31 December 2009

Welcome 2010

"Fir ald lang syn, ma jo,
fir ald lang syn,
wil tak a cup o kyndnes yet,
fir ald lang syn..."

»Click for a very melodious Scottish version of Auld Lang Syne which has been playing on the radio here. 

Take Harry and Sally to Sunday tea

This wonderful ad appeared in the tube stations about two weeks ago. I've just made contact with them to see how I can help with neither a car nor an apartment here.

Next time when I am old, I hope someone takes me out for tea in a bike or a sidecar! :)

If you are interested, this is »a video of what goes on in these tea parties.

29 December 2009

Roasted winter vegetables

My contribution to Christmas lunch. 3 kg (probably more) of potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, peppers and onions sound like a lot, but once roasted, they shrink and are very dense. That pan there is only 9 inches wide and 2 inches deep.

Rosemary and sage add such wonderful dimensions to roasted vegetables. I think I want to attack a swede (the plant, not the nationality) next time.

Harmonica boy at Christmas lunch

harmonica boy

28 December 2009

Uncle's blossoms

Uncle's blossoms
Last year at this time, we had to make some hard decisions. Sometimes I wonder if the sedation is more for the living than for the dying.

»NYT: Hard Choice for a Comfortable Death: Sedation

27 December 2009


Chinotto San Pellegrino
Speaking of orange fizzy drinks, I just recalled that Mr A introduced me to chinotto when we went to »Princi, an upscale, day/night Italian bakery here. This is the same bittersweet orange that is used in campari (alcoholic) and is marketed by San Pellegrino as Chinò (non-alcoholic). Give it a try but by all measures, campari and Chinò are acquired tastes due to their bitterness. I quite like campari when in the right mood, but only if it is ice-cold, diluted and fizzy. Venice (cf its love of »spritz) and »my Campari Project are the best places to be in the right mood.

»Wikipedia claims that the Italians think the fruit came from China, hence its name. I have never heard of bitter oranges in the context of China; I think we happily gave Marco Polo all of the trees when he came by a few hundred years ago.


orangina 1972 poster
orangina 1974 poster
My Orangina craving began exactly a month ago from today, when I visited Paris for a weekend. To my horror, I didn't find the classic glass bottle during my entire stay. I eventually succumbed to a tin can *cringe* on the Eurostar back.

Back in London, it seems that only the Apostrophe sandwich shops (and Paul bakeries too it seems - thanks Ms M) stock the glass bottle ones, at £1.50 a pop.

So, I have just placed an order for 2 cases from a wholesaler. Eagerly awaiting their arrival.

P.S. The illustrator of these posters is the rather famous Bernard Villemot. Orangina has a »lovely shrine of its iconic posters and TV ads through the decades.

24 December 2009

Shoreditch baigel shop

Yes, the famous 24-7 one in Brick Lane that apparently only changed hands three times since the French revolution.  The salted beef baigel TRULY lived up to its name; the cheesecake less so.

And no, the blur is not some new iPhone effect.  It's the condensation on the lens (a la those on Mr A's glasses) when we went indoors.*

Kudos to old neighbour Mr A for letting me drag him all over town in search of Jarmusch's espressos, Brick Lane baigels and wrongly timed punk gig!

*I know, it's bad for the camera's insides.  I really must remember to put him in a ziplock bag when we go out in this weather.

Two espressos in two separate cups

We just had to order them, after seeing »Limits of Control the night before ;)

18 December 2009


Anticipation is such a wonderful thing... but its bedfellow can often be disappointment.

Cutting observation by Mr B.

15 December 2009

"Let's just go"

The bank account, the aging parents, the jadedness, the divergence of paths, the broken leg, even the visa status... So many things can get into the way.

Whether hearing or saying it, whether literally or metaphorically, I just came to comprehend how precious and under-appreciated a sentence it is.

Fancy lemons

Good to know I'm not drinking wax.

I have eight of them. Get lost, sore throat.

Responsible egg-eating

I didn't know about these codes until Mr C pointed them out. (They are EU-wide, it seems.)  Now I feel better about stealing from the chickens.

12 December 2009

NIMBY #2: Serangoon Gardens dormitory

Goh Bock Seng, a resident, said: "Singaporeans are used to living in a community. If the workers are educated and they know (how) to behave themselves, I think it's fine. We've finally accepted the fact, but we just want to say that we should have been consulted first."

Another resident, Fang Shihan, said: "For me, personally, I would like to get to know them better since we're going to be living in close proximity. Maybe we could have tours inside to see how they live, what they do, instead of having this little alien town that we don't understand."

Have tours inside?  Do you think they are zoo exhibits?  Would you like to offer your house for everyone else to tour?

11 December 2009

Naked crisps

I'm starting to get into this British habit of eating crisps (elsewhere: "chips") at lunch with sandwiches.

Winter blooms

winter blooms
Looks unreal, doesn't it?  (Both the flash effect and the fact that this is December)

There is a whole tree blooming like this in the courtyard.

Lion at Sotheby's

Checked out Sotheby's with Mr R a couple of nights ago as we were in the area.  And there it was, the petite, 3,200-year-old Madame Sekhmet above us, fully exposed to the elements.  I have to agree with Mr R that "it is a little underwhelming".

Maybe I should check her out again in daylight.

08 December 2009

Back to some normacy - started cooking again

»Nikujaga at midnight is the preferred poison.

Galfriends rock!

Ladurée in London doesn't.  CHEWY, eww.  I'll never eat macarons here again.  Stick only to the »Ladurée in Paris, and definitely try »Pierre Hermé there as well.

05 December 2009

Feel like snapping

Need some air.

My police horses are back

Haven't heard them trotting by in the past couple of days. Good to know they still make their rounds in winter.

Did you know that they wear ankle guards on their forelegs?

04 December 2009

Feisty Ravel

[Embedded video of Ravel's Tzigane - click on original post to view]

Heard this live last night during the Winter Concert of my Goodenough College. It is so fantastic, live. (It is equally fantastic to live among musicians too.) The French violinist was feisty, had wild blond hair and appropriately broke from the norm of concert black »to don a yellow gypsyish dress.

Non-live, this version by Vengerov is the best in my opinion. It gives me a neck-ache to watch his contorted posture, but I like his interpretation and especially relish the accompaniment of the harp and orchestra.