Sunday, 15 July 2018

Mia Bakes: Mochi Cheese Balls

Many years back, I've once tried to bake myself some chocolate mochi bread (recipe HERE) but they turned out pretty fail. Dense, hard and not as chewy as it should be. 

Fast-forward to 2018, I found Ochikeron. HAHA, who else is a fan of her recipe too, drop me a comment down below! :) 
 
Don't they look cute? <3

So let's get over the ingredients so we can get started!

To get 12 mochi cheeseballs, you'll need:

100g glutinous rice flour 
(ochikeron used shiratamako, but I used those Thai brands glutinous rice flour we can easily get in the supermarkets)
100ml milk
50g grated parmesan cheese
30g shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese 

adapted from Ochikeron's No Egg Japanese-Style Pao De Queijo

It couldn't get any simpler to make these mochi cheeseballs. First, mix the milk and flour and until it's fully combined. I'll say ditch the spatula or wooden spoon and just go in with your hands. The dough is going to get pretty sticky and tough to mix. 
Then, add in the cheese and knead until well combined. While mixing, you can use your hands and break up any large pieces of mozzarella and cheddar into smaller bits so that they can get more evenly distributed. 
When the cheese are all mixed in, try to squish the dough in between your hands and see if they come together into a ball easily. If they don't, add in a little bit more milk and knead well until they do. 
Shape your dough into a disk or a log and cut them up into 12 equal pieces, or to any sizes you fancy. They're just going to puff up very slightly in the oven, so don't make them too small. 

With clean hands, roll the dough into round balls and set them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. As I've said, they'll only puff up ever so slightly during baking, so you need not spread them out too much. Just make sure they're not touching each other. 

With a pastry brush, brush each ball with some water to wet the surface before sending them to bake in the oven that's pre-heated to 180 degree Celsius for about 15 to 20 minutes.


And TADAA~ 

These mochi cheeseballs are AMAZING! The outer shell is not exactly crispy, but does have the slight crunch of a french baguette, while the inside is chewy with bits of melty cheese. 
They're best eaten warm, nearly piping hot, fresh from the oven as that's when the shredded cheese are melty and oozy. 
The mochi part of it will still remain soft and chewy even after having cooled down, but those shredded cheese obviously won't be oozy anymore. 


And I've also made a chocolate chip variation by adding some icing sugar and unsweeten cocoa powder to replace the grated parmesan, and some dark chocolate chips to replace the shredded cheese. 
The BF and my mum prefer the sweet version as they thought it's weird having salty mochi, but I personally though the cheese one was DA BOMB! 

Did I mentioned I ate FIVE balls in one shot right after they came out of the oven? 


Till then,

Mia Foo

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Mia Bakes: Brookies (Brownie+Cookies)


Finally, I made myself some (half-healthy) brookies!

Even though I made this for my #cheatdayeats on Sunday, I'm still hesitant on "go big or go home" and decided to lessen my guilt by combining a sinful, high calorie chocolate chip cookie with a healthy, low calorie (just 70 kcal per serving!) brownie to balance it out! :)

So let's get over the ingredients so we can get started!

For the chocolate chip cookies:
(adapted from tasty.co)

60g unsalted butter 
12ml to 15ml strong coffee (optional)
25g baking stevia (or 50g castor sugar)
60g light brown muscovado sugar
80g all purpose flour
1/2 an egg 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda
110g chocolate chips/chunks 
(dark, milk, bittersweet, semi-sweet or a mixture, to your preference. I've used 72% dark chocolate chips & Excellence Chili Chocolate)

For the healthy (70 kcal) brownie:

64g unsweeten applesauce
80g plain greek yogurt
84g raw honey
60g all purpose flour
45g unsweeten cocoa powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt


First, let's start off with preparing the cookie dough as it needs to chill for at least 30 minutes. In a pot, melt your butter and keep it over low heat until browned and set it aside to cool. As the water content in the butter will be evaporated during browning, measure the butter again and top it back up to 60g with a dash of strong coffee (or water, if you prefer). 
Then, add in your sugars and beat with a balloon whisk until well combined before beating in the half-egg and vanilla extract. Sift in the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) and fold until mostly combined before folding in your chocolate chunks until just combined. 
Cover with some cling wrap and place it in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes or overnight for the flavours to develop. 

While the cookie dough is chilling, prepare your brownie batter! It couldn't be any simpler, for this is a 1 bowl recipe. First up, dump all your wet ingredients into a large bowl (applesauce, yogurt, honey and vanilla extract) and whisk until well combined. Sift in your dry ingredients (very important to sift the cocoa powder as they're always lumpy!) and mix until just combined. THAT'S IT!
Pour your brownie batter into a greased/parchment lined baking pan (I used a round pan, but you can use an 8x8 square tin) and bring out your chilled dough from the fridge. 
Using either your hands or spoons, drop chunks (big or small, up to you!) of the cookie dough all over the top of the brownie until it's mostly covered. You need not make sure that the surface is 100% covered as the cookie dough will spread as it bakes.


I personally did not use up all my cookie dough for the brookie (hence the "bald" patches) but leftover about 20% of the dough to bake up as some chocolate chip cookies, which I found to be too sweet. I have already reduced the sugars from tasty's recipe to begin with and used dark (and spicy) chocolates, so... I can't imagine how sweet the cookies will be if one is to follow that recipe strictly.
And I do know the 70 kcal brownie looks inviting but I do not suggest that you use this brownie recipe as a straight up brownie on its own. I've intentionally tone the flavour down (both the sweetness and richness of chocolate flavour) to complement the strong flavour from the cookie. In short, these two seemingly separated recipes are meant to be baked and eaten TOGETHER. 
If you're bent on having a healthy, low-calorie brownie, check out my 77 kcal brownie recipe HERE.

Alright, then send your brookies to bake in the oven pre-heated to 180 degree celsius for about 25 minutes until the middle has set an a skewer inserted comes out clean with just a few crumbs. 


Wait for the brookies to cool COMPLETELY before cutting as the cookies will be exceptionally crumbly when still warm from the oven. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 6 July 2018

Focus Hairdressing: Oway Flowerfall Head Spa



credits to beautyundercover.sg

Recently I've went back to Focus Hairdressing at Chinatown Point to try out the latest addition to their hair service, Oway Flowerfall Head Spa!
And I liked it so much that I decided to bring my mum over for a treat! And also because my mum's dandruff issue is getting unbearable, so I thought (was hoping) that the head spa would be able to do her scalp some good.

credits to focus hairdressing / Oway

The Oway Head Spa comes in 3 variation:

helichrysum - for sensitive scalp
sage - for oily scalp
thyme - for dry scalp


On top of that, the herbs & clay peeling cleanser that is part of the base step of the head spa, also helps with removal of the very dry (old and flaky) skin on our scalp, which helps with preparing our scalp for better absorption of nutrients.
Turns out, both my mum and I have dry scalp, and apparently the dryness of my mum's scalp manifested as a "dandruff problem", which just got worse and worse as she switched from one anti-dandruff shampoo to another anti-dandruff shampoo. Because all of these anti-dandruff shampoos are meant to target dandruff arising from OILY scalp. And when my mum's problem stems from dryness, those shampoos just made her condition worse! 


The head spa starts off with a head-neck-shoulder massage, coupled with aromatherapy (you may get to choose one of the 3 blends according to your liking/needs, and it will be added into your scalp treatment as well) to soothe and invigorate your senses. 


 And so that's my mum enjoying the massage. HEH! 


After the rejuvenating massage, the treatment blend herbs concoction is then applied and massaged into our scalp. I love that it gave a soothing and cooling sensation on our scalp, gives me the feeling that all the ickiness and impurities on my scalp are getting cleansed off (and in fact, they are!). 

After leaving the treatment blend on our scalp for about 30 minutes and washing it off, it's on to the final step of the head spa. The flowerfall water!


The flowerfall water (花露水) not only a has smoothing effect for our hair, but also comes with anti-aging properties for both our skin (scalp) and hair. 
I didn't get to see the setup previously when I experienced the head spa for myself (for my eyes were covered), so I had absolutely no idea what was going on around me. It's so interesting that they set it up in a funnel over our hair and let it drip down slowly over the course of about 5 to 10 minutes. The slow trickle of the flowerfall water was a little ticklish for me initially though, took me a couple seconds to get used to the sensation. 
But I love the effects of the water on my hair! Mt hair felt legit like I've done hair treatment on it after the flowerfall water step was done. 

And now, here's the before (left) and after (right) shots of my mum's condition. Not only the flaky skins (dandruff) were gone, but her hair itself also appear shinier and "softer". 

And here's a closed up scan of her scalp's condition.

Before: Speckles of flaky skins everywhere and hair roots full of hair product remnants (silicons).

After: TADAA~ So clean!

Focus Hairdressing (Chinatown Point) is located at
133 New Bridge Road #02-03
Chinatown Point

For more information on the Oway Flowerfall Head Spa Scalp Treatment, visit Focus Hairdressing's FB page HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo

Monday, 25 June 2018

Barista Coffee - 西雅圖極品咖啡 [Sponsored]


Barista Coffee's Chinese name, 西雅圖極品咖啡, which loosely translates into Seattle Gourmet Coffee, strives to bring to us quality Seattle-style coffee (with more milk dilution, hence larger serving). First opened in Taiwan in 1997, they're among  the first coffee house in Taiwan serving heavy roast gourmet coffees. Since its establishment in March 1997, it has opened several outlets in Taiwan and Beijing, and has also developed many peripheral products for sale at various outlets., one of them being their gourmet drip coffee!

And now, for their latest June exclusive promotion, SampleStore is bringing the Best of Taiwan to us! Over the next few weeks, expect many Taiwanese beauty and F&B products up for redemption and Barista Gourmet Drip Coffee shall be up for redemption along with Aromase's 5α Juniper Scalp Purifying Liquid Shampoo 2% on their 3rd week. 

Barista Coffee is a leading brand in the drip coffee market and their Gourmet Drip Coffee uses coffee beans specifically blended by their chief barista with a specific roasting degree to create quality gourmet coffee. Barista Coffee insists on using 100% fresh Arabica coffee beans from high mountains, and focuses on the formula and roasting techniques to keep the original flavour, creating an integrated taste of aromatic, sweet and unique flavour.  

The Gourmet Drip Coffee launched by Barista Coffee has three main features:
(1) Roasted in Taiwan 
(2) Nitrogen gas packing; lasting good flavuor.  
(3) Patented drip bag; it is easy to brew. 


Brewing a cup of coffee with Barista Gourmet Coffee Drip Coffee is super easy with just 4 steps:
1. Tear along the line on the filter bag 
2. Pull out the hanging ears on both sides and place them steadily on the coffee cup 
3. Slowly pour 180ml of hot water (92∘C-94∘C) into the drip bag 
4. Lift the filter bag from both sides and throw away the residue 
Lastly, add in milk or sugar to your preference and sip away!


First I drink coffee, then I do things. Hands up if you're #teamcoffeeaddict like me!

The 3rd week of SampleStore's Best of Taiwan June exclusive will be up real soon and do check out their link HERE to redeem your free samples!
To find out more about Basrista Coffee and their products, visit their website HERE.

Till then,
Mia Foo

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Mia Bakes: Blueberry Yogurt Scones


Recently, there was a buy any 500g Emmi Greek Yogurt get a 500g Emmi Blueberry Greek Yogurt free at my neighbourhood Sheng Siong supermarket but what I didn't notice was that the free promotion was because the Blueberry yogurt were close to their expiration date. 
So, obviously unable to finish the entire tub of yogurt before it expires, I decided to try making some healthy(ier) yogurt scones!

To get 6 scones, you'll need:

125g of all purpose flour
30g COLD unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
180g blueberry greek yogurt 
(if using plain yogurt, do add some sugar to taste)
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh / dried blueberries (optional)

recipe adapted from https://www.thespruceeats.com


First up, sift all the dry ingredients together and cut in the cold butter in food processor or using either a pastry cutter, or a simple knife-and-fork method until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then, dunk in your blueberries and give it a quick toss before mixing in the yogurt. With clean hands, lightly knead the mixture until it comes together to form a loosely packed dough. 
Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and pat it down with your hands/scraper until it is roughly a rectangle of 1.5 to 2 inch thickness. Using the scraper, cut the dough into half and stack the two pieces on top of each other and repeat the pat-cut-stack process for another 3 to 4 times. 
Finally, pat the dough down into no less than 1 inch thickness (or 1.5 inch, if you prefer tall scones, but then you would have to tweak your baking time) and cut them up into 6 equal pieces. 

Line them up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush over the top with some milk to aid in browning and sprinkle over some coarse granulated sugar. Then, send the scones into an oven, pre-heated to 200 degree Celsius to bake for 15 to 18 minutes. A hot oven is crucial for scones to rise to their fullest height, so if your oven can go up to even 210 degree Celsius, go for it but do keep an eye on your scones after 12 minutes to prevent the top from burning. 
I baked mine at 200 degree Celsius for 15 minutes, and noticed that the surface has gone quite brown but the middle has obviously not set. Hence, I cranked my oven temperature down to 175 degree Celsius and baked for another 5 minutes.


And tadaa~ crumbly and moist, sweet scones with blueberries in literally every bite. 


Using yogurt to replace the usual milk/heavy cream means a ridiculously moist scone. In fact, I feel that it is a little too moist (they're NOT underbaked, just moist) for my liking, so I might try out a mixture of yogurt and milk for my next try at these yogurt scones. But if moist scones are right up your alley, then go for it!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Mia Bakes: Hotteok (Korean Sweet Pancakes)

So after telling myself I'm gonna try making my own hotteoks for.... MONTHS, I finally got down to it! If you have no idea what hotteok is, it's a type of Korean street food, pretty much like a pancake but with sweet, cinnamon brown sugar peanut filling inside. And it is sooooo GOOD!

And so for my first try at making my own Hotteok, I decided to follow Maangchi's recipe fully, which uses only all purpose flour for the hotteok dough. I notice that she fry her hotteok in ALOT of oil, but I wanted to cut down on the oiliness and tried with two batches, one with absolutely NO oil and one with just the bare minimum amount of oil. 
And here's my results.

The traditional cinnamon brown sugar peanut filling with NO OIL.

Kimchi-Cheese filling with LESS OIL (I used about 1 tsp of oil per Hotteok) 

The version "fried" with absolutely no oil turns out extremely flat, dry and with a crusty-bread texture. I guess it would be acceptable if you're a fan of those extremely crusty and chewy artisan bread, but if you do not have healthy teeth (like my mum) and prefers soft and fluffy bread that resembles air, you'll going to hate this version. 

In comparison, the less oil version turned out a lot better! As you can see, the hotteok turns out way thicker and more "fluffy" in the middle. The pan-fried surface was crispy, and the insides more chewy and moist. YUMS!

But still, I feel that the texture could be improved and it turns out that glutinous rice flour might be the answer as both Kimchimari's and BeyondKimchee's recipes uses them.

So here's my improved recipe for 6 Hotteoks:

For the dough:
195g All Purpose Flour
80g Glutinous Rice Flour
190ml water
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt 

For the filling:
Just whatever you fancy!
I've chopped up some kimchi & mixed them with shredded mozzarella and red cheddar in roughly 2:1 ratio and used 1 heaping tablespoon for each hotteok. 
Mine ended up bursting quite a bit here and there as they cooked, so I will suggest that you decrease the amount of filling a little. 

The addition of glutinous rice flour means the dough will be extremely sticky, so I will not suggest that you mix the dough by hand. But if you're always up for a challenge, you still can, as hotteok dough need not be kneaded till windowpane stage like bread. Just make sure they're well mixed and thoroughly kneaded will do. I mixed my dough with my trusty bread machine though. :)

For my dough, I've used the overnight fermentation method, which means I left my mixed dough in the fridge overnight (about 8 hours, or at least 6 hours) in a greased bowl, covered with cling film, for the 1st proofing. But if you do not have 8 hours to spare, you may set your mixed dough at a slightly warm place and let it double in size, which should take you about 1 hour. 

After the dough has doubled in size, check that it has fully proofed by sticking a finger into the middle of the dough. If the hole remains, the dough is ready!

Turn out the proofed dough onto a well-floured surface and give it a quick knead before dividing it into 6 equal pieces. Set them aside and cover with a piece of cling film while you work on one piece. With well-oiled hands (the dough will be VERY sticky so oil your hands good!), flatten a piece of dough on your palm and spoon a tablespoon of filling onto the middle. Then, slowly gather the sides of the dough together and press them seam down and seal up the dough ball. Make sure the seam is well sealed, if not your hotteok will just split open while cooking and make a mess in your frying pan. 
You may start frying the dough as you wrap them. I'll suggest that you do not finishing wrapping all and then only start frying (unless you have a large enough frying pan to fry all 6 pieces together) as these are yeasted dough and the last few will puff up and continue to grow as you fry the others first. As my pan fits only 2 comfortably, I will finishing wrapping two, plop them into the frying pan to fry up, and then go back to wrapping the next two. 
Oh well, whatever floats your boat. :)

To fry the hotteok, place them seam side DOWN onto the oiled frying pan and fry for about 30 to 45 seconds first, just for the surface to "set". Flip the hotteok over and then immediately press them down with your spatula, or a hotteok press if you have one, to flatten them down. Then, cook on this side for about 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, before flipping back onto the seam side and cooking until golden brown. 


Well, because this time round I did use oil, but yet not a lot (or enough), I didn't manage to achieve the pretty, uniform golden brown surface. I'm happy with this though. HEH! 


This version turns out a lot more chewy, and with a slight rice-cakey chewy texture, which I absolutely adore. 


I even made one with speculoos filling, and it also tasted damn good! I'm now very sure it's impossible to have a speculoos-flavoured food item to taste bad. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Bober Tea: Your Latest Artisan Bubble Tea [Sponsored]

Being a far-eastie with ALL sorts of bubble tea shops tucked away at different corners of our malls, when I tell you that Singaporeans love their bubble teas, believe me, they really do. Be it Gong Cha, Koi, Liho, or Playmade, those lines of thirsty patrons waiting for their drinks never cease right up to their closing time. 
I KID YOU NOT.


And so, here's a fantastic piece of news for all you bubble tea fanatics out there. Your bubble tea has just gone artisanal


Conveniently located at Bishan MRT station (near the bus stop), Bober Tea is an artisan tea, focusing on providing patrons with an affordable and yet high-quality and tasty blends of tea with a touch of local flavours. The founder, through his travels abroad to countries like Taiwan, Japan and China, realised that their bubble teas are vastly superior to what we currently have in the local market and thus, was inspired to bring together the quality of those teas with high grade, homemade bobas and henceforth, creating Bober Tea!

Bober Tea uses only premium ingredients, such as Okinawa black sugar, Hokkaido milk, pure matcha powder, grade A fresh fruits and etc. And as already mentioned above, their bobas are homemade and hence, healthier compare to those highly processed, artificial types that mass produced in factories.


And this is how they prepare their matcha flavoured drinks, with pure matcha powder, proper tea bowl and a cute bamboo whisk! And somehow I felt kind of zen as I watch the staff whisk up the concoction over the counter. 


And as Bober tea love aesthetically beautiful things, they've not only given their cups a cute, unique rounded design, but also has a super adorable cartoon take-away box for purchases of 6 drinks and above. My friends (you didn't expect me to finish up all 6 drinks by myself, did you?) and I love Mr. rainbow-puking purple drink.
This cartoon box is so cute, random commuters just kept eyeing it while I traveled back to the east on the train. 
Or perhaps they were thinking, "Wah, this lady so greedy. Bought 6 cups of bubble teas for herself?!"

Anyway, Bober Tea boasts of many different creative milk tea flavours, such as Black Sugar Konjac Jelly Milk Tea, Black Glutinous Rice Milk tea, Collagen Jelly Milk Tea, Roasted Walnut Oolong Milk Tea, Brown Sugar Pearl  Milk Tea and etc. Something that caught my eye (but I didn't try it though) was the Brown Sugar Fresh Milk with 65 degree Celsius Boba. Cold milk with hot boba, sounds really interesting, yes?
It's good to know that their prices are also pretty reasonable, going at as low as just $2.20 for a 500ml cup of their basic teas and up to $7.20 for 1000ml cup of a more special concoction. 


And now, here's the 6 flavours I've chosen for a taste test!
(from left to right, 500ml unless otherwise stated)
Hazelnut Milk Tea - $3.50
Hokkaido Milk Cap Strawberry - $5.90
Uji Matcha Latte - $4.50
Roasted Oolong Latte with Walnut - $4.90
Ruby Grapefruit Yakult with Boba Pop - $5.30
Supreme Fruit Burst Green Tea (Red Tea also available), 1000ml - $7.20

Most of my choices comes with fixed sugar levels except for the Hazelnut Milk Tea, which I've chosen a 25% level. But having cut out added sugars from my diet for more than a year, I found that it could have been less sweet, although still not overbearingly sweet (but I'm sure that's just me) so perhaps a zero sugar level would have been perfect for me.

The Hokkaido Milk Cap Strawberry was my absolute favourite among the lot! Well, they've successfully married two of my favourite food (strawberry and milk, how can you go wrong with that?) together into one adorable cup. How can I not love it? My initial few sips were mainly just the strawberry portion of the drink and much less of the milk, which was light, tangy and refreshing. After stirring in the milk cap thoroughly, I got myself a brand new drink, a ridiculously rich and creamy strawberry milkshake. So I guess you can also call this a buy-one-get-two kind of drink?

The Uji Matcha Latte was just a pretty standard matcha latte, and it'll be a pretty safe choice for those matcha lovers having some matcha cravings. However, it was a little upsetting for me, as it's supposed to be a super instagram-worthy green and white ombre drink (the matcha and the milk are supposed to be in two separated layers) which you mix them up before drinking. But somehow the layers blended up on their own while left seated on the counter. So yeah, no pretty pictures for you to ogle at. :(

Next up, the Roasted Oolong Latte with Walnut was pretty good, but having the walnut bits soaking in the drink for too long turns them into... brown rice bits? Or I should say, taste more like brown rice bits. Haha, I know this sounds really weird, I don't understand how it got there either.

The main attraction point of the Ruby Grapefruit Yakult with Boba Pop definitely has got to be the popping boba! Texture wise, they kind of resembles a giant ikura (salmon roe). Popping the boba immediately releases a sweet and tangy flavour of passionfruit into your mouth, adding a lot more oomph to the drink.
However, as you can probably understand from the name itself, if you're not a fan of sourish food, do give this a miss. Grapefruit paired with passionfruit will not be your best friend if you do not enjoy a good punch of tangy flavour.

Last but not least, only available in 1000ml serving, the Supreme Fruit Burst Green Tea seems rather intimidating initially, but it was really refreshing and also judging that most of the volume probably came from the tons of fresh fruit they packed into the cup, this would be your best choice of a healthier, everyday drink to combat the scorching hot weather these days.

Bober Tea is located at 200 Bishan Road #01-01
For more information, visit their FB page HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo
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