Posts from the ‘Indie London’ category

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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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Copyright Knit with Attitude

Copyright Knit with Attitude

‘We all need to be more conscious about our planet’s resources’. This is the idea behind Knit with Attitude, a yarn shop specializing in ethical and sustainable, environmentally-friendly yarn.

Knitting revolution

True to the ‘Knit with Attitude’ motto, Maya, the Norwegian owner, champions a knitting revolution, whereby more and more young women (and men) are reclaiming knitting as a modern, creative form of expression. With great anti-stress and therapeutic powers:

Everything is such high-pace, says Maya. Knitting, like crochet, is slow. It gives you space to breathe. You count, you repeat the same movement. It’s constructive, you create something.

And as you are creating something beautiful, you might as well make it ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly.

Ethical and environmentally-friendly yarn

‘Although wool is a natural material, it is not necessarily eco-friendly’ says Maya. She personally selects small production companies, asking questions about how the sheep are fed, which kind of energy is used for the production, how much water, whether chemical colours are used. Ethical and fair-trade concerns are also taken into account, as Maya looks for companies that contribute to the community.

Not all wool ticks all the boxes, but the quest led to some amazing yarn. While Knit with Attitude’s best-seller is super-soft organic Alpaca wool, Maya also stocks some very unusual fibres. The Pure MILK fibre is a certified organic yarn made from casein, a milk protein, very kind to sensitive skin. Ruca Multy, sourced from Chile, is made of 100% sugar cane.

Then there’s the ethical products. Sales of the Mirasol Yarn Collection support a school for Peruvian shepherds’ children. The Mikono Knits clothes range are made by a women empowering project in Kenya. A similar project in South Africa produces the Incomparable Buttons, a range of hand-made ceramic buttons.

Are you getting excited about making a consumers’ statement while stocking on beautiful yarn? So am I!

Knit with attitude opened at the current address, shared with Of Cabbages & Kings, in November 2012.

Knit with attitude
127 Stoke Newington High Street
London N16 0PH, United Kingdom
Tel. +44 (0)207 998 3282

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Oh, how we wish that The Fields Beneath were already there when we were living just around the corner a couple of years ago!

Instead, Gavin and Sibylle opened this café, named after Gillian Tindall’s 1977 book, last October. They brew Butterworth & Son and New Town’s coffee, among others, and serve mum-made cakes, donoughts, soups and sandwiches. Jams by the London Borough of Jam and other delicacies are also available at the counter.

Tucked underneath one of the railway arches of Kentish Town West overground station, TFB caters mostly for commuters and takeaway-lovers. Don’t get rushed, though: the best way of visiting is on your way to Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath on a weekend morning, leaving your bike outside and taking five minutes to linger around and have a chat.

TFB4

We had a seat at the communal table, upcycled from a wooden door, and sipped a refreshing iced latte and a slightly bitter espresso, offset by a truly scrumptious almond and date cake, hand-made by Gavin’s mum.

Although the space is tiny, the high ceiling and big steel-framed window make it light-filled and airy – cosy, rather than cramped. The decoration is spot on: we particularly loved the exposed brick wall and the Spanish tiles (sourced here).

In short: we wish this were our own kitchen. You will too.

MILThe Fields Beneath
52a Prince of Wales Road
NW5 3NL London

Kentish Town West overground or Chalk Farm underground (Northen Line)

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Cardigan Club Cafe The Cardigan Club Café is the latest of a string of new indie shops and cafés that have been appearing on Fortress Road, Tufnell Park’s main road, during the past few months.

Opened in July 2013, this Vietnamese-French café is a lovely, relaxed little place serving mainly street food. On the menu: the Good Morning, Vietnam Bap, a twist on the traditional British bacon sandwich, with marinated grilled pork and wholegrain mustard in an artisan seeded bap; and the Riviera Sun, a vermicelli noodle salad with your choice of seasoned chicken, garlic pork, peppered beef or tofu in a sweet lemon vinaigrette dressing with crushed peanuts and mint leaves.

We had a delicious Franco-Viet Baguette, with chicken and crispy veggies (fresh chillies, cucumber, coriander and pickled carrot) in a zingy sweet chilli sauce. Vegetarians can replace the chicken with tofu.

The shabby-chic décor of painted French furniture, vintage knits and cutting patterns pays homage to the first wave of Vietnamese workers in London, many of whom were seamsters. Indeed, the sofa and chairs on the mezzanine would be the perfect place for a knitting club (hint!).

Cardigan Club Café
133 Fortress Road
London NW5 2HR
T: 020 7267 8600

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