The Love for Food
Meet Celina, a Filipino food enthusiast whose passion for cooking and baking led her to a remarkable opportunity in Lithuania.
From Muscat, Oman, where she worked as a medical program executive for almost a decade, she met and fell in love with her now-husband Andrius. Despite her busy schedule, her passion for food through cooking and baking continuously knocks on her heart. She loved playing with recipes, baking cakes and cupcakes, and then sharing them with friends and family. At this point, her love for food is becoming stronger than ever.
“We now have two beautiful daughters, both born in Vilnius, Lithuania,” Celina proudly shared, highlighting the sense of home they’ve created in this foreign land.
In her pursuit to find her real passion, which is food, she found Ubeness, Buco Pandaness, and Langkaness. It was in 2022 that she started using them in her recipes. Celina’s enthusiasm for these essences is unmistakable.
“I have tried other brands too, but nothing compares to these three essences when it comes to flavor and color. What great products they are! I am a loyal customer forever!”
Last September, she was invited to be a part of an exhibit at the Lithuanian National Museum—House of Histories. The reception of her displayed products is very overwhelming, as she has gained more attention for Filipino cuisine. It was a job well done and an opportunity she embraced wholeheartedly. At the event, she showcased souvenirs, Filipino snacks, chips, candies, buco pandan, and her signature product, lengua de gato, available in different Pinoy flavors—vanilla, coffee, chocolate, mango, buco pandan, and UBE (purple yam). Her migrant story is also featured in Our Migration Story, a global collection of success stories. These gave her more motivation to continuously promote and make Filipino foods for all cultures to enjoy. Maybe there are a handful of Filipinos in Lithuania at the moment, but there are millions of cultures open to experiencing the burst of taste of the beloved Filipino cuisine.
Try this recipe from Celina
Coconut Pandan Jelly Drink
- 1 liter coconut-almond drink
- 1/2 cup of sugar to add depending on preferred sweetness
- 1 1/2 tsp buco pandaness
Toppings or add-ons
- Boiled tapioca pearls small or big
- Buco pandan flavored jelly small pieces
- Nata de coco white or green
- Young coconut meat sliced into pieces optional
- Combine all the drink ingredients.
- Refrigerate until cold enough, as preferred.
- Before serving, add the preferred amount of toppings or add-ons.
- Serve and enjoy.
Ube (Purple Yam) Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes
- 1 Food processor or zip-lock bag and rolling pin for crushing the cookies
- pan for water bath in the oven
- cupcake molders
- aluminum liner or cupcake liners
- Large bowl
- electric mixer
- 320 g sweet biscuits
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup sour cream 35% fat
- 400 g cream cheese
- 250 g mascarpone
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 white granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 - 3 tsp Ubeness or About Flavors Ube flavoring https://aboutflavors.com/shop/ube-with-color/
- pinch of salt
- water for water bath
- Using a food processor (or a Ziploc bag and rolling pin), grind/process the sweet biscuits to powder and pour the melted butter. Process until it resembles coarse wet sand. If too dry, add a tablespoon of melted butter. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 135°C (the low temperature helps keep the cheesecakes smooth and creamy). Prepare a water bath (I use hot water), to be placed under the cupcake tray (not touching the cupcake tray directly) to steam the cheesecake cupcakes in the oven.
- Line standard cupcake tins with paper/aluminum liners. Place 1 tbsp of crumbs in the bottom of each liner and press evenly to create the biscuit base. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
- In a large bowl use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and mascarpone until smooth and combined. Gradually add the sugar and beat until combined. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Beat in the sour cream and salt. Reserve a cup of the mixture before adding the ubeness to the rest of the batter, to create the white swirls on the cheesecake cupcakes later on.
- Divide the ube-flavored batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each 2/3 of the way. Place a teaspoon of the reserved cheesecake mixture on top and using a toothpick, create swirls. Careful not to overmix to keep a white and purple swirl design, and not to touch the biscuit base.
- Bake for about 22 - 25 minutes at 135°C, with a hot water-bath under the cupcake tray (not touching the tray but directly below it), until the filling is set. Transfer the baked cheesecake cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.