My foodie adventures in Cuba


The bustle of downtown Havana

Exactly this time two years ago I was cycling around Cuba (sans padded bike pants – something I definitely don’t recommend) and taking in the lush countryside, communist signs (of which there are many) and salsa beats coming off every street. It was one of the most memorable travel adventures I’ve ever had.


Doing my best to fit in with the locals


Cycling through the lush mountains of Pinar del Rio

I felt compelled to go before it was too late. Before the Cadillacs disappeared and the Castro’ had their last days in office. That sentiment is even more relevant now that the Cubans and Americans have politically kissed and made up and the borders are opening. The country is fast catching up with the rest of the world, whether that’s for better or worse.


You can’t miss the socialist propaganda…


… or Che

The legacy of that trip is still with me now, mainly in the form of salsa dancing which I’ve taken to like $2 mojitos (only in Cuba). I can’t say I brought back a truckload of recipes and culinary inspiration as I have from trips to Europe, Asia and Mexico (unless you count variations on the mojito), but I certainly embraced the food offering in Cuba, if only because it is so unique.


My upteenth ham and cheese sandwich

So what was the national dish of Cuba? Well after two weeks I surmised that it was the toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Because they were EVERYWHERE. Every hotel, every street corner, and the only item of food one could buy at the airport.


Delicious stewed beans and yuca

Of course when staying with locals in a casa particulare, you are treated like royalty, to the best standard that your host can afford. Having a casa license is like gold in Cuba and hosts are careful not to step a foot wrong. So a meal at a casa is a showcase of the best food the host has access to. The meals are humble but tasty. Read More

How to host a DIY pizza party


The beginnings of a bespoke pizza

Okay I may as well admit straight up that I haven’t actually hosted a DIY pizza party.

I may know my way around a Eurovision party with a sequined blindfold but a proper pizza party requires the proper pizza kit and I am not sure a wood-fired oven would fit on my balcony, even if I moved my flamingo.


One good looking, hard working pizza oven

It’s lucky that my second cousins have a bona fide wood-fired pizza oven and live just one suburb away. My cousins are part Italian and part Greek so everything that comes out of their kitchen is a perfect love child of Mediterranean flavours and technique. Naturally I jumped at the opportunity to be part of a family DIY pizza party hosted by these near-professionals.



I arrived to find the kitchen table topped with perfect pillows of dough positioned in neat lines. The home team had been busy proofing dough for days and worked up three different bases, including a sourdough base which went on to be the favourite of the day.


Freshly made tomato sauce


Each pizza base was slathered in a mixture of pureed tinned tomatoes, fresh basil and a touch of olive oil.

The DIY element meant that everyone brought their own selection of toppings and they covered almost every inch of the table.



We’re talking freshly shaved prosciutto, ham, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, salami, olives, marinated peppers, marinated artichokes, roasted pumpkin, caramelised red onions, mushrooms, char-grilled eggplant, fresh basil, rocket, anchovies and roasted beetroot. Read More