Mar 25, 2013

American fast food at home in Sydney

I'm a terrible foodie, I am. But then, most (urban) Malaysians are! Almost every day I see Instagram pictures of food on my Facebook newsfeed, thanks to those foodie Malaysian friends of mine! I quickly whizz past those photos because they remind me of what I'm missing.

One of the things we miss is American chain restaurant fare. Chili's is a long-time haunt, and there are no Chili's outlets in Australia. There are some TGIFs in Melbourne but none in Sydney. Recently, we came across this restaurant here called Hog's Breath (what a totally non-halal name, heh!), and I got all excited for a bit. The fare and the deco looked like those at Chilis or TGIF, but when the food arrived, it was disappointing. It needed to be sinful, tasty and juicy but while the food was okay, it wasn't any of the above.  

So I resorted to the 'make your own' route. My favourite at Chili's is the chicken crispers with the honey mustard dip, and I found the recipe online ('hacked' by Top Secret Recipes). I used the mashed potato recipe here, grilled some corn and blanched some veges...and ta dah!

home-made Chillis chicken crispers

(by the way, the main ingredient here is plenty of eggs, butter and milk - sinful indeed!)

TGI Friday is another favourite restaurant. We love the 'Jack Daniels' steak, the starters and I liked a Mudslide cocktail. So I set about making a TGIF Jack Daniels sauce. I used the recipe found here, (also by Top Secret Recipes) and this resulted in a sauce/glaze that is pretty accurate. I kept taste-testing as I was cooking the sauce - I reduced the pineapple juice, and increased the ratio of Jack Daniels, lemon juice and onions. 

Home-made TGI Jack Daniels sauce

I made a whole bottle and gave some away. I had quite a bit so the sauce stretched over several meals. The first use, of course, was on a steak.

Home-made TGI Jack Daniels salmon

Here, I made loaded potato skins (though it wasn't quite just skins because I kept much of the potato - too much of a sin to dig it out and throw it away) and TGIF Jack Daniels grilled salmon.

The salmon was a good quality cut from Aussie Farmers Direct, delivered to my doorstep that morning. I pan fried it till it was half done, then topped it with the glaze and popped it under the grill for a few more minutes. Added a little more glaze before serving.

It was see-ree-yous-lee bee-yoo-ti-fooool.

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