Christmas in July.
For most Aussies, Christmases are about fresh prawns, cold ham and oysters. The notion of digging into a hot roast with roast potatoes and gravy is at odds with our stifling hot summers, regardless of tradition.
Celebrating Christmas in July is one way of beating Mother Nature at her own game, and this year Billy
and The Pom
were kind enough to host a small party of food bloggers at their house on the Central Coast.
It's only about a 90 minute drive from Sydney, but when food bloggers set off without breakfast in their bellies, a detour for lunch is inevitable, regardless of the feasting that lies ahead.
We stopped at Suze
's favourite fish and chip shop, Haven Seafoods, across the bay from Terrigal Beach.
Potato scallop $1 each
Potato scallops were woefully disappointing - not the battered slices of fresh potato I'd been craving, but uniform doughy discs of what tasted like reformed potato mash.
Flathead and chips $13.50
Battered flathead was much more of a hit, long fillets of fish in a crisp batter. There were plenty of chips, too, and we liberally dusted the lot with shakes of fluorescent yellow chicken salt.
Is there a better setting for fish and chips than sitting outdoors under a warm sun by the water? I think not.
Terrigal LagoonSanta mugs
We eventually arrive at the house to a gentle hum of activity. The kitchen bench tops are overflowing with trays, chopping boards and roasted meats. Everyone has brought a dish and as we hustle about, Billy is massaging pure duck fat into a tray of raw potatoes.
The preparation of dinner is a communal effort, and just like Christmas, there's a crowd of people in the living room, delicious smells emanating from the kitchen and a slow migration of completed dishes to the dining room table.
There was also roast turkey, crunchy potatoes cooked in duck fat (and resplendently flavoursome with duck) and caramelised brussel sprouts cooked with bacon.
After dinner there were presents, a Kris Kringle meets dice game that involved stealing and potentially losing a mountain of joke gifts. Two Polaroid cameras -- a Fuji Instax Mini 7 and an original Polaroid SX-70 -- captured plenty of cheesy moments. Our theme for the nighht was daggy woollen jumpers - Bridget Jones' Diary style! There were quite a few stunners on the evening...
Miniature polaroids with Minh's Fuji Instax Mini 7Miniature trifle cups by StephEggnog bundt cake by ShezChristmas pudding flambeMaggie Beer's boiled Christmas pudding by The Pom
Dessert (the Christmas pudding was amazing!) was followed by a raucous and competitive game of Pictionary. Board games are one of life's oft-neglected pleasures!
Fromages des Clarines baked with garlic, thyme and wine by Richard
Melted cheese goodness
Late at night, we littered the living room on lounges and a motley collection of mattresses. Boxes of homemade petit fours by Karen - passionfruit marshmallows, rum balls made with cognac, and chocolate-covered caramels - kept us up well into early hours of the morning.
And after a huge night of feasting, breakfast for twelve people could only follow a similarly decadent suit...
Blueberry pancakes by ChocolatesuzeBacon by Simon and scrambled eggs by RichardCake for breakfast
Thanks again for Billy and The Pom for hosting Christmas in July!
The Haven, Terrigal
Tel: +61 (02) 4384 4333
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