Friday, 13 September 2019

Mia Bakes: Nestum Date Bars


With that last bit of Nestum cereal leftover in my cupboard, I started looking for new baking recipes to use up that final bit of the yummy cereal and so, Nestum Date Bars it shall be!
So let's get over with the ingredients to get started!

To get 16 servings:
150g deglet noor dates (pitted and chopped)
120ml water 
160g wholemeal flour
70g Nestum Multigrain Cereal
100g unsalted butter, soften
50g plain greek yogurt
100g soft brown sugar
(I used a mixture of brown sugar with baking stevia)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
recipe adapted from nestum.com.my

First up, to prepare the date filling, pop the chopped dates and 120ml of water into a pot and cook over low fire, stirring consistently so that the bottom do not burn, until all the water has evaporated and you're left with a mushy, sticky date jam.
Set aside for the jam to cool down completely.

In a large bowl, whisk the soften butter together with brown sugar until the mixture turns fluffy and creamy before whisking in the greek yogurt, egg and vanilla extract until the mixture is well combined. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature so that your butter-sugar mixture will not seize up into lumps.
Then, add in all your dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
You will be left with a little sticky, malleable dough.

Then, line your 8 x 8 inch pan with some cling wrap before plopping half of the dough in. Using either your wet (to prevent sticking) hands or a spatula, spread it out into a uniform layer and wrap it up with the cling wrap before popping the entire sheet of dough into the fridge for it to firm up.
Then, spray down the pan with some cooking spray and line it with some parchment paper, making sure that you've sufficient overhang for easy removal of the baked date bars, before pressing in the remaining half of the dough to form the base.
By now, if the date jam is still too hot to handle, pop the entire pan into the fridge and wait for the date jam to cool down further.
Once the jam has cool, spread it over the dough base before topping the date jam layer with the other sheet of dough pastry that was left to chill in the cling wrap previously. By now it should be pretty firm and easy to work with.
Then, using a fork, prick holes all over the top pastry dough before baking it in an oven that's pre-heated to 170 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes, or until the surface turns into a beautiful golden brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and lift the date bars out of the pan using the parchment paper overhang. Set it on a wire rack for it to cool down until it's just slightly warm to touch before cutting it into 16 squares/slices. Do note that if you try to cut it up when it's still too hot, the pastry will just crumble off, so do allow sufficient time for proper cooling.


Then, popped the cut bars back into the oven to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until the bars crisp up.


Buttery, crisp pastry biscuits with a layer of sweet and gooey date jam sandwiched in the middle. YUMS!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Monday, 9 September 2019

Shepherd's Pie Delivery: shepherdspie.sg [Sponsored]

shepherdspie.sg journey started back in 2011 when they're looking to find some good old Shepherd's Pies for a Christmas Party. Back then, Shepherd's pies weren't that popular; and being unable to find anybody to bake the pies for them, they decided to do some recipes researching and bake their own! 
And over the years, they've since refined and perfected their recipe to what they believe to be the tastiest and freshest Shepherd's Pies in Singapore. 

shepherdspie.sg offers 3 different sizes of their Shepherd's Pies in two different meat flavours, beef or chicken. And since my household do not take beef for religious reason, we got to try out their delicious chicken shepherd's pies for my Sunday cheatday!

Medium Chicken Shepherd's Pie (left
9 x 5 inch loaf pan, good for 2 - 4 pax
Mini Chicken Shepherd's Pie (right
Cupcake size, single serving
Massive Chicken Shepherd's Pie (not in picture)
9 x 9 inch square pan, good for at least 4 pax

Did you know that traditionally, Shepherd's pies are to be made with ground lamb while their cousin, Cottage pies are made with minced beef. But I'm pretty sure these two terms are commonly used interchangeably by everyone now, with, perhaps, the exception of Gordon Ramsay. 
I mean, what about pies using neither lamb or beef, but pork? Piglet pies? Pigsty pies? 
And how about those with chicken? 
Anyway, be it Chicken Shepherd's Pie or Chicken Cottage Pie, it doesn't matter. What matters is that they're delicious!
The minced chicken filling at the bottom is well seasoned with a flavour that rather similar to a sweet and slightly savoury Japanese curry, along with diced vegetables like carrots, peas and corn. The filling is neither too moist nor too dry, and the minced chicken is cooked just well enough to retain a nice bite to it while not being overly dry and tough. 
The yummy minced chicken filling is then covered with a thick layer of smooth and creamy mashed potatoes and then baked until the top surface turns golden brown. 

With the sweet & savoury chicken filling and the smooth & creamy mashed potatoes, this Shepherd's pie will definitely be thoroughly enjoyed by both children and adults alike. 


All the pies at shepherdspie.sg are baked fresh with ingredients prepared freshly, hence a minimum one-day advance order (cut off by 5pm) is required, and delivery will be made at 3 different time slots to your preference.
And do be rest assured that the pie(s) will be delivered PIPING HOT!
For more information and ordering, do visit their website HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Bing Liang Bakery Mooncakes [Sponsored]

Earlier this year, I was very lucky to be able to sample a truckload of yummy CNY goodies from Bing Liang Bakery, courtesy of cnygoodies.sg (now known as bingliang.com.sg).
And now that the Mid-Autumn Festival is around the corner, I'm elated to find out that Bing Liang Bakery has their own line of delicious traditional baked-skin mooncakes too!

And each 4 piece-set of their mooncakes are packed in this PINK (and jade green) two-tiered drawer box that is oh-so-pretty! <3

With current pricing ranging from as low as $32 to $50 for a set of four, Bing Liang Bakery manages to bring to us good quality and delicious mooncakes that's well-packaged for gifting at an extremely competitive pricing. 

The current 6 flavours available are:

Durian (Mao Shan Wang) - $46 / 4pcs
Green Tea - $42 / 4 pcs
Pure Lotus (Plain/Single Yolk/Double Yolk) - $40 - 46 / 4pcs
White Lotus (Plain/Single Yolk/Double Yolk) - $42 - $50 / 4 pcs
(Low Sugar Option Available)
Red Bean - $32 / 4 pcs
Pandan (Plain/Single Yolk)- $40 - 42 / 4 pcs


Out of all the fancy flavours, I really have to give a special mention to the low sugar white lotus seed paste series (plain, single or double yolk) as a loyal team #eatclean member.
Well, I know a truly healthy mooncake is probably never going exist, and having a low sugar alternative is probably the best you can get. What's more, it's a healthier option that does not compromise in its taste factor.
The lotus seed paste is not overly, cloyingly sweet (because low sugar, DUH!). The texture of the paste is also very smooth and easy to eat, while the baked skin is neither too thick nor thin and gives a lovely oven-baked fragrance to cut into the sweetness of the lotus seed paste.
And as you can see in the cut-section above, it also comes packed with a generous amount of pumpkin seeds to give a nice crunchy bite to the soft paste.
YUMS!

And for those who NEED to taste-test your mooncakes before you can buy them, Bing Liang Bakery does provide free tasting session at their HQ located at 39A Jalan Pemimpin, daily from 2pm - 7pm!
Bing Liang Bakery also provides SAME DAY DELIVERY for their mooncake purchases and offers free delivery for purchases above SGD $88!
However, if you are not in a hurry to receive your mooncakes, simply opt for next day delivery and use code "YUMMY" at checkout to enjoy a 10% discount off your purchase!

For more information, visit Bing Liang Bakery website HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

GreenE Pain Relief Tape [Sponsored]

So one fine day, you realised that your usual barbell weights is starting to feel somewhat, lighter; so you (very confidently) added on that two more plates.

And here's the brand new you walking confidently into the brand new day the very next morning.

"Shouldn't have added those weights yesterday, but too late..."

Does this situation rings a bell? Well, that has happened to me all the time. Not because I'll never learn, but pushing our body to the limit is how we grow stronger, right?
The only issue is that all those muscle ache relief gel are always so oily/sticky and the patches always comes in fixed and rigid rectangular pieces that almost never seem to fit well on our sore spots. And let's not even get to their strong, distinctive medicinal-minty smell that's simply announcing to everyone within a 10-metre radius around you that you're experiencing severe muscle aches right now.
So much for trying so desperately to walk normally.

Now, I'm absolutely excited to know that Samplestore has brought in my life-saviour product from GreenE!

Using patent technology, the GreenE Pain Relief Tape (otherwise also known as Soft Acupuncture Patch) is a medicine-free (hence no pesky medicinal-minty smell, yay!), 4-way stretching medical-level tape that can be worn for up to 36 hours. It can be stretched up to a whopping 192~230%, which is 3 times ahead its competitors in the market.

Made of F-IR generating fibre, which is drawn from energy ball implanted nanoscale Ge/Ti/π solution, which generates the purified far-infrared. 93% of F-IR emission occurs at wavelength of 2-22 um, which helps cell-resonance thermal effect and liquidity effect by de-bonding water micelle and boosting blood circulation for pain relief, which is proven in clinical test reports that the tape increases blood flow speed at near 22%, which benefits the removal of lactic acid and hematic acid in our body.  
On top of its muscle & joints pain relief benefits, GreenE Pain Relief Tape also helps with easing muscle fatigue during exercises. A bicycling electromyography test on the tape has revealed less muscular-strength regression, muscle stretching and torque, which indicates less fatigue and better injury prevention during exercise.

Tell you what, this tape is officially my new Spinning buddy. 
140 rpm, let's go!

Last but not least, the GreenE Pain Relief Tape has an internationally certified Invention Patent registration in the US, China and Taiwan, with medical device certificates issued by the FDA and CE, ISO13485 and GMP certifications, et. cetera.



It's aptly named as an acupuncture tape because just a small patch directly over your soreness point will do the trick, as the Bio-FIR/Bio-Energetics emitting is able to reach 6 cm under the skin, including blood capillary system as well as lymphatic system.
Due to its super elasticity of 190 - 230% stretch by using 10% expensive Lycra and special knitting, having the tape directly over our joints (elbow, knee, ankle etc) will also not hinder our movement at all, hence we can still continue with our usual workouts without any limitation.


Usage of the tape can't be any simpler:
- Make sure to clean your skin and trim away body hair on the area of application
- Cut tape to the desired length and paste on affected area
- Best to apply 30 minutes before activity
- Water resistant & last up to 36 hours
- For removal, simply remove tape from skin gently
- Take note not to apply on wounded skin

Check out Sample Store's page HERE to redeem a free sample of the GreenE Pain Relief Tape and purchase the product. 

This September, Sample Store is once again bringing to us many new and interesting products from Taiwan! The last Best of Taiwan campaign in 2018 was well received and this time round there are many more exciting products other than this GreenE Pain Relief Tape for you to try out!
Subscribe to Sample Store's eDM to keep yourself notified on their weekly launches!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Mia Bakes: No-Knead Wholemeal Ovolmatine Stuffed Buns

Hey lovely readers, I'm back with yet another wholemeal bread recipe, this time it's no-knead!
However, it's not going to be 100% wholemeal though, but only around 70% as I still have a couple tablespoons of all purpose flour leftover and wanted to finish them up ASAP.
Anyway, let's get over with the ingredients to get started!



To get 4 stuffed buns, you'll need:

Bread dough:
50g minus 1 tsp all purpose flour
100g superfine wholemeal flour
20g granulated sugar
(may reduce to 10g if you prefer your bread less sweet)
1 tsp vital wheal gluten
(may skip and replace back with flour, but bread may turn out more dense)
3/4 tsp instant dry yeast
1/8 tsp (or a pinch of) salt
10ml corn oil / vegetable oil
1 egg 
(mine was about 50g out of the shell)
50 - 70ml lukewarm water
(depending on hydration level of your flours and egg size)

Fillings:
Ovolmatine spread
chocolate chips
(I used 60% cacao)

recipe adapted from the super talented Chinese youtube-baker 茄子美食
She used bread flour and a lot more oil (both in the bread dough, during shaping before 2nd proofing, and after 2nd proofing before baking) so hers turned out a lot softer and fluffier on the inside and crisp-looking on the outside. 

First up, in a clean bowl add in 50g of all purpose flour and remove 1 tsp of it, replacing it with a tsp of vital wheat gluten. Then add in the rest of your dry ingredients, making sure that your yeast and salt are not in direct contact with each other.
Then, crack in your egg and and first add in 50ml of lukewarm (make sure it's not too hot if not it'll kill your yeast) water over the spot where you've pour in your yeast and mix well by stirring with a pair of chopsticks (highly recommend using chopsticks because the dough will be super, super sticky).
Continue adding water and stirring until you get a pastey, sticky yet smooth dough like so.


-credits to 茄子美食-

Then, add in the oil and give the dough another quick stir with the chopsticks until the oil gets fully absorbed by the wet dough. Then oil your hand slightly and pat down the wet dough roughly into a ball (MUST oil your hands because the dough sticks like a b*tch!) and cover with a clingwrap and leave it for 1st proofing overnight in the fridge until it roughly doubles (or at least 1.5x) in size. I left mine for about 11 hours in the fridge plus an additional 1.25 hours at room temperature after taking it out.

After the dough has risen back to room temperature, oil your work surface and hands generously, as the dough will still be extremely sticky, and dump your dough onto the oiled surface. Pat down on the dough to release the air pockets (no need to knead, as it's not exactly kneadable anyway) before shaping it into a log and cutting it into 4 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and set the rest aside under a piece of clingwrap while you work on the 1st dough ball.

The dough will be extremely soft and rather stretchy (and sticks to anything not oily enough) so there's no need to roll it out with a rolling pin. Instead you can just use your hands to pat it down and stretch it out into (roughly) a oval-ish rectangular shape. Then, add around 1 to 1.5 tablespoon of ovolmatine spread on the end of the dough nearer to you, or you can also spread it out in dollops all over the dough, before sprinkling a handful of chocolate chips all over the dough, careful to avoid the last inch of the dough piece that's further away from you as you need that seam area to close up the buns.

Then, starting from the end of the dough that's nearer to you, roll up the dough into a small log and press it tightly at the seams to close it up before folding it in half again and pressing the two (opened) end of the log together to seal the seams tightly. Then, shape it slightly into ball or squarish/rectangular bun, however you fancy, and set it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Repeat for the other 3 dough balls and you can play around with other fillings too!

I've also tried one with grated parmesan and shredded mozzarella and red cheddar, which unfortunately kind of split open during baking because the dough was stretched rather thin. 

Some of the chocolate/ovolmatine oozed out from the "weakest link" too. 

So if your choice of fillings are the dry type such as sultanans, pumpkin seeds, red beans and etc (I've also made a sultana with pumpkin seeds one that turned out super round and pretty), you can really stretch your dough out as thin as possible, because even if there are micro-tears in the dough your filling won't be oozing out. 

However, if you're filling your buns with chocolate chips, cheeses or any kind of spreads that get melted and viscous during baking, be sure to make sure that there's no hole on the surface of your dough, or you will just have to make do with a less perfect looking stuffed bun. 

Till then,
Mia Foo


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Mia Bakes: Taiyaki

Due to my recent wedding stuff haul off ezbuy prime, I decided to also pick up something I've always wanted to buy but didn't for fear of incurring ridiculous volumetric shipping fees. 

A taiyaki pan!
Well, I also (always) wanted a waffle pan but I decided to test waters on the quality and ease of usage of such pans with a taiyaki one first.


So now let's get over the ingredients so we can get started!
To get 6 (pancakey/chewy) taiyaki, you'll need:

125g all purpose flour
you may use cake flour if you want to get a fluffier, more tender taiyaki
1 egg
160ml milk
(you may need more depending on hydration level of your flour)
20ml honey
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
Fillings of your choice
(I've tried with chocolate chips, ovomaltine spread, PB2 chocolate peanut butter, and mixed cheeses)
Vegetable oil/cooking spray for cooking

Preparation of the batter can't get any simpler. Get a big, clean bowl, add in all your dry ingredients and give it a good whisk to combine. Then, add in your egg, honey and milk and mix under just combined. Check that the consistency of your batter is similar to that of a slightly runny pancake batter, but not totally liquid (eg. not easily pourable).
If your batter is too thick, add more milk bit by bit until you reach the correct consistency.
Then, leave your batter to rest in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes before making the taiyaki.

To make the taiyaki, first heat up your taiyaki pan on the hob over a small fire until the pan is warm. Then, spray it down with cooking spray or brush the pan with some cooking oil. As my pan is of a non-stick material, I could get away with minimal oiling and my taiyaki didn't stick at all.
Spoon roughly a tablespoon of the batter into each depression and smooth it out to all corners of the mould with the back of your (heat-proof) spoon. Depending on how much or how little filling you are planning to fill your taiyaki with, you may then scoop out the "excess" runny batter at the fish tummy area to create a little more room for your filling to sit in.
Then, fill in the mould with as much or as little of your chosen filling, making sure it's as flat and spread-out as possible.
Spoon another 1 or 2 tablespoonful of the batter over the filling, and do take extra effort to make sure that the batter is covering all (if not, most) of your filling before snapping the pan close and immediately flipping it over.
It's very important to make sure that the batter is covering all of your filling, especially if you're using chocolate or other filling that tends to get melted and viscous when heated, as any tiny gaps in the taiyaki batter will cause the filling to ooze out and your taiyaki will tend to tear apart when you open the pan. I find that I typically need to flip the pan back onto the side when I first added the batter and open the pan in that direction, so that all the gaping chocolate bits will be facing up, and then topping up the chocolate gaps with more batter and cooking it for a few more seconds to patch up the otherwise battered-and-torn looking taiyaki. >.<"

As I'm worried that my taiyaki will burn, I first cook them on small fire for 2.5 minutes on the flipped side, then another 2 minutes on the other side before opening the pan to check for browning.
Then, I will turn up the fire to near medium and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute to achieve the level of browning I desire.

Having tried 4 different flavours of fillings, I highly recommend that you do not use peanut butter, or at least definitely NOT powdered peanut butter (like PB2), as they tend to dry up into a gritty, mushy "bean paste" texture when the taiyaki is cooked. I envisioned a runny peanut butter filling like a Mr Bean pancake but got *points above* THAT.

But it's alright, because Ovomaltine filling is just pure yumminess! 

And mixed cheeses (grated parmesan, shredded cheddar and mozzarella) was quite yummy too! 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 19 July 2019

VitaRealm Anti-A.G.E. Essence [Sponsored]

After converting to team #eatclean I basically avoid added sugar like it's the bane of my existence. And do you know why? Other than the commonly known added sugar-induced health issue like tooth decay, weight gain and body inflammation, SUGAR CAUSES AGING. 

Yes, you heard it right ladies (and gentlemen).
In fact, the recommended sugar consumption each daily is only 6 teaspoons but just a harmless looking cup of pearl (boba) milk tea will burst your daily intake limit at a whopping 20.5 teaspoons! All these excess added sugar, other than adding on inches to your waistline, will also react with the collagen in our skin in a process called glycation, causing our skin to lose elasticity and volume, hence leading to development of wrinkles, fine lines and dark pigments. 

VitaRealm Anti-A.G.E. Essence contains Youth Revivial Complex, which will reverse the glycation process and fight signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. In addition, the product also contains Rose Extract, which is a strong anti-oxidant, helping to strengthen our skin cells and regenerate our skin tissues, which will thus help to fight aging signs.

I like how the product comes in individual twist-cap tinted bottles, that's pretty handy if you need to bring it out with you, if you choose to drink it in the morning before breakfast instead of at night before bedtime. Taste wise, the drink is absolutely yummy with a fruity sweetness with a slight citrus tang. It'll supposedly taste even better when chilled, but on certain days which I forgot to chill mine, they ended up tasting equally good at room temperature as well.

Before (left) and After (right)

After 2 weeks of consuming the drinks every night before bedtime, I noticed that my skin looks more plump and well-hydrated. 


The fine lines around my eyes also appears to be much less obvious, making me seems a lot more refreshed and radiant. Yayy! :)

The product also comes in two other colours, Pink and Blue and here's how to choose your #mybeautycolour using these simple tips below!

First, identify your beauty colour from your skin concerns.

Blue: Dull skin tone, dry skin, uneven skin tone, dark pigments
Pink: Sensitive skin, troubled skin, acne-prone skin, acne scars, enlarged
pores
Purple: Thin and dry skin, sagging skin, wrinkles and fine lines

Then, simply choose your VitaRealm Beauty Drink based on your beauty colour!

Blue: Whitening Collagen
Helps to brighten skin, even out skin tone, lighten dark pigments
Pink: Skin Perfecting Essence
Balances sebum production, heal acne and scars
Purple: Anti-A.G.E Essence
Hydrates and firms skin, reduces sugar induced skin damages (wrinkles,
fine lines)


Each set of VitaRealm Anti-A.G.E. Essence comes in a box of 8 individual bottles, and is available at VitaRealm's online store (www.vitarealmbeauty.com) at only $39.90 (u.p. $49.90, promotion ends on 31 July) with free islandwide delivery.
Also available at all Watson's stores at the discounted price of $39.90 for a limited time only!

Till then,
Mia Foo
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