travel East Africa independently

Maasai Mara in Kenya

Did you know that travel makes you a much more awesome and happier person? You know what’s even better? Skip the jam-packed itinerary of a guided tour and travel independently. We did exactly that on our recent trip to Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. We loved the freewheel, without any guidelines, timelines or other rules and regulations. We had the freedom to do what we want and when we wanted. Although daunting at first because East Africa doesn’t have a reputation for being a backpacker destination, travelling to the beat of our own drum was the best thing we could do.

For years Asia has been known for being the perfect place to explore by travelling independently. Africa on the other hand is much courted by travel agencies and there doesn’t seem to be a big backpacker scene in East Africa. But travelling independently in countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda grows you in a way that any organised tour won’t. So I’ve compiled a list of reasons why everyone should travel to East Africa independently.
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Easy baked vegan sweet potato doughnutsLet me tell you one thing first. You do NOT need a doughnut pan to make doughnuts at home. There are plenty of tips and tricks online. I personally used a muffin pan and placed piping tubes of my cake decoration set in the middle of each cavity (photo of my little experiment). A great summary on how to make vegan doughnuts even if you don’t have a doughnut pan was also written by onegreenplanet.org.

Now that this is out of the way, let’s talk about doughnuts. I had my last doughnut more than a year ago. And even before that, the few times I tried it I found doughnuts too sweet or too greasy to become a regular treat.
So here I am on a lazy Friday night scrolling through Instagram , browsing Pinterest and seeing all these healthy-looking vegan doughnut recipes. And my mind wonders ‘Hm, this doesn’t look *too sweet* or *too greasy*. Maybe I should just make my own doughnuts?! And Hey, I could even add pumpkin or sweet potato. And I don’t need tons of powdered sugar to create a delicious and shinny glaze.’. No sooner said than done. Here is my Super Easy Baked Vegan Sweet Potato Doughnut recipe with refined-sugar-free peanut butter glazing. You need less than 10 ingredients for the dough AND the glazing. Another wonderful thing about this recipe, you need no more than 30 min from taking out the mixing bowl from the cupboard till getting out the freshly baked doughnuts from the oven. But what’s even more awesome (I hope you now understand that this is the best doughnut recipe ever), the peanut butter doughnut glazing does without powdered sugar or any other form of refined sugar. Read more


Pumpkin Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl

The good thing about working from home is that it’s a lot easier making healthy meals for lunch break than if you are working in an office. Don’t get me wrong, there are many amazing recipes for lunches that you can take to work. I just love to decide spontaneously what to eat and I also like a warm lunch once in a while (and I dislike microwaved food).

In summer, I definitely prefer green salads. I guess that doesn’t come at a surprise but the summer months in Cairo are very hot and just the thought of warm food makes me cringe. If I could I would probably add ice cubes to every meal and drink that I have. However once the temperatures become slightly moderate, lets say below 25°C/80 F, I slowly start craving warm and comforting food. And that time is now.

My go-to recipe at the moment is not really a recipe but rather a food style. And it’s called buddha bowl or meal bowl. Basically there are no rules but lots of ideas on what you can throw in your bowl.
The buddha bowl is part salad, part cooked dish. There are several ways to make a veggie meal bowl and ingredients and dressing can be different each time. Buddha bowls are very easy to make and truly versatile. And here is the perfect fall version and one of my favorite buddha bowl recipes. It’s a buddha bowl with roasted pumpkin and sweet potato on spicy arugula. This time I also added avocado, cucumber, pomegranate seeds and a very delicious artichoke parsley dip and topped it off with a mustard cashew dressing.

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It is July 2007 and Argentina has the coldest winter since 90 years. On the other end of the world, in Germany, and at 40°C I step into the plane for my very first trip to South America. At that point, I was clueless on what to expect from a trip to a country which language I didn’t speak and people warned me to go due to safety issues. 7 months later I had not only found myself but also my love for food. It was only the beginning of my culinary journey and much has evolved since but I will forever be grateful to Argentina and its food.

My love affair with food started with Argentinian empanadas. It was love at first bite. If you ever tried empanadas in Argentina I guess you know what I’m talking about. It literally translates into “wrapped in bread” but this is a sheer understatement and does no justice to the diverse flavours and textures of empanadas. This savoury stable of Argentinian cuisine is served warm either as an appetizer or by its own.

This recipe is a recreation of what I remember empanadas are like, just without the meet and/or cheese but they are vegan pumpkin empanadas with peas and corn. Read more


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Hamburg! You hold a special place in my heart. I can’t believe it’s probably 3 or 4 years that I last visited. Not much has changed though. With the breeze still fresh, the Labskaus still the typical food and the Reeperbahn colourful and crowded as ever, Hamburg stands its ground at the German north coast. But, a big BUT, the food scene has seen some changes. Vegan, vegetarian and organic restaurants and menus predominantly appear in the cityscape, at least much more than a few years ago. Notably one neighborhood seems to attract restaurants and cafes that embrace vegan or vegetarian options, St. Georg. Here are four that I visited during my 2-days trip to Hamburg this fall. Read more


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Honestly, I miss autumn. And the reason is I haven’t really experienced autumn for three years now. That is one of the downsides of living in countries with a tropical or warm climate. You don’t get to pick fresh apples in September, stop by street vendors that sell hot maroons or have a huge selection of pumpkin varieties.
But I don’t want to complain because autumn can be ugly, too. The days when you have to go outside despite the fact that it’s freezing cold and raining at the same time. Or when you haven’t seen sunlight in what feels like forever. So maybe I don’t miss it too much. And if I still do I make some autumn inspired foods or drinks. Like this pumpkin spiced matcha latte.

The taste of pumpkin spice reminds me of the cold but cozy season. The moment when you come inside, still shivering from the weather outside and you make yourself a hot cup of tea. Well, since it’s still quite warm in Cairo, I have my pumpkin spiced latte with ice but you can also prepare and drink it hot. Read more


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The capital of Lebanon is known as “Paris of the Middle East” and for capturing the hearts of visitors from around the world. Due to recent political developments many travellers avoid Beirut nowadays but let me tell you, it is completely safe (or as safe as a big city in Europe would be). With its beautiful charm, cool restaurants, thriving bars and gorgeous backstreets, it is the perfect get-away for a long weekend.

So we booked the flights from Cairo, boarded the plane a few days later and all of the sudden landed in Beirut. After some negotiations at the airport, we stepped into our taxi and went straight to our Airbnb in Gemmayze, Beirut’s trendy district. Once we reached the city center I immediately knew that our time in Beirut would be amazing. It was also that drive that we decided to stay in Beirut for all three days (instead of visiting places outside of town for one day) and explore every angle on foot.
So, safe some money on taxis and the hassle of finding the right bus and instead put on some comfy shoes and walk your way around the capital. Beirut is pedestrian-friendly for Middle Eastern standards and you’ll always be able to find some kind of sidewalk wherever your are. Getting hungry on the way? I also have that covered for you. Below is a quick guide to walking and eating your way through Beirut. Read more

Raw Dessert: Pistachio Tarts with Apricot Crust

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There is no denial. Raw (no-bake) desserts have become a popular trend around the world.
It all sounds too good to be true. Smooth cheesecakes, sweet caramel slices and creamy chocolate cake. Minus all the nasty stuff.
What started out as part of the vegan scene has now reached many health-conscious enthusiasts who like to indulge without the guilt. Most raw treats are refined sugar-free, gluten-free and diary-free. I personally love the fact that you can whip up a cake or a few small tarts without waiting for the oven to finish its job. Plus they are healthy, planet-friendly and most people won’t even believe they are raw.
So, let’s just agree that raw desserts are amazing and wonderfully tasty.
Oh and there are no rules to it. The other day I wanted to eat something sweet. So I checked my cupboard, soaked some nuts, added ingredients that I like and made a delicious dessert for dinner with the girls. Read more

Savory Spirulina Pancakes With Vegan Herbed Cream

I don’t know about you but I love food that is colorful. It really seems to taste much better. I’m not talking about artifically colored foods. I’m referring to natural bright and vibrant ingredients. Usually I add lots of color to my morning smoothie. The fresh green of spinach or the happy yellow of mango kicks off my day in the right way.
There is another think I love. Pancakes! (I mean who doesn’t) So how about making these boring plain pancakes more fun by adding the superfood spirulina. Spirulina is packed with nutrients, boosts energy as well as immunity and supports eye and brain health. You don’t need to add much and I promise it won’t taste too healthy. Read more

Vegan Carrot Cake Cookies With Raw Mango Cashewcream

It’s carrot season in Egypt. Wait! You might wonder, there is a carrot season? Yes, there is! Obviously, you get carrots all year around but at the moment they are the juiciest and sweetest.

And here is another fact: Cooking season is not only during Christmas. Okay, you probably know that already. I, on the contrary, never really baked cookies other than in December.
Big mistake as I learned this week. Because these delicious carrot cake cookies with mango cashewcream are just the best treat a healthy girl can ask for. They are vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free. Read more