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Belated Christmas Dinner Continued...Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing, Braised Sprouts with Balsamic & Christmas Pudding on Fire!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A roast turkey is not complete without stuffing, be it stuffed or baked on the side. I'm a huge fan of stuffing, it's usually packed full of fats and carbs, so tasty! Following my last year's yummy apple, sausages and herb stuffing, I thought I'd do something lighter this year, without the sausages. I came across this recipe at Lori's Recipe Girl. It's actually really good, very tasty and flavourful with the shiitake. The sweet and tart apricots added a nice flavour and texture to the dish. I would suggest using more shiitake mushrooms and baking it till browned and crisp instead of stuffing in the turkey. The stuffing in the turkey was so soggy, we didn't touch it. I removed everything and baked it the next day instead. The baked crispy bits were soo soo good! That aside, we all agreed that sausages stuffings are still the best.


Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 4 small onions (3 cups) - diced
  • 1 leek white & pale parts only - finely sliced and then rinsed well
  • 4 stalks celery - diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 220g fresh shiitake mushrooms - sliced
  • 3/4 loaf bread (about 5 cups) - crusts removed and cubed
  • 150g dried apricots (1 cup) - coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh sage leaves - stems removed
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary leaves - stems removed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cube Knorr chicken stock cube
  • 100g unsalted butter - melted
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Heat oil in a large pan/pot over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, celery, and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent and tender, about 20 mins.
  • While waiting, toast cubes of bread in a 200°C pre-heated oven until dried.
  • Dissolve chicken stock cube in 1 cup water. Leave to cool.
  • Add mushrooms into onions, leeks, celery, and garlic, and cook until soft, about 5 mins. Transfer mixture to a plate, and let stand until cool, about 5 mins. (Onion-mushroom mixture can be refrigerated overnight.)
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  • Combine onion-mushroom mixture, bread, apricots, sage, and rosemary in a large bowl. Mix to combine.
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  • Just before baking, pour melted butter and stock over top of mixture. Mix to combine. Season with salt and black pepper. Let stand for about 10 minutes, allowing bread to soak up the liquid.

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  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  • Stuff chicken with stuffing.
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  • Put the rest in a baking dish.
  • Bake at 180°C until top is browned and crisp.(about 50-55 mins).

Braised Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar & Bacon Lardons

Brussel sprouts with bacon is always good! With balsamic vinegar? Even better! The tartness of the vinegar brought it to a whole new level, so flavourful and delicious.

christmas 2009 balsamic brussel sprouts

  • 600g brussel sprouts
  • 250g bacon lardons
  • 1 tbs fried garlic
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Agave nectar/ sugar

  • Heat up a bit of oil in a skillet, add bacon lardons and fry until browned.
  • Toss in brussel sprouts, balsamic vinegar and garlic.
  • Leave to simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add sugar to taste.

Christmas Pudding

I know some of you are curious about my Christmas pudding, so here's an update. After 2 weeks of hibernating in the cool and dry kitchen cabinet, I re-steamed one of the puddings, covered with foil for about 40 mins using the pressure cooker. After that, tried to flip the pudding onto a plate. My heart was beating fast at this point, wondering if it would come out clean. I was worried half of it would be stuck to the bowl, like what happened to my cheesecake because I was too lazy to line it (that's another story). Fortunately...

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Phew...look at that gorgeous deep brown colour...and so moist...

Time for the fun part - setting it on fire! None of us did it before, so I searched on youtube for some "tricks"...according to Antony Worrall Thompson, I have to warm the brandy and the ladle before lighting. I did. But when the wild boar tried to light it with a matchstick, it just went "psst" died, and only wisp of smoke. The wild boar thought I boiled away all the alcohol. The brandy wasn't even boiling when I tried to warm it up, and I could still dip my finger in that brandy while it was "boiling"! Anyway, I managed to set it on fire in the end. While being all excited about the flaming pudding, the wild boar was shouting "So? So?! Faster! Faster!" I went "What faster?! Look! It's finally on fire! So pretty!" "I know, and the table is on fire too! Faster take your pictures!" "oh..." click click click...we spilled some flaming brandy on the table so there was a tiny pool of fire beside the flaming pudding.

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The best picture of the pudding on fire I managed to get.

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It was definitely the highlight of the day. I served it with some vanilla liqueur custard, so boozy, so good. The pudding was actually quite good. Like what Sam said, it wasn't exactly very light, but definitely lighter than most Christmas puddings that I've had. Very moist, rich and flavourful. Still a bit too sweet for me though. 

Christmas pudding recipe here

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