Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Awesome Breasts!

Now it’s really time for the culinary egomania. For lunch today, we enjoyed a dish that was named after me. Yup, that’s right, little old me! It happened like this.

About a month ago, I received an email from my friend Lisa in the States, saying that she’d created a dish which she’d named after me – “Awesome Aussie Sarah Chicken”.

yes, a dish I've named after our dish aussiesarah. It's chicken sprinkled w/Ranch dressing mix, roasted on rice, then sliced red peppers added and doused w/Tabasco at table. Ace!

You won’t believe how excited I was. When I showed Daniel, he was well impressed too. You see, I don't think he realised that people actually read my blog. I think he just thought I spent an inordinate amount of time at the computer. When he heard about the chicken dish, he started telling his friends things like, “Sarah’s got this blog that’s got international recognition. This woman in America, she created a dish after her!” He seemed so happy, I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was actually just a friend who created it, not some fan-cum-stalker. Shhh...

But I digress. Lisa’s a pretty special lady; she’s the one who introduced me to the totally drool-worthy ranch dressing. I emailed her a few days later to get proper instructions on how to cook it.

I had chicken on my mind for dinner, and I thought, you know, how good would Ranch dressing be on that chicken? Good! And since meeting you, I've become a rice addict, so of course that was my selected side. But being the lazy person I am, I'm a one-potter gal, so I shook the chicken up with the Ranch dip mix, I put a cup of basmati in the pan, then two cups of water on top, and then I put the chicken breasts on top of that, with a pat of butter on each, and put it in the 400F oven for like 20 minutes. Then I put the red peppers in so they would be just tender-crisp, and baked it for about 10 more minutes. It was awesome! Of course, to top it off, I had to add the Tabasco (fresh parsley, too). It all worked.

Obviously I wanted to make the AussieSarah Chicken as soon as possible, despite it not being a How to Eat recipe, so when I made it today, I chose a pudding from How to Eat to go with it. I went for an American-style pudding, in honour of Lisa.

248. Red Slump (Weekend Lunch)

A slump, as far as I can gather, is one of those American desserts in the realm of cobblers, grunts and so on – a fruity filling, topped with some sort of sweet flour mixture and baked. Nigella says that her recipe will make enough for 6 (or will stretch to 8), so I figured that halving the recipe would make 4 generous servings for us.

The filling is a 500g packet of frozen red berries (fresh is do-able too, but there’s no way I’m paying $7 for a 150g punnet of raspberries!), covered with sugar and alcohol. You could use any appropriate berry or orange based alcohol, so I used cointreau.

Frosty berries – I love the snow-kissed look of berries covered in sugar.

You then cover it with foil, and bake it until it gets hot and bubbly (about 35 minutes). I put it in underneath the chicken as it was cooking.

Making the dumplings is just like making pastry, crumble topping, or anything of that ilk. Mix flour, sugar and almond meal with butter to make a crumbly mixture, and then add enough milk to bind. The full quantity of slump topping should make 24 small dumplings, so appropriately enough, I got 12 out of my halved quantity.


It did look like a very meagre amount of dumplings, and I was almost temped to make another half batch, but I thought that they might expand significantly upon baking.

Once the filling is piping hot, you dollop the dumplings on top, cover it again with foil, and bake it for another 15 minutes. I took the chicken out at the same time as the filling, and let the dumpling-topped filling cook while we were eating the chicken.

Ready for oven

Awesome Aussie Sarah Chicken

Check my other cooking blog for more details on the Aussie Sarah Chicken, but Lisa was right – it’s awesome! And so easy to make too. Since starting the How to Eat project, my whole family has been suffering some serious rice cravings. We descended upon the delicious ranch-dressing-infused rice and chicken like a pack of hungry wolves.

Here is the cooked red slump.

red slump

One thing I have to learn, is that frozen berries are very sour. I’m always very sparing with sugar in general, but when it comes to frozen berries, I need to learn to let go of my sugar-phobia. Even at my old job as a cook, I couldn’t bring myself to dump the necessary amount sugar on the berries when I did crepes flambées, much to the chagrin of my (really cool) Chef. “Sarah sweetie, you need to put more sugar on the crepes… the frozen berries themselves are very sour, and the tannins in the preservatives make them quite sour too… also because you cook them in butter, you need sugar to counteract it”. Judging from the taste of the red slump today, I still haven't learnt my lesson. I'm lucky that my family (myself included), prefer our desserts not to be too sweet, but for more normal people, make sure you increase the sugar content if you use frozen berries!

Dan: Woah… that’s strong.
Me: Is it too sour? You want sugar?
Dan: Nah… it’s good… it’s very strong… the flavour hits you like a bitch. It’s very good.
Me: …totally confused… So do you want sugar or not?
Dad: No, no don’t worry, it's good! And the ice-cream balances it out.
Dan: Yeah, no sugar. But you need more of these things. ...points at dumplings

He was so right about the dumplings, they were brilliant. They soaked up the delicious berry-juices, and were soft and fragrant on their own merits as well. I'd have preferred the slump to be covered in dumplings, rather than sparsely dotted.

Mmmm... tasty berries.


domesticgoddess said...

looks delicious! aussiesarah is on the menu this week, i have all the necessary ingredients.

oh, and i can totally help you overcome your sugar phobia, i am like the aversion therapy master for it. :D

Ilana said...

but, honey, if you added more dumplings it would cease being a slump and would then be a crumble.. LOLOLOL.
looks delicious! i would have added more dumplings too, and don't be afraid of sugar, it's your best friend!!!
the chicken dish looks great too!

Randi said...

Everything looks really yummy. Ranch dressing is really good. Its not too hard to make it from scratch, but of course, you probably used the powdered stuff from your friend. I really think American's rely too much on all those pre-packaged dressings. So many of them contain high fructose corn syrup which is just evil. I decided to start making my own dressings, no matter how tired I am.

Lisa said...

Dear Eponym,
Good going w/the chicken, it looks great! American cook James Beard devoted a chapter to your dessert choice in his book "Simple Foods," and called it 'Cobblers: A Buckle is a Slump is a Grunt.' And clearly, your dad's no fool ;).