Saturday, November 16, 2013

Recipe: Chocolate & Vanilla Checkerboard Cookies!

For a very very long time I've always wanted to bake checkerboard cookies, because I'm a massive nerd I see them a lot in anime and Japanese drama and always have wanted to try baking them myself, finally I have and I love them, they are quite easy to make and taste a little bit like short bread.

Treat yourself to some and a cup of tea! (I'm going to make them again to add more pictures for the step by step process. But maybe not for a while.


  • 250g of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 2 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/4 cup of dark cocoa powder
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat your oven to your desired temperature. 
  2. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and set aside.
  3. With your favourite electric mixer or mix master beat the butter, sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl until its pale and creamy. (I suggest using a mix master since it takes a bit and your hand will be sore - this happened to me in the past when I didn't own a mix master - but whatever works!) 
  4. Add the flour and combine. 
  5. Divide the dough into two equal portions.
  6. Add cocoa powder to one portion and if your lazy like me you'll get out the dough hook on your mix master to do the kneading for you but you can use your hands. don't over do it cause we don't want them to be too tough. I did it with the dough hook for a little while before using my hands to get it combined. 
  7. Get your rolling pin out and time to make a 20x8cm rectangle, try to make it 2cm thick. (I used mostly my hands since its really easy to spread and stretch but to get the edges nice and smooth and flat into a rectangle shape I used my cake scraper. (You could use anything on hand to make the sharp edges, a plastic ruler would definitely come in handy) After you're done cover in plastic wrap and set to the side so you can still use it as a reference for your next rectangle. 
  8. After you are finished with both and are happy with their shape and are covered in plastic wrap place them in the freezer for 15 minutes or until they are firm, but not frozen. (this is important because you have to cut and then shape them. 
  9. Before you take them out of the freezer whisk your egg. You don't need to use all of the egg so I suggest separating the amount you want to use so you can do something with the leftover egg, but that's just me!
  10. Cut both your rectangles down the middle lengthwise to make 2 squares.
  11. Now time to put them together! Get a brush and apply the egg to one side of the chocolate rectangle then place the vanilla rectangle on top. Combine all sides together with the egg mixture then if you get an odd shape in some areas of your new rectangle you should be able to shape it to your liking. You can soften the edges or make them really sharp. 
  12. Time to cut them into cookies! Get out a sharp knife and cut about 2cm apart, you don't want to make them too thick or too thin. (I made some a bit too thick so trust me on this!) 
  13. Cook for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them, you don't want to overcook them, you can wait until some are just golden around the edges or try to get them out just before so they are perfect! Wait for them to cool down and harden before enjoying!
I think this is one recipe that some people may have to see pictures of the steps to do it correctly, at least for the first time. So I'll add some more step by step pictures when I next make them!

-Kate xo

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Strawberry Scones

Sadly the above is the only picture I took :( It was night time too so it's a bit dark. Sorry about that!

These scones are my new favourite, they were absolutely delicious and are great for summer! I highly suggest everyone try these out!

Strawberry Scones & Cream.


  • 3 cups of self raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of butter at room temperature (60grams) 
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 250g of strawberries, hulled and diced
  • Your choice of cream 
  1. Preheat the oven. 
  2. line a baking tray with baking paper or grease the tray to your liking and lightly dust with flour. 
  3. Sift flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl and rub the butter into the mixture until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  4. Add milk (don't put the 1/4 milk in, I did and it was too much, keep it on hand and just apply a little here and there if its still too dry, if you add too much don't worry and just add a little more flour.) and half the strawberries (I added a little over a half) and stir gently with a butter knife until everything has combined.  
  5. Move your to a lightly floured surface and gently knead three to four times. Don't over do this or the scones will turn out tough and we want them to be nice and fluffy.
  6. Get out your preferred cookie cutter, I use a medium sized round cutter, my scones were a bit sticky cause i used too much milk, so even though I did this they turned out more like round balls. 
  7. Brush tops lightly with milk. (you can use the 1/4 cup you already have if you didn't use it all!) This will make your scones nice and golden! (I didn't use this step because I forgot, but I think it will be a nice touch!) 
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, but again keep an eye on your oven and when they start to golden get them out! It may take longer or shorter depending on your own oven! 
  9. Serve with your choice of cream and the remaining chopped up strawberries!

A little tip on cream:
What I like to do for scones is whip up my own cream. If you don't have and thickened cream on hand I highly suggest buying some long life cream and keeping it in the pantry and some in the fridge. This way if you ever need cream for meals as well as sweets you have some at hand!

For whipped cream for the best results always use cream after its cooled in the fridge, it turns out much more fluffy and light!

Get your mix master out, pour the life long cream after its been cooled in the fridge into a bowl and add two teaspoons of icing sugar (you can use more if you want) and then whip on high speed until nice and fluffy! Make sure to watch it cause if you over do it you can curdle the cream.

Store the leftover cream in the fridge to use on your leftover scones or for pancakes or something else yummy!

Hope you enjoy!
-Kate xo

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Witch Cupcakes

Vanilla Green Swirl Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing!

I'm so proud of how these cupcakes turned out! Not only do they look great, they tasted pretty good too! It was my first time making a Cream Cheese Icing and I can honestly say that it's my new favourite! I'll probably use it a bit too much.


  • 2 1/3 cups of all purpose flour.
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • 1 cup of butter or margarine, softened.
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar.
  • 3 eggs.
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
  • 2/3 cup of milk.
  • Green food colouring.
  1. Heat the oven and get your cupcake/muffin tray out and pop some cupcake liners of your choice in the cups! Grease the tray if you wish but I suppose I'm bad and lazy since I never do (if im using cupcake liners I don't anyway.)
  2. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt and set aside for later.
  3. In a large bowl, get your mix master out (or electric hand mixer) and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar (about 1/4 cup a time - beat well) Scrape your bowl on occasion if needed. 
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beat well each time and then beat in the vanilla.
  5. On low speed beat in the flour gradually (about 1/3 a cup a time) and then the milk at about 1/2 a cup at a time.
    Beat until just blended.
  6. Then the fun part, divide into your cupcake patties! Don't worry if it looks messy as about they straighten out nicely (pic below)
  7. What I did then was dip a tooth pick into green food colouring and make swirls like about - i did this twice for each cupcake - honestly was really time consuming and will probably just mix it in the bowl next time!
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until they look nice and pretty and a bit gold on the edges (like pic below) and a toot pick inserted comes out clean - Oven times may vary so if you don't know the quirks of your oven watch closely first time around then you will know the perfect time for next time!
This makes a lot of cupcakes, up to 24 for me, but it can vary on how much batter you put in each cupcake, I prefer it this way! 

Cream Cheese Icing


  • 1 Philadelphia Cream Cheese. (If you keep it in the fridge make sure you get it out and get it to room temperature with the butter for the best results! Otherwise it will be lumpy!)
  • 1/4 cup of butter, softened to room temperature.
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of milk.
  • 4 cups of icing sugar. (I used only 3 though) 
  • Green Food Colouring.
  1.  In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vailla and 2 teaspoons of milk with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth, make sure you scrape the edges and the bottom for the cream cheese likes to get stuck!
  2. Gradually beat in the last teaspoon of milk so everything gets nice and smooth, if your icing gets too thick add a little bit more milk at a time until it gets as smooth as you desire. 
  3. Then add 2 to 3 drops of food colouring to get a nice pastel green colour! But you may make it as dark or light as you wish!
You can freeze the leftover icing for up to a month, or keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days. but allow the icing to soften before you apply if you do either of these! I always have so much leftover icing because I don't usually like to pack my cupcakes with it, although I found myself doing that with the Cream cheese frosting (picture below) because it was so so nice.

Sadly you can't really see the green swirls, and well this was a leftover cupcake so no witch feet, and packed with icing! Just wanted everyone to see the inside!

I also suggest after each cup of Icing Sugar to taste your icing, it will get sweeter with each cup and personally I liked it tasting more cheesy than sugary - but that's my personal preference!!

If you use this recipe let me know how it went and I would LOVE to see pictures!

-Kate xo

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Halloween Dinner Party... on a Budget.

I've always loved Halloween, but in Australia it's not really a big thing... depending what part you live in I suppose!

I'm my old neighborhood when I lived in Sydney the whole neighborhood went all out and it was a blast. But when I moved to a little beach town on the central coast we had doors slammed in our faces and people yelling at us that 'We weren't American' a bit of a blow to little kids but nevertheless it was always fun to dress up and hang out with friends.

I've always wanted to have a halloween party and that hasn't changed even though I'm an adult now. So I wanted to host a Halloween event but alas all my friends were busy with uni so I thought I would just be good and start my diet early and ignore Halloween this year.

But then after moping around for a while I thought 'screw that' and decided to host a little dinner party for me and my mum haha. I didn't really have much else to do and I really really wanted to decorate and bake my witch cupcakes.

I was on a tight budget, since I'm poor and the only Halloween related item I had was the above jack-o-lantern candle I bought for fun a few years ago. So the only thing I bought for my Halloween part this year was the ingredients for the food and some black cardboard and some straws... I had such a blast thinking up things to make.

I'll start by saying that I'm no artist, I suck at drawing... but I like to think I'm creative and with Pinterest for ideas and inspiration, this is what I came up with!

I had a lot of black tissue paper because of numerous orders from the lovely T2Tea here in Australia, so I put it to good use to use as a runner on our dining table (underneath the pumpkin candle) and i made tissue flower balls as you see above.

I also used two jumbo tissues to make the ghosts and drew some eyes on them with permanent markers. Not hard at all and I think they turned out super cute!

I also made a bunch of spiders with the cardboard, once again they aren't anything fancy but came out decent enough to please me! I drew their eyes with a normal lead pencil.

I cut out some ghosts on paper and permanent marker for the eyes once more and put them around the table.

The big bat I also made with cardboard and that was the tricky part for me, since I suck at
drawing... it took me a while, but what I ended up doing was trace one side to my satisfaction then I cut it out, folded it over the uncut side and traced it to get the bat above! Then used a hole puncher to make eyes that i could use to tie it to the fan. (It ended up looking a bit like Zubat from pokemon lol)

I did the same to make a cute bat to stick on our wine glasses. (which came out looking really dirty on this picture, but they are clean from the dishwasher... I swear! >_<)

Luna, my monster dog also dressed up for Halloween... I couldn't resist. While I was a big fan of Sailor Moon when I was younger, okay  still am. Luna wasn't named after Sailor Moon's Luna. I'm just obsessed with the everything to do with stars and moons and always wanted a black dog named Luna haha. But maybe it did originate from Sailor Moon... who knows!

For dinner I cooked up some Monster Meatball Pasta... honestly I suck at making actual food look pretty, unlike baking... but my inspiration and most of the recipe came from here! as you can tell mine is nothing in comparison but still looks creepy! In all honesty I dont really think boiled eggs and asparagus goes well with pasta, but maybe thats just me! (ignore my overcooked pasta and eggs)

You can't see the meatballs, but I made them from scratch and they turned out amazing, usually the cheese in store bought cheesey meatballs always fall out when I cook them, but the ones I made only a few started to leak out when I was done and were amazing! I cut up some mozzarella into squares and popped them in! Might do a future recipe on them another time because they were so good!

I saw this great witch cupcake on pinterest from better homes and gardens which inspired me to make my own version!

My cupcakes are Vanilla with Cream Cheese Icing! (You can find my recipe HERE)

What I did: I bought the straws from eBay and cut them into thirds for the witches stockings and instead of using cardboard or paper to draw boots I used chico lollies! (you could use black jelly babies if you don't have chico lollies - they are basically jelly babies but chocolate flavour) and then cut a tooth pick in half and attached it to the baby and popped it in the straws!

Sadly I didn't have any black cupcake liners, so I used dark green to compensate for the witches dress!

And so that was my Halloween Dinner Party on a budget! I had fun making everything and look forward to doing something better next year!

-Kate xo

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pretty New Toy to Play With!

That's right... I was bad and splurged my meager savings on this beautiful Canon EOS 1100D, it was on sale, and I got two lenses with it so I pretty much jumped at the chance to actually own this beauty!

I haven't really used a Digital or even normal SLR since my photography days at high school, so I'm really excited to get back into everything.

So now this silly blog will be bombarded with a thousand photos of random things... probably mostly food though haha and pictures of Luna, my pesky pet... cause that's how I roll.

In other news, I've been meaning to post a heap of stuff, but I've been out of the count with a migraine for a while so I'm just recovering now! Probably shouldn't stay on the computer for too long but hopefully will have my Halloween dinner party and witch cupcake recipe up soon!

I even made some delicious Strawberry Scones last night since I bought a bunch of beautiful ripe strawberries yesterday. They were so yum!

I can't wait to share those recipes with everyone!