Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Off Work

It is Mr K-E's birthday tomorrow so we had a day off work today. We slept in, and so missed all the big news about the defused bomb on Haymarket.

My Mum rang while we were just getting up and having showers etc, so we heard about it from her. Well, you can't let this stuff affect your life really. So we didn't change our plans and went into town as we had planned.

Before we left, we had breakfast at home. I've only discovered how yummy grapefruit is very recently.

Mr K-E made us ham and cheese croissants.

In town we had lunch at Wagamama, before hitting the shops. Yes, the sales are on, woohoo! Todays star buys were :

A cute little coat from Zara. This was actually full price but I thought it was sooo cute. The big lapels! The buttons!

Yep. More shoes. From Zara (me) and Shellys (Mr K-E)

Don't buy this.

When I was ordering our latest Sainsbury shop online, I happened to see John West's Dressed Lobster and thought it would be nice to try it.

When it arrived, boy, was I disappointed.

Firstly, it was tiny.

That's a teaspoon next to it for scale. And when I opened it, Mr K-E said it looked like catfood. It did not taste good. Bleurgh!

Me: That was rubbish. Lobster! Hah! More like ground up lobster shells and some vegetable oil...
Mr K-E: Well how much did it cost?
Me: Dunno. About a pound?
Mr K-E: Hahahahahahaha! What did you expect? Lobster for a pound? Hahahahaha....etc

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I really enjoy my work, but I've feeling a bit pessimistic about it lately because of my new boss - lets call him Mr B. My old Boss, Mr A, was promoted and I don't really get on very well with his replacement.

To cut a long story short, part of the problem is that Mr B is one of those guys who is always in the pub and his idea of a good bloke is "a total pisshead". My theory is that he can't get his head around me because

  • I'm foreign but I don't have a funny accent and can write in proper English
  • I'm a woman but not interested in flirting with him (or anyone else in the office)
  • In a male-dominated industry, I am actually quite competent at my job
  • Don't want to go to the pub 3 days a week after work to listen to his awful anecdotes. If I had wanted to spend all my life in the pub listening to men's cheesy lines, I would have become a barmaid!

(Mr K-E says I should explain - a pisshead is British slang for someone who gets drunk all the time)

He and I are like chalk and cheese in our working styles. I can't understand how he got into his position and I'm sure he doesn't understand me either. Oh well, maybe our working relationship will be like one of those marriages where the couple just grunt at each other. (Not like my lovely marriage, of course)

I went to see my old Boss today and he asked me to stick it out for a few more months. And then if I still found it intolerable, he would arrange for me to be transferred. As he pointed out, I don't really work "with" Mr B, the way the teams are set up we actually work "in parallel".

Yeah, but at the end of the day he's still my line manager, right?

OK. I'll give it another few months. Lets see what happens.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I was flicking through my copy of Eve yesterday when I suddenly realised that the name at the top of the page was very, very familiar. Holy Cow! Rachael Malai Ali! And to prove it, her photo was there too...

She was talking about her nervous breakdown to promote her book The Cow Jumps over the Moon. I didn't realise she was a script writer and journalist? I thought she was mainly involved in running her mother's nursery school. I'm not trying to be bitchy here, by the way.

Her publishers call it "our new bestseller" - good marketing ploy :)

I haven't read it so I don't know if it is any good, but even so I'm very impressed. Jealous too; but mainly impressed. Well, she should be proud!

  1. she has written a book
  2. it's been published (let's face it, this is the tricky bit. Anyone can churn out pages of crap. Just like us bloggers hahaha)
  3. her publishers obviously they are on to a good thing and promoting her in magazines like Eve

But also, nervous breakdowns/depression/stress are uncomfortable subjects in Brunei. So maybe other people who are going through the same thing will realise they are not alone.

Plus, I hope she has a good poke at all the people who were mean to her when she was ill. In a witty way, of course. Buy it here.

(PS I have just realised that people who aren't from Brunei will be thinking WTF? Rachael Malai Ali is a fellow Bruneian from a prominent family in Brunei. Her sisters Jenny and Paula are local celebrities. It's sooooo strange to read about a Bruneian who isn't the Sultan, or part of his family, or selling a story about them)

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I've been baking again today. How can heat applied to a combination of flour, sugar, eggs and butter produce something so delicious?

Mr K-E is watching 28 Days Later on TV. We've watched it before but I still have to hide behind the laptop. I'm the biggest scaredy-cat in the world.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Shiny shoes

Mr K-E wanted to look at belts in Covent Garden so we met after work for some Friday evening shopping. I saw these honeys in Firetrap. Even though I have bought some new shoes recently that I haven't even worn, I couldn't resist.

...the funky heel...the upturned toes...that shiny patent leather which makes it slightly edgy...

I even like the detail in (silver) lining.

Mr K-E bought some shirts from Firetrap, so it wasn't just me.

After that we wandered over to Urban Outfitters. I haven't been in there for ages, and it's full of lovely clothes. There was a really cool dress from Vivenne Westwood's diffusion line, but at £220 I didn't even dare to try it on. What if it looks really good on me? What then? I hate crying in public!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I love cherries.

It's summer! Strawberries and cherries are everywhere, ripe and lovely. Although you can get strawberries all year round now, they taste absolutely perfect now. No need to add sugar or cream, just eat. Yum yum.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where can I get one of those?

I have just seen the advert for Dolce & Gabbana's latest scent and OH MY GOD.....

Ladies (and maybe some men) please check him out.

I don't know how to embed a youtube clip, but you can watch the full advert on the D&G website. Click on where it says "spot".

Now I have to go calm down. *phew*

Gym and Pizza

Mr K-E and I went to gym today for the first time in months. The TVs in there have been stolen, hahahaha! Unbelievable! They are 4 big 50" screen monsters....must be an inside job (that's Mr K-E's opinion).

After the gym we were tired and starving so we got a Dominos pizza delivered.

Can you spot our lifestyle conflict?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunny Weekend

I wanted to pick up some things from Chinatown so on Friday night Mr K-E met me at my usual haunt Murder One aka Heartlines on Charing Cross road. In the bad old days before Borders, this was the only place to buy my favourite trashy romances.

These days I get most of my books from Amazon, but I still pop in regularly - although it's not so good for browsing now that they are in smaller premises.

We ate in Tokyo Diner. Hmmm. It's OK I guess. The bento boxes seemed small, but maybe I'm just greedy hahaha.

It has been a lovely sunny weekend.

Our local.

I thought these were a good idea. Brownies. Mmmm.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sponsor you? @&£% OFF!

I have never understood the concept of "sponsoring" someone to do something for charity.

You know what I mean : it works like this. Someone in the office is running a marathon/climbing a mountain/doing a parachute jump etc. They come round with a form for you to pledge money towards a charity and you try to pledge an amount that doesn't look too stingy.

What a complete waste of time and (my) money.

Someone in my office ran in the New York marathon last year. He came round with a form collecting money for a cancer charity.

Now, I support charities. I admire people who volunteer and give up their time and energy for charities.

But does it make sense for this guy to fly to New York and run a marathon, then ask me for money for the charity? Why doesn't he save the £300 plane ticket, £300 hotel charges, running kit etc etc, stay home that day and give the money he has saved to the charity? To make things worse, this guy loves running; frankly, it's a holiday for him!

Aarrgghhh, I wish I had the guts to tell him where to go. Of course, I just pledged £5 instead.

First of all, if they genuinely want to raise money for charity, then I am sure there are a hundred more efficient ways of doing it than running a marathon. If they got a second job stacking shelves in Sainburys instead of "training" for their marathon, they could give all that money away and wouldn't have to bother me!

What I hate the most are the schemes where charities pay for parachute jumps, trekking holidays etc as long as you raise a certain amount of money. For example - raise £360 to do a parachute jump for Breast Cancer charity. The charity only gets £140 and the rest pays for the jump. What. A. Con.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Golden syrup makes lovely cookies.

Cookies! If I made them, then they are guilt-free!

Sake Steak

One of the highlights of our Saturday shopping delivery was this bottle of sake.

There is a recipe for Sake Steak in Nigella Lawson's Feast that I have wanted to try for a while.

So I went off and bought some fillet steak from the butcher on Saturday. Holy cow! Fillet steak is really expensive!!

Nigella says : Marinade the fillet steak in these ingredients. One teaspoon of English mustard, two tablespoons of Worcester sauce, one tablespoon of soy sauce and garlic or chili oil. I didn't have any chili oil so I just used olive oil and some dried chili flakes instead.

Note: In UK recipes, a "tablespoon" is not the spoon that we normally eat with in Brunei. This size spoon is called a dessert spoon. A "tablespoon" is the big serving spoon. (It's because people in the UK don't eat their main course with a spoon, only their dessert.)

I marinaded the steaks in a sandwich bag overnight and got them out for lunch today. Drain the steaks and fry for two minutes each side. Then immediately wrap up in tin foil for ten minutes (somewhere warm) to continue cooking and "rest".

Meanwhile heat up 60ml of sake. Let the alcohol evaporate and add one teaspoon of English mustard, half a teaspoon of fish sauce, one teaspoon of soy sauce and one teaspoon of Worcester sauce. Also add the pan juices from the steaks.

Nigella serves it with rice, but it was too hot for rice today. Mr K-E wanted Caesar Salad.

I was sceptical about wrapping up the steaks in tin foil.

But when the ten minutes was up and I sliced into them...... OMG. Ms. Lawson certainly knows what she is doing. The steaks were perfectly cooked.

Pour the sake sauce over ... and eat. To be honest, the steak is delicious even without the sake sauce. How can something so delicious be so easy?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Friday night

New shoes from L.K Bennett. Who needs comfort when you have can high heels?

I also tried on some silver high-heels but although they were lovely, I was unconvinced. Silver is hot right now, but there's a fine line between looking fashionable and looking like a granny on a cruise.

After my Friday evening shopping, I met Mr K-E at Ha! Ha! (yes, stupid name, I know) on Great Titchfield Street. One of his colleagues is leaving to go home to Australia, so we met up for drinks and dinner. Unfortunately it was after 9:30 when we sat down for dinner and the kitchen had sold out of many items including burgers, duck, fishcakes and chorizo salad. After some unhappy muttering, I had the salmon and it was nice.

I love mojitos but absorbing alcohol is not my strong point! So a taxi home for me and immediate drunken collapse into bed.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Cook's Tour by Anthony Bourdain

Good combination of food and travel, written in a distinctive blunt, no bull-shit style. Anthony Bourdain leaves his New York restaurant kitchen to travel around the world, eating unusual food and meeting interesting people. What's not to like?

I love books about food so it's no big surprise that I enjoyed reading this book (again). I found it when I was packing my books away for storage and put it to one side to re-read.

There's no big plot; just him travelling around the world and eating as he wanders from place to place. There' s a camera crew following him around but the film crew sportingly join in with his heroic food adventures.

Of course, he had to try durian (in Vietnam) - and he liked it! Hooray! He describes it as one of the few "new" tastes that he experiences in his travels.

Although it will mainly appeal to foodies, Bourdain also provides entertaining descriptions of the people he meets and the culture of the countries that he is visiting.

Maybe some people will be put off by his tone and language but it was OK for me. Refreshing, even. Foodies will enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


The new Olympic logo for London 2012 was launched yesterday. Yes, isn't it shit?!

I know that there is a long way to go before 2012 and trends come and go etc etc...but really. If I were giving it marks out of ten, it would be a 3. With "must try harder" next to it.

I was talking to someone at work today and had to take something out of my new handbag. I couldn't resist a bit of handbag-stroking, so I purred, "Look, isn't it lovely?"

Meanwhile, this bloke (most of my colleagues are men) looks confused and says, "Uh GG? Is that a designer?"

Is this man laughing at my precious? "Are you taking the piss?"

It seems not because now he looks even more confused.

"It's a Gucci."

"Is it a fake?"

I reply through gritted teeth, "No, it's not a fake and no, I'm not overpaid


Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday night dinner

Fry onion, garlic and strips of bacon in olive oil.

Add sliced portobello mushrooms.

Add sliced chicken breast.

Add wholegrain french mustard, two tablespoons sour cream and a chicken stock cube.

Eat with lots of fluffy white rice.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Very trashy vampires

I know I'm supposed to be re-reading A Cook's Tour (Anthony Bourdain) but this weekend I've been distracted by Lynn Viehl's vampire series. I've plowed my way through If Angels Burn, Private Demon and Dark Need. I'm about to crack open the fourth in the series, Night Lost.

You can tell from the titles just how trashy these books are but who cares? I love them! Men have their James Bond/Dungeons and Dragons/Jet Li delusions and I have my alpha-hero vampires ;)

(If you read trashy romance novels, you will know that vampire fiction is hot these days. I mean popular, not just steamy ...)

JR Ward is another one of my faves; unfortunately her next book is not out till September. *withdrawal*sob*sob* Luckily I stumbled on Lynn Viehl and have been gobbling up her books these last few weeks.

I love discovering new authors especially if they have long backlists. When I discovered JD Robb, I immediately ordered the next 12 books in the Eve Dallas series from Amazon. Why restrain yourself?? Reading is always educational. In Katie-Ella world, books are a guilt-free purchase.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Scallops and sfogliatella

Mr K-E and I stayed in our South London neighbourhood today; visiting all the local shops. We are quite spoilt living here as there is an excellent butcher nearby, as well as a very good fishmonger. Also worth mentioning: a specialist cheese shop, a deli, plus several excellent restaurants and boutiques. All within 10 minutes walk of my front door.

Although it is a very "urban" environment, there is a village-y feel. We have a very successful online forum where people talk about local issues, from restaurant reviews to lost pets. There's a real community spirit about the place :)

Anyway, today I had scallops and pancetta for lunch. Nigella has a very simple recipe in How to Eat (see here) but I used pancetta instead of bacon for extra yumminess. I also used lemon juice instead of sherry. Still delicious and oh so easy....

Vegetarians and dieters look away now!

Two thick strips of pancetta from the deli, perfect for cutting into small cubes.

Mr K-E told me off for buying this. It's so bad for you!

(I only used one strip today)

The scallops.

Fry the pancetta in a little olive oil until brown and crispy, then remove the pancetta from the pan.

Next fry some garlic and the scallops in the pancetta flavoured oil for a few minutes. Add some lemon juice and return the pancetta to the pan.

Season with black pepper. There is no need to add salt as the pancetta is naturally salty.

I ate it with rice.

The lemon-y seafood-y sauce tasted delicious mixed with rice.

Nigella says that 10 scallops serve two people. Or one hungry Katie-Ella, hahaha.

(Mr K-E doesn't eat scallops. He had ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch.)

We also discovered these little Italian pastries called sfogliatella. A Neapolitan speciality, apparently.

These were filled with chocolate and vanilla cream.

You'd think I would be stuffed after all those scallops. There's always room for carrot cake.

Mr K-E had chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream. He gave the cake a minute in the microwave which made it warm and gooey.

Losing faith in humanity

You know, sometimes I wonder why people are so greedy. I admit that I'm as guilty as the next person. I would love to have heaps of money to spend, to fly everywhere first class and spend the rest of my life in 6-star hotels. There are lots of things that I want - 5 carat diamond rings, heated Olympic size swimming pools in my back yard, the ability to buy whole Dior collections with one sweep of my well-manicured hand ....

I think in life, we all make compromises in order to pay the bills and to provide security for loved ones. Most people don't love their jobs, we just grit our teeth and get on with it.

But there are things that I wouldn't do though. For example, I don't think I would intentionally hurt anyone or cheat them of their life savings.

Sometimes when I read about stuff like the baby-formula scandal in China, it makes me think; how low can people go to make money? Summary: In 2004, fake baby milk formula with no nutritional value was manufactured and sold by some truly unscrupulous people. Babies who were fed this formula suffered from terrible malnutrition and many died. To make things worse, the local authorites were slow to react, which makes me think that there was corruption and dirty money at the highest levels. How awful is that?

Today there was a feature on the Radio 4 about counterfeit anti-malarial drugs which are being produced in South East Asia. So be careful if you are travelling and purchase anti-malarial drugs locally. These drugs which don't contain any of the active ingredient, artesunate, are also being exported to other parts of the world, Africa in particular.

It gets worse. As people become more aware of this, the counterfeiters have started to add a small amount of artesunate to the fakes so that it shows up in tests and fools the labs. This means that there is a risk that the malaria parasites will develop a resistance to artesunate.

I was also dismayed to read about counterfeit anti-cancer drugs which have surfaced in the UK. These suppliers have really sold their soul for cash. Selling brick dust coated in paint as life-saving medicine. Bastards.