabbed with paint (presumably waterproof)Australian black swans, swim free! Seriously though, I love watching the waterbirds on LBG – waterskiing is Not On, IMHO

Kerces 5:17 pm 07 Nov 05

What, even the heathen black swans Chris?

Chris 4:17 pm 07 Nov 05

“if’ should have been ‘is’ – and no, I don’t think H.M. ever eats her swans either!

Chris 4:15 pm 07 Nov 05

Bonfire, unless you are of English royalty (in which case what are you doing posting here?)it’s unlikely you would be able to taste swan – each and every one if the property of H.M. (there’s a fascinating little ritual which involves a lot of aggro swans and swearing, called, I think, ‘swan tupping’ when people undertake to mark the beaks of the Royal Bird. I think it used to take place on the avon around Stratford, if memory serves.

bonfire 3:55 pm 07 Nov 05

i have never eaten swan, but would if the opportunity presented itself.not being familiar with the cooking or eating qualities of cygnet, i posed my query.

bignoting over a recipe for swan ?

i collect interesting recipes and cook books, from all sorts of places. the net, newspapers, bookshops etc. a friend even game me a copy of his family cookbook he had compiled over several years by talking to his non-english speaking aunts and uncles. it has recipes for sparrows in it that start with ‘take 10 to 20 sparrows…’

google is very useful for all sorts of things, and yes – that includes recipes.

would it make you happy if i scanned and posted recipes from obscure cookbooks ?

liberace’s ‘beef stroganoff’ perhaps ? seems appropriate for you.

Maelinar 3:44 pm 07 Nov 05

So you googled it just then like I’m about to do to you ? title=”like here”

As I’m doubtful of your prior actual possession of a recipe (or the location of a recipe) for swan, and you were just being a bignote, however it doesn’t matter does it ?

I severely doubt your intent to eat, or have previously eaten, swan.

bonfire 2:51 pm 07 Nov 05

the swan recipe is from a medieval recipes website. i meant to post the url, but have mislaid it.

bonfire 2:50 pm 07 Nov 05

i have an excellent recipe for duck as well, but its much simpler and all you need is bacon and apricot jam.

some of the plump feral ducks i see bobbing around lbg would be perfect.

bonfire 2:43 pm 07 Nov 05


1 swan (see note)
Olive oil (see note)
With your hands or a pastry brush, coat the entire outside of a cleaned & gutted swan (being sure to reserve the giblets for the Chaudon sauce) with olive oil. Roast on either a spit or in an oven. (A modern rotisserie may be the closest many of us will be able to come to actual spit roasting, but if that is not possible, an oven will do the job as well.) Roast until done, basting often with broth or drippings. Carve into serving pieces and serve with Chaudon sauce.

Chaudon Sauce:

Swan giblets
Unseasoned toasted breadcrumbs (see note)
Red Wine Vinegar
Wash the blood from the giblets, and while still wet, sprinkle with a little salt. Place in a pot, cover with water and boil until done. Remove, drain, & cool. Chop the giblets into small pieces; place giblets and the broth, spices, & breadcrumbs in a food processor (or any equivalent device) and combine into a smooth gravy-like sauce. Strain if necessary. Place in a sauceboat, add salt if necessary, and bring to a soft boil. Reduce heat to a simmer & add a little vinegar for a slight tartness. Serve with the roasted swan.
What?!? No swan at your local market? In case such a fate does befall you, any large waterfowl will do, such as a goose. However, this is one of the few times when a turkey may be considered for a medieval feast; as a substitute for swan, it really is the closest bird in size that most of us will be able to find. Turkeys were not introduced into Europe until well after 1500 and for medieval feasts they are quite terribly inappropriate, but for late Renaissance or Elizabethan feasts, they are acceptable. (See An Elizabethan Dinner Conversation, where the master of the house proclaims, “Cut that turkeycock in pieces, but let it be cold, for it is better cold than hot.”) But, when needing to recreate a medieval dish featuring swan, the modern cook may turn to turkey as the cheapest and most easily accessible substitute. Keep in mind, though, that any large bird will also do, so use turkey only when you’re not able to obtain a goose, duck, or even a large capon.

Galingale, a spice made from the root of the Cypress tree, is often found in stores that sell Asian or Indian foods. You may substitute by adding a little white pepper to the ginger.

The medieval cook was faced with a culinary paradox when “dihyting,” or preparing, a swan. As a waterfowl, its nature was moist and wet, and therefore needed to be roasted to counteract those qualities. However, swans (despite their humoural properties) are notoriously dry & tough, and roasting only exacerbates this condition. The solution was therefore to add a moistening agent to the swan, hence the larding. The modern cook may not be comfortable with this procedure, so applying a coat of olive oil to the bird before roasting and keeping it well basted will effectively serve the same purpose.

Modern poultry is somewhat “cleaner” and is slaughtered more hygienically than medieval fowl; scouring the guts with salt may have been necessary then, but is probably not so now, and only increases the amount of what is now known to be unhealthy ingredient when used in excess.

Interestingly, the toasted breadcrumbs serve as a substitute for blood! In the Utilis Coquinario recipe which follows the swan & Chauden receipts, we find a heron prepared “as is þe swan” with its sauce “made of hym as a chaudon of gynger & of galyngale, & þat it be coloured with þe blood or with brende crustes þat arn tosted.”

Maelinar 11:35 am 07 Nov 05

post it tough guy.

bonfire 10:51 am 07 Nov 05

i have an excellent recipe for swan.

i wonder if it would work on cygnet ?

are chicks the equivalent of lamb or veal ?

Jey 9:19 am 07 Nov 05

They’s cute! ^_^

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