Sunday, 15 January 2017

Food Tasting Invite: Don't Tell Mama



Don't Tell Mama (DTMM) is a Korean-Mexican fusion bistro & bar under the same F&B management group that has brought to us Chicken Up. Located along Tanjong Pagar Road (beside Chicken up), DTMM brings to us an exquisite pairing of Mexican and Korean dishes, infused with creativity and flair. The bar boasts of classic, novel and fun cocktails.



The bistro/bar has an interesting decor concept that's industrialistic from the rustic pipe lights and raw concrete finishing and yet modern and cute with hanging mason jar lights and colourful lightbulbs. 


The handcrafted pallet tables are complemented by recycled plastic crates alongside oil drums and tire tables. 

And of course, beers on taps!

And let's move on to the yums yums for the night, shall we?

Frozen Cocktail + Upturned Soju (Sojurita) - $25
From left: Parcharita (Passionfruit, Mango & Tequila), Strawberrita (Strawberry & Tequila) & Lycherita (Lychee & Tequila)

The rest of the ladies seems to rate Lycherita as the best of the lot but I'll very much prefer Parcharita. Love the tangy, citrus flavour of the passionfruit when it paired up with the soju. I couldn't taste much of the alcohol (tequila) in the frozen cocktail itself though. As long as you don't disturn the upturned soju bottle too much, most of the soju remains in the bottle until you finished about 90% of the drink, only then the soju will start rushing out of the bottle due to lost in the pressure. So you can easily control how alcoholic you want your drink to be!
Cool, right? 

Lightbulb Sodas - $5
From left: Strawberry Soda, Blue Lemon Soda

Yes, those mini lightbulbs hanging from the top of the big lightbulb FLASHES. They just look super-duper adorable and were welcomed with excited squeals from all of us as the staff brought them to our table. 
The strawberry flavour can be a little light, and most of us preferred the tangy blue lemon. 
They also do alcoholic cocktail versions of these lightbulb drinks, so guys... if you want to bring your girlfriend out for a drink. You know where to go now. 

Bulgogi Quesadilla - $14
Authentic Korean bulgogi stuffed in baked tortillas and topped with melted mozzarella cheese, served with guacamole and sour cream. 


Not a beef eater, hence skipped this. From the reactions from the rest of the ladies, I've obviously missed out.... big time. 


Prawn Burrito - $12
Prawn Burrito topped with freshly chopped onions, jalapeno and salsa roja. 


This obviously is not your usual burrito as it has a lot more going on on the outside (all those cheese and toppings) as compared to a traditional burrito. 
I guess if one day, Mr. Burrito and Ms. Pizza fell in love, this shall be their baby. HAHAHA!
Not sure if it's the distinctive taste of salsa roja or not, but it has a characteristic "Indian dish" taste of strong spices to it. It was also one of the first few dishes to be served, but also one of the last dishes we've tasted. Might have done a lot better if it was still warm and not significantly harden up. 

Fried Chicken Gizzard - $8


This is the very first time in my life that I've eaten a gizzard, or an internal organ of any sorts of an animal, and it was surprisingly tasty! Extremely chewy, this should go perfectly well with a mug of nice cold beer. But it might also be a little too spicy if you do not take spicy food very well. 
I love the spiciness though. Yum yum!

Spicy Lollipops - $8

These are actually chicken drumlets made to look like 'lollipops' and slathered with spicy korean sauce, which I believe is the yangnyum sauce (both sweet and spicy). The meat is tender and well flavoured, and it's extremely easy to eat as compared to a conventional drumlet as the meat somehow comes off the bone much easier.

Fried Chicken Wings - $8

Fried till crisp on the outside, well flavoured and tender, you cannot go wrong with this fried chicken wings. Just do not expect yourself to look all dainty and glamorous while eating this. 
No, not happening. 

Kimchi Fries - $18
Sauteed kimchi, soy-seasoned chicken on crispy french fries with kimchi sauce and sour cream.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LURVEEEEE THIS!
Okay, I'm kimchi-bias, I admit. Put kimchi in anything (except beef) and I'll love it. But come on, french fries, with shredded chicken and kimchi? How can anyone not love this? 

Onion Bomb -$12

Actually, I HATE onions. But this, I ate it, and quite a bit. 
Other than looking ridiculously pretty, the batter also has a yummy, peppery flavour which complements the sweetness of the onion really well. 

DTMM is currently have a Beer for a Dollar Deal, whereby you can get a 330ml beer for only $1 with a purchase of any DTMM entree from Mondays to Thursdays, 5 - 7pm. 

From next month (February 2017) onwards, enjoy BOTTOMLESS beer or margarita for only $30++ (for ladies) or $40++ (for gentlemen), from 7-10pm daily for the whole month of February. 

Like DTMM facebook page and follow them on Instagram for more details of their current & upcoming promos.

Don't Tell Mama is located at 
52 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088473
Opens daily from 5pm - 12am
6221 2007
For event enquiries, email drink@dtmm.sg

Till then,
Mia Foo

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Mia Bakes: Cornflakes Crunchy Butter Cookies


Well, guess what? I'm supposed to be putting up a food review but I decided to let this recipe post jump queue. CNY is around the corner and I've been baking more often than usual (aside from my weekly breadmaking) to test out new recipes for my CNY cookies. 

My mum has been bugging me to bake those honey cornflakes cups, but I'll very much prefer butter cookies. So I reckon, why not mix the two up? 

So let's get over the ingredients so we can get started. 
You'll need:

100g salted butter 
(Golden Churn is preferred)
75g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
150g Top flour (or cake flour)
30g potato starch
(you may use corn flour, but I personally feel PS gives more crunchy cookies while CF makes it more tender)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
30g cornflakes, lightly crushed with hands.
More crushed cornflakes (to roll your cookie dough in)

Instructions are simple. First, cream your butter and sugar until it turns pale and fluffy. Then, add in your beaten egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Sift in your flours and fold until just combined, before folding in the crushed cornflakes. 
The dough should be easy to work with, and shouldn't be sticking to your hands. 
I used a weighing scale to portion my cookie dough into 13g each (my first scoop was a 13g hence I decided to go with it) and then rolled the dough into more crushed cornflakes before putting them onto a baking sheet, spaced a few cms apart.
You need not space them out too much as these cookies do not puff up much, nor spread a lot. I didn't even need to chill the dough before baking. 

Bake the cookies at 175 degree Celsius for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the surface turns slightly browned. 


These cookies are full of buttery fragrance (do remember to use good quality butter if not your cookies will not taste as good) and crunchy from all the cornflakes bits. 
If you'll prefer a more crumbly and tender butter cookies, just cut down the baking time and not let your cookies turn too brown. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 6 January 2017

Mia Bakes: Castella Paw Cakes

Well hello people! It's a brand new year, and I've taken the plunge (end of last year) and bought a new oven off taobao.com (along with some cute cake molds). 
So, here's my first baking post for the year of 2017, and hopefully many more to come! 


Upon seeing this cake mold, I just carted it without any 2nd thought. Fretting over which cake to bake comes only after the mold got delivered. HAHA!

And anway, for my 1st try at my own paw cake, I decided to try out a Castella (kasutera) cake, which is a Japanese honey sponge cake.

The ingredients you need are few and simple:
2 eggs
50g AP flour 
(you can use bread flour for new chewy texture)
50g Caster Sugar 
(I used 30g sugar + 20g stevia sugar replacement)
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp unsweeten cocoa powder
**Handheld Mixer is preferable

First up, crack your eggs into a clean, heat-safe bowl and beat with a mixer on high until the egg mixture turns frothy, then add in your sugar in 3 additions, beating in between each addition. Then, place your egg mixture over a pot of simmering water and continue beating on high. Remove the egg mixture from heat when it has warmed up to our body temperature and continue beating on high until the mixture thickens, double in volume and turns into a pale yellow colour, which is the ribbon stage. Check if your batter is ready by lifting up the batter and letting it drop back into the bowl. It should drip down SLOWLY like a ribbon and the ribbon pattern doesn't disappear back into the bowl immedaitely. 
It should take at least 10 minutes for you to reach the ribbon stage, so just whisk away!

While beating your eggs into ribbon stage, warm up your milk (I just stick the milk bowl into the hot water after I removed my egg bowl) and dissolve the honey into the milk. Drizzle the honey-milk mixture into the egg mixture and beat on low until just combined. 

Sift in 1/3 of the flour and mix until just combined. Continue with sifting in the remaining flour and FOLD until just combined. If you're not confident of your folding skills, I highly recommend folding using a hand whisk instead of a spatula as it allows for a more even mixing, hence you're less likely to over-fold your batter. 

Then, take out about 3 tbsp of the batter into a smaller bowl and add in 1 tsp of unsweeten cocoa powder. Mix until just combined and pour into a small piping bag. 

Pipe the chocolate batter into the depression in the mold that makes out the "fingers" of the paw and bang the mold lightly on the counter. If it doesn't spread well or you've messed up, do not worry. Just go in with a toothpick to even out the batter or clean up any mess.

Spoon about 1.5 tbsp of the white batter into each paw, on top of the chocolate batter and tap your mold against the counter for a few times to remove any air bubbles. 

Bake at 170 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes or until the top of your cake has turned brown. 


And TADAA!


As it's my first bake with this oven, I couldn't really grasp the temperature and baking time very well and mine ended up slightly overbaked and they tasted more like Kueh Bahulu. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Food Tasting: Spicy Thai Thai Cafe

Many thanks to Chris and Spicy Thai, we got invited back to the restaurant again for another food tasting session for their latest addition to their menu!
You can read my past reviews of their yummy thai dishes HERE and HERE.

So, let's cut the chase and get straight to what matters the most. 
FOOD!
Deep Fried Sea Bass with Thai Turmeric Sauce - Seasonal Price

Thai Sambal Sea Bass - Seasonal Price

If you're asking me to choose between the two sea bass dishes, I'll definitely go for the thai sambal for that spicy kick! Well, put chili on anything and I'll love it! And also because the sambal chili is a lot less watery compared to the thai turmeric sauce (taste somewhat similar to braised sauce), the deep fried sea bass retained much more of its crispiness as well.


Kaeng Som Cha Om (Spicy Thai style soup with vegetables and fried egg) - $18

Imagine tom yum soup with slightly less sourness, filled with flavourful fried omelette with dill and fresh vegetables. A seemingly humble dish that packs a punch! You really cannot go wrong with fried eggs, yes?


Cold Tofu with Special Thai Seafood Sauce - $15

A very Chinese zichar style of dish, but with a Thai twist. I do love tofu, but I would very much prefer them served hot. But the sauce was yummy though, savoury and flavourful, and complements the soft silken tofu very well.
If only it's warm.... 

And now for the vegetables....
Stir-Fry Broccoli with Scallops - $20

Stir-Fry Cabbage with Thai Sweet Fish Sauce - $10


Stir-Fry Garlic Baby Sweet Potato Leaves - $10

Out of the 3 vegetable dishes, I would probably choose the cabbage as my favourite of the lot while the sweet potato leaves was a little... mehhh.
Not a fan of the distinctive mushy texture of the sweet potato leaves (but that's how it's supposed to be) and they were a little more on the bland side.

Jade Noodles with Meatballs - $12

Consisting of spinach noodles stirfry with meatballs, I know the word 'spinach' and the colour of the noodles is kind of daunting, but this is pretty good! The noodles are cooked to al-dente and the overall taste is savoury and yet, quite light. It would be a decent choice of carbohydrates (in place of white rice) to pair up with other flavourful dishes for a good meal. 


Claypot Coconut Tom Yum Soup - $18 (small) / $28 (big)

This is one of the 'old' food-tasting dishes, but somehow I have missed it. Lovely sourness with a strong spicy kick and tinge of sweetness from the coconut flesh, this is definitely a must try for all tom yum soup lovers out there.

Spicy Thai - Thai Cafe is located at
Blk 115 Aljunied Ave 2, #01-35

For more information, visit their facebook page HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Mia Bakes: Cocoa Nibs Crunchy Cookies

Okay, I promise this shall be the last baking post I'll do for this year. And the reason for this bake post is because of two new 'babies' I've bought on iherb.


Raw cacao sweet nibs to replace our sugar (and fat) laden chocolate chips.

And a 1:1 sugarless sugar replacement that supposedly bakes and tastes exactly like sugar. 


I've previously baked 1 batch of chocolate chip cookies following their 1:1 replacement instruction and also using semi-sweet hershey's chocolate chips and the result was... SUPER SWEET
So my advice to you is, do not follow the 1:1 replacement instruction. Start low, with about 50% reduction and then slowly work your way up if it's not sweet enough for you. 

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

For 15 (1 tbps-sized) cookies, 
60g unsalted (soften) butter
100g AP flour
10g potato starch
(you may sub with corn flour/starch)
15g top flour
(you may sub with cake flour)
1/2 tbsp honey 
(you may replace this with milk and increase your sugars)
25g brown sugar
25g baking sugar substitute (sugarless sugar)
(you may use castor sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg (small to medium size)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 & 1/4 tsp baking powder (or 1/2 tsp baking soda) 
1/4 cup organic raw cocoa sweet nibs
(you may use normal chocolate chips)

You can get the sugarless sugar, cocoa nibs and other ingredients I've used HERE.

The baking procedure is basic and standard. First up, cream your soften butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Beat in your egg, honey and vanilla extract until well combined. Sift in all your dry ingredients and fold until just combined before adding in your cocoa nibs and folding your batter until the nibs are evenly distributed.

Using a tablespoon, spoon the batter onto your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you're chilling your dough, the cookies will NOT spread at all hence you MUST flatten your cookies and you may position them closer together on your baking sheet. 
Chill your cookie dough (on the baking sheets) in the fridge until they're harden up and bake until they're beautifully browned on the surface. 
I can't advise you on your oven setting and baking time as I've baked them in my mum's air fryer/roaster, which works very differently from a conventional oven. 
Anyway, just FYI, I baked mine at 215 degree Celsius in the air fryer for 5 minutes first before cranking down the temperature to 180 degree Celsius for the next 25 minutes. 
The AF bakes much, much, muuccchhhh slower as compared to an oven (my oven broke down and I haven't gotten a new one) and based on past experience with my oven, the cookies should bake within 15 to 20 minutes (depending on how thin you've flatten them) at 170 - 180 degree Celsius in a conventional oven.


These cookies are crunchy throughout and kept their crunchiness over the days they lasted. Due to addition of cornstarch and top flour, they're slightly crumbly and tender, like a shortbread cookie. 


But the cacao nibs killed it all. T.T
Contrary to those raves on iherb reviews, the nibs tasted sour with a weird, herbal aftertaste. It wasn't even the cocoa bitterness I enjoy in my dark chocolates. Texture wise, some were crunchy while some were overly crisp, somewhat crackly, and it made me feel as though I'm biting onto eggshells.

So my conclusion is, unless you're really desperate to follow through with an extremely 'healthy diet' and absolutely need to find a healthy alternative, if not just stick to your good old chocolate chips, please!

Till then,
Mia Foo

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Mia Bakes: Soft & Fluffy Wholegrain Fruit & Nut Loaf (BM Recipe)

Despite telling myself I'm happy with my dense and heavy wholegrain loaf, I couldn't help but keep googling for 'soft and fluffy wholewheat bread recipe' and was just disappointed over and over again when all of the recipes I've clicked in with titles similar to "softest and fluffiest healthy wholemeal bread" pretty much just had 10% wholemeal flour and 90% refined bread flour.
Erm, how can you even call that a healthy wholemeal bread when by ratio, it's effectively still a refined bread?

And so (out of spite?) I decided, let me reverse that and use 10% refined flour! HAHAHA, okay I'm kidding. But I really started adding small amount of all purpose flour into my wholegrain loaf because that 3/4 full pack of AP flour has been sitting in my baking cabinet for a while now and I feel that if I don't finish it, weevils will grow soon, so.... yeah, you got it.

 

Anyway, for this SOFT and FLUFFY wholegrain loaf, you'll need:

185ml (cold) milk
28ml honey
(I wanted to put 30ml but 28ml was all I could squeeze out)
200g wholemeal flour
25g dark rye flour
25g all purpose flour
3.5 tsp vital wheat gluten
(I might have added more per 1/2 teaspoonful hence you may use up to 4 tsp)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ceylon cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Abt 4.5g instant yeast
(if you're using mayer BM12, it's 1 full small measuring spoon + slightly less than 1/4)
30g unsalted butter
choice of chopped dried fruits & nuts 
(i used sunflower seeds, and a mix of raisins and cherries)

First up, add in your wholegrain flours and cold milk into the pan and let it sit for 30 to 45 minutes
Then, add in all your ingredients, except butter, and start your machine on mix dough function. Add in your butter only when your dough starts to form a ball. As different brands/batches of flours will have different hydration levels, do keep an eye on your dough and make sure it's hydrated enough. Eg. if it's sandy and tough like a beach ball, add in more liquid (preferably by the 1/2 teaspoonful) and if it's watery and formless, add in more flour.
Upon completion of the mix dough function, check your dough for windowpane stage, It won't stretch as thinly and beautifully as a 100% refined flour loaf, but it should stretch  and thin out quite a bit. If the dough is still lacking in elasticity, restart your machine on mix dough function again for another round of mixing.
After your dough is done mixing, restart your machine on graham or multigrain function and let the machine do the wonders! Oh, do remember to add your chopped fruit and nuts during the machine's feeding beep, too!



Giving you a 'bend test' to show that this loaf is really soft and fluffy. :)

Till then,
Mia Foo

Monday, 12 December 2016

Mia Bakes: Mini Yule Logs & Gingerbread Cookies

Tis the season to be jolly, fala lalala lala lala~


Yes, the #bakingtrio has gathered once again for some fun X'mas baking! In case you're wondering what's Smojtocl, it's actually SM . JT . CL (our initials).

Anyhow, let's start off with the more interesting one, the mini yule logs! We followed CupcakeJemma's recipe, but made some tiny changes here and there to bring you 16 (actually it's 15 and a half) mini chocolate log cakes!

So the ingredients you'll need for 1 batch of the sponge cake are:
3 large eggs
75g caster sugar
25g unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
a pinch of ground cloves
10" by 14" baking tray

note: 1 batch gives you 8 mini logs and we baked 2 batches because we've only 1 tray. 

First, separate the yolks from the egg whites and beaten the egg whites (preferably with a mixer) until it gets frothy. Add in 25g of caster sugar in 3 additions, beating the egg whites till stiff peaks are formed. Be sure to not get any egg yolk in your egg whites, just a tiny drop of yolk is enough for your meringue to NOT form!

In another bowl, mix the yolks and 50g of caster sugar and beat till it turns pale and thick (you may beat the yolks with a mixer stained with meringue but not the other way round!) Then, sift in all your dry ingredients and fold in gently. Then, temper your egg yolk mixture with about 1/3 of your meringue (just add in the meringue and stir to loosen up the yolk mixture) before adding all the rest of the meringue in and fold until they're JUST combined. DO NOT overmix as it will deflate your meringue too much and you won't get a nice sponge.
May I also suggest that you do the mixing lightly with a hand-whisk instead of folding with a spatula if you're not that confident with your folding skills.
Then, pour the cake mixture into your lined baking tray and level them out gently with a spatula. Make sure they're as leveled as possible so as to not get holes in your sponge cake!

Bake the cake at 180 degree Celsius for 10 - 12 minutes (depending on your oven) or until the top of the cake bounces back nicely when pressed down lightly.

When the cake has cooled down a little, turn it out and gently peel off the parchment paper before leaving it to cool completely. Do cover it with a clean tea towel to prevent the sponge cake from drying out. It won't take that long for it to dry out as it's extremely thin.

So now, on to 1 batch of the buttercream filling, you'll need:
60g of chocolate
(we used semi-sweet choc chips, but I recommend that you got for 70% dark as we found our filling a little too sweet)
100g unsalted butter
90g icing sugar
2 tbsp rum (or your preferred choice of alcohol)

First, melt your chocolate over a bowl of hot/simmering water. Make sure your chocolate bowl does not touch the simmering water if not your chocolate may burn!
Then, beat the soften butter with icing sugar until it turns pale and fluffy (you may want to check if the buttercream is ready by rubbing some between your fingers to make sure it's not longer grainy). Add in the melted chocolate and alcohol and beat until it's well combined.

Then, spread your buttercream onto the sponge before cutting them up into 8 slices and start rolling! It doesn't matter that your sponge is cracking at the surfaces as the chocolate ganache will save you. Just make sure that your mini roll cakes are able to stay together as a roll, that's all you need to focus on.

Finally, let's move on to the chocolate ganache, your saviour for all your crackly mini logs! The ingredients you'll need are:
100g dark chocolate
100ml whipping cream
(original calls for 115ml heavy cream)

Heat up your whipping cream in a pot until it just starts bubbling (simmering, not boiling) and pour the hot cream over your chocolate. Let it sit for a minute before stirring at the mixture until all the chocolate has melted.
And then start drizzling!


After all your logs are generously covered with the ganache, wait for it to set before using a fork to draw out the grooves of the log.

So you'll end up with these!
And finally, sprinkle some icing sugar over the top and viola~

Your mini yule logs are done!

And well, realising that we still have time we decided to give gingerbread cookies another go (we ended up with  gingerFAT man last year). After a quick recipe search online, we agreed to work with Jamie Oliver's easy and fuss-free gingerbread cookies recipe. 

And so what we added into our cookies are:
300g cake flour 
(our AP flour grew weevils)
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tsp baking powder
(or 1 tsp baking soda)
125g unsalted butter
100g brown sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup

In a point, melted the butter together with the sugar and maple syrup and stir until all the sugar dissolves. Then, add the mixure to the dry ingredients and mix until it all comes together to form a dough ball. 
Roll your dough out to 5mm thickness and start cutting out your cookies into any shape(s) you fancy! There's no need to chill the dough before rolling it out as it's a really easy dough to work with, soft and malleable, yet not sticky. 
Do work fast though, because it dries our pretty quickly and soon it all turned into a mixture that resembles more of moist sand. But if you really wish to save your dried out dough, just add in some more water, knead, and re-roll.  

And the main reason why we decided to bake the cookies was to try out J's new toy. Cookie cutter that allows you to print out messages on the cookies!
Tadaa~ 
The cookies are crisp and crunchy throughout instead of being the soft, bread-ish kind of cookies, which I really like! But J was thoroughly disappointed because she would very much prefer having a soft, bready cookie instead.

And to end off this post, I shall show you one more picture of our awesome mini yule logs!

Till then,
Mia Foo
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