Monday, 18 November 2013

London Villages: East Dulwich

I've been lucky enough to travel to a few exciting places in the last month or so- posts on those trips coming up- but it's always lovely to be back in London. We live in such a vibrant capital full of diversity and a huge variety of things to do and see- sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. And when I go away to other cities, I sometimes feel guilty that I don't even know all the gems in my own town. So when I received a copy of London Villages by Zena Alkayat, I was thrilled- it was exactly what I didn't know I'd been looking for; a guide to some of the out-of-the-way areas of London that you always hear about, but that you can easily never actually visit if they're not in the vicinity of your normal work or home routes.

I decided to explore East Dulwich- an area the book dedicates a few pages too, as well as a lovely, illustrated map. I got off the bus on Lordship Lane at the start of the North Cross Road, where there are a few vintage market stalls. There were some lovely ceramics- the bird plate above caught my eye.

The market soon became mainly food-based, but first there was a lovely doggy stall- Dulwich Tales- the little fellow above seemed to be doing some window shopping!

I got one of the best homemade scotch eggs from a little truck that also sold sausage rolls- I hate supermarket scotch eggs and sausages, but these were the real deal.

There was a lovely cafe called Pretty's which had a fresh juice station outside its grocery- I got a great juice full of ginger- great for fending off colds in the winter.

Back on Lordship Lane I popped into Franklin's, as featured in the London Villages book- a lovely grocery store that was full of autumnal goodies.

             And some slightly less wholesome treats too- Tunnock's tea cakes and Caramel bars!

Roullier White is another Lordship Lane store worth exploring- their vintage style beauty products and household cleaning range are all packaged in gorgeous, retro, minimalist tubs and bottles. 

They make things like all natural moth spray and toilet cleaner seem so glamorous I could almost get excited about cleaning.

There's a little vintage marketplace hidden away on one of the backstreets too- it has a wonderful array of treasures but they're all a bit pricey in my opinion.

My final stop was The Blue Brick Cafe- also recommended in Zena's book. I had what may well be the best flapjack I've ever had- and that's saying something; I take my flapjacks very seriously.
This little book really helped me discover a lovely local area of London I'd never previously visited- I'm really looking forward to exploring more of London's old villages in the coming weekends.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Guest Post: Beetroot Brownies from Archie and the Rug

Hello, my name is Nicolette and I normally blog over at Archie and the Rug but today to celebrate my 3 year blogging birthday I have teamed up with a bunch of talented ladies to swap articles and meet one another's readers. Here is my blogging brief. When I first started my blog it was a hobby-in fact it was a distraction from my breast cancer. I created an online space to share all of the positive things in my life and celebrate creativity. I soon became excited by monitoring the reader stats and began to view my blog as a business, and that is what it became. It led me to write for various magazines, teach workshops and present on Channel 4.
My real homestead is the vibrant yet idyllic market town of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, my current adopted home is Paris- not bad, eh? Truth be known I really miss the countryside but there are far worse place in the world to miss the countryside from. Given my present abode, Katie asked me if I could provide something with a French feel to it when we discussed the posts we would swap. At first glance, you may think are brownies really French? Well no, no they are not. The recipe however is inspired by my difficult relationship with my sage femme (midwife). Here I am trapped in a world of pastry, tarts and all manner of rich buttery snacks and not able to partake. The rules here in France are quite strict about how much weight you gain during pregnancy. A combination of the direct nature that is adopted here and my increasing body consciousness as my pregnancy moves on means I am being incredibly strict when it comes to treats, that way I can still eat cheese. Yes, if it came to a choice between chocolate or cheese, cheese would win every time.

So now that I have painted a suitable tale of woe, a young(ish) woman trapped in a Parisian nightmare, nose pressed up against a patisserie window, I hope that you will understand how my kitchen mutiny began. I decided to develop a recipe that was low in fat and sugar but still had that naughty, chocolate satisfaction that we all need from time to time.
You will need;
1/2 cup canola/vegetable oil
225g cooked beetroot
1tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup honey
3tbsp dark cocoa powder
1/3 cup light brown sugar

  1. Line a brownie pan with baking parchment and preheat your oven to 180C
  2. Whisk the eggs, oil and sugar until creamy and fluffy.
  3. Sift in the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder.
  4. Puree the beetroot in a food processor and add this to the bowl along with the honey.
  5. Gently mix the batter with a metal spoon and pour into the pan.
  6. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 - 25 mins
 I hope you enjoy this almost guilt-free treat as much as I did. I have really enjoyed being here today and hope to see you soon over at Archie and The Rug.  
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