There's no denying it, the Internet is a wonderful place but it can also be a strange place where even stranger people lurk. I have recently installed Google Analytics software on this blog site and on Food Urchin, as apparently this is an enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Zippity doo dah! I can now see if anyone is actually interested in what I am writing about or at least discover how they stumbled across my blog in the first place. So when I analysed the most recent report this morning over a bowl of cornflakes, I was fascinated to learn that someone in outer echelons of the 'net' had been directed to WMPC because they had typed "nipple tweak tube" into the search bar. I say fascinated but I was also slightly disturbed as personally I couldn't find any good reason as to why someone should be looking for such a thing. Maybe I'm naive and should get out some more. Still, such a request does highlight the fact that there are some very odd folks out there. And with that in mind, you do have to feel for Catherine from The Catty Life. After all she had put herself in the precarious position of agreeing to feed some nutter she hardly knew from off the web and meet him in Paternoster Square, outside Itsu. What was she thinking for frack's sake?!
And by all accounts, these were precisely the sentiments of Catherine's (or rather Catty's) friends when she bumped into them last week whilst waiting for yours truly to turn up. You can just imagine it can't you:
"You're doing what? Meeting some guy you've never met before off the Internet and feeding him?"
"You're crazy, what does he look like?"
"Well he says he looks like a cross between Ade Edmondson and Heston Blumenthal"
"What like that guy over there? With the baggy shorts and hairy knees?"
"Hey yes I think that's him!"
"OK, we'll wait around the corner. Scream if he even breathes on you"
Gladly there was no such ensuing drama, it was just really cool to spend 15 minutes or so, idly chatting with Catty about food, her background and about blogging in general. And this is precisely what the project is about, to get to know the faces behind the blogs. And to eat their food of course and after talking about her Malaysian heritage, I was pretty excited about what kind of meal Catty had cooked. I was however left fairly stumped by her description of "dirty, dirty, dirty fried rice". What, had she gone and served supper up in a filthy ashtray? Even worse, could it be that she is in fact the weirdo off the net and not me? What the hell was in the paper bag she was clutching? My look of concern prompted Catty to explain further that she had been born in Australia and had lived there most of her life. "Dirty" was just an Aussie expression of "full on" and that was the way she liked to cook and flavour her rice. "Strewth", I thought "thank god for that!".
Catty's rice was indeed packed with substance and spice and reinforced a notion I've had in my head for some time that good Eastern style home cooked food takes some beating. Her tip of sprinkling water over the rice before cooking to prevent drying out worked a treat and the smell once it was heated up was mouth-watering. The rice itself was extremely moreish with peppery tones rather than chilli heat and there were plenty of lovely morsels of bbq pork and juicy plump prawns. No sorry, not morsels, more like dirty fat chunks. The strips of egg may have suffered slightly at the hand of the microwave, I did give them just the shortest of blasts separately but unfortunately they turned a bit rubbery. Still no matter, it didn't stop me from wolfing them down with the rest like a greedy pig. The recipe isn't on her blog but she was kind enough to let me post it on WMPC which you'll find at the bottom. The chrysanthemum tea was a new one on me and once I got used it's subtle sweet taste, I found that I really liked it and in a funny way, it married up well with Catty's dish. She also provided some wrapped sweeties for afters, a kind of coconut truffle that was snaffled up straight away. Alas little piggy here neglected to note the brand but they were very nice (oink oink).
For the exchange I bought lunch for Catty in the shape of sushi and fresh fruit salad from Itsu. She did say that it wasn't the best in the city by far and prefers Ribbon for a lunchtime bento box but I suspect that she had plans to be sneak back in for some frozen yoghurt once I departed. And why not, we all have our own little deviant secrets don't we but I would sooner meet up with Catty than Mr Nipple Tweak Tube any day of the week.
Thanks a lot Catty!
Catty's Dirty Fried Rice
3 cups of jasmine rice
1 takeaway box of BBQ pork with sauce
400 grams prawns
200 green beans, diced
1 large onion, diced
Light soy sauce
Chilli flakes to taste
Cracked pepper to taste
1. Cook the rice and refrigerate overnight (fried rice cooks best with dry, cooked rice - you can try it with rice you've just cooked but it may turn out a little gooey).
2. Beat the eggs in a bowl, add a touch of soy sauce and cracked pepper. Separate into two bowls.
3. Heat some olive oil in a pan and when very hot, add a small amount of egg from one bowl to make a thin film. As it cooks (and it only takes seconds) flip over and lightly cook the other side. Remove from heat. Repeat until egg from one bowl is all used up. Cut the thin egg sheets into strips and set aside - this is for the egg 'strips' which top off the fried rice.
4. Heat some more olive oil and add the other bowl of egg. Lightly fry on each side and using the spatula/wooden spoon/whatever you cook with, shred the egg into small pieces. Remove from heat and put aside - this is to mix with the fried rice in step 9.
5. Heat the pan again with olive oil, and add onions. Fry until they are just starting to brown then add the beans.
6. Fry until beans are starting to soften, then add the prawns.
7. Once the prawns are cooked, add the rice. Add a decent dollop(s) of oyster sauce and a good dash of soy, and stir stir stir!
8. On a low heat, keep stirring and frying, making sure you have no 'white rice'. Everything should be saucy ;)
9. Add the BBQ pork (and all its sauce) and the egg (not the strips), continue stirring.
10. Add cracked pepper and chilli flakes to taste.
11. Once cooked, top with strips of egg and serve immediately.