Monday, 25 May 2020

Mia Bakes: Ricotta Burnt Cheesecake (Lower Calories!)

Yes, I've done it again! The "Burnt Basque Cheesecake" I've tried a while back, but this time with a BISCUIT BASE! 

And I'm not sure why, but cream cheese seems to be sold out islandwide. I've tried Cold Storage, NTUC Fairprice and Sheng Shiong but there's no cream cheese of any sort (not even the spreadable kind) to be found. Is the whole of Singapore making cheesecakes now? 
I can't even find Cottage Cheese (yes, you can make cheesecake with cottage cheese too, if you don't mind their gritty texture or you can push them through a sieve to smoothen them out), but managed to find a tub of Ricotta in the end. So I thought, why not? 
It also turned out "better" for me in the end, as I found out (after eating the whole cake in one seating with the HB) that Ricotta has about half the calories of cream cheese, hence so much healthier and diet friendly. YAY!

So let's get over with the ingredients, so we can get started:

For the cheesecake (around 5 - 6 inch cake tin):
250g Ricotta Cheese, soften at room temperature
100ml heavy cream 
(I used Lite, as it's the ONLY one I found... So, yay for more calories saved!)
2 eggs
1 tbsp Honey
45g sugar 
(I used icing, but you can use castor too)
10g corn flour 

For the biscuit base:
65-70g digestive biscuits (or any biscuits of your choice)
30g salted butter, melted
1 tbsp (around 20g) low fat greek yogurt 
(add enough yogurt to get your biscuit crumbs to wet sand consistency)

First up, line your cake tin with a sheet of CRUMPLED parchment paper. Just press down the parchment paper along the sides of your cake tin by folding them down along the sides onto each other (so you'll get the distinctive messy folds along the sides of your cake too). Make sure you leave about an inch or two of overhang above the edge of the tin as the cheesecake may rise above the tin while it bakes (depends on how full you fill up your tin). 

In a small food processor, crush up the digestive biscuits into find crumbs and then add in the melted butter and greek yogurt. Pulse until everything is well combined and the crumbs resembles the consistency of wet sand. Then, pour the crumbs into your lined cake tin and press them down firmly to form the base. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes at 180 degree Celsius and then set aside to cool down. 

In a large bowl, add in the soften ricotta cheese and give it a quick whisk to loosen it up before adding in the sugar. Whisk until everything is well combined and there's no more sugar crystals in the cheese, before mixing in the eggs, one at a time. Make sure the 1st egg is well incorporated before adding in the 2nd one. Then, add in the honey and heavy cream and mix until well combined. Finally, add in the corn flour and mix until you get a smooth, homogeneous batter.

Pour the batter over the pre-baked biscuit base and bake them in the airfryer (or other similar appliance, like a convection oven) at 180-200 degree Celsius for 25 to 30 minutes until the surface is burnt to your liking. Do note that the cooking temperature and timing will differ greatly, depending on what type of appliance you're cooking your cheesecake in, and how you'll like your cheesecake to turn out in the middle. 
But one thing for sure, is that if you're baking your cheesecake in a conventional oven (top and bottom heating), you CANNOT add the biscuit base as it'll burn. You'll only want the surface of your cheesecake to burn, not the biscuit base, that's not going to be pleasant. 

As my convection oven is pretty "weak", it actually took me nearly 40 minutes at 250 degree Celsius to get the surface to burn. And of course, the middle of my cheesecake is fully cooked through. 

Somehow, I feel that using Ricotta instead of cream cheese made the cake somewhat, lighter and less cloying, which I prefer. Who knows, I might just stick to using Ricotta for all my future cheesecakes! 

And because my cake tin is actually smaller than 5 inch (they're 4.5"), I got an additional 4 minis, after filling up my tin to nearly 90% full. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Mia Bakes: Steamed Milk Rice Cake

Yup, I've been on a steamed (rice) cake craze these days because:
1. There was a crazy shortage of wheat flour recently (they're back on the shelves now, though) and I ended up picking up a pack of rice flour. 
2. My "proper" oven has officially run its course with me and the backup, 'similar-to-an-airfryer' one that we have in the house takes almost 2x the usual time to bake, even at higher temperatures. 

Plus, steamed rice cakes are also gluten-free (not that I'm on this BS "healthy" trend, but my mum does get bloated easily with wheat bread... but she still eats them anyway) and being steamed and not baked also makes them less "heaty".  
So here goes! To get around 8 steamed cupcakes, you'll need:

170g rice flour
190ml water
10g full cream milk powder
60g castor sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp dried Osmanthus flower

I intended to make this Osmanthus flavour, hence I only added a little bit of the milk powder such that the milky flavour will not overpower the Osmanthus flavour. To make rice cakes with only milk flavour, you can replace the water with milk instead. The amount of sugar is also nearly the bare minimum for you to taste an obvious sweetness in the cakes, so I'll not recommend reducing it any further, unless you don't mind a bland steamed cake. 

This recipe is super easy to make, and you'll only need a large bowl and a whisk. Dump all your ingredients in and mix until you get a smooth, watery batter. But since I'm adding Osmanthus flower, I will need to let the flowers steep in some hot water first. 
So to roughly 100ml of hot water, add in 1 tsp of Osmanthus dried flower and let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes, before adding in the remaining 180ml room temperature water. Then, all in all the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well combined. 
Divide your batter equally into your cupcake/muffin moulds that's lined with cupcake liners. 

Once your moulds are filled, steam them at high heat immediately if you wish to achieve the open-mouth, huat kueh look. If you prefer to have your steamed cake with a dome-top, steam them at a low to medium heat instead. 
Depending on your steamer and heat, steam your rice cakes for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Do make sure that your moulds are laid perfectly FLAT for them to open up nicely/symmetrically.

These steamed cakes are best eaten when still warm from the steamer, as they'll harden up considerably when cooled, and the texture will be very similar (though not nearly as hard) to a cold huat kueh. It will regain some softness if you reheat them up slightly in the steamer again, but they'll never be as soft as they were when freshly steamed. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Mia Bakes: 2 (or 3) Ingredients Healthy Banana Pancakes

Craving for some pancakes, but you can't find flour anywhere? 
(well, actually you should be able to find them now, it's the "smaller things" like yeast and baking powder etc that's missing on the shelves these days)

Fret not, you can actually make yourself come yummy pancakes with just two ingredients (or three), and flour is not one of them! 

And it's some healthy, banana pancakes!

To get 1 serving of 2 to 3 pancakes (depending on the size you make them), you'll need:

1 medium over-ripe (spotty/browned) banana (around 120 - 130g)
1 large egg 
1/4 tsp baking powder
(to make them fluffier, but you may omit to keep to a 2-ingredients recipe)

2 tbsp Rolled Oats or Green Banana Flour
(and you should be getting a stack of 4 to 5 pancakes)

First, make sure your banana (or bananas, if they're small and you're using 2) is over-ripen and spotty, if not it'll be hard to mash them up and your pancakes will also end up lacking flavour.
So, in a clean bowl, mash up your banana with a fork until you get a relatively smooth puree. Some small chunks are okay, if you wish to add more dimensions to your pancakes (eg. biting into chunks of bananas). Then, to the mashed banana, crack in an egg and mix until well combined. You may add in the baking powder for it to fluff up slightly while cooking, or just leave the leavening agent out completely.

Grease your heated non-stick frying pan lightly with some butter and use a kitchen towel to remove any excess oil. Pour the batter onto the pan and cook on low to medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until you see that the edges are set. Lift the edge to check that the base is nicely browned before attempting to flip. I have to warn you first, that this pancake batter is extremely watery and contains NO flour so flipping them can be a challenge, especially if you make them too big for your spatula, as they'll almost break instantly off the sides of your spatula when you lift them up.
I'll strongly suggest that you make them smaller than usual for an easier time while flipping them.
Cook the pancakes on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes until they're browned to your liking.

And tadaa~
For more satiety factor, I've chosen to add in some rolled oats to make myself more pancakes. And while I've added 2 tbsp of pancake syrup to my pancake stack (of 4 pancakes), I felt that the pancakes are sweet enough (I've used an extremely spotty and soft Cavendish banana) on their own and the syrup was redundant. The subtle banana flavour of the pancakes go really, really well with peanut butter though. YUMS! 

And the 2nd time I made the pancakes, I decided to replace the rolled oats with green banana flour. 
And this time, the banana flavour came out strong. Initially I thought it's because of the green banana flour adding more banana flavour to the pancakes, but after using the flour for other bakes, I realised that the flour actually does not taste like bananas. So I reckon it's because I've used Malaysian banana instead of Cavendish banana this time, which has a stronger flavour. So yup, your choice of banana for this pancake recipe is very important! 

And as I've mentioned, these pancakes go damn well with peanut butter..... And also just for added moist-ness, I've added 1 tbsp of pancake syrup to my stack of 5 pancakes.

Till then,
Mia Foo 

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Send Some Positivity With Farm Florist [Sponsored]

Napoleon Hill said, "if you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way."
And what's a greater way to do a small thing for your loved ones by sending some positivity their way when we're now 2nd week into our 2nd month of circuitbreaker?  

Even though with limited variety of flowers available due to Covid-19, Farm Florist is still delivery daily and even providing free same day delivery with no minimum purchase, with contactless delivery option available! 

With a surprise bouquet as affordable as only $25 and a surprise bloom box as affordable as $39, you really need not break the bank to send some lovely flowers over to brighten someone's day. 

Personally love how gorgeous and convenient these bloom boxes are, you really only need to find the best spot in your house to place them. And it's currently been slightly more than a week since the flowers has been delivered and they're still looking pretty okay! 

In addition, you can also pick up some preserved flower domes from Bloom Studio (previously review HERE) if you fancy something more unique and lasting (for a few months). 

So why not hop over to Farm Florist right now and make someone's day? 
ps. They can even deliver bespoke bouquets and arrangements within an hour! 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 8 May 2020

Mia Bakes: Healthy Sweet Potato Brownies (74 kcals per serving!)

With the current circuitbreaker situation due to Covid-19, literally everyone is becoming a talented homebaker on social media and flours have been flying off the shelves at the speed of light. Not only that, ready-made cakes and confectionery have become a scarcity and there's absolutely no way to get my sweet treats cravings fixed during my cheatdays....
Or is there? 

Yes, there is!

Not only is this a flourless recipe, it's also a low calorie, healthy version of an otherwise sinful and decadent sweet treat - brownies!

I've previously tried out other healthy, low calorie brownie recipes (77 kcals Brownies & Tofu Brownies) but they all required flour. And also, out of all 3 recipes, I think I'll very much prefer this one, as it's the most moist and fudgy texture. 

So, for 6 servings, you'll need:
1 medium sweet potato (150g - 200g)
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp PB2 (powdered peanut butter)
(or you can replace with maple syrup/honey)
1 medium egg
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

2 tbsps chocolate chips 
(I used Hershey's Semi Sweet)

Note: calorie count of 74 kcals per serving INCLUDES chocolate chips. And I highly recommend that you add them in!

adapted from Amber Tang's recipe

First up, wash your sweet potato (I used Japanese sweet potato) and cut them up into small pieces. I'll recommend that you leave the skin on, as the skin holds a lot of nutrients as well, and especially if you can make this in a food processor. However, if you don't have a food processor to blend up the sweet potato into a fine puree, you may peel off the skin for easier mashing. 
Either steam. boil or microwave your sweet potatoes until fully cooked through, and soft enough to be easily mashed up with a fork. It's better to mash them up as fine as you can manage, otherwise you might get bits of sweet potatoes in your brownie. 
To your cooled sweet potato mash, add all the remaining ingredients (except for the chocolate chips) and mix until well combined. 
If you're using a food processor, just dump all the ingredients into the machine and blend until you get a smooth batter. 
You may choose to stir in the chocolate chips, or scatter them over the top like I did. 

 Line your mould (I used a bread loaf pan) with some parchment paper and pour the batter in. It'll be a very thick and sticky batter, so it'll take some patience to smooth the batter out.
Then, bake in the oven that's pre-heated to 190 degrees Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the batter is set and a toothpick inserted comes out relatively clean with just a few moist crumbs.

And there you have it, a healthy and flourless, guilt-free brownie that's moist and fudgy in the middle and super chocolatey. Do note that the 2 tbsp of chocolate chips makes ALOT of difference to the overall taste, by giving the brownie most of the rich chocolate flavour and masking the obvious sweet potato aftertaste. So if you wish to further cut the calories by omitting them, you'll probably find yourself eating a chocolate-flavoured sweet potato mash. Hence, I highly recommend that you do not omit the chocolate chips.

Till then,
Mia Foo

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Mia Makes: Mee Chiang Kueh (Apam Balik)

Mee Chiang Kueh (面煎粿), anyone? 
Growing up, I love LOVE LURVEEE the idea of having 2 (yes, not 1, but TWO) slices of peanut mee chiang kueh for breakfast. The chewy, yet soft and slightly tender thick pancake that's filled to the brim with overspilling (literally) sugary ground peanut filling is just, YUMS!
Well, that's my go-to breakfast until I learnt more about various food and their calorie count. >.<"

But nothing is out of bounds for cheatday, so let's make some peanut mee chiang kueh! Well, I don't like coconut, so.... only peanut. HEH!

Anyway, let's get over with the ingredients so we can get started. To get 4-5 slices (basically a full happycall pan size), you'll need:

100g plain flour (all purpose flour)
30g rice flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
1 medium/large egg
160ml lukewarm water

Ground Peanuts, Granulated Sugar (2:1 ratio)
I used about 4 tbsps peanuts to 1 tbsp sugar, and left the other 1 tbsp sugar separated. 

Preparing the batter can't get any simpler. Just add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, crack in the egg and add in the water and just stir with a whisk until everything is well combined and you're left with a thick and runny pancake batter.
Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel (or cling wrap, pan lid etc) and set it aside to rest for 1 to 1.5 hours.

After the batter is rested, heat up your pan and grease it slightly with a non-stick cooking spray or some butter. Make sure your pan is non-stick. I'm using a happycall pan and this recipe fills it up nicely. You might need to cook your batter more than once to get multiple smaller mee chiang kueh, depending on your pan size and your pancake thickness preference.

So after pouring all the batter into the pan, I kept the lid closed and cooked it over low heat for around 9 to 10 minutes before checking on it. By this time the pancake base is pretty much set, but hardly browned (since I cooked over the lowest heat possible). So I sprinkled the separate 1 tbsp of sugar evenly over the top of the pancake and cover the lid back on, cranking up the heat slightly to medium such that the pancake can brown. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until the pancake is browned to your liking. Then, sprinkle the ground peanut filling evenly over the top of the pancake and flip it over into half and take it off the heat.

Leave the entire slab of mee chiang kueh over a wire rack to cool before slicing them up.

As compared to the other recipes using only plain (wheat) flour, the addition of rice flour gives the pancake a softer, more tender bite. The store-bought ground peanuts were a disappointment though, for they were seriously lacking in fragrance and flavour. My grandma has already warned me previously that store-bought ground peanuts are "useless" (tasteless), and that we cannot try to cut corners when making stuff using ground peanuts, need to roast our own peanuts and grind them. But, too much work lah! xp
I think I would be better off using some Skippy's peanut butter as the filling instead.

Till then,
Mia Foo

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Ume Tonya 梅問屋 Plum Juice Concentrate [sponsored]

Do you know that plums are plentiful in minerals like potassium, fluoride and iron, and other health benefiting compounds such as dietary fibre, sorbitol and isatin? They are also rich in antioxidants, which are helpful for reducing inflammation and protecting our cells from damage by free radicals. In addition, plums are found to be particularly high in polyphenol antioxidants, which have positive effects on bone health and may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes!

And with the current #stayhomeforSG situation to keep ourselves safe from COVID19, I can't be any more glad to receive the Ume Tonya Plum Juice Concentrate from to give me a healthier alternative to my daily dose of ice-cold sweet drink to beat the unbearable heat of being cooped up at home all day long. 
Oh, did I forget to mention that I do not have an air-conditioner at home? 

Made with preserved plums, the juice concentrate has no added preservatives and flavouring, and is the perfect drink to quench thirst and replenish the salt and mineral content in our bodies during hot weather. And each serving is barely 67 kcals! No worries about this contributing to our ever-growing waistline. 

Preparation can't get any simpler. Just empty the content of 1 sachet into your mug, top it up with cold/hot water and stir till combined! If you'll prefer a lighter taste to your plum juice drink, just add slightly more water to dilute the concentrate (but why would you, 250 - 300ml is perfect!) to suit your personal preference! You just can't mess this up. 

I'm a huge fan of tangy flavours and this plum juice concentrate is right up my alley! It's the right balance of sweet and sour, that's super light and refreshing on the taste buds, the perfect drink to reach for right after a meal. 

And guess what, you can now redeem your free bag of Ume Tonya 梅問屋 Plum Juice Concentrate samples (3 sachets) from Sample Store right HERE
Also comes in a a box of 12 sachets going for only $8.50 HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo
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