6 best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba

The last leg of our November Cuba trip took us to Trinidad, a little town in the middle of the island, famous for its multi-coloured colonial old houses and cobblestone streets.

And now that I look back at this trip, it’s the Cuban place I most wish to return to¬†(mainly because I was so sick by then I feel like I missed out on so many things).

A Unesco site since 1988, Trinidad is easily accessible from Havana (it’s a 4h, 30CUC pp affair and the views on the way are incredible). And it’s the sort of pastel-coloured, fairy tale place that needs to be seen to be believed.

6 best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

But that’s not all! Architecture, nature, beach… There’s so many¬†great things¬†to do in Trinidad that fully justify adding the city¬†to your Cuba itinerary.

1. Wander around the beautiful pastel-coloured streets

There’s a reason why the whole of Trinidad is a Unesco site and it’s because every corner is absolutely gorgeous!

From the technicolour colonial houses, to the intricate forged iron window frames and the ever-green mountain background, the entire city is an Instagram dream come true Рabsolutely no filter needed!

So put on your walking shoes (those cobblestones are no joke!) and make the most of it.

6 best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

2. Trek the Parque el Cubano and swim in the Javira Waterfall

With the gigantic Parque Natural Topes de Collantes to the west, trekking opportunities abound in Trinidad.

The easiest (and shortest) one will take you through Parque el Cubano up to the Javira waterfall, where you can swim into the natural pool below it, which is really quite a fantastic way to spend the day!

6 best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

3. Climb San Francisco de Asis bell tower

Located by the very pretty Playa Mayor, San Francisco de Asis is the best spot to get a bird’s eye view of the city.

Vertigo-averse folks will want to stop at the first level, where the wide terrace offers fantastic views of the city, the mountains and even the sea.

And if the weather’s all sorts of crazy you’re lucky, you might even catch a quadruple rainbow!

6 best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

4. Have a few of the Trinidad’s signature Cachanchara cocktails

Created in Trinidad in the late 1800s, the Cachanchara is considered to be Cuba’s oldest known cocktail.

The no-fuss recipe, originally used as medecine, calls for simple ingredients -rum, lime and honey- and is traditionally served in clay cups.

Strong but perfectly balanced, it’s well worth switching your default mojito over for.

5. Bask in the sun on Playa Ancon

Blue water. Golden sun. Does this really need explaining?

6 best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

6. Try La Botija’s Cuban-style fried rice

I’m not going to lie and pretend like the food in Trinidad (or in Cuba, really) changed my life. To be honest, I ate mostly rice and plain bread anyway (such glamour!).

That being said, the arroz fritto at La Botija was one of the best things we had and comes in very generous portions.

Also on the plus side, the restaurant is open quite late, there’s live music being played throughout the day and a weird-but-intriguing drink selection (the Ciego Montero pineapple soft drink is goooooood!)…

6 best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

PS. If you’re looking for a great place to stay in Trinidad, this is the Casa we stayed in. Robe & Nina are the sweetest hosts and the breakfast was beyond fantastic!

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6 best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

More about Cuba

Best of Havana – Save & Splurge itineraries

13 things to expect on your first trip to Cuba

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6 best things to do in Trinidad, Cuba

Simple Lemon Cake

When I was in high school, I was a serial baker.

I was the kind of student who put a lot of pressure onto herself and that required a lot of exausting mental work. So I needed to find a way to give myself a break and relax, and baking was just that.

Ensued as many as 6 types of cakes a week being baked, which was really quite a lot for a family of 5 to go through. Thankfully, my siblings’ classmates and mine were always willing to land a hand on the eating front.

Simple Lemon Cake / Easy cake recipe for everyday baking / Cake + Whisky

From that baking frenzy, I kept the unshakable feeling that cake¬†makes many bad things better, as well as¬†a handful of ‘best in show’ recipes, amongst which this simple lemon cake one.

Simple Lemon Cake / Easy cake recipe for everyday baking / Cake + Whisky

A simple lemon cake is a baking classic- and this recipe is perfect on all fronts.

Simple Lemon Cake / Easy cake recipe for everyday baking / Cake + Whisky

Pressed for time? It literally takes minutes to whip up and can happily be made the day before. Plus there’s no need for syrups or any fussing about.

Don’t have any fancy equipment or ingredients / not in the mood for a lot of washing up? All it takes is basic ingredients, one bowl and one baking tin.

Not very comfortable with baking projects? It’s basically impossible to ruin¬†(you could even put all the ingredients in a blender).

Simple Lemon Cake / Easy cake recipe for everyday baking / Cake + Whisky

Scared it’ll be dry and/or boring? Do you really think I’d still be making this recipe after all those years if it wasn’t the most incredible simple lemon cake ever?

I’m talking¬†big on zesty flavours, moist and absolutely perfect both with a cuppa for afternoon tea or a spoonful of Greek yoghurt for breakfast and brunch!

So, if life gives you lemon… make lemon cake!

Simple Lemon Cake / Easy cake recipe for everyday baking / Cake + Whisky

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Simple Lemon Cake / Easy cake recipe for everyday baking / Cake + Whisky

More easy (and delicious!) baking projects

The best carrot cake

Cranberry oatmeal cake

The best bread & butter pudding

Simple Lemon Cake

Dinner at Kricket

I hate restaurants that don’t take reservations for less than 4 people.

I hate restaurants where the host, when I pop in and ask if they have a table for 2 at 7:15pm, answers they do… at 10:30pm.

And I HATE restaurants that insist on running separate lunch and dinner services so that I can’t have a meal at strange mid-afternoon hours on the weekend.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

All of the above are the reasons why I hate loving Kricket so much.

It’s going to make my life so very difficult every time I crave Indian food.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

But well, I’ll just have to deal with it all (and take friends down with me so we can book at table!) because the food, the drinks and the atmosphere are all fantastic.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

The cocktail list is short but perfect formed, making the on-duty bartender a very busy man (or woman) indeed.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Which you could feel bad about or just embrace with a couple of¬†the truly excellent whisky + orange marmalade cocktails…

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Also excellent were the Jerusalem artichokes and pea samosas.

Light, crispy pastry triangles, filled with the most delicious, subtly spiced vegetable filling.

Needless to say, those didn’t last long.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

My favourite dish –¬†Pumpkin, makhani sauce, fresh paneer, hazelnut crumble, puffed wild rice.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Served with masala kulcha bread straight from the tandoor.

Charred pumpkin, the¬†best (really, even my Indian boyfriend says so, and he’s had A LOT of butter chicken) butter-tomato sauce, begin to be scooped over some bread…

It was the sort of dish I wish I knew how to make so I could have it every day.

One¬†that hangs around the top of my¬†list of London’s best dishes, too.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Kricket’s signature¬†Keralan fried chicken, served with curry leaf mayonnaise and pickled mouli.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + WhiskyDinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Venison keema.

Warming and gently spiced, and the perfect reminder of why I must add keema to my winter meal rota.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Beautifully cooked duck breast, served with fiery vindaloo sauce and refreshing Brussel sprout and coconut thoran.

Dinner at Kricket ‚óŹ London Restaurant Review ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Polishing it all off on a sweet note in the form of carrot halwa with chestnut ice cream (delicious but veeeeeeery rich) and gorgeous, posset-like misti doi.

All in all, not a dal plate in sight at Kricket… So, no matter how difficult/irritating getting a table is, it’s worth the patience and hard work.

You know what they they… Keep calm and curry on!

Kricket Soho (the original venue’s in Brixton),¬†12 Denman St, Soho, London W1D 7HH

More things to eat in Soho

EVERYTHING at Temper

Cake for dinner at Cutter & Squidge

Ramen at Kanada Ya

Chinatown’s best hot pot

Dinner at Kricket

‘Once in a lifetime’ moments in Burkina Faso

I never thought I would ever get to sleep on a military bed under the stars in the middle of rural Africa. I never dreamt of being invited to attend a film festival in the presidential tribute no less. I didn’t expect to get cold in 25+¬įC temperatures. I didn’t think I’d¬†ever have a discussion about how many animals would be a suitable offering from any suitor wanting to marry me. Or that I would have to explain in great details that living in a developed country didn’t automatically make me rich.

And yet…

'Once in a lifetime' moments in Burkina Faso ‚óŹ #travellinkup

In the winter of 2007, I took the plane for the very first time together with a team of students from my high school. We were on our way to the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, and from there to a rural area an hour’s drive away, where we would stay for two weeks on a rural development mission.

Unlike what many would expect from a ‘once in a lifetime’ story, it wasn’t a glamourous experience. It was boiling hot (45+¬įC when the sun was at its highest), there was no running water, no electricty, no phone connection.

Every task was more complicated than it should have been.

No running water means we had to arrange from water from the nearby lake to be delivered every two days, and then treat it with many filters and chemicals to ensure it was drinkable.¬†For two weeks, water tasted like bleach. There were also no showers, and the toilets were of the dry (and smelly, because 45¬įC temperatures tend to have that effect on things) kind (and home to a family of scorpio).

No electricty meant waking up early to make the most of daylight as there was only very limited lighting after sunset (our generator would only provide for about 4h of it). We cooked over an open fire and had to get groceries every day since we had no ways to stock them. We all got sick from the heat, dehydration, poor sanitation or a combination of all of the above.

'Once in a lifetime' moments in Burkina Faso ‚óŹ #travellinkup
Yours truly, building (or rather, failing to build) a sun dehydrator…

Cultural gaps made for many a fascinating discussion.

We fought with the local welders, who wouldn’t explain why there were getting so behind on¬†fulfilling orders. We later found out it was because if they had made enough money to sustain themselves for the week by say Thursday, they would simply stop working until the next week.

We talked with local students, who asked us how it was to live in France and ‘be rich’. Followed a 3 hour passionate debate on why we weren’t actually rich and how standards and costs of living somewhere affects disposable income.

A few of us were proposed to against various amounts of chickens, goats and even cows. The prospective husbands fully expected us to be thrilled. And to be able to pay for a plane ticket to France and a few electronic gadgets for them.

'Once in a lifetime' moments in Burkina Faso ‚óŹ #travellinkup

We sang and drew with school kids. We helped our guard to carry a used mattress he was very excited about having bought (and pretended not to hear him and his lady friends making good use of it the following nights). We lost every football game we played again the village’s teenagers.

We ate strawberries in February and the sweetest mango I’ve ever had. We slept outdoors, staring at the upside-down moon and counting the stars late into the night.

We took bet on how many of us it’d take to go around the village’s biggest baobab (12!!).

We fought over who’d get the limited strawberry flavour Fanta at the local bar. It was horrific and nobody liked it but still, every day, we fought for it.

My bag almost got stollen but my then-boyfriend jumped off our running car and catch up with the thief. My parents’ camera, who was never meant to have to face 40+¬įC temperatures, died after a week.

We were invited to the African Film Festival opening ceremony, where we fully humilited ourselves by wearing terrible clothes amongst the crème-de-la-crème of the continent cultural icons.

We came back from our African adventures tired but wiser, covered in orange dust but with new perspectives on life and the world. And with a brand new appreciation for the little every day thing we wouldn’t even have noticed otherwise (oh, the life-changing magic of a light switch after 2 wekks without electricity!).

Coming back was hard, finding the words to explain what it was like was even harder. 11 years after, I still struggle with it.

It was surreal and a true, once in a lifetime experience. It wasn’t one bit glamourous, and I hardly have any photo of it, but it was the sort of things money can’t buy, which makes it even more precious.

This blog post has been written as part of this month’s #travellinkup, which theme was ‘once in a lifetime travel experiences’. If you’re a travel-addict, make sure you join the monthly #travellinkup, hosted by¬†Adventures of a London Kiwi,¬†SilverSpoon London¬†and¬†Follow Your Sunshine. Every month, there’s a new fun travel brief to share stories of your adventures!

More #travellinkup travel stories

How to find the perfect travel companion

10 things I learnt from traveling

Highlights from our first US trip

Home(s)

My 2018 travel plans

‘Once in a lifetime’ moments in Burkina Faso

Vegan Moroccan Tagine

As January comes to an end, so do all the bullshit diets.

So long Dry-nuary, vegan-uary and the rest of them, and all they accompanying hashtags.

You won’t be missed.

Vegan Moroccan Tagine ‚óŹ Recipe

You know what doesn’t come to an end though?

The possibility to cook a fantastic meal that just happen to be vegan.

Because accidental vegan food is actually the best, and that all year round.

Vegan Moroccan Tagine ‚óŹ Recipe

Packed full of veggies and vitamins, budget, time and freezer friendly, light, tasty… the list of benefits never ends!

Vegan Moroccan Tagine ‚óŹ Recipe

This colourful vegan moroccan tagine is all that and then some.

Warming, filling and just so cosy, it’s the ideal dish to meal-prep on a rainy Sunday to cheer you up for the whole week ahead!

Vegan Moroccan Tagine ‚óŹ Recipe

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More accidentally vegan recipes

Indian-spiced lentil soup

Spicy Xi’an-style noodles

Winter pistou soup

Tomato & coconut pasta

PB & J porridge

Vegan Moroccan Tagine

Maki’ng me hungry – Sushi Shop x Anne-Sophie Pic

Growing up in France’s middle of nowhere, the only sushi I came across as a child were the poorly executed teeny-tiny ones on the buffet tables at the local Chinese (!!) restaurants. Needledd to say, I was not a fan.

But then I moved to Paris, discovered Sushi Shop and everything changed.

I still remember the day I first treated myself to a selection of the brand’s made-to-order,¬†playful creations.

Maki'ng me hungry ‚óŹ Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

It was a real treat – Sushi Shop isn’t the cheapest on the high street when it comes to take-away sushi. But what you get is also not your run-of-the-mill selection.

Think maki roll topped with Dorito’s (aptly named the ‘Rock n Roll’), spring roll-sushi hybrids (a¬†whole delightful selection of them!) or even foie gras rolls¬†(yes, you read that right and yes, it works)!

Maki'ng me hungry ‚óŹ Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

For a few years now,¬†the brand has been pushing the boundary of sushi-making even further through partnerships with creative brands (remember this beauty?) and eminent chefs, such as Cyril Lignac (the French Jamie Oliver), Jo√ęl Robuchon or Thierry Marx.

But in 2018, they’ve truly outdone themselves and¬†asked Anne Sophie Pic, the only French woman to hold three Michelin stars,¬†to create a collection.

And what a collection!

Maki'ng me hungry ‚óŹ Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky Maki'ng me hungry ‚óŹ Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Blending classic Japanese techniques and unexpected ingredients, the Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic creations are full of delicacy and poetry.

Each of the four exclusive recipes is a nod to Chef Pic’s¬†culinary identity.

The California roll (goat cheese, matcha, bergamot and genmaicha) is the translation of Pic’s own signature dish, the famous ‘Berlingot’.

Maki'ng me hungry ‚óŹ Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

The yellowtail and sage pesto sushi is a triumph of freshness.

Maki'ng me hungry ‚óŹ Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

The woodland maki might seem confusing if you take a look at the ingredients.

Mushroom 3 ways, rose, geranium, yuzu… There’s a lot going on but it all results in a beautiful work of art. And having had more than my fare share, I can confirm it’s another winner.

Vegetarians, rejoice (and get your hands on it stat)!

Maki'ng me hungry ‚óŹ Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

But my favourite was the Signature tuna roll.

Featuring tuna coated with green cardamom¬†honey, celeriac remoulade, green apple, sobach, chicory and dill, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. A beautiful example of what ‘fusion’ can truly achieve.

Sooooooooy good!

The Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic creations are available in all Sushi Shop stores from January 6th 2018. 

More London restaurants to try

Dim sum at Mayfair Garden

Pizza at Pizza Union

Sunday roast at The Quality Chop House

Hot pot in Chinatown

Tasting menu at Anglo

I tried the Sushi Shop x Anne Sophie Pic as a guest of the brand and their PR agency.

Maki’ng me hungry – Sushi Shop x Anne-Sophie Pic

You win sum, you dim sum

…not quite the traditional saying, but far more appropriate when it comes to dim sum at Mayfair Garden.

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Once you’ve made your selection (I advise to take a few friends so you can order EVERYTHING!) and placed your order, sit back, relax and take in the sleek, minimalist decor.

And before you know it…

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

The table will be covered in a variety of dumpling plates.

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

Don’t miss out on the classics: plump prawn & chive dumplings, golden prawn spring rolls, gorgeous har gau…

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

… prawn shu mai…

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

… generously-filled deep-fried prawn dumplings…

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

… superb (and incredible value) king prawn cheung fun…

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

…and my favourite – golden-fried turnip cakes!

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

But enough talking – time to dig in!

The menu’s not especially long (perfect for the indecisive kind!), nor is it comprehensive in any way (the lack of chicken feet is apparently a big deal…), but everything on there is pretty special…

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + WhiskyYou win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

The baked venison puffs are exceptional – the best I’ve had in London sofar.

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

I don’t usually like char sui buns, but Mayfair Garden’s are fluffy, sweet-and-sour pieces of meaty perfection and play in a league of their own!

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

The Xiaolongbao are as delicate and fiddly as you’d expect…

You win some, you dim sum ‚óŹ Mayfair Garden, London ‚óŹ Cake + Whisky

… and the scallop shu mai is the perfect bite to finish things up with a touch of luxury (and a very full stomach).

But no empty stomach Рsurprisingly enough, dim sum is very well priced, with most 3-dumpling plates around the £5 pricemark.

See I told you – no matter what you order at Mayfair Garden, you win some, you dim sum!

Mayfair Garden, 8-10 N Audley St, London W1K 6ZD

You win sum, you dim sum