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Monday, July 19, 2010

Haven Seafoods, Terrigal - and a Christmas in July feast

festive mandarins

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.

haven seafoods
Haven Seafoods

We stopped at Suze's favourite fish and chip shop, Haven Seafoods, across the bay from Terrigal Beach.

potato scallop
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
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 Lagoon

santa mugs
Santa 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.

Do I need to tell you it was an epic feast? Of course it was...

caramelised onion and fetta tart
Caramelised onion and fetta tarts with homemade pastry by Billy

Antipasto hedgehog
Antipasto hedgehog by Shez and the VTB

Sweet corn veloute
Sweet corn veloute by Minh

wreath bread
Homemade wreath bread by Billy

chicken liver pate
Chicken liver parfait by me
Update: Chicken liver parfait recipe

Meatballs by Karen and The Captain

pumpkin salad
Roasted pumpkin salad with fetta by me

fried angel fish fillet
Pan-fried crumbed angel fish fillets by Simon

oven-roasted mushrooms
Oven-roasted mushrooms with garlic and thyme by Karen

roast pork and glazed ham
Roast pork and glazed ham by Billy

maggie beer's country chicken and mushroom pie
Maggie Beer's country chicken and mushroom pie by Jacq

brussel sprouts with vinegar
Brussel sprouts splashed with vinegar and consumed with relish by The Pom

christmas in july dinner
Digging in

There was also roast turkey, crunchy potatoes cooked in duck fat (and resplendently flavoursome with duck) and caramelised brussel sprouts cooked with bacon.

christmas tree
Christmas tree

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 7

Miniature trifle cups by Steph

Eggnog bundt cake by Shez

christmas pudding
Christmas pudding flambe

maggie beer christmas pudding
Maggie 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!

fromager des clarines
Fromages des Clarines baked with garlic, thyme and wine by Richard
(midnight supper)

melted cheese
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 Chocolatesuze

Crispy bacon
Bacon by Simon and scrambled eggs by Richard

eggnog cake
Cake for breakfast

Thanks again for Billy and The Pom for hosting Christmas in July!
Haven Seafood
The Haven, Terrigal
Tel: +61 (02) 4384 4333

The Entrance - Surf Spot Cafe

Congratulations to Loz - you have won a $150 lunch for two at Aki's in Woolloomooloo!
26 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/19/2010 01:45:00 am


  • At 7/19/2010 2:26 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    gorgeous photos Helen! I feel like having the whole feast all over again! Thanks for coming up to the coast and celebrate with us!

  • At 7/19/2010 2:38 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    your pate was so uber smooth and awesome! mmm pate

  • At 7/19/2010 7:57 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Everything looks mouth watering..looks like you guys had a great night!

  • At 7/19/2010 8:52 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Yumm, I feel like I was eating non-stop the entire weekend. Haha that's awesome you guys stopped for fish and chips first, looks totally worth it! Also, your pate was a bit of a revelation, I think I need to try making some of my own now!

  • At 7/19/2010 9:42 am, Anonymous Anna Johnston said…

    Such fun, loved all your images both written and photographed, I felt I was voyeuristically there. Maggie Beers pudding looked amazing flambé.
    Christmas in July Aussie style at its best.

  • At 7/19/2010 9:54 am, Anonymous Amanda said…

    Wow , what a spread - and brilliant photo of the flaming pud!
    Freezing here in the Adelaide hills this weekend - would have been perfect for a Christmas feast.

  • At 7/19/2010 10:14 am, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    Looks like you guys had an epic feast! I love how you guys are having cake for breaky! YUM! I want to dive into that melted cheese Richard provided *drools*

  • At 7/19/2010 11:00 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    I already inhaled this feast earlier on Suze's blog, but WOW that close-up of Steph's desserts is yummy and Jacq's Maggie Beer pie! PIE!! ♥

    I adore these food blogger posts - you guys should consider investing in Monopoly + Risk if you like your boardgames. Competition at its finest :D

  • At 7/19/2010 11:01 am, Blogger Iron Chef Shellie said…

    what an awesome looking party! I was hanging out for photos :P

  • At 7/19/2010 11:15 am, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Although I'm not a fan of Christmas pudding, I am quite captured by your photo with the blue flames! So. Much. Food...

  • At 7/19/2010 11:27 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For central coast fish and chips, we always stop at Monti's in Gosford for our lunch stop on the way to Terrigal or wherever. Great chips, very fresh fish, although the fish can sometimes be a bit too oily. Nice article!


  • At 7/19/2010 11:45 am, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    That flambé pudding was a sight to behold! And oh, it was marvellous to eat. Your pate has all the attention today so I thought I should pipe in and say don't forget your salad. Your pumpkin salad was awesome with the Christmas Ham!

    Thanks to all for a great night :)

  • At 7/19/2010 12:14 pm, Anonymous Jacq said…

    omg so much food I was clutching my stomach by the end of it haha. But I would do it all again in a flash! I'm awaiting your pate recipe so I can make it at home :)

  • At 7/19/2010 1:19 pm, Anonymous Veruca Salt said…

    You know how much I love Xmas.

    Great pic of the flaming pud. What a feast. Well worth the drive up.

  • At 7/19/2010 1:38 pm, Blogger Laura said…

    This is such a great idea, lovely weekend by the looks of it.

  • At 7/19/2010 2:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow! What a feast. Can't believe I have missed out so much. Love the new larger size photos!! More to gawk at!

  • At 7/19/2010 2:57 pm, Blogger Hannah said…

    My family still does the traditional, stifling Christmas dinner in summer. :( I can't wait until I'm doing my own and it's all prawns, fruit, salmon, and sorbet!

    Me aside ;) ... what a feast! And I can't believe you made the pate - I have just rediscovered pate and am mildly obsessed with smearing it on toasted English Muffins. (And I thought I didn't care much for meat....) Any chance you'll grace us with the recipe?

  • At 7/19/2010 5:43 pm, Blogger Sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    An incredible feast, I bet you were all waddling around afterwards, sooooo much gorgeous food, yum!

  • At 7/19/2010 5:53 pm, Blogger Kristy Sayer-Jones @ Southern In Law said…

    Roast pumpkin salad must be a Helen specialty.
    Because my mum's also a Helen and we cannot go ANYWHERE for lunch/dinner without bringing "her salad"

  • At 7/19/2010 9:37 pm, Anonymous KFC So Good said…

    wow! the liver pate looks amazing! the whole feast is definitely epic. Now I have an excuse to have 2 xmas a year! .... being able to cook all the traditional fare in cold chilly weather is so much fun!

  • At 7/20/2010 7:08 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    What a feast - my birthday is in July so when I lived in Australia I used to sometimes do a Christmas In July dinner for my birthday - no excuse for it now that I live in the UK!

  • At 7/20/2010 5:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That was truly a memorable weekend of feasting! Thanks for the patteeee mmmmmmmmm NOMNOMNOM haha jkjk

  • At 7/21/2010 2:21 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Billy - Aww thanks Billy. It was a fantastic weekend - thank you so much for your hospitality and generosity of spirit :)

    Hi Chocolatesuze - Thank you. Sieving it worked wonders.

    Hi Peter G - It was lots of fun, but food bloggers and food always equals a good time!

    Hi Stephcookie - Non-stop eating is the best kind of weekend! lol. I definitely recommend you give the parfait a go. Have posted the recipe here.

    Hi Anna Johnston - Maggie's pudding was spectacular both in appearance and in taste! Thanks so much for your kind words.

    Hi Amanda - The flaming pud was a dinner highlight. I'm sure it gets cold in the Adelaide Hills - a perfect excuse for a Yulefest dinner methinks!

    Hi Phuoc'n Delicious - Epic indeed! Cake for brekky is awesome. We were also feasting on leftover ham too!

    Hi Margaret Tran - Maggie Beer's pie was so crazy good. I used to play Monopoly a lot as a kid but I have to admit I've never played Risk. I do adore Pictionary - always a barrel of laughs and I love analysing people's personalities through their pictures. Very insightful! lol

    Hi Iron Chef Shellie - It was a fantastic weekend with friends. And sharing photos is half the fun!

    Hi mademoiselle delicieuse - I'm not usually a fan of Christmas pudding either but I loved this one as it was more cakey in texture and not overly sweet. Will have to hunt down the recipe.

    Hi Stan - Ahh thanks for the tip. Always great to get tips from others. Will have to keep an eye out for it next time I'm in the area.

  • At 7/21/2010 2:32 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Karen - Ha, thanks for the note about the salad. There was so much good food to eat it was hard to know where to start!

    Hi Jacq - I loveloveloved your pie. The pastry was amazing and the filling was perfect comfort food. Wait no more, I've just posted the chicken liver parfait recipe.

    Hi Veruca Salt - Ha, I do indeed! The flaming pud was a great show for the crowd and yes, always good to have a little mini-break up the coast.

    Hi Laura - It was lots of fun. Dinner with friends is always rewarding, especially when there's Pictionary involved!

    Hi Ellie - A shame you couldn't make it. You were missed! Glad you're enjoying the larger photos too :)

    Hi Hannah - Christmas roast dinners are an odd conundrum in Sydney but I also love that people have such affection for traditions too.

    Of course I'll oblige you with the recipe for the chicken liver pate recipe. It's actually a parfait because it's sieved, and you can find the recipe here.

    Hi Sara - Forget waddling. I think we just beached ourselves in the lounge room. lol.

    Hi Kristy Sayer - Haha, that's awesome. I do love my roast pumpkin. Your mum must have good taste! :)

    Hi KFC So Good - I'm surprised you haven't done this already :) It's a good idea to take advantage of the colder weather - always best to capitalise on bigger appetites, I say!

    Hi Gourmet Chick - I love the idea of having a Christmas in July birthday dinner. How cool! And yes, I do remember the novelty of having my first two genuinely cold Christmases in the UK. So good to finally dig into hot roasts with gusto!

    Hi FFichiban - Aren't you not meant to bite the hand that feeds you pate? lol.

  • At 7/21/2010 10:41 pm, Blogger mimbles said…

    What a fabulous feast! As always, your photos are stunning and your writing makes me feel like I was right there watching it all :-)

    We spent last weekend in Moss Vale with 2 other families for a Yulefest holiday. With 7 of the 8 kids in on the act I have never seen a gingerbread house get decorated so fast in all my life!

  • At 7/23/2010 1:19 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi mimbles - Thank you so much. Glad you enjoyed the post. Yulefest is a great excuse for a meet-up and dinner and I love decorating gingerbread houses! So much fun.


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