HIGH WALLS

Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake

Flourless cakes stress me out.There. I said it. Given that my pet hate, when it comes to baking, is when cakes don’t rise enough, the idea of a cake that isn’t supposed to rise should be totally my jam! But that’s just it! Flourless cakes are so moist, so dense and decadent that I simply do not know what to do with them! I constantly second guess myself; is it cooked properly? Did I fold the egg whites correctly? Why does this stress me out so much when it is so damn easy?!

This bout of cake related neuroses is probably why I only make this cake when requested. Sure, the mix of zesty lemon with the creamy ricotta and flakey almond IS pretty friggen amazing. And YES, if you’re gonna hound me about it, maybe I did eat 2 or 3 slices while I was taking these photos. But really, is the completely self-inflicted stress that comes with making this cake worth it in the end? (Yes! YES! A thousand times YES!)

… touché dear readers. You know me too well. Maybe this is more about my own insecurities, than any actual problems with flourless cake. I’m so glad we talked this out. Now let’s celebrate this breakthrough with my 4th a slice of delicious lemon, ricotta and almond cake!

Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake

Lemon, Ricotta & Almond
Flourless Cake

Ingredients

  • 120 grams of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups of caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1/4 cup of lemon zest
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 1/2 cups of almond meal
  • 300 grams of ricotta
  • Flaked almonds
  • Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degree celcius and line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Place the butter, 165 grams of the caster sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon zest in an bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating in between each addition, until fully combined.
  4. Add the almond meal and beat to combine. With a spoon or spatula, fold the ricotta through the almond meal mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer (using a whisk attachment) until soft peaks form.
  6. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites mixture and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
  7. Add 1 third of the egg whites to the cake mixture and gently fold to combine/ Repeat with the rest of the egg whites.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
  9. Sprinke the top with almond flakes (or place in a pattern) and place in the oven to bake for 40-45 minutes or until firm to touch.
  10. Allow to cool completely in the cake tin. To serve, dust with a generous helping of icing sugar.

Notes

(Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine)

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Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless CakeLemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake

oe-xmas1 cone ornaments | origami ornament | ‘tree 06′ print snowflake ornament 

Christmas always makes me think of winter.  You know; Warm sweaters,woolly scarves, pine trees and snow. This is despite the fact I live in Australia, and all of my Christmas’ revolve around trying to keep cool during the hottest time of the year! I guess movies and TV have conditioned me to still think of those ‘traditionally Christmas’ images. And I’m pretty okay with it! I might not have pine cones and snowy trees,but at least I can live vicariously through all these lovely Etsy finds…

5 Minute Christmas Crafts: Makes these Christmas Tree Plate Decals (click through for the full tutorial)

Now that our Christmas Gift Swap is up and running for another year, I’m really getting into a festive mood! I’ve mentioned it many, many times before, but Christmas really is my favourite time of year. I love buying presents, I love coming up with fancy ways to wrap said presents, I love the food, the drinks, the friends and family and of course; the decorations. Last year I didn’t get around to as much Christmas crafting as I would have liked, but this year I’m back – with a vengeance! 

Probably one of my most favourite DIY projects from this year was the Monogrammed Mugs we made all the way back in July. I figured, those mugs turned out so well (and are still going strong after all this time), why not extend my new-found skill to decorating some more kitchenware with something a little more festive! They turned out pretty well, dontcha think? I decided to go with good old Christmas trees for the design, but feel free to experiment with different shapes or even different coloured vinyl.

5 Minute Christmas Crafts: Makes these Christmas Tree Plate Decals (click through for the full tutorial) 5 Minute Christmas Crafts: Makes these Christmas Tree Plate Decals (click through for the full tutorial)

To make these decals yourself is super easy; you’re going to need some adhesive vinyl, a small hole punch, sharp scissors and of course some plates, bowls or cups!

1. Cut a piece of vinyl big enough to accommodate for your shapes.

2. Sketch out a Christmas tree shape (three triangles, stacked on top of each other), or if you are not confident in your tree drawing abilities, you can print out a tree image and use as a guide like we did in the mug tutorial. Your trees should be around 10cm high.

3. Carefully, cut out each tree shape and trim away any rough edges.

4. If you would like to add tinsel/bauble lines onto your trees, take a small hold punch and punch a line of holes in a zig-zag pattern across the tree.

5. Wipe down the surface, where you are going to stick your decals and make sure it is completely dry before proceeding.

6. Remove the backing paper and carefully smooth the vinyl onto the plate surface, making sure there are no air bubbles as you go. You may want to measure out and mark the center before you stick anything down.

Voilà! These decals should stay firmly adhered to your plates or bowls as long as you take care of them. No dishwashers and hand wash with warm soapy water  (do not soak). That said, if you decide you no longer want festive plates, it can always been removed and the glue residue scrubbed off.

5 Minute Christmas Crafts: Makes these Christmas Tree Plate Decals (click through for the full tutorial)   5 Minute Christmas Crafts: Makes these Christmas Tree Plate Decals (click through for the full tutorial)

giftswap(Img source)

I can’t believe I’m saying this already, but it’s that time of year again: Time for the Annual Christmas Gift Swap! Hooray!! For those of you who are new around here, let me fill you in with the details of our annual event:

The gift swap is all about making new friends and spreading some Christmas cheer! You will be paired up with someone from somewhere else in the world and charged  with the mission to find a little somethin’-somethin’ to send to your new friend. Kind of like an International Secret Santa trade!  Your gift doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it’s just a little token to share some festive joy, and hopefully, make someone smile!

If you would like to take part you will be required to send a Christmas card and small gift to a stranger (and potential new BFF) and you will receive one in return. As a lot of you guys are international, we’re going to keep it small – your gift should be small enough to fit in a small to medium sized envelope (for example; an art print, an ornament, small jewellery etc) but feel free to go bigger if you are feeling generous. In your card you might want to include a little about you – where you are from, blog/website (if you have one), what you are doing for the holidays and a Christmas Message.

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A sneaky treat that is totally healthy! Frozen Yogurt and Berry Bars! (click for the full recipe)

Oh, hey! Remember me? It’s been a while, but I used to blog around these parts! Where I’ve been is a story for another time, because right now I have something sweet and creamy to distract you from my neglect.

It’s no secret that I have a bit of sweet tooth, which makes it all the harder for me when I try to buckle down and reduce the amount of sweets in my diet. With Christmas practically beating down the door already, I just know the holiday season is going to be the usual cavalcade of cakes, chocolate and candy canes (I’m sure somewhere my dentist is shuddering at the thought!) So I’ve been trying to behave myself… it’s…. kind of lame.

Because I have absolutely no will-power, I have to trick myself into believing that I am still getting that sweet sweet sugar hit I crave so much. Doing this is simple: freeze anything and it gives the impression what you’re eating is a sneaky treat, even if its actually healthy! Add the tangy bite of berries, and you have a winning combination my friend! Take some good old fashioned Greek yogurt, mix in a bit of honey and berries, there ain’t nothing bad for you in these icy snacks!

A sneaky treat that is totally healthy! Frozen Yogurt and Berry Bars! (click for the full recipe)     A sneaky treat that is totally healthy! Frozen Yogurt and Berry Bars! (click for the full recipe)      A sneaky treat that is totally healthy! Frozen Yogurt and Berry Bars! (click for the full recipe) A sneaky treat that is totally healthy! Frozen Yogurt and Berry Bars! (click for the full recipe)

Frozen Yogurt & Berry Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of berries (fresh or frozen)

Instructions

  1. Place the yogurt, honey and vanilla in a bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Line a small slice tray with baking paper and scatter the berries evenly across the tray.
  3. Pour the yogurt mixture onto the berries, spreading out across the whole tray making sure that all the berries are covered.
  4. Place in the freezer overnight to set.
  5. To serve, remove from the freezer and and allow to sit for 5 minutes before eating. Slice into squares and enjoy!
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A sneaky treat that is totally healthy! Frozen Yogurt and Berry Bars! (click for the full recipe)A sneaky treat that is totally healthy! Frozen Yogurt and Berry Bars! (click for the full recipe)

animal-crackers2

I have a serious question for you: What the hell happened to animal crackers? They were the BEST thing EVER! Sweet little, chocolate covered, cookies in the shape of your favourite circus animals; you know the ones. Where did they go? Do they still exist in other parts of the world? Guys, you gotta tell me if they do! But don’t even try to pass off the non-chocolate covered versions, because you know those do not count!

Any ways, a few weeks ago I finally found some awesome animal cookie cutters and ever since I’ve been keeping our kitchen well stocked with chocolate covered beasts. My childhood self must be so damn proud of me! (My adult self is less impressed with the impact these tiny zoo animals are undoubtedly going to have on my waistline…)

EDIT: I found these cookie cutters on ebay!

animal-crackers5

INGREDIENTS:1 Cup of butter
1 Cup of white sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 packet of chocolate melts
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.2. Place the butter (softened) and sugar into a large mixing bowl and cream together using an electric mixer until smooth.3. Add the vanilla and egg and beat again to combine.4. Combine the flour and baking powder together and add to the butter mixture in small amounts, mixing in between each addition. When the dough becomes too thick to mix with the electric mixer, turn out onto a floured surface and knead with your hands.5. Place in the fridge for 15-20 minutes or until the dough is firm.6. Divide in half and roll the dough onto the floured surface, to about 1/4 of an inch thickness.7. Using the animal cookie cutters, cut as many cookies as you can, transferring to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roll any left over dough into a ball and repeat steps 6 and 7 until the dough has all been used.

8. Bake for 6 – 8 minutes or until the cookies are just golden. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. (Set the paper lined tray aside to use again in the next step.)

9. Once the cookies have cooled completely, take half a cup of chocolate melts and place them in a shallow dish in the microwave for around 30 seconds, or until the chocolate is mostly melted. (Stir to ensure it all melts together). Place each cookie, face up, into the chocolate, ensuring the whole back of the cookie is covered. Transfer to the paper lined tray and put directly into the freezer to set.

animal-crackers3animal-crackers4

oe-gold

01 Bowls | 02 Leggings | 03 Planter

When I was a kid, I would have the TV on all day, everyday during the school holidays.  Even if I wasn’t watching it, it was still on in the background.  My parents worked and I would be at home by myself, so there was no one to tell me that just because I could didn’t mean I should. 

Back then, the cartoons were over by mid morning and didn’t start again until late afternoon, so I was mainly stuck with infomercials and soap operas. There was this one infomercial for a “Best of the 80’s” compilation album and it was on every. damn. day. God, I hated that commercial. (Although apparently, not enough to actually turn the TV off?)

For me the worst part was the fact that the song ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet would play numerous times throughout the duration of the ad, but Just the chorus. And because informercials play on a bloody loop, that was all I would hear. Every day. “You are GOLD!! (gold) Always beleeiive in your soouuuulllll” Oh my god it drove me insane.

But here’s the thing. Even though that was a million years ago, the damage has been done; Now, any time I hear anyone say the word ‘gold’, in any context, even if I just read  it –  I instantly have that damn song stuck in my head. Every time without fail. It’s like I brainwashed myself in the most useless way possible.

If you’re wondering what the point of this story is, it’s that I have that damn song stuck in my head again! Thanks to these pretty things I spotted on Etsy, I will be humming this song over and over again for the rest of the week. I hope you guys appreciate the things I do for you…