Monday, 16 May 2016

Mia Bakes: Chocolate Chip Mochi Bread

Not sure if the mochi bread craze has caught on (or fizzed off) but I will always pick up 3 mini chocolate mochi buns whenever I drop by the bakery Yamazaki. It was pretty pricey for 3 bite sized buns, no doubt. But the crispy outer shell with the chewy gooey centre just make me want to scream: JUST TAKE MY MONEY!
So on second thought, I think why not just bake my own mochi buns? So after a while of googling (and found that you can get premix for mochi bread in Korea and Taiwan) and some failed attempts, here is the recipe for some yummy chocolate chip chocolate mochi buns.

You'll need:
180g glutinous rice flour
20g tapioca starch
20g unsweetened cocoa powder
20g castor sugar
125ml milk
60ml vegetable oil
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
as much chocolate chips as you like (optional)

First, into a big bowl, add in all the dry ingredients and give it a quick whisk to make sure they're well mixed together.
Then, add in all the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined.
The end mixture should be a little runny (such that it's extremely hard to shape it with your bare hands) yet not fully liquid like a cake mixture nor dry like a cookie dough.
I'll suggest that you mix in 120ml of milk first and then add in more milk, bit by bit until you get to the almost easily pipe-able consistency.

 You might want to keep the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes or so for it to firm up before shaping them into balls (you should get 10 numbers of small buns) and then wet the surface with some water before baking them at 180 degree Celsius for 20 to 30 minutes.
Wetting the surface before baking will help to get a crispier outer shell.

They look cute, don't they?

Although still a far cry from those selling at Yamazaki Bakery (still very dense and not airy/chewy enough on the insides), these small chocolate mochi buns will still be a pretty yummy treat if eaten warm from the oven as the insides will be at its most ooey-gooey state.

I highly advise that you do not keep these overnight at all, as they dry out/toughen up considerably and develop a pretty icky texture despite the taste remaining as chocolatey.

Till then,
Mia Foo

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

TA-Q-BIN: Worst Courier Service Ever (Updated with TA-Q-BIN's reply)

No. 1? Well, only in Japan then. Must be.

There's already tons and tons of bad reviews to TA-Q-BIN since couple years back and if this experience of mine wasn't so ridiculously bad, I wouldn't want to add in yet another bad review to the endless pool either. Well, they wouldn't give a damn about all these bad reviews anyway. 

Anyway, it started with my purchase on Lazada on the 4th May, a pretty ladies Seiko automatic watch, which Lazada promised to be delivered between 5th - 9th May. After confirming my order, I realised that the courier service is TA-Q-BIN, and I vaguely remembered the one experience I had with them was a 'undelivered due to absence' despite there was someone at home to receive the package the entire day and there was no undelivered slip given at all. 
Nevermind, perhaps I mixed it up with another lousy courier service company.
Well, I guess not.

First things first, I really have no idea how they set the route for delivery. My delivery address is in Tampines, so why was it Bedok - Changi - Hougang - Out for delivery - Back to Hougang?
Notice that they sent out my parcel on the 4th at 9 plus in the morning, only to bring it back to the Hougang office at 9 plus at night... WHY? 

And then the next morning, somehow my parcel got to Pasir Ris over the night (I wonder how?) but the courier guy came to my house on the 6th when nobody was around. Hence undelivered due to absence. 

Then, I rescheduled for the delivery to be on the 8th, between 12 - 5pm. The parcel was out for delivery since 8 plus in the morning, only to return back to the Pasir Ris branch for TA-Q-BIN decided to cancel the delivery WITHOUT informing me at all. 

Extremely annoyed by how they work, I wrote in an email complaint that night, which no replies came till date (11th May). 

And left without a choice, I rescheduled for delivery the next day (9th, and is also the latest delivery date promised by Lazada) from 5 - 8pm, not forgetting to add in at the remarks saying to delivery after 7pm. It's not as bad if they didn't bother about coming after 7pm and resulted in another undelivered due to absence, you know. But undelivered due to others? What the crap is this 'OTHERS'? And noticed that my parcel miraculously travelled from Pasir Ris back to Hougang for this 2nd no-show delivery, and then was returned to Harbourfront. 
Like, why is my parcel getting further and further away from me? 

Extremely pissed, I wrote in to Lazada on the 9th, nearing midnight and they were prompt in their email reply the very next morning, following up with a call, to inform me that they've checked with TA-Q-BIN and the latter has promised to deliver my item after 7pm that day (10th).
Yet again, a no-show from TA-Q-BIN. 

Note the changes on tracking status of my parcel (do courier services usually do that, removing old tracking status?) and the head-scratching route of Pasir Ris - Harbourfront - Pasir Ris here. 
Someone enlighten me, please!

And after a reply back to Lazada to inform them on the 3rd no-show, I decided to give up on them totally and didn't send in another redelivery request. 
And so, at 11 plus am today, I received a call from the courier guy, asking if there's anyone at home to receive the package. 
And, of course not. 
And so, they left my parcel (an authentic Seiko watch) on my corridor shoe-rack. 
Well, if you really want to take the risk on my behalf to leave my package at my shoe-rack after 3 times of ignoring my redelivery requests, why didn't you just do so on the 6th in the first place?
Really, TA-Q-BIN? Just how sucky can you be? 

Just a quick check with #taqbin on twitter rolled out complaints after complaints about their horrible services. 

With this, I sincerely hope that Lazada (and all other companies currently still using such sub-standard services from TA-Q-BIN) to reconsider their engagement. Regardless of how affordable their services are, is it really worth it to pass on such online shopping distress to your loyal customers?

Just yesterday, I received an email reply from TA-Q-BIN. Here goes...

Thank you for contacting TAQBIN

This is to acknowledge receipt of your feedback we received through our website with CM/20160508/001

Please accept our sincerest apologies for the unpleasant experience towards the delivery of your parcel. Based on our records, your item with tracking number 1800-0822-3533 was supposed to be delivered last 05 May. Regretfully, although the item was taken out for delivery on that day, the contractor was not able to fulfill the delivery. This incident had been forwarded to our branch for appropriate handling. The branch informed us that the contractor in-charge with the delivery of your item is new to the delivery addresses that he covers. We apologize if our contractor was not able to call and inform you regarding the delay on the delivery.

We humbly seek your patience and understanding on this matter as we missed the opportunity in providing you the service that you deserve. Once again we apologize for the inconvenience we have caused by this incident. We appreciate you for taking time to share your concerns with us.  Rest assured that we are striving and doing our best to continuously improve the services we are providing to our customers.

Thank you for your patience and understanding 

And here is my pissed off reply. I might be too harsh on the poor CSO, but... it's not my fault that he's working for the suckiest courier company ever, right? 

Please note that with the inclusion of the failed delivery scheduled on 5th, the total number of delivery attempts that failed to have my parcel delivered is 5 times. On the 2nd attempt of his delivery (6th May), the status of my delivery was undelivered due to absence and I received an sms notification, meaning he has found my place but nobody was around to claim the parcel. After that, there were another 3 accounts of no-show from him despite my requests for redelivery. I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but being new to the delivery address is no longer a valid reason because he has already found my place on the 6th. In addition, in spite of me specially requesting for delivery to be made after 7pm (via my numerous requests for redelivery and also through Lazada), your contractor arrived at my house in the late morning on 11th May and subsequently (with my permission) left the parcel outside my house. 
My patience for this matter is simply because I have no other choices but to wait indefinitely, and there's no understanding coming from me with regards to how taqbin can allow so many accounts of no-shows from your contractor with a half-hearted excuse of him simply being unfamiliar with an address. 

Have you had any hair-pulling experiences with TA-Q-BIN too?

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 6 May 2016

collaboration: foodpanda curator's network

Well, if you haven't heard of foodpanda, you must have been living under a rock! 
foodpanda is the most convenient online food ordering site, connecting people with the best restaurants around them.
-credits to foodpanda-
And I'm nothing less than honoured to be able be part of foodpanda curator's network, which is a collaboration with foodpanda magazine that allows me to share my thoughts on some health and fitness topics over the next few weeks. 

Good news is, the foodpanda magazine has officially gone live today, so do hop over (link above) and keep an eye out for more of my thoughts and experience on getting fit and healthy. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Mia's Review: Loreal Hair Colouring At Headlines By Artistry [Sponsored]

And so, after trying out Mucota DYNA treatment at Headlines by Artistry last month, I was back at the salon again to get rid of my faded, hay-coloured hair ends. 

Without a concrete idea of exactly what colour I'll want to try out, I decided to leave it to my stylist, Chris, and we decided to go for a reddish-brown colour that'll fade into a light brown (hopefully no more yellow ends!). 

My Golden Lion Tamarin look! Well, I don't know if I can pass it off as an intended ombre-hair, but... I'm really not feeling the yellowness. 


Even with my thick and long hair, the procedure of getting both the hair colouring and the Mucota Scena 3 step hair treatment, and a haircut took me only about 2 hours or so. 

Chris also took the time to curl my otherwise lifelessly straight hair ends into pretty curls while blow-drying my hair. Ahh, if only it can be done easily with my amateur skills... or rather, no skills. 

 And a selfie in natural lighting to show you the actual colour of my hair, a pretty reddish milk chocolate brown colour. Doing the Mucota Scena 3 Step Treatment also means I get soft and smooth hair for the next 3 weeks or so! I reckon if you have relatively healthy hair (unlike my bleached ones) you can get the smoothing effect to last for up to 1 month. 

Headlines by Artistry is located at 
10 Anson Road, International Plaza, #03-32.
Nearest MRT Station: Tanjong Pagar
For more details or to make appointment, please call 6223 3133

Do look for Chris and quote "Mia" to be entitled to 10% off all hair services for first-timers. 

Till then,
Mia Foo
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