Quick & easy almond marzipan horns

Today, I want to show you how easy it is to make some homemade snacks, starting with my quick & easy almond marzipan horns. They’re delicious for tea-time or with some coffee, in the morning or the afternoon. Basically, they’re perfect for any time of the day.

I recommend using only “real” marzipan, as some can be way too sugary. Per guidelines, it shouldn’t include more than 35% of sugar. I normally use this one, from Rapunzel, and I am very happy with it. I also use the chocolate coating from Rapunzel. The company follows some of the toughest organic certificates, so I prefer to spend a little bit more money, for better quality. And yes, you might have guessed it already, I use the coconut palm sugar from Rapunzel as well. You can find it here. 

Quick & easy almond marzipan horns

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Snack
Keyword: glutenfree
Servings: 20 pieces
Author: Carolin Vater

Ingredients

  • 200 g raw marzipan paste
  • 100 g ground almons (without skin)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 100 g coconut sugar alternatively icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 50 g almond flakes
  • 100 g dark chocolate coating

Instructions

  • First, pre-heat the oven on 200 degrees. Then, add marzipan, ground almonds, lemon juice, egg yolk and cinnamon to a bowl. Add sugar and mix until well combined.
  • Next make a role out of the mass, 2 cm thick and divide into 20 pieces. Form little horns out of the 20 pieces and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Mix the eggwhite with the water and break down the almond flakes a little bit and add them to a small bowl. Dip the almond horns in the eggwhite mixture and then in the almonds and place back on the baking tray.
  • Bake almond horns for 10 minutes, take them out and place on a cooling rack.
  • Once cooled completely, melt the chocolate on medium heat. Once melted, dip the chocolate horns into the chocolate and place back on the baking tray. Let them cool completely.

I hope you like this recipe and you’ll try my quick & easy almond marzipan horns soon. As always, I’m looking forward to seeing your results. 

Happy baking,

Carolin

Quick & easy vegan red lentil Curry

This quick & easy vegan red lentil curry is my absolute go-to recipe! It’s not only tasty but 100% comfort food worthy.

It is also very easy to adjust, depending on the ingredients you have at home. I made it with chickpeas, spinach, pepper and all sorts of other vegetables. The important thing is to stick to the red lentils, as they don’t take a lot of time to cook. You could also use any other tofu, but I feel the smoked once goes a long way once roasted. 🙂

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Ingredients: (for 2 portions)

1 Brokkoli

3 Carrots

4-5 tbsp red lentils

1 onion or 2 shallots

1 garlic clove

3-4 tbsp yellow curry paste (I use this one)

7-8 tbsp Coconut milk

400 ml vegetable stock

10-15 Cashew nuts

half a smoked tofu (I use this one)

2 tbsp Oil (coconut or peanut oil work great)

salt & pepper

How to:

Start with placing a pan on medium heat and add some oil once the pan is hot. Add onions, carrots and garlic and sweat for 2-3 minutes, until the onions and garlic are soft.

Add the curry Paste and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Add the broccoli, lentils, vegetable stock and coconut milk. Put on the lid and leave the curry simmering on low heat for 15 minutes.

While the curry is cooking, you can toast the cashew nuts in another pan on medium to high heat. Make sure it’s a nonstick pan and don’t add any oil. Stir frequently in order to avoid burning them. Once toasted take them out. You can now add some oil and cut up the tofu in chunks (as big or small as you like) and add them to the oil and fry them on medium heat until golden brown. Meanwhile chop the cashews roughly with a knife.

Once the curry has been cooking for 15 minutes, try it. If it’s too spicy you may want to add a little more coconut milk. Finish off with salt & pepper as per your personal liking (I usually leave it the way it is).

Once you’re happy with your result serve the curry topped with tofu and crushed cashews.

My quick & easy vegan red lentil curry is the best example how something easy can go a long way. Perfect if you want to invite guests over or you want to treat yourself to a special, yet simple dinner. As always, I’m looking forward to see your versions.

Happy cooking,

Carolin

CC-Cake – the perfect combination of courgette & cacao

Ever thought about how to make your cakes more healthy so you won’t feel bad if you accidentally eat the whole thing?! Try my CC-Cake – the perfect combination of courgette & cacao.

I tried this cake a little while ago and I was mind-blown. I tried carrot cake and all that before, but courgette in a cake seemed kinda weird to me at first. Anyway, I ended up loving it and here’s the recipe for you now!

Attention not (yet) a vegan cake! I’ll update it as soon as I’m happy with my vegan results. 🙂

Ingredients

1.5 courgettes

2 eggs

4 tbsp almond (or any other nut) butter – I used half and half with tahini last time – nice nutty flavour 🙂

4 tbsp maple syrup (’cause it’s low FODMAP)

4 tbsp almond flour

2 tbsp corn flour (I know they’re very different – I used this one.)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup cacao

if you want you can also add some spices such as vanilla or cinnamon (1 tsp would probably be enough).

How to:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees on over-under-heat.

In your food processor shred the courgette and place it onto a towel. This step is very important as the towel will absorb any excess water from the courgette.

Next, wish your eggs until they get a bit fluffy (if you use a flax egg, make it now and let it sit for 10 minutes before adding it to the rest.).

Mix all ingredients, apart from the courgette, together. Add the courgette and mix until slightly bubbly.

Grease a medium-small baking tray and add some of the almond flour so the cake won’t stick to the tray. Fill in the mass and bake for around 40-45 minutes.

The cake tastes amazing with tahini or vanilla ice cream.

Hope you’ll try my CC-Cake – the perfect amalgamation of courgette & cacao. It’s so yummy and I dare say even healthy. To keep it healthy remember to use organic products and don’t overdo it with the maple syrup. Also watch out for hidden sugar-traps in nut-butter or cacao.

If you make this cake, let me see your version of it. 🙂

Until then, happy baking!

P.S. For more recipes, click here.

Finding glutenfree, vegetarian and vegan recipes

Finding glutenfree, vegetarian and vegan recipes. It’s hard – yes. Below I’ll give you some ideas, where to look. Hopefully, you’ll be able to indulge in delicious glutenfree / vegan food directly this weekend! 

Well, first of all I had to learn the basics. This step required a lot of research. I started off, using mostly Pinterest and Instagram as I couldn’t really decide on any book out there. All of them seemed to rely on additives and I just didn’t want any of that. I mean, why should we eat something, that’s not a natural product? Where could possibly be the benefit in that? So, off I went researching more, trying & failing and recipes I had done with usual flour for many many years.

Kochtrotz a.k.a. Steffi

I also thought about doing some glutenfree cooking classes. Unfortunately, we’re not really there yet, so I just had to stick to it. After a while, I found Steffi, founder of Kochtrotz. She has helped me a lot with the basics. I recently bought her book on glutenfree baking and I can 100% recommend it. You can buy it here.

Deliciously Ella

As for the vegan food, I usually buy my fruits and veggies seasonal and regional at the market. So I tend to just buy, whatever I can find and think about recipes later. I live by the philosophy “If you only use ingredients, you like, nothing bad can come out of it.” Unfortunately, that’s only 95% accurate. A great inspiration has been DeliciouslyElla, who’s recipes are not only vegan, but mostly glutenfree. You can find the book, I rely on most, below:

In German 

In English

The Happy Pears

This whole journey started, while I was still living in Ireland. Therefore The Happy Pears sort of initiated the start of it all. While they’re focussing on plant-based nutrition, they also do have glutenfree recipes. Once you’ve learned the basics on glutenfree flours, it’s easy to use their non-glutenfree recipes and turn them into your glutenfree version. All of their books are available on their website and on amazon:

1. Book

2. Book

3. Book

Im also working on my own cook-book, but this could be a little while. Until then – use the above! 🙂

Finding glutenfree, vegetarian and vegan recipes. Now, it’s your turn.

Happy Cooking,

Carolin 🙂

Vegetarian Quinoa Salad – naturally gluten-free

Hi all, today I want to show you my vegetarian quinoa salad – naturally gluten-free . It’s a favourite among my friends and family and i think you’ll like it, too!

Now, before you stop reading, before you see eggs – I’ve made this picture before I decided to try out the whole Vegan thing! I will add a Vegan option below! 🙂

This salad is the ultimate comfort food for me – it’s delicious and 100% satisfying, but also healthy – so nothing to feel guilty about after.

Enjoy the salad, which is perfect alone or as a side for barbecues, etc.

Happy cooking! 🙂

What you’ll need:

Ingredients (non-vegan)

1 cup quinoa tricolore

2 cups water

1 tsp vegetable broth (if you use organic: you might want to add a little more, because the taste is less intense)

1 courgette

Half a bunch radishes

A handful dried tomatoes (in oil)

Pitted black olives

(Feta cheese + 1 hard boiled egg per person)

Salat dressing:

Mustard

Olive Oil

Balsamico vinegar

Salt & pepper

Garnish: (cracked) Linseed, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds (what ever you’ve got at home really!)

For the vegan option, simply add vegan cheese instead of feta cheese and for extra protein intake you could add some smoked tofu (goes well with the tomatoes and olives). The tofu is especially nice, if you cut little chunks and roast them before adding them.

I usually add some cooked green lentils as well, because I love the taste and they bring extra fibres, iron & protein. You can just cook them together with the quinoa (after soaking them in water) or you could just use your leftovers, if you have any.

How to:

First, wash the quinoa. It’s important to wash & rinse it very well or it’ll be bitter and starchy afterwards.

Next, bring the water with the broth to boil and add the quinoa. Leave to simmer at low heat for about 10 minutes – keep the los on.

After 10 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the quinoa on the hot plate – leaving the lid slightly inclined so the remaining water can evaporate and the quinoa will be nice and fluffy.

While the quinoa cools down, you can start cutting the remaining ingredients, I usually take out the inner bit of the courgette to get rid of the watery parts, but if you don’t want to waste any food leave it in.

Lastly, just mix everything together and top with the garnish of your choice.

For the dressing, just mix 1 part balsamic with 2 parts olive oil and 1 tsp of mustard. You can also use some of the oil from the dried tomatoes to include more of its taste and instead of balsamic you can add some lemon juice.

Btw, my gluten-free bread is also great with it. Get the recipe here.

As always, I’m happy to see your results. Show me your version my vegetarian quinoa salad – naturally gluten-free.

If you have any questions, simply leave a comment. 🙂

Everyday Bread

Delicious gluten-free bread doesn’t exist? WRONG – It does exist! Let me introduce my everyday bread, so we can start changing the world! I will be adding different breads with the time, but for now I decided, that an everyday bread is the most important one! 🙂

For someone like me, who loves bread and eats it everyday, finding great bread was probably the biggest challenge when going gluten-free. Quite quickly I had to realise, that it is near to impossible to BUY a good gluten-free bread in the supermarket or even in bakeries. If it tasted good, most of the time it was full of additives, such as sugar, Xanthan gum, etc. As I try to avoid any non-natural products and sugars, I decided it’s time to bake my own bread.

Baking my own bread, especially a gluten-free bread was a big step for me, as I had never baked a bread before in my life. So, off I went and tried different recipes until I stuck with the following recipe. I am eating this bread now since about 6 months and I have to say, that I like it so much, I don’t miss “normal bread” at all. This bread is better, than any other bread, I could buy at the supermarket or the bakery.

In relation to flour, I usually use a mixture of different flours. For bread, you should avoid using corn-flour, coconut-flour or nut-flours as they are too dense and absorb too much water. White-rice flour is lower in healthy nutritions, so I add a maximum of 50 – 100 grams.

One thing, when baking with gluten-free flours everybody needs to know: There is not >ONE< flour. It’s best to mix and everybody should experiment with taste & texture to find the “best” option. I never use “universal gluten-free flour mixes” from Schaer, etc. as they usually have lots of additives, which I do not use, as I prefer to eat as natural as possible.

Ingredients:

300g flour*

50g seeds

2 heaped tbsp psyllium husk

450ml water

2 tsp bread spice (e.g. this one from Alnatura)

2 tsp sodium bicarbonate

1 tsp salt

*My preferred combination is 100g of teff or brown millet flour, 100g of brown rice flour, 50g of white rice flour (for texture and because it absorbs excess water) & 50g of red lentil flour. Buckwheat flour is also one of my favourites for bread, as it has a nutty, dark-bread taste. I would substitute the brown-rice flour for buckwheat flour 1 for 1.

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degree Celsius (top/bottom heat) and lay put a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the psyllium husk with 450 ml lukewarm water and leave for about 1 hour.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients & mix. (I usually use a silicon matt like this one.)
  4. Knead well until everything is just slightly sticky. If necessary at a little bit of water. If too sticky, add some flower. I can recommend white rice flour, as it absorbs the water very well.
  5. Form a bread loaf and place it on the prepared baking tray. If you want you can cut about 0.5 cm deep to give the typical “bread-look”.
  6. Bake the bread for about 50 minutes, if it’s not done, decrease the temperature to 180 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
  7. To know, if the bread is done pick it up and “knock” on the bottom side. It should sound hollow.
  8. Leave to cool completely before slicing it.

The everyday bread only keeps for a few days, as there are no added preservatives. I tend to freeze half the bread, in slices, and keep it for a rainy day, when I’m too lazy to bake one. 🙂

I would love to see some of the results, so please do post some pictures. If you do have any questions, please let me know!

Happy baking,

Carolin

Cuba – Part II

Hello and welcome to the second part of my report on Cuba.

This report will tell you everything important about Playa Giron, Trinidad, Varadero and La Habana (part 2). This time I was travelling with my good friend Paula!

Playa Giron

Having heard about Playa Giron from my sister and my brother in law, I couldn’t wait to arrive at the “Bay of Pigs”.

I was looking forward to some excursions, snorkelling and finally – the beach!

We only stayed for 2 days, so we didn’t have time to discover everything that’s around Playa Giron. Nevertheless, we managed to go snorkelling, which was absolutely amazing and I can highly recommend it. There is one main centre for diving and snorkelling and it’s a different destination every day, so you really can’t go wrong with that!

We’ve also done a trip to some hidden lakes/ caves, where we went swimming and we stopped at a lot of different places on the way to look at different little sea creatures.

While we were there it was crab season (March-May). It was absolutely incredible to see it and I wouldn’t wanna miss this memory. At the same time, many of these huge crabs are being destroyed by cars, coming from and to the entire “Bay of Pigs” . As a consequence, I probably won’t go back between March and May.

I would say, for anyone, that’s not looking for a diving holiday, plan it as stop going from La Habana towards Cienfuegos/ Trinidad – you’ll be able to see everything in 2-3 days.

While in Playa Giron, we stayed at Casa Ivette y Ronel. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this Casa Particular at all. It was not clean at all (we had millions of ants in our beds and the entire room, and when we asked to change the bedsheets, we weren’t event looked at. After asking a few times and offering to do it ourselves, they gave us the bedsheets and left without saying a word). I haven’t seen Ivette and Ronel around much at all, they left for some travels and didn’t event say a word… Compared to other Casa Particulares, it was also quite expansive, especially the food, which was also not as good as in other Casas.

In contrary, I can absolutely recommend Hostal Bahia. I met Adrian at Casa Ivette y Ronel and he was very nice and always helpful. We ended up spending one night for dinner at his house. While there, we met his family, which are really lovely and extremely welcoming. Adrian himself, speaks English, which is really helpful and a rarity. He spent years working in gastronomy in La Habana, which makes dining at his Casa Particular spectacular. If you want to spend some time in Playa Giron, you can book his Casa Particular through Air BnB right here.

Trinidad

Arriving in Trinidad, I followed another recommendation from Reina (remember to book her Casa Particular, in La Habana, through my future booking page on the blog). This Casa Particular was outstanding. We stayed at Hostal La Navarra, in the middle of Trinidad. It was a beautiful old house and everybody was incredibly nice. Victoria (the house owner) had some family visiting and they were all including us as one of their own. The ladies running the kitchen were particularly lovely and the food was amazing (but be careful, there’s A LOT of it!!)

As Victoria and her husband have been living in Trinidad throughout all their life, they know everyone and they organised lovely trips for us (which were way less crowded than other groups). So, really, if you’re looking for a place to stay, in Trinidad – book Hostal La Navarra, right here.

Let’s talk about our day trips. The first day, we went horseback riding with a friend of Victoria’s husband. As they knew each other, we were lucky and got a tour only for the two of us. We first went to a sugar cane farm and afterwards, to a waterfall. The waterfall, unfortunately, was quite busy, but very cute and the most amazing thing – you can go swimming, too. As we were already out and about for a few hours and it was the beginning of the cuban summer, we were very happy to dive into the cold water.

The next day, we decided to go off on our own and followed a tip from the Lonely Planet, saying you could get onto a boat and go all the way to La Boca. The best thing: it was just outside of Trinidad and closely located to our Casa Particular. We decided to check it out, but unfortunately, Lonely Planet was completely wrong here. We asked several people, we found at the boat stop and there’s no “shuttle service”. After talking to them for a while, someone offered to take us in exchange for 60 CUC, which was more, than we were willing to pay. It was also supposed to take at least 2 hours. We decided to take a taxi to La Boca instead (which took 10 minutes) and we spent a few hours at the beach there.

La Boca, is a cute little fishing village and there are surprisingly few tourists. Nevertheless, I would recommend to visit some museums or antique houses in Trinidad. or even going to Playa Ancon instead, as at the end of the day, it is just “another beach”.

We were also very excited about the nightlife in Trinidad. A good friend of mine, told me, that La Casa de la Musica, is amazing. When we arrived though, it seemed to be more for the older generation and hotel guests. It was overall very quiet. Maybe it was just unlucky – I’d definitely give it another go. We also went for a few drinks at Terraza Trinidad Colonial, where you can find amazing live music and very interesting musicians. I will definitely go back there, next time, I visit.

Varadero

On to Varadero, I have one main thing to tell you: If you’re looking for a relaxing hotel vacation, surrounded by other hotel travellers – Varadero is the place to be!! If you’re trying to emerge with the culture – don’t go!

Yes, the beach is very beautiful. Everything else, to be frank, is not worth it. It’s overpriced, it is near to impossible to get a Taxi Collectivo (what means, enormous queues for the Viazul busses) and it’s really quite boring.

Following another recommendation, we wanted to see Las Cuevas de Saturno and we were lucky I speak Spanish. Normally, you have to book Las Cuevas de Saturno in connection with a diving / snorkelling trip. As we had already done some snorkelling, we weren’t really in the mood again. I asked, if it’s possible to go to Las Cuevas de Saturno, without the snorkelling trip. After some negotiation, a taxi driver agreed to collect us first thing in the morning and drive us up there.

The next morning, was also my friend Paulas birthday and I am more than happy, that I negotiated this trip for us. Surprisingly we arrived so early, that we were the ONLY ONES there!!! This was a really amazing experience: no queueing, no waiting and, the best: no other people in the water!

La Habana (the second)

La Habana – colourful, busy by day and night, full of surprises, yet not holding up to its promises.

Over the last year or two, I have heard a lot about La Habana. Friends, who’d be travelling there or even some who got married. For me, personally, La Habana didn’t live up to the expectations. Don’t misunderstand me, La Habana is beautiful (or at least some parts are), but open borders, increasing imports and especially the incredible number of tourists, have taken it’s toll.

New cars are slowly taking over, fast food can be found at every corner and rubbish is to be found everywhere on the streets. La Habana got run over by all these changes, without being properly prepared for it.

While tourists, with a lot of money, stay at their expensive hotels, with 24/7 internet access, are transported comfortably by a taxi, from one town to another and can easily move around from one side of the town to another or even buy “all the food they want”, the cuban population is far from being that privileged.

Unfortunately, Cubans often have to walk to work (no matter the distance).  They have to walk all the way to the motorway, waiting under a bridge in the heat, hoping someone will give them a ride in their car. All this, so they can visit some relatives in a different town or even collecting packages from the airport. This means, they have to take a day off of work, taking several busses and walk a long way to collect it – only to have to go all the way back, afterwards.

Should you ever leave the main roads and the centre, you see a lot of poverty and living as well as health conditions, that are unacceptable. There’s a big problem with Diabetes, caused by all the sugary imports and the failure to raise awareness about it. Though all of this seems quite terrifying, I have never met friendlier and more welcoming people, than in Cuba.

It is still a very beautiful city and people are kind and happy, but I think it’ll take some time to adjust to all the changes, in order to find a balance between the “cuban lifestyle”, which is full of music and dancing on the street and the busy life, the globalisation brings along. I hope the new government will bring positive changes and I will find a more balanced Habana, when I go back.

P.S. For every foodie out there (and everybody else, who appreciates good food), make some time to go to La Guarida and if your hosts are lovely, just take them along with you. What seems to be too good to be true at this price, means an entire world to them. I will write a separate post on La Guarida soon.

I will definitely go back and re-visit Trinidad, which for me, was the best part of Cuba: historic, old-fashioned cuban lifestyle and way less crowded, than La Habana.

I hope you enjoyed reading my post (it’s way longer, than I expected) and I will  keep you posted on my travel experiences and recommendations.

Carolin

Cuba – Part I

Hello all,

I decided to split my travel around Cuba in 2 parts – the first, where I was travelling alone and the second, where I was travelling with my dear friend Paula.

I went at the beginning of April, which was the end of “winter”. It was warm, but not too hot and it wasn’t very green, as the rain season hadn’t started yet. For everyone, who wants to see a green Cuba, I’d say go up until February (for the tobacco plantation) or in Summer, when it’s raining regularly – the day after the rain, everything is in bloom.

La Habana (the first)

My first few nights alone, I spent in La Habana – what a huge city!! La Habana is not only big, though. It’s loud, chaotic and you can barely find a supermarket or a place to simply buy some bread or water. They’re all tucked away from the tourists eyes, hiding out behind shut windows or in, what we’d say, are dodgy corners.

Nevertheless, La Habana, is also beautiful. You can hear music in a lot of places, see people dancing or someone smoking a cigar. Though, the afternoon is the time, when it really gets interesting – as soon as the sunset starts, you should go to the Malecon.

The Malecon is an 8 kilometre long stretch along the seaside of La Habana and as soon as the sun sets, everyone’s meeting right there. You’ll see young people – dancing, listening to Salsa & Reaggeton and simply enjoying life.

At this point, I want to recommend my Casa Particular (the Cuban version of Air Bnb). I stayed at Casa Reina y Paco. Reina is by far, the most lovely host, I have met on my travels. Not only did she take care of me, when I arrived sick at her house, she helped me after my stay, when I had troubles with taxis or other casas. The breakfast at her house was amazing and the location, just outstanding. Her housekeeper was extremely lovely as well and she took me in, as if I were her daughter. She showed me, how to cook typical Cuban food, sang for me (she was once a famous singer) and told me about Cuban life – thanks Mauren!

As words can’t describe it; here are some pictures (all taken from the inside of the house): 

At this point, I want to recommend my Casa Particular (the Cuban version of Air Bnb). I stayed at Casa Reina y Paco. Reina is by far, the most lovely host, I have met on my travels. Not only did she take care of me, when I arrived sick at her house, she helped me after my stay, when I had troubles with taxis or other casas. The breakfast at her house was amazing and the location, just outstanding. Her housekeeper was extremely lovely as well and she took me in, as if I were her daughter. She showed me, how to cook typical Cuban food, sang for me (she was once a famous singer) and told me about Cuban life – thanks Mauren!

As words can’t describe it; here are some pictures (all taken from the inside of the house): 

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In the future, you will be able to book Casa Reina & Paco through my website. This part is currently being set up. I will let you know, as soon as the function is up and running. 

Viñales

From La Habana, I went straight to Viñales – which is about a 2-3 hour “taxi” ride away towards the west.

I met a lovely girl from Israel on the way and as it turned out, we were staying at the same Casa Particular in Viñales – lucky me! 

Danielle and me spent the first afternoon visiting the Cuevas de Santo Tomas. It was absolutely NOT worth it. If you’ve NEVER seen stalagmites/stalactites, go – if you HAVE seen some before, you won’t enjoy it. 

The next morning, we went off for a guided horse tour (everything here seems to be done with a horse). Classic touristy tour – we went to visit a coffee and a tobacco plantation. I won’t lie – it was cool, but I expected more. There were groups arriving every few minutes and we felt, as if we were just one in a million – we rushed through the different stops and it just felt like a huge money making institution from the government. And as we learned it was – 90% of the income from the farms goes to the government, which is so much, I still can’t comprehend it, if I’m honest. This means, the whole family has to live from 10% of the income – that’s just insane. Especially, because they were all lovely. You saw 3-4 generations living together and welcoming us, brothers, sisters, cousins, children, grandparents – they were all living & working there together!

The next day, Danielle and I booked another tour; someone in our Casa told us, there was a cave and some lakes, where we could take a bath and we were SO up for a swim.

Unfortunately, that time of the year, there’s no water in the lake, which we were told, once we arrived at the starting point of the tour. They initially wanted to take us again to the tobacco farm – which obviously we didn’t want to. We agreed, to will see Los Tres Valles de Vinales (the three valleys of Vinales). It was a beautiful trip and we were the only ones on the tour – meaning we got a lot of insight! 

Initially, I wanted to do some proper hiking, but I hadn’t really gotten used to the climate yet.

We, also, saw a few other people renting a motorbike or bicycles, but we weren’t really organised enough to get that done. 

All in all, I think Vinales is absolutely beautiful, but very touristy (even the bars & restaurants are touristy – you barely see cubans around). If you want to escape the tourists and simply focus on the surroundings, take a bike or prepare yourself for a hike and check out the valleys by foot and without a guide. Take your time and walk the way you want to – maybe tucked away from the typical routes, so you’ll discover something untouched and exciting. 

As I’m having some issues with my camera, there are only a few photos from my iPhone here. I hope I’ll get that sorted soon and I will upload more pictures and part 2 of my holidays in Cuba. 

If you don’t wanna miss it and you want to receive regular updates on my blog, simply sign up for my newsletter. 

Happy Easter Brunch

As you might not know it, but brunch is the thing in Zurich: à la carte, all you can eat buffet,.. there’s nothing that doesn’t exist. Kafi Freud hasn’t been open that long and I have to thank my competitors Harry’s Ding for discovering it!

Kafi Freud is a lot of things: a good place to work, a family friendly coffee shop (we know – we took our little one with us!), a coffee-around-the-corner place, an excellent brunch/ breakfast spot and overall a place for great coffee.

I went there, for Easter, this year and I was really happy with everything. There is a little creative corner, with books and a sofa, there’s a bathtub filled with plants (great piece of creative artwork folks!!) and there’s a kids corner, with LOADS of toys for the little ones.

Tables are far enough apart, so you don’t feel trapped, as it often feels like in most coffee shops. The food menu is relatively small, but offers everything you need (and let’s be honest, it’s so much easier to choose from a small variety of great things). 

Now about the food… We just ordered a little bit of everything, so we could try different things and I must say, EVERYTHING we ordered, was just amazing. Everything was fresh, tasty and really thoughtful decorated. Even the “reserved” sign was made with love.

My absolute favourite was the Banana Bread with Tahini and Sea-salt. Never tried this combination, but absolutely stunning. The tastes just complement each other amazingly. So, next time, you’re at Kafi Freud, try the Banana Bread!! 

I recommend Kafi Freud to absolutely everyone, not only someone living around the corner. We went there, around 30 min by car, from the other side of Zurich and it was definitely worth it. 

Thanks again for the lovely stay! 

Maison Manesse – a hidden gem

So, I’ve been looking at Maison Manesse – a hidden gem – for a good while, before I actually made it there for lunch. The wait was totally worth it though, it made it to the top of my list of restaurants in Zurich , straight away.

You enter the restaurant through a tiny, wooden door, that gives the impression, the place is closed – but “hey!”, I think to myself, “I’ve got a reservation. so let’s check if the door is open”. Of course, it was open and the restaurant inside filled with people, very charming and helpful staff and a great decoration. (An absolute style highlight are the toilets – go check them out. 😉 )

NOW – let’s talk about the food. there’s just 1 word for it: AMAZING.

We really wanted to go for lunch and take the menu, so we could try it out and see, what all the fuss is about.. well we decided to go for the 2 signature dishes instead and man, was it worth it.

Maison Manesse – a hidden gem – even managed, to make the Tartar to look unique (in a city, where Tartar is on everyone’s menu!). Their DIY variation is just unbelievably cool and I’ve never seen anything like it before.

The Food

We also ordered a beef fillet (from the region of course), which came with triple cooked fries and 2 sauces – truffle mayonnaise and a home-made barbecue sauce. Now, I don’t usually like barbecue sauce, but this one was so delicious – not too sweet, not too spice, not too sauer.

The beef arrived medium-rare, so if you prefer it a little more cooked, you should mention it, when you order. For me, it was perfect like this, especially, as the quality was extraordinary and it was a regional product.

We finished our lunch with a Meringue version a la Maison Manesse – a hidden gem – that came with a grapefruit parfait – for the lightness.


I am definitely going back to Maison Manesse – a hidden gem – and next time, it’ll be dinner, so I can try their own gin-infusions and get to see the entire menu.

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Hamburg, Germany