I’m a bit obsessed with Masterchef The Professionals at the moment, and one of my favourite rounds is the Reinvention Test! The imagination and skill the chefs have for taking such a classic and well loved dish and turning it into something new is awe inspiring! So I was super excited when the squad at Tabl asked me to see what I could do to reimagine and reinvent a classic Christmas staple – stuffing!

Stuffing is one of my favourite parts of Christmas dinner. Especially my mum’s chestnut stuffing. It’s ridiculously good! My Christmas dinner plate is often at least 30% stuffing, so suffice to say i’m a pretty big fan and desperately wanted to come up with a way of doing it justice, and we all know food that rhymes is the best… so I decided to make Stuffin’ Muffins!

I went through a phase of baking savoury muffins a few years ago and so knew this wouldn’t be too tricky (and I genuinely made this up as I went along as it doesn’t appear anyone has had this stuffing brainwave before!). Luckily a basic muffin base mix is really simple, but I wanted to do a bit more than just add stuffing into that mix… and I had so many ideas that I decided to make a few variations!

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For the basic muffin base mix 

  • 225g self raising flour (or mix half wholemeal and half white flour for a healthier version)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 75g melted butter
  • 175ml semi skimmed milk
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch or 2 of salt
  • Pinch or 2 of pepper

Combine ALL of this together. I used my super wonderful mixer from Aldi (which is a brilliant cheap version of a KitchenAid that I got for my birthday) which made it nice and simple. This is so easy and is basically all you need to do to begin.

Now is a good time to set your fan oven to 180 degrees, or find a good website to tell you what that means as a gas mark cos I literally have no idea!

For my amazing Mum’s chestnut stuffing (which is actually my wonderful Grandad’s recipe!)

  • 2 packs of good quality sausage meat (don’t buy really cheap stuff as it is mainly fat.  You can buy good quality sausages and split the skins and take the sausage meat out and use that but it’s a bit of a faff!)
  • 2 x 300g packs of unsmoked streaky bacon  (if you wanted to be posh you could use pancetta)
  • 2/3 large onions
  • 2/3 packs of ready peeled chestnuts cut into small chunks (mum tends to use 3 packs as we prefer the stuffing to be quite nutty) – She uses Merchants and they are 180g per pack
  • 2 packs of Paxo Sage and Onion stuffing (85g per pack)
  • Dried Mixed Herbs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Good slug of brandy (because Christmas)

This makes a lot, but basically for every pack of sausage meat, you will need a pack of bacon and a pack of Paxo and an onion, so the recipe is easily scalable and then just add as many chestnuts as you like! Mum tends to make this by eye (because she’s my hero and a total pro at this) so i’d suggest you do this the way you think looks right (also selfishly I don’t want to give out the exact recipe to the world because it’s too good to share!)

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So what did I do next? Well, I added a few rather large spoonfuls of mum’s (pre-made) stuffing into the mix and stirred it all in with a wooden spoon. Quite simple really. I could have just left it at that, bung it in the oven and it would have been wonderful, but oh no. I had other ideas. Brilliant, genius ideas.

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I made three varieties of my Stuffin’ Muffins. For the first I created a masterful bacon casing by lining the muffin tin quite elegantly. I then spooned in a large dessert spoon size dollop of the mix.

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For the second variety, I decided to give this delicious pot of Cranberry Chutney by Cheeky Food Co. a go, which had been kindly sent to me in a wonderful “Inspo Pack” by the Tabl team over the weekend! With a bit of the muffin mix in the base of the tin, I scooped a teaspoon of the chutney into the middle and then topped with a bit more muffin mix to encase it.

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And finally, after pre-cooking them in the oven whilst I was making my muffin mix, I added into the third set of muffins a single pig in blanket per cup – this was my brother’s suggestion which I think annoyingly verges on genius.

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These were then popped into the oven for 18 minutes, which gave me enough time to do the washing up (someone please buy me a dishwasher for Christmas) and take a selfie in my incredibly appropriate Star Baker pinny!

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After the 18 minutes were up, the muffins were beautifully golden on top and ready to come out to cool.

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I didn’t leave them to cool for long, mind you, as a few of these became my dinner, alongside a bowl of gravy for dipping!

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I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but these were all utterly DELICIOUS! Beautifully spongy and gorgeously meaty. The pigs in blanket middles gave a true Christmassy vibe to the third batch and were my brother’s favourite, while Daisy (his better half) loved the chutney ones best, with the lovely spiced sweetness. My personal fave probably went to the bacon wrapped ones with their enjoyable comforting saltiness, so there really is something for everyone in this recipe (apart from vegetarians – soz guys!)


COMPETITION TIME!

If you think you could reimagine my favourite Christmas accompanyment any better, and you fancy winning yourself a lovely £100 voucher to spend with Tabl, now is your chance! From now until Monday you can share your own recipes on Twitter & Instagram using the hashtag #ChristmasTabl and find yourself entered into the compeition!

I’ll then pick my favourite and the winner will get themselves a delicious £100 voucher to spend with Tabl, and trust me, there is SO MUCH you will want to buy from their awesome site.

The competition begins Wednesday 14th December and will end on Monday 19th December, with the winner being announced on Tuesday 20th December.

The winning recipe will be shared on Tabl’s social media that week. There will also be one ‘People’s Choice’ winner, based on the one recipe out of all of the competitions being run by my fellow Tabl Community Founders that receives the most engagement on Twitter and Instagram (measured by retweets, likes, and comments) – that one will win something special. Yay!

Rules and guidelines:

In order for recipes to be considered in the competition, an image / images of the resulting food must be posted on Twitter and/or Instagram. In addition: 

  • All must include the hashtag #ChristmasTabl
  • All entrants must follow both Tabl and my blog on Twitter and Instagram
  • All entries must be submitted before midday on Monday 19th December
  • There’s no limit to the number of different recipes an individual can submit, so go crazy!

AND THE WINNER IS…

The BIGGEST congratulations to Sophie Jones who has won herself a delicious £100 voucher to spend with Tabl thanks to her amazing Pork, Sage & Onion Stuffing shortcrust pies entry! What a dreamy reinvention. Well done, Sophie! The voucher will be winging it’s way to you very soon.