No, it's not me they're after, it's Zoe. My 11 yr old daughter, winner of the Schools' Interchef Challenge has caught the eye of the Masterchef production team. Tonight she's done a down-the-line interview while I've panicked and done a couple of gins. I aim to teach her all I know within a week. Should be easy. This is tonight's effort.
Melt a knob of butter with a little sunflower oil and add a handful of broken up vermicelli. Stir until just beginning to darken in colour. You may smell the toastiness before you see it. Remove pan from heat.
Add hot water to same depth as rice. Cover, bring to boil then simmer for about 7 mins. Remove lid, check to see if rice needs more water. If it's almost ready but still has a slight bite then just wet it slightly, bring to boil then put the lid on and turn off the heat to allow it to steam.
Toast cumin seeds, fennel seeds, chilli flakes and sesame seeds in a dry pan. Bash about a bit to release aroma. This can be scattered over the whole dish when finished.
Which means do this before the rice! Marinate overnight with a rub of crushed garlic and some of the above spice mix.
Add a glass of white wine to the pan, cover loosely with foil and turn the oven down to Gas 1 or140C for 4 hours then flip the lamb over and continue cooking without the foil for another 3 hours or until the lamb is falling off the bone. Whack the heat back up to cook out all the fat. Serve when dark and crisped.
A gorgeously silky accompaniment (which my husband hates) is a version of babaganoush with yoghurt replacing the tehina. It's much lighter and far less fattening and was first brought to my attention by Sal the Policeman.
Smoke your aubergine on a gas flame until collapsed. If no gas then roast hell out of it in the oven.
When it's cooled a bit, peel off the skin and purée.
Serve the whole shebang - rice, lamb, juices and aubergine and sprinkle with the dry spice mix.
Then thank your lucky stars that you don't have to cook it on TV.
Zoe must be mad.