Last week, we established beyond argument that what dads want for Father's Day isn't a gadget or gizmo – or even an umbrella (!) – but time with their families. Time to be with their kids, time to share experiences, time to have a laugh and some fun in the sun (if it ever shows its face again).
So I've come up with finger-lickin' good crispy baked Southern-style chicken wings and crisp 'n juicy salt & pepper spare ribs, which are great for dads, mums and kids.
SOUTHERN-STYLE CHICKEN WINGS
If you're lucky enough to have a barbecue, then you could pre-cook them in the oven and finish them off on the Barbie for a smoky flavour. And if fancy them hot 'n spicy, add more chilli. If you prefer them mild, lay off the blister powder. I used buttermilk and garlic to marinate the wings overnight, which has the effect of tenderising them, but you can skip this stage if you don't have time. How easy is that?
12-16 free-range chicken wings, cut into two through the joint
300ml buttermilk (optional)
3 garlic cloves, chopped (optional)
8 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
4 tsp paprika powder
2 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
1. Put the wings, buttermilk and garlic in a freezer bag and marinate in the fridge overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Remove the wings from the marinade and shake off any excess.
3. Put the flour, seasoning and spices in a freezer bag and add the marinated chicken wings. Toss until completely coated.
4. Lay out the wings on a roasting tray and bake in the oven for 35-40 mins, until cooked all the way through and the skin is crispy and charred.
5. Serve with coleslaw and green salad, or whatever you fancy.
SALT & PEPPER SPARE RIBS
These are a classic Chinese restaurant favourite. The secret to their melt-in-the-mouth tenderness and crispy texture is to cook them twice. First, slow-cook them in a slow cooker or casserole dish in a low oven, then toss them in salt and spices and deep-fry them.
1-2 racks pork spare ribs, cut into individual ribs
For the spice coating
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
For the marinade
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
Freshly ground ground black pepper
1. Grind all the ingredients for the spice mix in a coffee grinder to a powder.
2. Meanwhile prepare the marinade by mixing half the spice mix and the marinade ingredients in a freezer bag or bowl. Add the ribs and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
3. Add a little water to a slow cooker and cook the ribs and their marinade on LOW for 2-3 hours, until the meat is very tender, almost falling off the bone. If you don't have a slow cooker, put the ribs and a little water in a casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid and put them in the oven at 170C/Gas 3 for the same length of time.
4. Drain the ribs and pat dry. Toss again in the other half of the spice mixture to coat.
5. Fill a large frying pan or wok with sunflower oil to a depth of 2 cm and heat on the hob. When the oil is smoking hot, deep fry the ribs in batches for 1-2 minutes. Drain on kitchen paper.
6. Transfer to a plate and serve.
Happy Father's Day!