It's Christmas in July! A Yuletide dinner party at ATFT's HQ

YULE.

Celebrating Christmas in July here in Australia makes absolutely perfect sense. For those who migrated to Australia from the Northern Hemisphere will never get used to having Christmas in a scorching hot summer in December. The Pom who has moved here for more than 9 years still prefer hot roast dinner with brussel sprouts for his Christmas dinner over the Aussie-summer-friendly seafood alternatives.

I also think that I have watched too much US TV shows and movies because I always dream about having a Christmas feast with huge roast turkey, big glazed leg ham studded with cloves, lots of baked pies and bread, the cinnamon and pine tree scents fill the air, fairy lights dangling on the walls and the crackling noise from a fireplace, with Frank Sinatra serenading “White Christmas” on the stereo while the room is filled with laughter and clinking of wine glasses. Yep, that’s my idea of a perfect Christmas dinner party and there is no better time than during the coldest month now here in Australia to make my dream comes true.

“Children, would you like a lollie? Kekekeke…”

The Pom and I agree to open our house to celebrate Christmas in July but only on one condition (okay maybe two): everyone has to arrive wearing the daggiest jumper they could find! We’ve invited a group of food blogger friends and partners along and it was quite a scene when everyone, well almost everyone put on some of the coolest winter jumpers I’ve ever seen!

Oh yeah baby! Who doesn’t like a loud 18-hole golf winter jumper?

I tried to look for my jumper at Salvos and that place never stop to amaze me, and surprised myself what I could find. Well actually the mens section was a little disappointing and decided to browse through the ladies and bingo! I found the craziest, loudest, shiniest lady winter top just for this special occasion. Just look at the photo on top left (Thanks Helen for the photo!), need I say more? I think not!

While others claimed that their jumpers are from their Dads’ wardrobe, have to say some of them are actually retro old-skool cool and I am more than happy to wear them out! Good thing about loose baggy winter top is that no one will able to tell how much food we stuffed ourselves with and still looking fabulous! Oh boy, we sure had an epic feast!

Revive the 70s! Shez and VTB wanted to make a classic English cheese and pineapple Hedgehog but why not go all the way turned it into a cute antipasto hedgehog. We all pull out the skewer spiked with triple soft brie, melon, prosciutto, and carbonossi and happily chomp it down with gusto.

Homemade IKEA meatballs by Karen and the Captain are so much win with creamy white wine sauce and lingonberry sauce. Helen’s contribution of roasted pumpkin salad is a good distraction from all the meat, and she also decided to add the leftover sheep’s milk cheese that I used for the tarts into her salad, yeah why not?

Minh loves soup, and her corn soup veloute is almost as corny as my jumper. Okay maybe not, but it is seriously creamy and perfect winter warmer. I had these amazing sweet caramelised onion goat cheese tarts while I was in South Australia not so long again and decided to make it for this occasion. It is seriously simple to make and taste great too, I will post the recipe soon and it is definitely a keeper in the repository.

Jacq and Sir D’s Maggie Beer’s country chicken and mushroom pie is seriously what Christmas is about! Soft buttery puff pastry with rich and creamy chicken and mushroom innards, so rustic I can almost feel like I am having the christmas in a cottage!

“Yes, I double-sieved my pate,” Helen reassures me that her chicken liver pate is as smooth as baby’s bottom. Helen also said it is so simple to make, watch out for the recipe on her blog soon! Karen and the Captain also feel like frolicking in a mushroom field and oven-roasted mushrooms in garlic, butter and thyme to go with the roasts. Simon has also frying up some tasty angel fish fingers to go with his “special” dressing which I totally forgot to take photos of! Fail.

Apology in advance as I actually missed taking photos of a few dishes while running between kitchen and the dining table throughout the evening. I’ve roasted a 4kg leg ham with Pete Evan’s recipe, a roast pork roll, and I couldn’t find a turkey and thank god I didn’t else would have too much food, and resolved to having just a small turkey breast roll. For the Pom, it is all about brussel sprouts in Christmas. I’ve prepared the brussel sprouts in two ways – as he prefers them blanched and mushy with a dash of white vinegar, while for those with Chinese palates prefer them quick tossed while they are still slight crunchy and infused with chunky bacons. Oh, there is also duck fat roasted potatoes, sorry guys, no photos. And Oh! I even also made my own bread wreaths! So much fun to make them, will definitely post up some recipes soon!

So much food that only one’s mouth could handle. We take a break from all the food and before hitting the next round of dessert, we decide it’s time Secret Santa. I have learned a good Secret Santa game from my friend Amy (gadgetgirl) involving rolling dices and stealing other people pressies always bring the Christmas spirits out of everyone. Especially when there are pressies worth cheering about! LOL!

Ok back to food, is dessert time!

“You can’t have Christmas without Christmas Pudding”, The Pom is determined to make his very first Christmas pudding for the party. The Pom’s labor of love has been paid off! He has prepared Aunt Reta’s Christmas Pudding, a recipe from Maggie Beer’s HARVEST cookbook since last Wednesday! The pudding is bigger than my head and disturbingly looks like brainzzzz…. but once flambe (Sorry no photo again as I was the fire torcher) and The Pom slices it up revealing a fluffy pudding fully studded with sultanas, glace cherries.

Apart from the pudding, we also manage to juggle with two more desserts prepared by Steph and Shez, gluttony much? Steph’s mini trifle cup is creamy with sponge cake happily soaking up the homemade vanilla custard and a tangy layer of rhubarb jelly at the bottom.

Shez’s eggnog bundt cake is so so pretty and boozy! “I used my dad’s VSOP in the cream, hehe!” Shez revealing the secret in her recipe. The boozy cream is so good, even my cat Pepe decided to jump on top of the kitchen bench and licked the bowl! “Nooooo…..!” Karen screams while we are all so focus on the game of Pictionary. Despite how hard I tried to save it, no one dares to touch the cream once more. It’s just another classic Christmas moment which will become all so nostalgic in 10 years time and we can all have a good laugh about it.

You didn’t think that’s the end of our epic feast did you? But have to admit at this point everyone is already dozing off and is way past midnight but who would say no to another round of supper with petite fours prepared by Karen, and some cheesy love from Richard. I am so glad Richard decided to bring a Fromage des Clarines as I’ve always wanted to try it after watching it on Masterchef. The block of cream cheese in a bamboo basket is studded with garlic and rosemary, then a splash of sparkling white wine and cook in the oven for like 20 minutes or so until the cheese is melted and become a pool of molten cheesy goodness.

By now is already 3am, some already gone to bed and few of us congregate in the lounge room and have our little slumber party. With the Apple TV remote in hand, we flick through the Top 1000 1980s song and couldn’t help ourselves and break into songs by singing along to Wilson Philips’ “Hold On” is just something we would do to end a perfect Christmas in July.

But wait, there’s more! I start to sound like a infomercial guy trying to sell you a vege chopper now! Suze, Richard and Simon great team effort and also prepare us some tasty crunchy bacon and pancakes for breakfast the next morning… along with the leftovers… that’s how we rule…

Suze, I love your butterscotch, so much sweet-sweet-awesomeness!

Thank you for everyone to trek up all the way to Central Coast and celebrate the Christmas with us! So much deliciousness, so much love.

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