I got told off this weekend.
"Dan! Are you going to keep looking at that bloody thing all weekend or do you want to converse with some real people for a change? You dickhead"
And the funny thing is that it wasn't my wife shouting at me this time. No the verbal abuse came from my mates. I was on a stag do and should have been knee deep in beer, vomit and male bonding. But I just couldn't resist sneaking a glance at my iPhone every 5 minutes for a fix of social media crack. Bloody iPhone, bane of my life. If you haven't got one yet then please try to resist for a little while longer as they are highly addictive and there's nothing worse than looking like a bog-eyed guppy as you stand at the train station thumping at the screen with one sausage-like finger. My excuse for getting one was the blogging, a fairly feeble one but I stand by it. I figured that whilst on the move, it would help me keep in touch with the thousands of eager participants who would want to sign up to WMPC. In turn I could read up on their blogs, see what kind of food they were into, get a bit of background information, you know do some research before we met up. Of course that kind of thinking was always going to bite me on the posterior. It very nearly did when I met Charmaine who writes Tasty Treats (and elsewhere)
We had arranged to meet up on the corner of Leather Lane last week for the swap and grab a juicy burrito from Daddy Donkey for lunch. As it is the case sometimes, I was running late having made the decision to walk from Fenchurch St and grab a bottle of red on the way. Not very wise considering I had about 10 minutes in which to make the journey. By the time I got to St Pauls, I was fairly sprinting with rucksack slung in the crook of my arm, bottle of Babich Syrah in one hand, the iPhone in the other, frantically trying to tweet Charmaine that I was running behind. If you had given me a pair of heels, I could have easily passed off for Bridget Jones. I've never met Charmaine before so she told me to look out for a garish pink and grey checkered coat. I'd say that this was a slight overstatement about her garb, I was expecting 80's luminosity but I found her nevertheless, waiting patiently. We shook hands and then made our way down towards Leather Lane market and then I made my clanger.
"So what's the name of your blog again?"
To which Charmaine replied that she has a blog but hasn't written any posts for a while, so then I ask "oh so what do you do again?" and Charmaine simply pauses for a second, smiles and says "do you know anything about what I do?" I reply "er No." And so she smiles again before mysteriously adding "well that's OK then, there are breadcrumbs out there if you really want to find out though."
For a second or two, I am completely stumped and stare back at her like the moron I can be at times. Then I have a flashback, the penny drops and the little voice in my head starts to gabble.
"I do know! Yes! But er, oh no I can't say how I know. Because the person who told me, said that Charmaine likes to keep it under her hat for obvious reasons and that person asked me not to tell anyone what they told me. And that's why Charmaine keeps herself anonymous on twitter for those obvious reasons. Should I say I know? Oh I don't know. Oh no, now I bet she thinks I'm just out to score food from people because I look like I don't know what she does and haven't even bothered to read her blog. But I do know! Oh what a cock!"
Unfortunately, this babbling train of thought set me up like a kipper and for the rest of our meeting I waffled on like an idiot. Telling someone I've just met that my daughter thinks they look like a duck might not be the most complimentary thing to say but Charmaine giggled and got the point. On her avatar on Twitter she wears a Commedia dell'arte type mask and yes I have sat at the PC with my daughter on my lap whilst twittering before, so put two and two together. Damn social media crack, I've even got Isla hooked, what a bad parent. Charmaine didn't have too much to spare and had to get back to the West End, which was lucky for me in the end as I began to feel distinctly flustered. As I watched her walk off to the underground station with a frankly enormous burrito in her hand (she's quite petite) I kicked myself for not revealing all. Although having just reread what I've written so far maybe I have let the cat out of the bag anyway. Whoever might read this post is certainly going to be intrigued now. Secrets and iPhones, the bane of my life.
So anyway what did this mysterious girl make for me and how did it go down? Well Charmaine decided to cook me one of her favourite meals that she would normally have at home when she's not otherwise out. Which is all the time by the sounds of it. Reflecting her Hong Kong heritage, this was a simple dish of Pork Mince with Aubergine, Shitake Mushrooms, Spring Onion and Water Chestnut served with rice and yummy truffles for dessert. The pork had a lovely depth of savouriness with a nice chilli hit running through it. The aubergines and mushrooms were particularly good with a soft velvet texture that contrasted against the crunch of the water chestnuts. Along with some great fluffy rice, all in all this was a very moreish dish. Perhaps it was just a tad over seasoned with salt or soy but I could have gladly eaten more. Charmaine's truffles were delicious, at first I found flavour combination of green tea strange and unusual against the rich chocolate but I did like them. My favourite were her sesame seed ones, very delectable.
Thank you very much Charmaine for a smashing meal and I hope that I haven't led the breadcrumbs to close to your door but I've got a funny feeling that you're not too worried anyway ; )
Pork with Aubergine, Shitake Mushrooms, Spring Onion and Water Chestnut