Sunday 28 July 2013


If you live in Australia, you might long for a fairy tale white Christmas, so celebrating Christmas in July is the perfect compromise!
Having been born and raised in Africa, Christmas was always in the middle of Summer, so I didn't know otherwise, and in fact the Christmas cards that we saw in the shops with snow, reindeers, etc, didn't make much sense to someone celebrating this holiday in the heat.

Around the country a lot of restaurants advertise
functions celebrating Christmas in July, during the whole month of July, but even though I have been in Australia for 6 years I had never been involved in one of these celebrations.

But it all changed, when a couple of weeks ago, while having dinner with some Portuguese friends, one of them mentioned that the weather - cold and rain - was making her feel as if she was back in Portugal in the middle of December and looking forward to the Christmas celebrations.
To which I replied: So why don't we get together and organize a "Christmas in July", it's a popular thing in Australia anyway! And so it was decided that we would get together on Saturday, the 27th of July.

Of course the Christmas tree and decorations, came out of storage and there were a couple of presents just for the little ones.

Most of the traditional Portuguese Christmas recipes only make sense if you serve them in the middle of winter anyway, as they are usually heavy foods, cooked in hot ovens...unlike the light fare of seafood salads or barbecues served at the Australian Christmas tables.
For starters we had: "Rissois de camarao" (Prawn patties), "Broas" (Sweet raisin breads), walnuts, dried figs, a wonderful homemade Olive Pate...
Then came the "Caldo Verde" (Kale Soup with chourizo) to warm us up.

Walnuts, dried figs, Broas (sweet breads) and Rissois Camarao (Prawn Patties)

For the main meal there was: "Bacalhau com Natas" (Codfish in Cream Sauce) and Octopus with Chestnuts and Chourizo, the second time I cooked this for a Christmas dinner, and was very nice, although I forgot to cook rice as an side to help soak up all the sauce...Ooops, next time I won't forget!

The meal ended with a few traditional desserts, like "Arroz Doce" (Rice Pudding), the light and airy "Sonhos" (Portuguese dreams), "Sonhos de Abobora" (Pumpkin dreams), my favourite pudding, Leite Creme (Milk custard) and a Conventual pudding originally from Braga, in the North of Portugal, that I had never tasted before - "Pudim Abade de Pristos" (Pristos's Abbott Pudding), a pudding made with lard or bacon and caramel and lots and lots of eggs. Very rich and sweet, so only a tiny slice is enough...

Sonhos de Abobora (Pumpkin Dreams)
The light and airy Sonhos (Portuguese Dreams)
Leite Creme (Milk Custard)
Pudim Abade de Pristos (Bacon and caramel Pudding)
It was a very enjoyable evening, sitting around the table enjoying the traditional Portuguese Christmas fare and the company of good friends. And of course every one contributed with something delicious to make this Christmas evening special.

If you live in country where Christmas is celebrated in Summer, do you also celebrate Christmas in July?
If you liked the sound of any of these dishes and would like to give them a try, you are welcome to contact me for recipes.


  1. Gosh the Christmas in July feast looks amazing Sami. I haven't actually done this either, maybe next year :)

  2. I´d be in for Christmas in July! I could visit my family cause for sure there is no snow making driving dangerous!
    Just... we´d have salad and beer, 36 C predicted tomorrow (I know I´m off-topic, being from/living in Germany, but awww, I´d give a lot for a bbq outside for Christmas!)

    Sounds like you had a great July-Christmas! :-)

  3. It certainly was a great feast with far too much food, as usual...

  4. Thanks Iris, as you know in Australian the hot Christmas day means most people celebrate outdoors with a BBQ and go swimming at the beaches.

  5. Olá Sami! Engraçado que ainda ontem estive a ver o teu blog, porque a minha irmã foi para Perth há 2 meses atrás, gostei da coincidência e até lhe disse. Pelos vistos ela já segue o teu blog há mais tempo.

    Para quem vive o Natal no Inverno, faz sentido "comemorá-lo" em Julho :)
    Essa comida típica toda no Verão... não condiz! :)

  6. Obrigada L pela visita. Tenho que concordar que a nossa comida tipica de Natal e demasiado pesada para os veroes quentes da Australia.
    Ja enviei msg a tua irma, caso ela se quiser encontrar comigo ou precisar de ajuda.

  7. Natal em Julho! :-) Agora comia umas dessas iguarias natalícias bem portuguesas! Está tudo com óptimo aspecto.

  8. Obrigada JM, estava tudo uma delicia, tipicamente Natalicia.

  9. OH My Goodness Sami, Love your christmas in July! I have never done this either, may be next year :-)

  10. Ha dois anos celebrei o Natal no Brasil e nunca senti que era Natal... e' muito estranho nao ter frio e comer a ceia de Natal na Rua e de vestido de alcas.

    Por outro lado, uma colega brasileira esta a morar na Polonia e anda super excitada porque finalmente, aos 25 anos de idade, vai ter um Natal frio!

    O mundo e' muito engracado ;)

  11. Sara - todos queremos o que nao temos. Como cresci em Africa o Natal no verao nao me fazia confusao visto nao ter conhecido outra coisa, mas depois de viver na Europa, passei a gostar do Natal no inverno.


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