Friday, October 9, 2015

Red Berries and Cream Cheese Muffins

Red Berries and Cream Cheese Muffins I

I have been in a shoot hiatus for months. The photos in my last blog was shot back in March, that was 7 months ago! My Stockfood account manager has been asking me for new materials and I have not submitted anything new. I just couldn't find the time to do a proper shoot!

But I miss it. I love the creative process; from planning, sourcing the ingredients, to cooking, plating, the actual shoot and the post-process. It is not easy being a one-woman-team: I'm the cook, the stylist and the photographer so that means it's 3x the work and takes 3x longer to produce. But I am not complaining. In fact, I wish I could find time to do this more often.

Good thing there was a long weekend a few days ago, I finally got time! There was also an added motivation to shoot; a food photography contest with Andy Harris, editor of Jamie Magazine, as one of the judges. I thought, wouldn't it be cool if I win? So I gave it a shot, (literally!). What have I got to lose except a few hours of sleep, right?

So, 2 of the photos here were submitted for the contest, can you guess which ones? I'm pretty pleased with the results and am happy to share them with you.

Now about the muffins.

This recipe is perfect for brunch, snack or for a picnic in the park. It's still pretty hot in Bahrain but I'm already looking forward to going to the parks in the winter. This will also be good as holiday gift or to take to potlucks for Christmas breakfast.

The recipe for the muffins was adapted from Gather for Breads' Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins and the streusel topping from The Girl Who Ate Everything's Blueberry Streusel Muffins. I love their blogs, you should check them out!

Red Berries and Cream Cheese Muffins I

Red Berries and Cream Cheese Muffins with Streusel Topping

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Bake Time: 17-20 minutes
Total Time: 37-50 minutes


4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 stick of butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup full cream milk
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 + 1/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh red currants, stems removed + 1/4 cup with stems

For the streusel topping:
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 stick of cold butter, cut into cubes

1/4 to 1/2 cup icing sugar for dusting


For the streusel topping:
1. Mix sugar, flour and the cold butter using your hand until you get a clumpy, sandy texture. Keep it in the fridge until ready to use.

For the muffin:
1. Preheat the oven to 425*F for at least 30 minutes.

2. Line 2 x 12-muffin pan with muffin liners. Set aside.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix the cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add milk and vanilla extract, (I use my homemade vanilla extract).

4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed by whisking it a couple of times.

5. Add the dry ingredients into the butter and cream cheese mixture and mix well.

6. Using a spatula, fold in 1/2 cup of the raspberries and 1/2 cup of the red currants.

7. Put half of the remaining berries into the muffin liners, ( roughly1 raspberies, 2-3 red currants).

8. Using an ice cream scoop, pour the batter into the muffin liners. Decorate the top with the remaining berries then sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake for 450*F for 5 minutes then lower the temperature to 375*F and continue baking for another 12-15 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the middle of a cupcake; when the toothpick comes out clean, it's done!

9. Cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring on to a wire rack. Cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour on the rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar before serving.

Makes 24 muffins.

Red Berries and Cream Cheese Muffins I

Red Berries and Cream Cheese Muffins I

Red Berries and Cream Cheese Muffins I

Red Berries and Cream Cheese Muffins I

Red Berries and Cream Cheese Muffins I

09 Oct 2015
Haidee's Kitchen

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Roots and Fruits Power Smoothie

Roots and Fruits Power Smoothie I

It seems summer will never end here in the gulf. Today was 37*C but feels like 41! We're in the middle of September and still not a cloud in sight! So hang in there for a few more days, winter is coming, eventually.

And since it still feels very much like summer, I thought it's not too late to share one of my favorite superfood power smoothie, one that will quench your thirst and that your body will love. It's packed with natural vitamins and other nutrients that will boost your immune system; perfect for this extended hot and very humid weather. Rawsome!
Roots and Fruits Power Smoothie I

1/2 cup frozen cooked beets, (pre-cut into 1-inch cube)
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 apple, roughly chopped
zest of 2 oranges
juice of 2 oranges
fresh mint leaves (from 4-5 sprigs of mint leaves)
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 to 1 cup of ice
Optional,(because I love spices!):
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
a pinch of 1/8 tsp freshly-shaved nutmeg

1. Toss everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

That's it! It's that simple. Enjoy!
Roots and Fruits Power Smoothie I

Roots and Fruits Power Smoothie I

15 Sep 2015
Haidee's Kitchen

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sans Rival Macaron

Sans Rival Macarons I

I was missing in my home country, the Philippines. I have been living in the gulf for almost a decade. And although I love living in Bahrain, there are still some days when I get "homesicked"...I miss home.

It was one of those days. I was missing my family, their loud laughter and warm hugs, their spontaneous "I love yous" that sound way better in person than over the phone. Hanging out with my friends. Road trips. The beach. Oh! the beach. When the gulf summer seems it will never end, that's when I miss Boracay the most. And of course, the food, glorious "Pinoy" food!

Whenever I go home on holidays, I prepare myself to gain weight and just let myself go and indulge on all the food that I missed. I would have a mental list of what I would like to eat. But it seems our visits, no matter how long or short, were never ever enough to revisit all the yummies in my check list. One of those cravings that I missed on my last trip was Sans Rival Cake.

Sans Rival Cake may sound French, (well actually it is), but this confection is a well-loved Filipino dessert. It's a multi-layer of meringue, buttercream and chopped roasted cashew nuts, covered with butter cream and roasted cashew nuts. Yes, it sounds incredibly good that it's name claimed it is "without rival".

So I was craving for this cake and feeling bummed that no one is making it around here. The closest meringue-ish dessert is macaron, which on normal days I would love to have in any flavor. But even that will not satisfy because I was craving for buttercream sandwiched between the meringue. And then I had an epiphany...what if I make macaron with sans rival filling? I imagined it and in my mind and was convinced it would work. The only problem is...I've never made macarons before nor have I ever made Sans Rival cake.

So I began my search to find the perfect recipe to merge these 2 greats to create one genius dessert. Many webpages later, I resolved to try out these recipe combination: Macarons recipe from Martha Stewart and the buttercream recipe from BakeHappy. How did it go? Har har har (like the laugh of an evil genius!) Eureka! It was a success! It is everything I imagined it would be!

I think it would be selfish not to share this discovery to the web world. After all, I wouldn't have done it without the help from Ms. Martha and Ms. Aikko's recipe. So here it is, enjoy!

Sans Rival Macaron Recipe

For the Macarons: Adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe, the directions were slightly modified.

Difficulty: (not easy for me!)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes


1 1/4 cups almond meal
1 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 large or 120g egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.

2.Sift and whisk together almond meal and confectioner's sugar in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium speed until frothy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the granulated sugar and almond extract. Whisk on high speed until soft peak forms, about 3-5 minutes.

4. Fold egg whites into the almond and sugar mixture until well combined. Mix vigorously with spatula until the mixture sinks and smooth and thick and has the same consistency as honey. Transfer the mixture into a pastry bag with round tip. Pipe 1-inch round into a silicone macaron mould. Alternatively, pipe in 1-inch round, 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should be able to make 2 baking sheets of 28 macaron shells each. Tap the baking sheet to make sure there are no air bubbles.

5. Let it dry for at least 30 minutes until the tops are shiny and dry. 

6. Place the baking sheets on the middle rack and on the lowest rack and keep the oven door slightly ajar for the 1st 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, rotate both baking sheets 180* and switch-- the one on the middle rack to the bottom and the one at the bottom on the middle rack. Close the oven door and do not open until after 7 minutes.

7. Let cool in the baking sheet for 20 minutes then remove and transfer to the cooling rack to cool completely.

For the Cashew Nut Buttercream Filling, adapted and slightly modified recipe from Bake Happy:
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup water
9 egg yolks
3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
1/2 pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup lightly toasted, chopped cashew news.

Special tool needed: Candy Thermometer (This is a must!)

1. In a saucepan fitted with candy thermometer, boil sugar and water over high heat. Shake and swirl the pan occasionally to avoid sugar from browning on the side of the pan. While waiting, pour the egg yolks in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.

2. Once the sugar syrup registers 220*F on the candy thermometer, start beating the egg yolk on high speed. Turn down the speed to low or turn it off once the egg yolk is frothy.

3. As soon as the sugar syrup registers a temperature of 240*F, remove from hear and start beating the egg yolk at medium speed and pour the sugar syrup slowly and at steady stream. Increase the speed to high once the all the syrup have been incorporated and beat for 1 minute. Place in the fridge for 8-10 minutes to cool down.

4. Return the egg mixture to the stand mixer, beat on low speed then gradually add butter. Add vanilla extract and salt. Turn up the speed on high and whisk until fluffy.

5. Gently fold in cashew nuts with a spatula and place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

To assemble:
Take a heaping spoonful of the butter cream filling and sandwich it between macaron shells. If you wish, you can add more shards of chopped cashew nuts around the filling.

Sans Rival Macarons I

I was still missing home but I was happy I got to taste a bit of it, with a twist, in my Bahrain kitchen.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri

Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I 

Well, hello my lovelies. Did you miss me? I know it's been a while since my last post. I haven't been blogging as much as I used to. My weekdays are hectic balancing act between work and school runs and lately our weekends are booked with barbecues, karting, and parties with friends...not that I'm complaining. It's just that I couldn't find time to work on my and photography.

I can't believe it's more than 2 years since I started this little project! Haidee's Kitchen was just intended to be as my online notes on the recipes I have loved so I don't forget them. I can't believe it almost reached 60K views as of writing this post. So thank you for the support, you're all awesome!

So what have I been up to lately? Well, I have started a new project. Ok, let's rewind that. At the beginning of this year I was thinking what could be my 2014 project. 2012 was when I started this blog, 2013 was my organic garden which is thriving even with this extreme gulf summer heat and is producing more than what my family can consume.

Oregano I Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I 

I thought of a million things to do for this year, (exagg!)... I know I sound like I'm contradicting myself as I began my post with my excuse on why I haven't had time to post sooner. But I believe you can always find time for the things you love. So lately, my other loves were given priority. But today, this very minute, you have my full attention. Yes, I love y'all too!

Also, I believe one should never stop learning, lest you stop growing. And learning new things is important to me. I'm blessed to have a supporting husband who are supportive with my personal pursuit. He encourages that I pursue my passion... (except when I told him I want to learn pottery. He begged me not to, saying we don't have more space for my works of art, LOL! He's probably right).

So 2012 was Project Food Blog, 2013 was Project Organic Garden and 2014 is Project Health...I'm taking better care of me.

It's amazing that the more I learn about food, the more I learn that every morsel that goes into your body makes a big difference. And the more I learn about real food, the kinder I become to my body. I try to stay away from processed food and choose a healthier option. I also become aware that not everything advertised as good are actually good. No Calorie Artificial Sweetener? No thank you. I'd take the muscovado sugar instead if there are no better option. And please don't ask me how much calorie is packed in my sandwich, I don't have time for that and I absolutely think it is pointless. I also am not into those fad diet. Sure, with my background in physiotherapy and personal training I know how to lose 5kg in 2 weeks, but do I really want to subject my body to that kind of stress just to fit into a dress? I don't think so. So I've decided to take the longer route to weight loss, to listen to my body and be patient that over time I will achieve my goal. I have decided to start my yoga practice...everyday.

Yes, I committed to myself to do yoga everyday whether I feel like it or not. Whether I feel strong, or flexible, or tired. Because they say it takes 21 days to form a habit. And that's what I'm trying to develop, a habit that will eventually turn into a life style.

And all my ongoing "projects" are kind of inter-related. Diet and exercise are both essential to weight loss. So the food that I mostly prepare at home are healthy or healthier versions of the food that I love. But don't get me wrong, I still love them chocolate cake!

I have been getting inspiration from fellow foodies. The book that I have been devouring now is the beautifully written and visually delicious cookbook by Gwyneth Paltrow, "It's All Good". Most of her meals are simple and yet so flavorful and satisfying.

Today, I'm sharing a dish inspired my her recipe "Sauteed Corn with Chimichurri". I said inspired because I made it with my own version of chimichurri with fresh oregano picked from my garden and used canned corn instead of fresh because that was what I had in the pantry.

Have you tried chimichurri? It's almost the same as pesto, but instead of cheese you replace it with the heat of jalapeno. I like to char the jalapeno a bit to add more depth of flavor. My version is one part oregano, 1 part cilantro for more contrasting flavor. If you want the oregano to stand our, feel free to swap it with flat leaf parsley.

Charred Jalapeno I Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I 

The chimichurri is good as condiment for meat, especially steak. But it is lovely too when added on corn and serve it as a side dish or as a satisfying vegan meal. I think I had me 2 helpings when I cooked it for this shoot. And yet, I don't feel guilty, 'coz "it's all good."

Oregano I Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I 

Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I 

Sauteed Corn with Chimichurri

Difficulty: Easy

Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes

2 x 400g canned corn (drained weight 280g)
4 tbsp chimichurri*
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Heat a cast iron skillet. Pour in the EVOO

2. Add the corn, sautéing occasionally. This will allow the corn to develop a nice char, about 5-8 minutes. Do not overcook; the corn should still be plump and juicy.

3. Take the skillet off the heat and mix-in the chimichurri. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to your liking.

For the Chimichurri*

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

1 packed cup fresh oregano leaves
1 packed cup fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley leaf
1 medium jalapeno, charred, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup EVOO
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor. Add more EVOO if it's too dry. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before using. Keep the rest in a tight-lid jar and store in the fridge for 2 weeks or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Oregano I Sautéed Corn with Chimichurri I 
Chimichurri, 03 May 2014
Haidee's Kitchen

All photos in this post taken using iPhone5.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Almond Milk

*Updated 24 Feb 2014.

I'm all about superfoods these days. The more I learn about them and eat them, the more I fall in love with them. I recently encountered raw cacao nibs and it was love at first bite...or rather, nibble. I blame the vegans and the organic hippies, their green gospel is proliferating and their preaching is getting through me. I fear that one day, one day, I might just say no to butter and bacon! Oh, the thought gives me the chills!

Anyway, I don't think I'll be a food extremist, I'm all about balance. And I'm a gastronomic adventurer so no way I would let myself be restricted by certain food religion. Having said that, it is sensible to learn more about good food. I don't really like calorie-counting-artificial-sugar diet fad. I like whole food...real food.

Lately, I have been trading my favorite moo lattes to soy-cappuccino and have mustered the strength to say no to whip cream...and I love it! At home, I've been whipping up smoothies with fruits, nuts and seeds using soy, coconut milk and nut milk as my base. However, these vegan milk are not easy to come by around here, and when they do, they're usually ridiculously expensive! Another issue is that though they are labeled organic, some are heavily laden with unnatural ingredients and preservatives which I cannot even pronounce, thus would like to stay away from.

So to solve this problem, I make my own nut milk. Not only do I save a lot of dinars for doing so, I know exactly what is in them. And it will keep well in the fridge for a week without the need for preservatives. Best of all, it's so easy to make I don't even break a sweat!

Here's 2 of my favorite flavored almond milk, cinnamon and cacao.

Cacao and Cinnamon Almond Milk I
First, you have to rehydrate the raw almonds overnight so it will yield the maximum amount of "milk". 2 cups of almonds will turn into 3 to 3.5 cups when rehydrated.

When you're ready to grind your milk, here are the equipments you will need:
1. electric blender
2. jelly strainer with stand, ( I use Lakeland Jelly Strainer kit, if you don't have one, a fine-meshed strainer and cheese cloth will do the job as well).
3. a bowl that will fit under your jelly strainer
4. dry measuring cup
5. wet measuring cup
6. measuring spoons

If you're a purist, almond and water is all you need to make a raw, unsweetened almond milk. My ratio is 1.5 cups rehydrated raw almonds + 3 cups water. Blend until you get the texture that you want then strain it. But that can be pretty...blah. So I'm sharing with you 2 of my favorite flavors, cinnamon and cacao.

Now let's get started.

Cinnamon Almond Milk

Time (from prep to finish): Under 10 minutes

1 1/2 cups rehydrated raw almonds
3 cups water
2 tbsp natural, unprocessed light muscovado sugar, add more as per your preference*
beans of 1/2 vanilla pod
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
*You can substitute muscovado sugar with pure maple syrup or dates to make this a sugar-free recipe. Use 1tbsp maple syrup or 4 pieces of dates, seeded.

1. Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend for 2 minutes at a time until you get the smoothness/texture that you want. Taste and add sugar to your liking.

2. Pour the mixture into the jelly strainer and let the milk drip into the bowl by itself. When the flow has stopped, give it a good squeeze until all the milk has been wrung out. Discard the sap or better yer, use it as a body scrub ;-)

Cacao Almond Milk

Time (from prep to finish): Under 10 minutes

1 1/2 cups rehydrated raw almonds
3 cups water
2 tbsp natural, unprocessed light muscovado sugar, add more as per your preference*
beans of 1/2 vanilla pod
2 tbsp cacao nibs,  (or 1 tbsp cacao powder or cocoa powder)
1/8 tsp salt
*You can substitute muscovado sugar with agave nectar or dates to make this a sugar-free recipe. Use 1tbsp agave nectar or 4 pieces of dates, seeded.

1. Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend for 2 minutes at a time until you get the smoothness/texture that you want. Taste and add sugar to your liking.

2. Pour the mixture into the jelly strainer and let the milk drip into the bowl by itself. When the flow has stopped, give it a good squeeze until all the milk has been wrung out.

Haidee's Kitchen
15 Feb 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cha Soba

Brrrr....the temperature continuous to drop here in the gulf. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. In fact, this is my favorite season, I mean who doesn't want a break from the scorching hot summer in the desert? I love the winter here. It rarely drops below 10*C which is just perfect. These days, a hot soup is just what I need to warm my tummy. I've revisited an old post, Zaru Cha Soba (Cold Green Tea Noodles served with a hot dipping dashi broth). This is pretty much the same as that except instead of using the dashi broth as dipping sauce, The noodle is served right in the hot broth. Whatever and whichever way you serve it, it will taste amazing!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

400g dried cha (green tea) buckwheat noodles
water for boiling the noodles
a big bowl of ice cubes

For the Hot Broth:
4 tbsp dashi granules
4 cups water
1/2 cup mirin
1/2 cup Kikoman soy sauce

Toppings & Garnish:
shredded kani (crab sticks), as desired 
togarashi (red chili flakes), as desired


1. Place Cha noodles in boiling water and cook as directed in the package. Drain and transfer the the noodles on a bowl of ice cubes to stop the cooking process and prevents it from becoming soggy. Set Aside.

2. In a sauce pan, dissolve the dashi granules in water and bring up to a boil. Bring the heat down then add mirin and soy sauce. Simmer for 1-2 minutes.

3. To serve, transfer the cold soba on a bowl, pour a few laddleful of broth, top with shredded kani and togarashi. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings

Homecooked Meals
24 Nov 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Peppermint-Choco-Mallows Stirrers

I promised my friend, Joyce I will be posting the recipe for this treat, if you can call it recipe at all. There is no cooking involved and I made it with very little effort. It's a perfect gift for the holidays. In fact, I made this last year for Rocky to give-away to his friends.

So this is part of my holiday "Edible Gifts" Peppermint-Choco-Mallows Stirrer-- store-bought marshmallows dipped in chocolate and covered with crushed peppermint candy cane. That's pretty much it, 3 ingredients, no cooking required. This ideally serves as a stirrer for hot cocoa or hot milk, let the peppermint and chocolate-covered marshmallows melt in the hot drink before you drink and enjoy. Some of Rocky's friends gobbled it by itself. I don't blame them, I may have had a stick or two,(...ok maybe more!), when I was packaging them, you know, for quality check.

It perfectly pairs with your hot drink especially on Christmas morning or after the "Noche Buena" (Christmas dinner). And, if you've been naughty this year, this might score you some "nice" points with Santa if you leave a stick next to his hot milk and cookies under the Christmas tree.

peppermint-choco-mallows stirrer I

Difficulty: Super Easy!

Prep and Assembly Time: 30 to 40 minutes

What you will need:
1 pack popsicle sticks
Double boiler or heat-proof bowl set over simmering water
shallow bowl for the crushed candy cane
Baking sheet lined with parchment paper

1 pack large white marshmallows, (approximately 50 pcs)
4 cups dark, milk chocolate or white chocolate, (1 used 2 cups dark chocolate and 2 cups of white chocolate)
10 x 8in peppermint candy cane, finely chopped


1. In a double boiler or heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt/temper 2 cups of dark chocolate, make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. 
*Alternatively, you may melt the chocolate in the microwave, set on high, at 20 seconds interval until melted.
**For tips on tempering chocolate, click here.

2. Dip 1 inch of the popsicle stick in melted chocolate, stick into the marshmallows and immediately roll over the chopped candy cane. Let it stand to cool and harden on the baking sheet. Repeat process until half of the marshmallows are well coated.

3. Repeat the process using the white chocolate and the remaining half of the marshmallows and candy cane. Let it cool completely at room temperature.

Makes approximately 50 stirrers.

For more Edible Gifts suggestions, you may want to check these out:
1. Bourbon Dulce De Leche
2. Almond Butter Cups
3. Dark Hazelnut Butter
4. Vanilla Extract
5. Rocky Crunch

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my kitchen to yours! xoxo

peppermint-choco-mallows stirrer I

peppermint-choco-mallows stirrer I