HIGH WALLS

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…

Ciera-Design-400-Dollar-Blogiversary-Giveaway

Giveaway time! I’m super excited to be taking part in Ciera Design‘s 5 years celebrations! It’s such an exciting accomplishment and what better way to celebrate than by giving away a special gift to our amazing readers? One lucky person will receive a $400 prepaid MasterCard that can be spent anywhere in the world that accepts Debit MasterCards. Ummm… best prize ever! It’s super easy to enter, just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks to my fellow sponsors who made this possible!

Ciera Design | Kory Woodard | Yellow Heart Art | Rebecca Lately
Patti Murphy Designs | Anna Delores | Cocorrina | Rachel The Hat | Fashiony Fab
Sugar and Type | Squirrelly Minds | High Walls | The Nectar Collective
The Proper Pinwheel | Ex Vitae | Fry Sauce & Grits | A Ruffled Life
Pinegate Road | Buckets & Spades | A Girl Named PJ | Sarah Hearts | Tara Victoria

This giveaway will be running until October 27th, 2014 and is opened to international readers! Yaaaaaay!

DIY Geometric Clipboard Notice Board

Let’s get organised folks! I’m sharing a fun DIY over at Drifter & the Gypsy, a quirky little notice board you can customize to your liking! As someone who is forever trying to find pen and paper, I am seriously loving this project! It’s not only fun and colorful, but super useful as well! Check it out!

clicktoread

DIY Geometric Clipboard Notice Board DIY Geometric Clipboard Notice Board

 

DIY Decorated Chopsticks | highwallsblog.com

Just like sandwiches taste better if you cut them into triangles, noodles are enhanced by eating them with chopsticks. It’s a scientific fact! Sure, using chopsticks is a skill that takes time to master, but you know I’m right when I say that they certainly improve the whole dining experience! We always keep a stack of pilfered chopsticks in our cutlery draw for when we have noodle based dishes. Chopstocks stolen from our local take out store are fun and all, but we are grown ups.  So we need grown up chopsticks…. you know, ones painted with polka dots and stripes…. That’s pretty grown up, right?

DIY Decorated Chopsticks | highwallsblog.comDIY Decorated Chopsticks | highwallsblog.comDIY Decorated Chopsticks | highwallsblog.com

I don’t know what to say, guys; this project is pretty self explanatory! You’re going to need some washi/masking tape, nail polish and of course some sealed wooden chopsticks – but other than that, it’s all up to you!

Tape off the chopsticks at least 1/3rd of the length of the handle (the thicker end) and again at the very tip. Keep your lines straight and ensure that all chopsticks are taped at the same levels. Paint the taped area with thin, even coats of nail polish. Allow to dry in between coats. Once you have a base color you can decorate to your hearts content! Use skewers to stamp polka dots, paint lines free-hand or tape off alternating color-blocked areas. Go nuts!

You can of course, paint your chopsticks in matching pairs, but Pfffft! Fuck pairs! Make ‘em all different! That way, not only do you get to be super creative – you also don’t have to worry about trying to match up your patterns. Just think, you will never have to dig through your draws to find the right pair. Grab any two and get busy stuffing yo face!

DIY Decorated Chopsticks | highwallsblog.comDIY Decorated Chopsticks | highwallsblog.com

On a more serious note: please remember to keep your chopsticks clean while you are working. Always use sealed chopsticks and try to keep your painted areas away from the ‘eating’ end of the chopsticks. Remember, these things have to go in your mouth, so keep it food safe!  DIY Decorated Chopsticks | highwallsblog.com

ss28.09.14

– I don’t know if its the vibrant colors or the delicious pastries, but  I am so digging these DIY color blocked trivets from Sugar & Cloth

– Oh. My. Glob. I need this David Bowie print shirt. Look at the tiny Bowies! This is literally the best thing I’ve seen in a long time!

– Bold and beautiful, the ‘Komon’ series of  Japanese bowls from Kihara are gorgeous!

– I find this Butterfly Garden pattern, by Wendy Kendall, somewhat soothing. Don’t you?

Blueberry & Lemon Baked Cheesecake | www.highwallsblog.com

Usually, when I share recipes, they are dishes I have made multiple times until I am happy with the recipe. However, I thought it might be fun to share my first attempt at a new recipe.

Cheesecake is one of those things that when it’s good, its DAMN good, but if you mess it up, (well, it’s probably still pretty good!) but you can end up with something that is overly rich and dense and, for me at least, a little too much for the pallet. With this in mind, I have always been wary of making my own baked cheesecakes, in fear of ending up with the latter result. That’s no way to live your life!! As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” So, this week in a bought of cheesecake craving, I armed myself with this recipe and set out to conquer my fear.

She might not be the prettiest of cheesecakes, but for a first attempt, I’m pretty darn pleased with how it turned out! I tweaked the recipe slightly to taste, but it honestly turned out delicious! I think you could even remove the berries and it would still be a great recipe. Do you have a favourite cheesecake recipe? I’m going to keep trying out a few until I’ve mastered the art of the cheesecake and I can start to develop my own perfect recipe. So if you know  a good one, let me know – I’d love to try it out!

Blueberry & Lemon Baked Cheesecake | www.highwallsblog.com   Blueberry & Lemon Baked Cheesecake | www.highwallsblog.com

INGREDIENTS:
200g of Scotch Finger biscuits
80g of melted butter
375g of cream cheese
3/4 cup of caster sugar
150ml of cream
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of Frozen Blueberries
Icing sugar (to dust)
STEPS:
1. Preheat oven to 150 Celsius and grease a 22cm springform cake tin and line with baking paper.2. Place the biscuits in a food processor and process until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse again until the mixture comes together.

3. Pour into the prepared cake tin and press firmly into a crust. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.

4. Clean the processor before adding the cream cheese, sugar, cream,  lemon zest & juice and vanilla. Process until smooth and creamy.

5. Add eggs, one at a time, and pulse in short bursts to combine.

6. Remove the crust from the fridge and scatter with half the blueberries. Pour the cream cheese mixture into tin and smooth to ensure the the crust is coverered. Scatter the remaining berries across the top.

7. Bake for 1 hour (the cheesecake should still be slightly wobbly in the centre) Allow to cool completely in oven and refrigerate overnight.

8. To serve, dust cheesecake with icing sugar and scatter with additional berries.

Blueberry & Lemon Baked Cheesecake | www.highwallsblog.comBlueberry & Lemon Baked Cheesecake | www.highwallsblog.comBlueberry & Lemon Baked Cheesecake | www.highwallsblog.com

Strawberries and cream layer cake | www.highwallsblog.com

It is a well known fact that birthdays require cake. Birthdays and cake go together like strawberries and cream, so why not combine these duo’s to make something spectacular?

I normally don’t make my own birthday cake, my lovely housemate has taken to making me a cake every year. It’s super sweet considering he’s never baked anything in his life other than my birthday cakes! Seeing as it’s not actually my birthday yet, I figured that it was acceptable to have a teeny one of my own making. You know, in preparation for the main event! Kind of like training before a marathon, right?

This cake has long been a favourite of mine. It’s sweet and fresh and looks ever so pretty, without having to take the time to ice it properly.  I know you guys are into it. Layers and layers of soft cake sponge, silky cream and  the sweet tang of strawberries, why wouldn’t you want this all up in your face?

Strawberries and cream layer cake | www.highwallsblog.comStrawberries and cream layer cake | www.highwallsblog.com

INGREDIENTS:2 cups of self-raising flour
1 tsp of cornflour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
200g of softened butter
2 cups of caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tbs of boiling water
1 tsp of vanilla extract

FILLING:
2 punnets of strawberries,
1/4 cup of icing sugar
300ml of thickened cream
125ml of cream cheese

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease and line 3 medium round cake tins.2. Combine the flour, cornflour and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale and creamy (5 – 8 minutes).

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between each addition. Add the water and vanilla and mix to combine.

5. Fold the prepared dry ingredients into the butter mixture and divide evenly into the cake tins, ensuring the mixtures are smooth and flat.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes are golden and the top springs back lightly when pressed with a finger. Remove from oven and cool in the tins for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

7. Meanwhile, place half the strawberries into a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool before using.

8. Whip cream with remaining icing sugar until stiff peaks start to form. Fold into cream cheese.

9. Place the first cake layer onto a plate and spread with cream, drizzle with the strawberry syrup. Scatter with sliced strawberries and place the next cake layer on top. Repeat for the remaining layers and drizzle the whole thing with the remaining syrup to serve.

Strawberries and cream layer cake | www.highwallsblog.com Strawberries and cream layer cake | www.highwallsblog.com Strawberries and cream layer cake | www.highwallsblog.com Strawberries and cream layer cake | www.highwallsblog.comStrawberries and cream layer cake | www.highwallsblog.com