London Guide

Bread Baking

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Borough Market is one of my favorite places to visit in London and I’ve written about it before. I just love the combination of the fresh and prepared foods along with the location and general hustle and bustle of the place. I have walked by the Bread Ahead Bakery & School many, many times and viewed all of the yumminess baking inside but had never taken a class. That changed this past January when my friend Kate invited me along to join her for the Quintessentially English baking class.

I think I had been intimidated by trying to bake bread at home because it always seemed to require an exactness that I don’t always follow when I am in the kitchen but this class made it all completely accessible. First of all, it was a small class (maybe 10 people in total) so you felt like you could always speak up and ask any questions you may have. And secondly, the bakers who taught the class were so knowledgable, they made everything seem incredibly easy!

During this class we learned how to make a cottage loaf, devonshire splits, bath buns and a lardy cake. Everything turned out better than expected and I was happy to go home with an armful of delicious bread! I was surprised by how physical kneading the dough can be but it also made it more rewarding in the end (and hey, its a fun way to get some good arm muscles going!). We were also given the recipes used for each type of bread so we can recreate them at home.

This was definitely an experience I enjoyed and I hope to take a few more in the future. They have all sorts of classes available ranging from a doughnut master class to an intro to french baking. They even have a gluten free baking class!

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A Look Back

Here’s a visual look back at the stories I’ve shared with you so far this year. I know Four by Three hasn’t been going for an entire year yet but I’ve been shooting for it for much longer than that. Anyway, thanks you much for letting me share these things with you and here’s to even more to come in 2015!

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Primrose Hill

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London is a huge city spread out over a fairly large area and getting to know it can be a daunting task when you are looking at a map. When we moved here, we found that much like NYC, London is filled with lots of different neighborhoods that each have their own charm and character. One of my favorite parts of living here has been exploring the city and getting to know these different neighborhoods so I thought I would begin sharing my findings with a new neighborhood guide section to the blog.

Living in North London, I thought it only appropriate to start somewhere close to home, so today I am going to share my favorite spots in Primrose Hill. This leafy area of North London is home to lots of expats and even a few celebs (we ate dinner sitting next to Jamie Oliver once which made me very excited about our restaurant choice!). It almost has a village feel to it even though you are in the middle of the city and I adore all of the brightly colored homes that are scattered throughout. The high street is filled with independent shops and when you are done poking around there, you can get an amazing view of the city from the top of Primrose Hill. Now, on to my favorite places in the neighborhood (Links and detaile below. I’ve noted the symbols that on the map above the corresponds with their location)…

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Primrose Hill Pets: (The dog bone) This is a great little pet store and despite it’s size, it has pretty much anything you need for your pet. We bring Bonnie in all of the time, sometimes to get her nails clipped (they have grooming in the back), and they usually give her a little treat which makes her very happy and difficult for me to get her to leave- but I love it anyway.

Primrose Hill Books: (The blue book) There is something I love about on independent book store that I can’t quite put my finger on. This gem of a bookshop has a lot of punch for it’s small size. They sell both new and used books and I can look through their stacks of books for longer than is probably normal.

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Sweet Things: (The pink cupcake) Ah, cupcakes. This is a very popular topic of conversation in the Murphy household and Sweet Things is dangerously close to our house. They have delicious flavors ranging from your classic chocolate and vanilla to less traditional one like carrot, red velvet, salted caramel but my favorite is oreo. They also offer mini cupcakes which are great to order if you want to try multiple flavors without eating an insane number of calories. They also offer lots of other baked goods that are yummy too, but we often find it hard to forgo the cupcakes!

Negozio Classica: (The wine glass) This wine store and restaurant combo has some great Italian food. Nothing fancy, just good food. And for the wine, you can browse what they have to sell in the shop and they’ll pop the bottle open for you.

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Shepherd Foods: (The Oreo) This grocery store is part of chain and its perfect if you have forgotten something and need to pop in somewhere quickly. But the real draw of this place is there section of american products that you can’t find easily in London. A few of my favorite items to grab are Nestle chocolate chips, graham crackers, Oreos, Crisco, Jiffy corn mix and random cereals like Lucky Charms. Yes, you will pay an arm and a leg for these items but it is worth it sometimes for that little slice of home.

Greenberry Cafe: (The green coffee cup) I only recently found this place even though it has been in Primrose Hill long before we moved to London and it is my favorite place in the entire neighborhood. They have delicious coffee, amazing breakfasts and even a great list of cocktails to accompany dinner. If you go, you must have the chicken and avocado salad. One of my many, many favorites here. Plus, they are dog friendly!

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Richard Dare: (The chefs hat and whisk) Coming a close second to good bookstore, I absolutely love a good kitchenware store and this place does not disappoint. It is packed chock full of all kinds of kitchen gadgets and things you didn’t know you needed but instantly have to have when you see them.

The Lansdowne Pub: (The pizza) This is one of my favorite pubs in Primrose Hill. Its not your typical dark, old man feeling pub which I love, don’t get me wrong. But the Lansdowne feels a bit more communal with the large wooden tables that are great for bigger groups. And their food is great- my favorite order would be one of the pizzas (particularly anything with chorizo on it). And if it is a nice day out, why not choose one of the lovely picnic tables outside to enjoy the sunshine.

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La Petite Poissonnerie: (The red fish) One of things I enjoy about living in London are all of the specialty shops they have for different things- the butcher, the bakery, the green grocer and of course the fishmonger. This particular fishmonger always has a great selection and they will prepare your fish exactly as you need it. We’ve had many a great dinner due to this place and I can tell you it was due to the fresh ingredients and not my cooking.

Primrose Bakery: (The purple cupcake) Another lovely place that has a selection of cakes, breads and cookies. But my favorite thing to order here is the hot chocolate- perfectly rich and chocolatey and will instantly warm you up on a blustery day. The decor of the place is quite cute too and is completemented by the fun gifts and cards they sell too.

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Melrose & Morgan: (The blue coffee cup) This is one of two locations of Melrose & Morgan (the other being in Hampstead), a fabulous grocery and kitchen that makes freshly prepared foods. I am partial to their lattes, chicken goujons, sausage rolls, any of their soups and brownies. But really, you can’t go wrong with anything you order here. Sometimes I’ll stop in for lunch, a quick snack for the road or load up for dinner if I’m not up to cooking something.

The Engineer: (The pint glass) One last spot in Primrose Hill that always delivers a good meal is the Engineer whether you go there for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can count on delicious food. And in the back they have a beautiful garden that pairs well with a nice jug of Pimms.

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Story Deli

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If you head north along Brick Lane in east London, right before the road ends, you will come across an anonymous but beautiful building that houses one of the most delicious pizza places on this side of the pond- Story Deli. I think I stumbled across Story Deli after seeing a photo of it on instagram and immediately fell in love with decor. When you walk in you are greeted by tall ceilings, white walls and communal tables. My favorite bit is the ceiling that is filled with skylights that allow a flood of natural light into the room. But, beyond the decor, the pizzas really are insanely delicious. Reid and I have visited about three or four times, each time ordering two different pizzas to share and have always devoured them embarrassingly quickly. Two that I would recommend are the dora romero (with chorizo, smashed tomatoes, basil pesto and buffalo mozzarella) and the aubergine, goat’s cheese and ham.

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The Ladies’ Pond

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One of my absolute favorite things about London is the abundance of parks throughout the city and of all of the parks Hampstead Heath is the crown jewel. Situated in northwest of London, the sprawling heath is so big I find it difficult to see in just one visit. Reid and I will visit with our dog, Bonnie, for a long walk or just the two of us to go for a run but lately it has been a spot where we have been practicing our open water swimming skills.

There are a few spots where one can swim: the outdoor lido, the men’s pond, and the mixed pond but for the ladies out there I recommend going to the ladies’ pond. This secluded spot has a bit of a summer camp vibe to it and unlike the men’s pond where you can see swimmers from outside the gate, this pond is completely surrounded by tall trees. To access the pond you can pay £2 for entry and I believe there is a yearly membership you can purchase too if you find yourself visiting often.

I only took a few photos on this visit because I wanted to protect the privacy of the other swimmers (and I did ask permission before I snapped any photos). The pond is open year round but if you want to take advantage of this warm weather before it is gone, grab a few girl friends and head up to this hidden gem soon!

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