Chef Jessie unveils newest creation: the Summer Berries Light Cheesecake!

If the warm weather is any indication, summer is slowly but surely encroaching upon the metro.

The approach of summer, however, need not be a downer, even when most of us are stuck at home with no way to travel to destinations we dreamed about.

Instead, we can bring the essence of summer right where we are with the newest dessert creation from Chef Jessie – the Summer Berries Light Cheesecake!

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Sincioco began her illustrious career when she won the grand prize in The Great Maya Cookfest in 1983, followed by becoming the first Filipina pastry chef in 1990. She later on set up her own company, JCS Gastronomie Inc. to manage several upscale reataurants.

When His Holiness Pope Francis visited the country in 2015, Chef Jessie was handpicked to cook for him.

This summer, Chef Jessie once again flexed her baking muscles and crafted this beautiful cheesecake.

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

It’s an eight-inch dessert masterpiece made with alternating layers of strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry light cheesecake interspersed with slices of fresh berries nestled on a thin cornflake crust with crispy sponge discs and undercoated white chocolate.

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

It is a show-stopping dessert, fit for any season, but definitely a hit for the summer!

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Truth be told: my fam and I polished off the entire cake in less than a day. We just couldn’t resist it!

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Want to bite into your own summer sweetness?

Chef Jessie Light Summer Berry Cake

Place your order two days in advance for pick up or delivery. Text or call +63 917 8967880, +63 917 8330797 and +63 977 0976649 or email chefjessiesplace@chefjessie.com. Pick up is at Chef Jessie’s Place located at 1997 Pililia St. corner Obrero and Tanay Streets, Makati and is open everyday for pick up and delivery from 9am to 6pm.

For more details on Chef Jessie, visit her website. Follow Chef Jessie’s Restaurants on Facebook and Instagram to get a sneak peek of her latest culinary creations.

Disclosure: A product sample was provided to facilitate my honest feedback.

Chef Jessie's Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bring home happiness from the north with Bantay Bread

Baked goods do tend to elicit a feeling of happiness. From their appetizing scents wafting to our nostrils, the sight of them laid out on the table to their sweetness as we bite into them, baked goodies sate our hunger while also calling to mind fun memories from our childhood.

These kinds of baked goodies are what Ilocos-based bakery Bantay Bread specializes in.

Bantay Bread

This family business started out in 2010 as a local panaderia supplying morning pan de sal to its patrons.

In response to the changes brought about by the pandemic and its resulting community quarantine, the family behind Bantay Bread set about pivoting their business to operate in their new business environment.

Bantay Bread

First, they expanded their product offerings to include much-loved Pinoy desserts, some of which my family and I were recently able to sample. These include:

Kabayan. Bite-sized butter muffins shaped like the Pinoy salakot. My daughter – a middle-aged Asian tiger mom trapped in the body of a Gen Z girl – developed a liking for it as it is not too sweet.

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Hopiang Baboy. A Filipino pastry, that contrary to the name, actually does not contain pork meat. This flaky pastry is actually filled with onions caramelized in pork fat and combined with flour, sugar and milk. Hubby likes to munch on these during his coffee break.

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Pianono. Interestingly, this pastry is actually named after Pope Pius IX whose nickname was Pio Nono. Of course, we Filipinized its name to pianono. It is a sponge cake roll with a sweet buttercream filling. I recall having this as my baon for recess when I was in grade school. My son – a sweet tooth like me! – likes having this for dessert.

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread

Another way Bantay Bread was able to pivot its business is by expanding its availability beyond Ilocos. In Metro Manila, for instance, Bantay Bread fans can just contact these local resellers to order the objects of their baked good cravings.

  • Marikina: +63 916 7760087 or +63 927 8657119
  • Parañaque: +63 917 8438012
  • Alabang: +63 917 8068027
  • Pasig/Fairview: +63 908 8887417

So if you’ve got a hankering for home-grown Pinoy baked goods for merienda, dessert or for munching on anytime of the day, bring home some happiness from the north and get a box of Bantay Bread.

Bantay Bread

Bantay Bread’s main branch is located at Buquig, National Hi-way, Bantay, Ilocos Sur, open daily from 8am to 7pm. For inquiries or to apply to be a reseller, call or text +63 917 7007696. For more details on its product offerings and availability in your area, follow Bantay Bread on Facebook and Instagram.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to elicit honest feedback.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Fet Boys introduces newest sweet creation: Prettier than Pink Cookies

Pink is the color love, comfort and compassion. It is the hue that evokes feelings of friendship, warmth and playfulness.

Pink is also the color that accents the Fet Boys’ newest dessert creation: Prettier than Pink Cookies!

Fet Boys

Expertly crafted by Fet Boys’ Chef Kirk Ngo, Prettier Than Pink Cookies are made with ruby chocolate – a new chocolate variety introduced in 2017 by Belgian-Swiss company Barry Callebaut. The fourth chocolate variant next to dark, milk and white, ruby chocolate is made with ruby cocoa beans, it is marked by its characteristic pink color and a unique mix of sweetness, acidity and berry-like fruitiness.

The Prettier than Pink Cookie is the third cookie flavor introduced by Chef Kirk, having introduced his Too Much Chocolate Chip Cookies and Coffee Butterscotch the year before.

Fet Boys

What makes this trio of cookie creations from Fet Boys even more distinctive is that, unlike other cookies that are tastier when heated prior to serving, these are best enjoyed chilled, straight from the ref!

Excited to get your Fet Boys Cookies? Get regular-sized ones in a box of 12 for Php480, a box of 18 for Php780 or a box of 24 for Php1,080. You can also go big by ordering giant cookies in a box of 6 for Php800, a box of 8 for Php1,000 or a box of 12 for Php1,500.

You can place your orders through the Fet Boys’ Facebook Page.

Images and details provided in a recent press release.

Yummy homemade apple pie for the apple of your eye

Literary goddess Jane Austen was said to have uttered, “Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.”

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

I certainly cannot refute the truth behind Ms. Austen’s words.

Apple pies – good ones! – do bring about feelings of happiness and contentment.

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

This much-loved dessert actually originated in England, influenced by culinary traditions from France, the Netherlands and the Ottoman Empire from as early as the 1390s. It made its way to the New World thanks to the European settlers. It grew in popularity and was eventually included in America’s first cookbook, American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons in 1796.

Over the years, it has become ingrained into American culture, hence the saying “as American as apple pie.”

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

It has also made its way to this country, where dessert lovers can now enjoy it in the comforts of their own home by ordering from enterprising home bakers.

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

One such entrepreneur is Mark David Antonio, who started baking apple pies at the start of this year to practice baking and earn a bit of money.

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

As apple pie is his favorite dessert, he infused it with his favorite elements: a buttery and flaky crust, a sweetly-spiced apple filling and a crumbly streusel topping. Together, these made for an apple pie perfect for any occasion: a show-stopping contribution to a potluck, a delightful gift to a sweet tooth, or a satisfying cap to a wonderful meal.

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

It’s best served warm from the oven. You will also be treated to the wonderful apple pie aroma wafting to your nostrils as the pie re-heats in the oven, giving you a heady sense anticipation.

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

You may or may not choose to top it with a dollop of vanilla ice cream to have it ala mode (I didn’t because I couldn’t wait to bite into my slice).

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

It’s also quite affordable at just Php550, so no need to think twice in treating yourself and the apple of your eye to this decadent delight.

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Just order from Mark by texting +63 956 8674914 or +63 921 4813262. You can also send him a message via Facebook. Payments via GCash and BPI are accepted. This can be delivered to anywhere in the metro, with delivery fee shouldered by the buyer.

Let this sweet treat add to your domestic bliss today!

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Apple Pie (Mark David Antonio)

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Valentine’s Day celebrations at the New World Makati Hotel

New World Makati Hotel beckons couples for a romantically indulgent all-you-can-eat  lunch or dinner at Café 1228 on 14 February, as well as a decadent array of swoon-worthy sweet treats at The Shop, ideal as gifts for that special someone.

Romantic Indulgence at Café 1228

Couples are in for a delightfully decadent dining experience as Café 1228 offers an extensive all-you-can-eat a la carte selection on 14 February for lunch or dinner. The restaurant’s signature slow roast prime ribeye, Rosemary lamb chops, Pork cassoulet, Braised leg of lamb in red wine, and Seared salmon with parmesan crisp and dill cream sauce are just some of the enticing items guests can enjoy along with a complimentary glass of red, white or sparkling wine.

Cafe 1228 Valentine

Salads and light bites to start off the gustatory experience are Parma ham with brie and grape chutney, Cambozola with roasted cherry tomatoes on pesto crostini and Salami Milano with cocktail onions, beet cured salmon, horseradish, dill and cornichons, to name a few.

Seafood served hot-off-the-grill include shrimps, blue crabs, clams and mussels prepped with an array of sauces – garlic butter, salt and pepper, garlic and cheese, white wine, and sweet chili. These would go nicely with the Italian selection of pasta and pizza such as Pesto cream, Puttanesca, Marinara, and Carbonara sauces, as well as Frutti di mare, Margherita, Parma ham arugula, and Mediterranean vegetable, respectively.

Cafe 1228 Valentine

For desserts, there is Truffle cake, Strawberry shortcake, Bread and butter pudding, Mandarin crème brulee, Mango sago pudding, White chocolate sable, Chocolate bonbons, and more.

Delectable Chinese, Japanese, regional, and local dishes complete the indulgent spread.

Cafe 1228 Valentine

Valentine’s Day lunch is priced at PHP1,188 nett, while dinner is PHP2,500 nett.

Swoon-worthy Sweet Treats at The Shop

Sweets special someone are available at The Shop. Decadent treats such as a box of six dark chocolate and lemon-flavored Madeleines (PHP350), a box of ten Lavender-infused cocoa truffles (PHP1,000), a box of four large Mandola cookies (PHP450) and a one-pound or petite-sized Strawberry Rose Cake (PHP1,600) and (PHP450) are sure ways to make hearts and tastebuds flutter with delight. All prices are nett.

Cafe 1228 Valentine

For information and reservations, guests may call New World Makati Hotel at +63 2 88116888 ext. 3679, send a Viber message at +63 9178884194, or send an email.

Those interested can stay updated and follow New World Makati Hotel’s social media accounts, on Facebook and on Instagram.

About New World Hotel Makati

New World Makati Hotel is a world-class deluxe hotel located in the heart of Makati. With a thoroughly modern vibe and hints of Oriental influence, the hotel features 580 guestrooms and suites with Residence Club executive floor accommodation, a business center, sophisticated dining options, a well-equipped fitness center with sauna and spa, an outdoor swimming pool, and 1,800 square meters of dynamic function space for meetings and conferences.

The hotel is located directly across Greenbelt, the country’s premier lifestyle shopping center. It is also nine kilometers from Ninoy Aquino International Airport and within steps of many embassies, as well as Manila’s top business addresses and upscale shopping venues.

Details as well as photos for header and The Shop were provided in a recent press release.

Sweet Valentine surprises for your sweet someone at The Manila Hotel

Sweets to the sweet, or so they say.

So on the day of hearts, treat your special someone to something special from The Manila Hotel.

Chocolate gifts have long been a staple of Valentine’s Days for decades, so what better way to show your love than with handcrafted chocolates. Two new items from The Manila Hotel Deli will surely make your Valentine’s night all the sweeter. Surprise your loved one with either the Valentine Praline Bouquet or the Chocolate Strawberry Bouquet.

For only P980 nett, the Valentine Praline Bouquet is exactly that—a round bouquet of hazelnut gianduja-based pralines, with highlights of rolled pistachio nuts. Timeless and popular, round bouquets are popular in weddings, but this artisanal chocolate bouquet is one that will surely add a sweet touch to Valentine’s Day.

Manila Hotel Valentine 2021

The Chocolate Strawberry Bouquet, which sells for only P1,380 nett, combines the taste of juicy strawberries and the comforting sweetness of chocolates loved by many. Dipped in artisanal Belgian chocolate and interspersed with pink variant, this is a perfect gift that says a lot.

Manila Hotel Valentine 2021

These sweet surprise variants can be pre-ordered starting February 8, 2021 from The Manila Hotel’s Delicatessen, or by calling 85270011 or 09989501912.

And just in time for the day of hearts, the Valentine-inspired Raspberry Delight heart-shaped cake combines three ingredients that make the perfect combo: Chocolate Mousse brings sweetness and mellowness; raspberries an acidity note; and pistachio biscuit just the right crunch. For only, Php1,300 nett, this indulgent dessert is just what you need to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard. One-day pre-order is recommended.

Manila Hotel Valentine 2021

The Delicatessen also has a host of other chocolate gift items in regular boxes and collectible boxes like heart-shaped sinamay containers. From Belgian chocolate bars to assorted pralines to heart-shaped concoctions, you have numerous options to choose from.

Details and images provided in a recent press release.

Three reasons to say “I love you” with Ben’s Cookies this Valentine’s Day

Despite not being a regular holiday (one that gives us a day off work) – Valentine’s Day still is one of the most anticipated celebrations every year.

As a day dedicated to love in all its forms, it evokes warm and fuzzy feelings, and encourages expressions of emotions ranging from affection to grand passion.

However, some may not have the capability or the opportunity to say “I love you” to those who are near-and-dear to them. For those people, may I propose this solution: #SayItWithBens.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Ben’s Cookies is the brainchild of cookbook writer and chocoholic Helge Rubinstein who named the business after her son.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine

From its beginnings in 1983 as a stall in UK’s Oxford Covered Market, Ben’s Cookies have extended its reach to the Philippines when it opened its first store in The Podium Mall in July 2019, followed by branches in SM Mall of Asia and SM Megamall.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Here are three reasons why gifting your special someone with Ben’s Cookies is a good idea:

1. Ben’s Cookies are made with all the good stuff.

These palm-sized cookie treats are made with chunks – not chips – of premium chocolate, unsalted butter, wheat flour, fresh eggs, cane sugar and nuts, all freshly baked everyday.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

2. They come in delicious variants.

Love comes in wondrous variety and so do Ben’s Cookies. Check them out:

Milk Chocolate Chunk.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Dark Chocolate Chunk.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

White Chocolate Chunk.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Praline & Milk Chocolate Chunk.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Triple Chocolate Chunk.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Speculoos Cookie.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Other cookie variants include: Fruit & Nut, Double Chocolate & Nut, Peanut & Milk Chocolate, Oatmeal & Raisin, Cranberry & White Chocolate Chunk, Lemon, Orange & Milk Chocolate Chunk, White Chocolate Chunk & Macadamia and Double Chocolate Chunk.

3. The more (cookies), the merrier.

These cookies are available by the piece at Php90 each.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

You can also get them packaged in lovely tin cans (4 pieces at Php495 or 8 pieces at Php835).

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

However, you get a pretty sweet deal when you get them by the box (Buy 5 and get 2 free at Php450 or Buy 10 and get 5 free at Php900).

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

So bring a happy twinkle in your beloved’s eyes this Valentine’s Day by giving them the sweet delight of Ben’s Cookies.

Ben’s Cookies Valentine

Ben’s Cookies Valentine’s Day

To grab the Ben’s Cookies present for your sweet Valentine, drop by any of its stores:

  • Ground Floor, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Second Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Ground Floor, Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City

You can also call +63 917 5267711 or order online.

Ben's Cookies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

Celebrate Carrot Cake Day with this treat from Inang Charing

Did you know that Carrot Cake Day falls on February 3?

On this day, the world celebrates one of our favorite cakes which happens to have a lively and storied history.

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Food historians posit that the carrot cake originated from the carrot puddings eaten by Europeans in the Middle Ages. During this time, sugar and sweeteners were quite expensive so bakers used carrots as substitutes for sugar.

In 1814, a recipe for “Gateau de Carrottes” was included first included in the book L’art du cuisinier by Antoine Beauvilliers, former chef to Louis XVI which was soon copied in competitor cookbooks until an English translation came out in 1824. Thanks to these written works, the recipe for this delectable was handed down through generations and traveled across continents so we foodies can enjoy it.

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Here in the metro, the carrot cake remains a foodie favorite and many local bakers have put their own spin on it.

One such baker is Mylene Capili who operates the online bakeshop Inang Charing Cakes and Pastries. Having named her business as a tribute to her beloved grandmother, she applies modern takes to the classic dessert favorites that her store offers.

Her Carrot Cake (Php395 for sampler | Php545 for 8×8 square pan | Php1,245 for family-size 10×12 pan), for instance, like many modern iterations of the dessert, is made with freshly grated carrots incorporated into a moist and sweetly spiced cake topped with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting and beautifully garnished with grated carrots and chopped walnuts.

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

It’s a showstopper of a dessert, definitely, and a perfect sweet treat for Carrot Cake Day.

Couple this with an order of premium Cookies (Php180 for box of three | Php355 for box of six) made with decadent Belgian chocolate. From the Classic Chocolate Chip (made with dark and semi-sweet Belgian chocolates) to the Aurum (made with white and golden Belgian chocolates topped with almond slices and Maldon sea salt flakes, these are tasty ways to indulge your sweet cravings anytime you want.

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

So go ahead. Find reasons to celebrate such as Carrot Cake Day and treat your loved ones to lovingly crafted desserts from Inang Charing Cakes and Pastries.

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Order now via Facebook or Instagram with a three-day lead time and pay via GCash or BPI bank deposit a day before your preferred pickup or delivery date.

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Inang Charing Cakes & Pastries

Disclosure: Items featured here were received as gifts.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

The Jelly List: Thoughtful Gifts for Valentine’s Day

The day of hearts is fast approaching. Despite the pandemic, Valentine’s Day remains one of the most anticipated holidays of the year.

The question is: how can sweethearts in the metro celebrate the day of romance if they can’t go out to wine and dine?

Through thoughtful gift-giving, of course!

Nothing says “I love you” like a well-considered present, one that gave thought to one’s sweetheart’s interests and passions.

Check out this list and let me know which suggestion suits your beloved best:

For the hopeless romantic: Preserved Flower Arrangement from Stories & Blossoms

Flowers are almost synonymous with Valentine’s Day. A bouquet of fresh-cut blooms would set a romantic heart racing, but nowadays, preserved flowers may be the way to go. They last longer than fresh flowers and are pretty low maintenance. (Somewhat like the ideal partner, eh?)

Tell your love story with a tasteful preserved flower arrangement from Stories & Blossoms. Through the creative combinations of colors, shapes and textures of various preserved blooms, you can express quite a lot to your loved one and evoke romantic memories. You can even have a unique arrangement inspired by your loved one favorite book, movie or TV series, just like the store’s Sex & the City Collection.

Stories & Blossoms’ SATC Collection

Stories & Blossoms’ SATC Collection

Stories & Blossoms’ SATC Collection

Stories & Blossoms’ SATC Collection

Stories & Blossoms’ preserved flower arrangements start at Php299 with more ornate signature creations starting at Php2,500. You can also have an arrangement custom-made according to your preferred colors and flowers as well as your budget. Shop online at Stories & Blossoms’ website or call +63 967 5099050.

Read more on Stories & Blossoms here.

Photo credit: Stories & Blossoms

For the health-conscious: Superfood Box Set from Goodness MNL

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is the value of our health. Central to any attempt at a healthy lifestyle is, of course, food.

If you want to start on a journey towards healthy living, incorporating superfood into your diet would be a good start. These nutrient-rich ingredients help in promoting health and warding off diseases.

Get a Goodness MNL box set to enjoy a sampling of five different types of superfood. Choose five from the nine superfood types available – organic chia seeds, organic golden flax seeds, organic sweet basil seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Himalayan fine salt, Himalayan rock salt, organic cocosugar, organic adlai grits and cocosugar cacao nibs – and have them delivered to you in a beautifully curated box.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL’s box set is available for Php330 (with 30ml test tube bottles) and Php400 (with 40ml test tube bottles). Order your box via Facebook or Instagram.

Read more about Goodness MNL here.

For the stressed: Coloring Books from Shopping on the Side

Engaging in a creative activity such as coloring books can help calm a busy mind, facilitate a more restful slumber and can even unleash one’s creativity in other pursuits.

If you think your special someone can benefit from these, then gift them with imported adult coloring books that will soothe the mind while getting those creative juices flowing.

Coloring Books - Shopping on the Side (https://shopee.ph/shoppingontheside?v=5ef&smtt=0.0.5)

Coloring Books - Shopping on the Side (https://shopee.ph/shoppingontheside?smtt=0.0.9)

Fortunately, getting those coloring books won’t require such a huge effort. Simply order from Shopping on the Side’s store on Shopee and take your pick from its wide variety of books from meditative mandala patterns, whimsical drawings of fairies, intricate illustrations of travel destinations to humorous comic strips.

Read more about Shopping on the Side here.

For the eco warrior: Bamboo Mug and Tumbler from The Bamboo Company

If protecting the environment is one of your SO’s priorities, you would want to support this advocacy through gifts that promote zero-waste, sustainability or the elimination of single use plastics.

Reusable implements for drinking or eating to-go food would go a long way towards keeping the environment safe for future generations.

The Bamboo Company

The Bamboo Company

You can purchase this Breakfast Buddy (Mug and Coffee Tumbler Set) from The Bamboo Company’s online store (now on sale for Php1,699 from Php2,040). It’s perfect for that leisurely morning coffee that you two can share on a chilly Valentine’s Day morning.

For the homebound imbiber: Cocktails-to-Go from After Hours Bar

If your special someone misses the experience of going out to a bar for a drink, then bring the bar home!

While the pandemic has had a huge impact on the restaurant and hospitality industry, bars were hit the hardest. Fortunately, some have pivoted their business to include ready-made cocktails available for delivery, such as After Hours Bar.

After Hours, Tomas Morato

After Hours Bar Bottled Cocktails

You can get 500 ml bottles of After Hours’ signature cocktails such as Sangria Spritzer (Php825), Punch Drunk Love (Php975), Gin Basil Smash (Php975), Muscovado Old Fashioned (Php1,300) and Negroni (Php1,500) delivered to your home just by ordering through its online store.

Read more about After Hours Bar here.

For the sweet tooth: Strawberry Shortcake from Inang Charing

If your beloved adores desserts and sweets, then express your love with a delectable Strawberry Shortcake!

A gorgeous confection made with delicate vanilla cake, layered with thick and fluffy whipped cream and topped with slices of fresh and succulent strawberries, this will surely excite the senses!

Inang Charing Strawberry Shortcake

Inang Charing Strawberry Shortcake

You can get this delightful creation from Inang Charing Cakes and Pastries, a Pasig-based online baker. An eight-inch round cake is available for Php1,135 (for pickup only due to the delicateness of the cake) but an 8-in x 8-in square pan is also available for Php835 (more suitable for delivery services).

Place your orders via Inang Charing’s Facebook and Instagram pages with a two-day lead time.

Read more about Inang Charing Cakes and Pastries here and here.

So there you have it: my list for thoughtful gift ideas for your special someone this Valentine’s Day.

Which one do you think suits your beloved the most?

Check out my other adventures compiled into Jelly Lists:

Oreo Blizzard Cake from Dairy Queen

When I was a kid, getting an ice cream cake for your birthday was like spotting a unicorn: it just made everything extra special.

Dairy Queen Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Back in the 80s, getting an ice cream cake was already a grand production in itself. Someone had to go get the ice cream cake in the one – one! – store in the whole of the metro where ice cream cakes are available, and bring it to where your party was. To prevent the cake from melting during transit from the ice cream store to your shindig, it is placed in a container lined with dry ice (which we would place in a tub of water to get that smoke effect during the party).

Dairy Queen Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Today, ice cream cake is available in Dairy Queen outlets as Blizzard Cakes – with various flavors available too! – and can be delivered to your home hassle-free.

Dairy Queen Oreo Ice Cream Cake

For my son’s last birthday, his grandma sent him a Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard Cake. This lovely ice cream cake is made of layers of cream vanilla soft-serve ice cream with a crunch and fudge center and topped with fresh Oreo pieces.

Dairy Queen Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Since Oreos and ice cream are among my son’s favorite food, it’s not surprising that he enjoyed his birthday cake immensely.

Dairy Queen Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Since this confection is made almost entirely out of ice cream, this type of cake is best consumed immediately or kept in the freezer.

Dairy Queen Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Want your own Blizzard Cake for your holiday celebrations? You can order online or via GrabFood and FoodPanda.

Dairy Queen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

Ultimate Christmas Treats – Ben’s Cookies

Looking for a way to spread the holiday cheer?

How about gifting your nears-and-dears with a box of Ben’s Cookies?

Ben’s Cookies

From its beginnings in 1983 as a stall in UK’s Oxford Covered Market, Ben’s Cookies have extended its reach to the Philippines when it opened its first store in The Podium Mall in July 2019, followed by branches in SM Mall of Asia and SM Megamall. It brought with its those signature palm-sized pieces of moist and chewy delights made with chunks – not chips – of premium chocolate, unsalted butter, wheat flour, fresh eggs, cane sugar and nuts, all freshly baked everyday.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies is the brainchild of cookbook writer and chocoholic Helge Rubinstein who named the business after her son.

Ben’s Cookies

With such a history, we can say that each cookie is made with love. Check out some of its cookie creations:

Milk Chocolate Chunk. The chocolate chip cookie may be the grandaddy of all modern cookies but this one may be considered The Godfather because of its heft.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

Dark Chocolate Chunk. The Milk Chocolate Chunk’s darker and more sophisticated cousin, perfect for dark chocolate lovers.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

White Chocolate Chunk. A more delicate version of the Milk Chocolate Chunk, this is a cookie you reach for if you want a break from the usual.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

Double Chocolate and Nut. This baby’s got twice the chocolate goodness, further enhanced by the addition of crunchy walnuts.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

Speculoos Cookie. To end all speculation, this cookie brings the spiced and nutty sweetness you crave for.

Ben’s Cookies

Ben’s Cookies

Other cookie variants include: Double Chocolate Chunk, Triple Chocolate Chunk, White Chocolate Chunk and Macadamia, Orange & Milk Chocolate Chunk, Praline & Milk Chocolate Chunk, Lemon, Cranberry & White Chocolate Chunk, Oatmeal & Raisin, Peanut and Milk Chocolate, and Fruit & Nut.

These cookies are available by the piece at Php90 each, or by the box (Buy 5 and get 2 free at Php450 or Buy 10 and get 5 free at Php900) or by the tin (4 pieces at Php495 or 8 pieces at Php835).

Ben’s Cookies

Go ahead and spread some sweetness and good cheer by giving out these yummies to fam and friends.

Ben’s Cookies

To get your Ben’s Cookies, drop by any of its stores:

  • Ground Floor, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Second Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Ground Floor, Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City

You can also call +63 917 5267711 or order online.

Ben's Cookies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro:

#QuarantineCookbook: Basque Burnt Cheesecake Cups

One of the food items that trended during quarantine is the Basque Burnt Cheesecake.

An adaptation of tarta de queso which was popularized by the cafe La Viña located in San Sebastian in the Basque region of northern Spain, it is characterized by its parchment paper wrapping, scorched top that dips into a gooey, almost molten-like, center.

I had my first taste of Burnt Basque Cheesecake last year during lunch with my officemates at Sourdough Cafe and again this year when I had a whole cake delivered to my home from Sweet Samthings for my birthday celebration.

Sourdough Cafe, Tomas Morato

Sweet Samthings

What I love about it is the buttery caramel-like taste of the top layer that gives way to the rich tanginess of the cheesecake filling.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

This decadent dessert makes use of easily accessible ingredients: cream cheese (of course!), sugar, eggs, flour and cream.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

I’m considering giving some away as gifts to family and friends so I decided to try making this dessert as mini cups.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

I also used fresh cage-free eggs for this recipe. This type of eggs are grown in farms that provides environments that allow egg-laying hens to exhibit their natural behaviors unlike those with battery-cage systems which provide no space for the hens to stretch their wings, perch, or forage. Cage-free eggs have been found to be of higher quality and have a healthier nutritional profile than other eggs such as less saturated fat and cholesterol, higher levels of protein, vitamins and omega fatty acids. You can read more about the virtues of cage-free eggs here.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • Two 225g bars of cream cheese
  • One cup granulated sugar
  • Three cage-free eggs
  • Two-and-half tablespoons all purpose flour
  • One-eight teaspoon of salt
  • One cup whipping cream
  • One-fourth teaspoon melted butter

Procedure:

Preheat the oven to 250 deg C.

Using a mixer on medium speed, soften the cream cheese for three minutes then add the sugar until well combined.

Add in the eggs one at a time and beat for a minute until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the salt and continue to beat for another minute until the ingredients are well incorporated into the mixture. Set aside.

Place the flour in a separate bowl and whisk in the whipping cream a little at a time, making sure that there are no flour lumps.

Pour the cream mixture into the cheese mixture while mixing at slow speed.

Line the cups of two muffin pans with cupcake liners (or you can use two square pieces of parchment papers placed on top of each other such that the corners alternate with each other). Brush the liners with a bit of melted butter.

Fill the cups two-thirds of the way, then bake for thirteen to fifteen minutes until the tops are slightly scorched (I prefer that over totally burnt) and the centers are still wobbly.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool up to ten minutes to allow the cakes to set.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

I was able to make twenty-four mini cakes and one (thin!) cake in an eight-inch round tin.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

These cakes have my kiddos seal of approval, and my mom’s as well, as I sent the tin cake over to her as a present.

So if you’re on the lookout for something new to bring to your Noche Buena table, or to give away as gifts to your nears-and-dears, do give this recipe a try.

Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other kitchen adventures:

Gift your loved ones with goodies from Bake Boss

It will be a different Christmas this year, won’t it?

We won’t be able to gather with friends and family, travel to our favorite haunts, nor have boisterous merrymaking.

The holidays may be subdued but the Christmas spirit should still be alive and well through the time-honored practice of gift-giving.

Presenting our loved ones with yummy treats is one way to keep sweetness in this world gone awry.

Bake Boss

Take Bake Boss’ baked goodies, for example. Made with love by thirty-seven-year-old baker Earl Reyes, these sweet somethings should give your nears-and-dears a bit of sugar rush that will usher in some holiday cheer.

Aside from her involvement with the family construction business, Earl busied herself with her hobby since high school: baking. She whipped up baked goodies for family, friends and coworkers during the height of the quarantine, and, bolstered by her husband’s encouragement, eventually launched her online food business in May of this year.

Bake Boss’ homemade sugary treats include:

Chocolate Banana Muffins (Php347 for 6 pieces | Php573 for 1 dozen). Moist and chocolatey muffins with the naturally rich sweetness of bananas. Gift this to avid chocolate lovers and banana loaf fans.

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Php297 for 9 pieces | Php360 for 1 dozen). Soft, buttery and chewy oatmeal cookies with the fruity tanginess of raisins. Be a Santa and treat the little ones to a plate of these yummies along with a glass of milk as a reward for being good kids all year.

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

It’s never too early to plan out your presents for your family and friends. So be sure to make a list and check it twice, then order your foodie presents from Bake Boss via Instagram at least two days before delivery date. Cashless payments via GCash are accepted.

All of Bake Boss’ goodies are freshly baked and can be delivered from Paranaque to anywhere in Metro Manila via Grab, Lalamove, Happy Move, MoveIt, Angkas, Mr Speedy and others (delivery fee charged to buyer).

Christmas may be different this year, but with sugary treats as delicious holiday gifts, it can be just as sweet as it always has been.

Bake Boss

Bake Boss

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Spread the sweet goodness of Kica Bites cookies

A little bit of sweetness can go a long way, wouldn’t you agree?

A little bit of a warm hug, a little bit of a winsome smile, a little bit of a happy thought… All these are little bits of joy that we can spread around, especially during these trying times.

After all, the quarantine can’t lock down our merry vibes, can it?

That’s why we should take every opportunity to spread little bits of sweetness to the people around us.

Take the cookies from Kica Bites, for example.

Kica Bites

Kica Bites

Made with love by newlyweds Kim and Carla (hence the name “KiCa”) who discovered baking as their “quaranthing,” these confections are the sweet treats that are sure to brighten everyone’s day.

Kica Bites

Kica Bites

Kica Bites

Baked in small batches in their HQ in Rizal, Kica Bites cookies come in two signature flavors:

Original Chocolate Chip (Php209 for box of 6 | Php269 for box of 10). It’s hard to resist biting into a buttery cookie studded with chocolate chips, with just a hint of a crisp at the edges and chewy center . So why bother resisting?

Kica Bites

Kica Bites

Kica Bites

Kica Bites

Triple Dark Chocolate with Walnuts (Php229 for box of 6 | Php289 for box of 10). Get ready for chocolate overload with this fudgy chocolatey cookie!

Kica Bites

Kica Bites

Kica Bites

Kica Bites

Can’t choose between the two flavors? Why don’t you go for a Mixed Box (Php279) with five pieces of each cookie variant?

Kica Bites

So the next question is: how can these sweet cookie delights find their way to you?

Kica Bites

Simple: just fill out this order form, then wait for the order confirmation as well as Kica Bites’ payment details. Pay via BPI, Union Bank or Gcash then send proof of payment. Kica Bites cookies may be delivered from Rizal to anywhere in Metro Manila everyday or within Cavite on weekends.

These cookies are great for dessert a meal or as an accompaniment for your cuppa on your coffee break.

Kica Bites

With the holidays fast approaching, you can spread some joy and love by giving a box of cookies to your nears-and-dears so that they can bite into some sweet goodness too!

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Red Velvet Cake from Lia’s Cakes in Season

Momshies, did you know that red velvet cake is actually made with cocoa, making it, in essence, chocolate cake?

Lia’s Cakes in Season, Kapitolyo

It’s a classic dessert favorite in the Southern US states, said to have originated in Maryland in the early 20th century. It gained the moniker “velvet” cake for having soft and velvety crumbs as opposed to its coarser crumb contemporaries.

During the food rationing of World War II, bakers started adding boiled beetroot to their cake ingredients to help them retain moisture and its juices to add color to their creations.

Traditionally, bakers used a light and fluffy French-style roux icing to decorate the red velvet cake. Variations using cream cheese of buttercream frosting came later.

I was recently gifted by a fellow momshie with a whole Red Velvet Cake from Lia’s Cakes in Season.

Lia’s Cakes in Season, Kapitolyo

This dessert store is practically a landmark in the foodie haven of Kapitolyo in Pasig City. Set up by young entrepreneur Carlo Carlos in 2004 to feature “fruits-to-cakes in season,” cakes and pastries that creatively incorporate the freshest fruits in season.

Its Red Velvet Cake (Php990 whole | Php140 per slice), however, is the store’s take on the classic fave. It consists of a moist chocolate cake (colored a deep red, of course), wrapped in a smooth buttercream icing and topped with crystal bits for added texture.

Lia’s Cakes in Season, Kapitolyo

To get your hands on this decadent delight, order through Lia’s Cakes’ online store or call +63 917 6605427 (minimum order of Php850) for delivery to anywhere in Metro Manila. Delivery is free for website orders over Php2,000.

Lia’s Cakes in Season, Kapitolyo

So order now, momshies!

Lia’s Cakes in Season, Kapitolyo

Lia’s Cakes in Season is located at 23 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.

Lia's Cakes in Season Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other dessert shops in the metro: