I’m a big ball of mixed emotions, so I’ve decided to eat my feelings and make Calamansi Muffins!
So guess what, I’m officially a legal UK resident!
Finally! I’ve been sharing my husband and mine’s journey from applying for a UK tourist visa to the challenges of the UK marriage visa process and it has been quite a ride! I’ll be writing soon about my spouse visa in detail in another post. We have been through so much to get here, and it isn’t over. In 30 months, I’m going to have to reapply for a 5-year Indefinite Leave to Remain. Until then, my husband and I feel relieved and happy. Now, the real heavy stuff comes. It is time to get on with real life – find a job, pay the bills, share responsibilities, finish our house, and just enjoy being a married couple.
Realizing I’ve officially moved into a new home has brought about a lot of emotions. There’s so much to love and discover in the United Kingdom, and and London just never ceases to fascinate and amaze me. (Even despite the recent Brexit!) It is cultural, historic, vibrant, and artistic. Although sporadic, sunny days in London are gorgeous and uplifting. When the skies are grey, it feels like perpetual cuddle weather.
However, I still miss a lot about my old home, and it’s only natural. I have always moaned and groaned about my country, but no one can say anything about the Philippines that will taint my love for it. In fact, I feel like I’ve really appreciated it more in the last few months. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, I guess!
These days, I miss the beach more than anything else. The sea, sand, and sun were my elements. I loved roasting under the sunshine. I didn’t care about how my body looked like in a bikini. (Looking back, even I am amazed at the level of confidence I had in bearing so much skin!) I would gladly be scantily clad and happily tanning in a beach somewhere. When homesickness hits the most, I remember time spent on a beach. With friends in Boracay. With family in Nagsasa. With my husband in Siquijor. Or those moments that I enjoyed the solace of my own company in Camotes.
While I can’t bring the crystal clear waters and hot sand to London, I have found something in the pantry that can help take me back there. I found calamansi juice! I can make Boracay’s famous calamansi muffins with it!
In 2013, I was in the beach almost every other month for work. Despite Boracay being far from my favorite beach in the Philippines, I met a lot of friends and made a lot of good memories in that place. Boracay is a more commercial island, with its beachfront peppered with food establishments, resorts, and bars. If you want a party in a beautiful setting, this is for you. If you want to relax and get away from life’s hustle and bustle, there are many other destinations in the Philippines to choose from. It still is gorgeous especially in the more remote parts of the island. (Just please clean as you go, and have respect for the place. Boracay has become a tragic posterchild for how tourism overdrive can ruin paradise.) One classic food stop in Boracay has become a bit of a traditional must-have to traveling Filipinos. A cafe called Real Coffee serves up the best calamansi muffins, and is a popular choice for “pasalubong”, a gift that you bring home to your family and friends when coming from a trip or a holiday. Biting into a calamansi muffin reminded me of being in that island with my friends. Food has always been a great mode of time travel.
Calamansi is a small, round lime that is used by Filipinos regularly in both sweet and savory dishes. It is sour yet sweet at the same time, with a distinct bitterness to it as well. It is turned into a refreshing juice mised with ice cold water and a spoonful of honey. It is commonly added to soy sauce and used as dipping sauce or marinade. While it is incomparable when fresh, it can also be conveniently packaged as calamansi concentrate for people who would like to take it abroad, and it just so happens that my husband had brought some back with him from the last time he visited the Philippines.
I’ve decided to try to make these muffins on a rainy day, and it instantly put a smile on my face. The delicious tartness and sweetness of these lime muffins feels like biting into sunshine. I’ve tried several recipes, including this popular calamansi muffin food hack and have had to adjust it because I wan’t using fresh calamansi. I’m looking to try to make this with key lime juice later on, in case you want to try to make it but can’t get a hold of calamansi juice. I’ll update this post later on when I find out!
I’m targeting January for a holiday back to my beloved islands. I can’t wait to see my friends and family and to experience the comfort of beach life again. Until then, I’ll be getting to know my new home, with occasional trips down memory lane with this delicious treat.
Tart and sweet, a bite of sunshine! These muffins will take you to the islands!
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 pcs eggs
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup calamansi concentrate
- Mix milk and calamansi concentrate together and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, followed by the milk-calamansi mixture.
- Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together, then add into the butter in batches. You want to blend it until it is well encorporated and until there are no lumps in the batter, however, do not over mix it.
- Scoop in non stick muffin pans.
- Bake in preheated 180 degrees Celsius oven for 20 minutes.
As I didn't have calamansi, and lime was not the same flavor, I tweaked some recipes that I found in the internet and used calamansi concentrate, available in Filipino / Asian stores.