Yes hello Nan.
Dan? Dan is that you?
Yes Nan it's me, are you alright?
Where are you?
I've just got out of the station, I'll be there in about 5 minutes.
Oh good, will you get me a paper? Get me the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard. Go to the cornershop at the bottom of the road but don't go into Londis, make sure you go into the cornershop. The Standard should be free.
OK Nan, see you in a minute.
(knocks on door)
Ooooh hello Dan, come on, come in. How are you doing you alright? Come on sit down.
How are you doing Nan?
Ooh I'm alright, you know same old, same old. Now you want a cup of tea? I can't give you a piss of cack* I'm afraid, I've got nothing in.
Yeah, a cup of tea would be great and don't worry I've brought some food with me. We can have that in a bit.
Ooh really, you been shopping?
No I got this from someone I met earlier today, another blogger.
Ooh did you? That's good. How is your blog coming on?
Yeah, really good. Been up to lots, I should be writing more really but....
What is a blog anyway?
Er, well it's erm a place where I can write stuff, which is mostly about food.....erm I suppose it's like a personal record or diary. I think.
Is it like the Internet?
Well, it's on the Internet, if that's what you mean?
Oh I don't get all of that stuff, your Mum prints your stuff off for me. Yeah I like it, makes me chuckle, although maybe you could cut down on the swearing.
Have you met Lawrence Keogh, he's got a restaurant at Borough Market.
No I haven't but you never know....
Have you seen that programme on television where people come to each other's houses and they cook for each other, oh whatsit called...
Come Dine With Me?
That's it! Bloody car crash tv. What a load of bitchy people! Would you ever do that Dan?
I don't think so.
No I bloody wouldn't either......oooh bollocks!
Yeah it's just me knee. Can't wait to get it done. I'll get moving in a minute.
Well you've only got to wait a couple more weeks, how are you feeling about it all?
Oh I'll be fine. I saw the consultant that other day, nice man, he had a lovely pair of shoes on. Always like to see a man in a classy pair of shoes.
I like brogues.
Oooh yes, I like brogues too, classy shoe. Thanks for bringing me the papers by the way, you did go to the cornershop didn't you?
Good. I don't like that Londis, bloody shithole in there. Mind you, the whole place is a shithole. Makes you laugh but they're trying to set up a market down there. Maida Vale Market they want to call it! Ha, it's nowhere near bloody Maida Vale! Trying to gentrify the area they are but it won't work, it's more like a ghetto around here. It's all the bloody foreigners moving in. Mind you, everyone down this street is nice. They all look out for me and the Muslims next door are lovely.
You're kind of sending out mixed signals there Nan, maybe you should stop reading the Daily Mail.
What? Oh don't mind me, I haven't seen anyone for two days, gotta have me moan haven't I, I am 77 you know.
Are you still calling up BT customer sales wanting to complain to the Chairman?
(chuckles) I haven't done that in a while, last time I kept someone on the phone for half an hour, I wasn't going anywhere until they put me through, they kept suggesting that I write a letter Mrs Keogh but I wasn't going anywhere.
Naughty. Are you hungry yet?
Yeah go on then, what have you got?
Lamb shanks. With mashed sweet potato and shredded cabbage I think. Oh and a mango dessert.
How are you getting on with the oven we gave you?
I don't like it. I can't work it and I don't like the gas hob, too expensive to run.
Er OK, right well I'll just warm the oven up then.
So how did you get all this food?
From another blogger. It's part of my project called Where's My Pork Chop? where I get other bloggers to cook for me and I write about it afterwards.
Oooh they give you food for free? Oooh that's good.
Well I did buy this blogger some lunch and a beer in return. I always exchange something for the meal, that's the deal. Mind you, he was supposed to be giving up beer for Lent.
Oh not a very good Catholic then! Mind you, I can talk. So it was a bloke was it? What's his name?
James Ramsden. His blog is called The Larder Lout, well it used to be.
Lager lout?! No wonder he couldn't stay off the beer.
No, Larder Lout but he's changed it. He's a writer too, perhaps he thought Larder Lout was too frivolous. He trained as a chef too.
Oooh really, where?
In Ireland, er Ballymahony? er no that's not right, erm...
Something like that. So once we've got the oven warmed up, I'll heat the shanks through. Where's your saucepans so that I can heat the veg?
Oh sod all that, why don't you use the microwave?
I didn't know you had a microwave? Where is it?
Up there on the fridge. I don't use it much mind.
OK, let me zap the shanks first and then I'll just give the veg a quick blast.
So does this James Lager Lout know Lawrence Keogh?
Er I don't know.
Well find out. Then you can tell him that your uncle has the same name.
Yeah I will do, this shouldn't take much longer.
Smells lovely, what is that curry?
Ah yes that's right, James said that the lamb shanks were spicy. Here you go....oh hang on, wait, I've got to take a picture. There we go. Hey we should have a picture of the two of us tucking in!
What with all this mess in the background?
Yeah, don't worry, it'll add er...a nice human touch.
But the place looks like fucking Portabello Road!
Don't worry Nan, the place always looks like fucking Portabello Road. Right here we go, the camera is on timer, ready?
Sorry, OK cheese! Right come on then Nan, get stuck in.
Ooooh this is nice.
Hmm it looks pretty good eh?
Yeah, what's he put in the mash? He's put something in the mash.
Erm, yeah, what is that? Strange, I can't put my finger on it.
The lamb is nice, hmm ooooh it's tender isn't, that lager lout must have cooked these nice and slow. That's the best way to cook meat you know....oh it's got a kick eh!
Yeah not too bad, it's not too hot for you Nan?
Ooh no, this is just fine, ooh it's lovely. What's this on the cabbage or are they greens?
Ah yes, he said he put mustard seeds in. I think. I wasn't really paying much attention, nice though eh? I like the way they pop in your mouth...
He's put ginger in the mash, ooh that's different, hmm nice, goes lovely with the curry, yes mops up lovely doesn't it.
Hmm ginger, yeah I'm getting that now, wow that is different, makes it fragrant too.
There's only one thing wrong though.
I think you should of warmed the shanks in the oven, look the sauce has congealed in the microwave.
I don't think I can eat all of this, can I save some for later?
Sure Nan, you want some dessert though in a bit?
Yeah let's wait a bit.
(five minutes elapse before she crumbles)
Come on then let's try that dessert, what did you say it was?
Mango fool, I think.
You better bloody ask next time, no good eating something that you don't know anything about, someone could poison you!
Yes Nan, I'll remember that, here you go.
Hmm, that's nice.
Hmm, it's an aquired taste I'd say.
What don't you like it?
No I do, it's the consistancy that's funny, what's he put in it? Tapioca?
I dunno. I still like it though, mind you I love mango. Oh look, there's almond flakes in it, that's different.
Is there lime in it too?
Hmm yes I think you're right. Do you like it?
It's nice but it's an acquired taste though, make sure you put that down when you write all about it. Say it's an acquired taste.
OK, I might do. Maybe I'll just ask him what was in it when I see him next.
Oooh what is he going to cook for you again?
Oh no, no, James is organising this event, this food debate where people talk about the one ingredient they couldn't live without and they go head to head and it goes to a jury as to who was the most convincing. I think.
Ah what so it's some kind of slanging match then?
Yeah sort of, I expect it'll get quite heated especially as it's in a pub.
What ingredient are you going to argue the toss for then?
Well I've not put my name down as a speaker, I thought about dessicated coconut though.
I'm only kidding.
Ooh well that sounds like a laugh, I do like a good row. Shame they don't have Kilroy on anymore though, I don't like that Jeremy Kyle.
Well you should come along Nan.
Where is it then?
Ooh fuck that, that's too far........
I think I'll end it there so thank you James, it really was a stellar meal even if your dessert did throw up some interesting questions, I really enjoyed it and I know my dear ol' Nan loved it.
*the "piss of cack" comes from a book I bought Nan for Christmas one year. It was a compilation of homework spelling mistakes from young children and the term translates as "piece of cake". I know it tickled her highly when she first read it and she has been saying it ever since.