Posts from the ‘Guides’ category

CCCamden 1

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This Brazilian-English coffee shop is the perfect place to escape the Camden madness

A free piece of London advice for tourists: if you happen to wander around Camden and fancy a little perk, you may be tempted to stop at one of the chain cafes overlooking the Lock. Think again!

Sitting around a corner (hence the name) about three minutes walk from Camden Lock, the mood of The Corner One Coffee Shop could not be further away from the touristy hustle and bustle of the main road. With its exposed brick, sage green walls, peeled metal industrial tables and black woodwork, this is the kind of place where you would find bearded hipsters working on their Mac and cool local families (proof that there are indeed local residents among Camden’s ubiquitous tourists…)

The coffee here is so nice that it does not need any sugar, making The Corner One one of the best coffee places in Camden and fully deserving the brilliant reviews. You can accompany it with pancakes, muffins, salads on demands, or even Brazilian cheese bread.

Be careful though – this is a small place with few seats. And please, keep the secret!

MIL20 Oval Road, Camden
London NW1 7DJ
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Fabrique feature

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I have been completely obsessed with cardamom buns since being in Stockholm some weeks ago. I was staying just down the road from Melqvist Kaffebar and became addicted to their buns & coffee breakfast combination. After coming back, I had serious withdrawal symptoms. My friend Josh, a New Yorker turned Hackney dweller, told me that I could get a fix at Fabrique Bakery in Hoxton/Haggerston.

Good Josh, I owe you one.

The Fabrique in Haggerston is the first London branch of a Stockholm artisanal stone-oven bakery chain: this is bona fide, top-notch Scandi baking. Tucked underneath one of the Hoxton Arches, their laboratory-cum-shop makes and sells all sorts of sourdough (levain) bread, as well as croissants, muffins, cookies and other baked delicacies, including (and most importantly!) the original Swedish cardamom buns. All served with coffee by Stockholm roaster Johan & Nyström.

Forget about American buns: Swedish cardamom buns have a very special knot shape, similar to a bow tie, and are chewier (and tastier) than their Atlantic cousins. Getting your hands on one of Fabrique’s is worth begging and cheating, if necessary. If you really can’t, bake some at home.

MILFabrique Bakery
Arch 385, Geffrye Street,
Hackney, London
E2 8HZ
Hoxton overground station
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Fresh (live) yeast
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Fresh yeast (also known as live yeast) makes a real difference in many baking recipes, so it is worth giving it a try. Getting your hands on some may seem complicated at first, as fresh yeast is not generally available in your local supermarket. Once you know where to look, however, the additional effort is close to zero.

Below are some tips on where to buy fresh yeast in North London. Please do let me know if you know of other places – I am happy to add your suggestions to the list!

Wherever you get your fresh yeast from, keep in mind that it is highly perishable and needs to be kept at fridge temperature. If you get it from a shop, take it back home as soon as possible. If you get it online, make sure that it is sent in temperature-controlled packaging. In any event, always proof it before adding it to your recipe.

From your local bakery

Many bloggers suggest to ask your local bakery to give you some of their fresh yeast. If you local bakery does indeed bake good bread and pastries, they will have fresh yeast and may be willing to give some to you, if you ask nicely. They would usually do this for free, especially if you don’t need much. I love the idea of sharing the yeast as an act of love, so I gave it a try and asked Le Moulin bread & patisserie (182 Kentish Town Rd, NW5 2AE). They very nicely gave me a small quantity for free. Rumours are indeed true.

From your local whole food store

Most whole food stores sell fresh yeast. I get mine from the Earth Food Store in Kentish Town.

Online

Fresh yeast is easy to find online, for example from Ocado. I recommend The Bertinet Kitchen & Bakery, a cookery school based in Brighton. The fresh yeast on sale in their Amazon shop, was packaged in a temperature-controlled bag, arrived firm and moist, and gave lovely bubbles after proofing.

Happy baking!

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Mellqvist Kaffebar 2

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Mellqvist Kaffebar is a small and cosy neighbourhood café on one of the main streets of Södermalm, Stockholm’s coolest district. It is a great place to indulge in the Swedish tradition of fika, taking a break to drink coffee and eat something sweet with a friend.

In addition to the coffee, which is smooth and mellow, people come here for the delicious cardamom buns (kardemummabullar in Swedish), a Swedish fika staple. The weekend brunch is also popular, but there is no real menu – don’t hesitate to ask at the counter.

Once you have grabbed your coffee and bun (and maybe one of the boiled eggs on the side) grab a stool – or better, an outside table if the weather is nice. Then open your copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: besides being one of Stieg Larsson’s favourite places (the writer used to work just above it and is said to have written several pages there) Mellqvist Kaffebar is the location of the book’s final scene.

Judging from the creative types and laptops around, it would appear the literary aura of this café continues.

Hornsgatan 78
118 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone:+46 76 875 29 92
Facebook: MellqvistKaffebar

 

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If the word ‘knitting’ conjures up images of auntie Sally’s itchy acrylic yarn and plastic yellow needles, think again. Modern knitting is all about precious natural fibers, softly tactile textures and stylish designs. Here’s the definitive guide to the perfect Christmas present for the cool, creative knitters in your life.

©The Wool Company

©The Wool Company

1. The Wool Company luxury DK 100% cashmere yarn

This is the yarn equivalent of angel’s breath: 100% cashmere yarn, undyed and untreated, in a wonderful DK (double knitting) weight. Spun (mainly) in Italy for The Wool Company, a family-run business in Cornwall.
(£19.80 for 50 grams, plus postage, The Wool Company website).

©Kelly Connor

©Kelly Connor

2. Kelly Connor Designs knitting project bag

Forget about chintzy flowers. Kelly Connor, an artist based in Aberdeen, Scotland, makes quirky tote knitting bags with funky slogans, perfect to show off on public transport. I like big balls and I cannot lie (remember Sir Mix-A-Lot?) is my tongue-in-cheek favourite.
(£13.75 plus postage, Etsy)

©karoArt

©karoArt

4. KaroArt’s Yellow Stars Knitting Yarn Bowl

KaroArt’s stoneware clay knitting bowl matches the star at the top of the Christmas tree! Unglazed and beautifully textured on the outside, brightly yellow glazed on the inside, it has a comet-shaped slot for threading the yarn through and a star-shaped opening on the rim to support the knitting needles. Handmade in Dublin, Ireland.
(£30.16 plus postage, Etsy)

©Cotton&Cloud

©Cotton&Cloud

4. Cotton & Cloud’s Maku Wrap Cardi pattern

Looking for something as elegant as a kimono and as warm as an Aran jumper? Kyoko Nakayoshi is a London-based Japanese knitting designer who blends Japanese and Western aesthetics in innovative ways. Her textured and delicate knitting patterns are available on her website, Cotton & Cloud, as well as in books and magazines in the United Kingdom and the United States.
(£3.50, downloadable online, Cotton & Cloud website)

©SixSkeins

©SixSkeins

5. SixSkeins’ Sugar skull stitch markers

There are many stitch markers out there, but not as spooky and cute as these ones! Sugar skulls are votive figurines, traditionally used in Mexico to celebrate the Day of the Dead. This set of five stitch markers (the little hooks or rings used to mark specific stitches in a pattern) is handmade in England from small glass beads and lightweight paper beads. It fits all sizes of knitting needles up to 10mm (US 15).
(£5.00 plus postage, Etsy)

©Johan Ku

©Johan Ku

6. Mary Ward Centre Extreme Knitting Course

This is where I will be from next January and I am truly excited! Suitable for beginners, this course aims at exploring alternative materials and scales in knitting. You will get to use giant knitting needles, make knitting devices of your own and work with non-traditional materials including rope, wire and plastic.
In the photo: Johan Ku’s Emotional Sculpture, 2004.
(£87 for six three-hour classes at the Mary Ward Centre, London)

©Search Press Ltd

©Search Press Ltd

7. The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting by Elizabeth Lovick

If you have never tried lace knitting before, make this an aspirational buy… Shetland’s lace stitches, with names like ‘Crest of the Wave’, ‘Razor Shell’ and ‘Cat’s Paw’, have been used by the women of the Northern Isles for hundreds of years. This book by Elizabeth Lovick, the Scottish designer behind Northern Lace, introduces the ethereal beauty and intricacy of Shetland lace knitting with stitches, techniques, and projects for lighter-than-air shawls, scarves, hats and more.
(Search Press Ltd, £10.34 on Amazon)

©Hélène Magnússon

©Hélène Magnússon

8. Knitting trip to Iceland

Iceland is a wonderful place with a great knitting tradition (you can buy yarn at the supermarket!). These tours, a collaboration between Icelandic designer Hélène Magnússon and Icelandic Mountain Guides, mix knitting with the beautiful Icelandic nature. Participants explore the island hiking, trekking or by short walks and meet local knitters, spinners, dyers, designers and farmers.
(from 155.000 ISK, about £790.00, for a 4-day tour)

©Lantern Moon

©Lantern Moon

9. Lantern Moon Rosewood Needles

Every knitter deserves some truly scrumptious tools! Lantern Moon knitting needles are handmade in Vietnam by skilled craftspeople. Their distinctive design combines two fine woods to make the most beautiful and functional knitting needles available. Rosewood needles have ebony tops in the thinner sizes and palm wood tops in the thicker sizes. Available in the UK from Knit with Attitude and Loop.
(£15.00 plus postage from Knit with Attitude)

©Vogue Knitting

©Vogue Knitting

10. Vogue Knitting one year subscription

Although there are millions of patterns online, often available for free, sometimes it is just nice to cosy up with some good old glossy paper magazine. Vogue Knitting is a monthly knitting bible – as stylish as its fashion sister, minus the Devil Wears Prada chief editor.
(One year subscription, 5 issues: 27.97$ in the US; £58.02 in the UK)

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Bassanova Ramen NYC 1

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A small but airy basement with an open kitchen and a big communal table, Bassanova Ramen NYC stands out from the loud, bright neon signs of Chinatown with a simple and stylish décor of white raw distressed wood and silver metal chairs.

There are only five dishes on the evening menu of this cash-only Japanese eatery: three ramen soups and two “naked” ramen dishes, i.e. without soup. The choice really boils down to three, as it would be a shame to miss their lip-smacking special recipe pork broth. Regularly featured among the best ramen destinations in New York, including by the venerable New York Times, this unpretentious place does one thing and does it well.

We recommend the spicy ramen and green curry, with char-grilled pork, prawns, peppers and courgettes; or the less fiery pork ramen. Served in beautiful Japanese earthenware bowls, which add to the visual and textual experience, they are aromatic, rich and delicious. Definitely worth the trip.

Bassanova Ramen NYC
76 Mott St., Chinatown
New York City
Twitter: @bassaNYC
Facebook: bassanovanyc

 

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