Down to the Market

If I didn’t live in London, I wouldn’t need a farmer’s market. I would be in the country where I could see the stars at night. I’d have a pair of Legbar hens to lay their Tiffany-blue eggs under my porch, and a little garden full of plump tomatoes, tender heads of endive, and bushy basil plants. I’d stretch out on the lawn under the shade of my avocado tree and scoop the creamy flesh right from the skin.

But alas, I do live in London, where my grocery list wouldn’t be the same without my weekly visit to the neighborhood market. Local farmers and fishmongers faithfully rebuild their tented stalls each Sunday to set the schoolyard abuzz with community trade – coins clinking into tupperware tubs, wooden crates full of bundled asparagus, stalks of rhubarb, little white paper bags packed with new potatoes, and the smoky sweetness of barbeque pork sizzling on a spit. There is no better way to stock up on seasonal products and produce.

To check out vendors and locate your nearest London market, visit this site.

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What is it about cooking a healthy weekend breakfast using fresh ingredients, relaxing all afternoon sipping tea while skimming “The Sunday Times” that makes you yearn for a cool cocktail by early evening? I was bubbling with energy and hopped over to Marylebone to quench my Sunday thirst.

If my rickety British history serves me correctly, the UK never had a Prohibition era where alcohol was illegal. Take away an Englishman’s right to drink? – ha, the whole island would mutiny! Also, the Brits would never hide their drinking – it’s legal to stand out on the street with your pint, normal to drink on the job. Just pass any pub at lunchtime: bankers, civil servants, even construction workers enjoying a brew.  So I was rather surprised to find a speakeasy style cocktail club in the heart of London.

Purl is a jazzy, underground joint serving classic Prohibition era cocktails and some of their own signature options. I like my drinks with a bit of a bite, so I went for a sloe gin classic. What a wonderful place to sneak away for a clandestine night-cap!

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