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.