As I grow older, more and more do I strive to make chic my default setting. I buy a lot more black, I try to stop eating prawn layer salads on the tube. I’ve even switched my beloved peroxide blonde hair to a rather demure honey colour.
However, I also understand that when served up in quantities of mustard, there is a time and place for naff. For flying ducks, for big, crispy curls in your hair. For mac and cheese and fairy lights and long, baby pink fingernails. Pink is fine. Glitter won’t hurt you. Naff is OK.
This weekend, hungover and hungry, Sia Berkeley and I decided to serve up an unabashedly naff feast. Fried chicken, loaded potato skins, an iceberg wedge and corn on the cob. We sat around, reveling in its novelty, like those middle class people who are totally beside themselves on sighting canapé portions of fish and chips.
Irony or no irony, make time for naff. Being chic all the time can get boring. Go on. Deep-fry. White stilettos optional.
Chicken thighs and drumsticks (how many depend on appetite, we allowed three pieces per person)
a large pot of buttermilk or sour cream
two blocks of crisp n dry
two cups of plain flour
- stick the chicken pieces into a bowl and cover with the buttermilk, salt, pepper, and a table spoon of paprika and a table spoon of cayenne.
- mix thoroughly and allow to marinate for a good few hours or overnight.
- melt the two blocks of crisp n dry in a deep frying pan.
- while this melts and heats, in a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper, 1 tbsp of paprika, half a tbsp of garlic powder, half a tbsp of chili powder and half of cayenne pepper. Dip the chicken pieces into the mix until thoroughly coated.
- drop the chicken into the hot fat and stand back as it will spit and bubble. The temperature has to be right – if it is too hot, it will burn the outside within minutes and not cook the meat. The fat must be hot initially and then brought down, so it will cook the chicken through, but still have a crispy skin.
- keep the chicken cooking for 20-25 minutes and then remove. You can do this in batches or use a couple of pans.
Loaded potato skins
six baking potatoes
red leicester cheese
salt and pepper
six rashers of smoked streaky bacon
small pot of sour cream
- put the potatoes in the oven on a moderately high setting.
- turn occasionally and allow up to two hours for baking (they have to have very crisp skins).
- cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the insides into a mixing bowl. Try to keep the potato skins in quite solid shells.
- Mix the potato with a couple of knobs of butter, salt and pepper.
- Put the potato mixture back into the shells and top with grated re leicester cheese.
- Bake the potatoes for a further ten minutes. Top with bacon, grilled and chopped into small pieces.
- Serve with sour cream.
One head of iceberg lettuce
blue cheese of your choice (easier if a soft variety)
small pot of butter milk or sour cream
three rashers of smoked streaky bacon
two slices of white bread
salt and pepper
- cut the lettuce in half and then divide those halves into six wedges. Place on six plates.
- Cut three tomatoes in half and scoop out the insides. Cut the flesh into small squares.
- Grill the bacon until crisp and chop into small pieces.
- Cut the bread into cubes. Place in the pan with the remaining bacon fat, season with salt, pepper and mixed herbs and toss. Put into the oven on high until crispy.
- Crumble blue cheese into a bowl (how much depends on how strong you would like it). Into the bowl put the butter milk and plenty of salt and pepper. Use a small whisk to combine the cheese and butter milk, squashing down lumps of cheese so it makes a smooth dressing. If it is too thick, thin out with a small splosh of milk.
- scatter the croutons, bacon and tomatoes on and around the wedges and drizzle with the blue cheese dressing.