Given a choice between the long and arduous route and the quick and easy option, I'll opt for the trickier path every time. I've no idea why. Maybe it's my competitive spirit in an auto immune like drive. But it kicks in even when I'm cooking with the kids.
This Sunday in an effort to tempt my 12 yo daughter away from her Xbox and Fortnite, I invited her to make dinner (with some help from me from the sidelines). To her credit she seemed quite excited by the idea and I started to explain the epic meal I had planned.
My husband looked at me askance, with 'why don't you just go for something easy' written all over his face. But my daughter was unfazed and we set to work on the different stages of Rawia Bishara's Chicken Fetti recipe from her book "Olives, Lemons & Za'atar".
Payback for me was watching fat being splattered over the clean hob and up the tiles as chicken pieces (I jointed the chicken) were awkwardly browned in the pan. Witnessing half the sauce making its way up the side of the microwave as the pan was stirred with unnecessary force and thin noodles fanned liberally and then crunched over the floor. "She's just like you" my husband muttered passing through the chaos to his office. He has a point.
While there is nothing too taxing about this recipe, it does involve multiple steps and takes a goodly amount of time. We followed the recipe closely (this being a key part of the lesson) and our slavish, to the letter loyalty to the page delivered results my daughter was rightly proud of.
This is indeed, an ambitious dish. It made for an excellent family Sunday dinner. Yet perhaps most gratifyingly, it really did get to the heart of my 292/365 challenge; it was different to anything I'd served before, used different cooking techniques to those I am familiar with and added the variety I'm in pursuit of.