I confess, i have a weakness for cheesecake… by that i mean real, baked, american style cheesecake.. Not the chilled kind with gelatin added to keep it firm.. that stuff is gross..
I made one the other day (pictured above) so absolutely sinfully good, i felt like sharing the recipe (which is my own new-fangled rendition of an old one i’ve used for some years)
I figure, if you’re going to indulge in a cheesecake, it may as well be one hell of a cheesecake.. Reduced fat/sugar is not in my vocabulary when it comes to baking.. This one contains 480 grams of swiss Toblerone chocolate.. you can substitute other kinds if you don’t have any of that handy, but i recommend dark, milk and white chocolate in roughly equal parts..
Preheat oven to 175°C
1 1/2 cups digestive biscuit or graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp melted butter
press firmly into a springform baking pan and bake for 10 min. Remove from oven and increase heat to 225°C.
Blend until light and fluffy:
800 g cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs (one at a time, mixing well in between)
Now, for the chocolate.. Melt 180 g dark toblerone (or other fine dark chocolate) in a glass bowl placed over hot water..
Chop 150 g each milk and white toblerone (or substitute of your choice). Take a handful or two and sprinkle over the baked crust.
Divide the cream cheese mixture equally in two. Add the melted dark chocolate to half and stir well, add the rest of the chopped white and milk chocolate to the other half.
Take turns scooping or pouring the two parts of the mixture onto the crust, layering unevenly. Run a butter knife several times thru the top to create a marbled effect.
Bake for 10 minutes at 225°C, reduce heat again to 175°C and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn off the oven but don’t remove the cake. Leave for half an hour, then open the oven a crack (place a wooden spatula or other utensil to keep it propped open if needed) and let cool further for 2 hours.. This is done to hopefully keep the cake from falling.. i was forced to rush things a bit because i needed the oven for another cake (was preparing for my sons birthday) so the one in the picture looks a bit crestfallen, but it doesn’t effect the flavor one bit.
Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until the next day , serve with whipped cream, if that’s your thing (that’s definitely my thing)
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Those who’ve followed my flickr or facebook page for a while probably know i’m a bit obsessed with staying in shape. Instead of diminishing as i’ve gotten older, my interest in weightlifting, yoga, running and nutrition has instead increased, in tandem with the realization that I somehow have reached the age of almost 32, even tho I feel very much 23, and probably will continue doing so until 45 or so. Funny thing is, i’m in far better shape now than I was when i was 16 or 17, aside from my lower back problems, which ironically stem from a weighlifting accident 5 years ago.
But I digress.
The point of this post (the first in far too long, i apologize) was to point out two great websites I came across last week. Both have encouraged me to add some variety and serious ass kicking to my workouts. It seems that no matter how hard you feel you’re pushing yourself, you can always push harder.
Now, this first site i’m going to mention is a fitness blog called bodyrock.tv. (click the logo below)
Zuzana is this insanely fit Czech girl who generously shares free fitness and nutrition tips, including very detailed workouts that can be done at home, in less than half the time that it would take to go to the gym. Also, they’re seriously hard. I’ve so far done two of her routines, and they left me begging myself for mercy (which of course was not granted until the last grueling rep was complete) . I will admit, when my friend first sent me the link to her “sexy beast” workout, i was sitting at the computer in a bad mood eating Ben & Jerries ice cream, hungover and mourning the loss of my purse which had been stolen the night before,(along with my keys, phone and some cosmetics) and really did NOT feel like watching this chick with her boobs spiling out of her tank top, so I closed the window. An hour later my curiosity got the better of me, and i reopened the link and realized that despite her obvious and blatant sexiness, this girl knows her workouts. This blog was just what i needed to yank me out of my selfpity and get me seriously psyched to try out some new moves.
I tried the before mentioned sexy beast routine, substituting the last exercise (which i was unable to do because of my back acting up) with 6 30 second sets of hanging knee raises. And then I added on 6 sets of dumbell shoulder presses , done in the same way as the others, just to ultimately murder my arms. The entire workout was done in less than 25 minutes and i was sweatier than after an hour lifting weights at the gym.
I also did the 550 rep killer workout, and it needs no further description.
This second site i’m going to mention is the 100pushups program. (Click the image below )
This is awesome. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with pushups since i was 12 or so. I could do 100 nonstop when i was 13, and would take these phases off and on where i’d do pushups all the time, and then stop doing them completely and hate them. When this site was pointed out to me, i was in a sortof in-between phase. I managed 45 on the initial test, so was able to start on week 3 (column 3). After one week of the program I managed 60 nonstop today, on my second test. Very encouraging. In fact, I found this program so logical and sensibly set up, that I decided to use the same approach to my pull-ups. Now, unlike most people, I happen to have a pull-up bar installed at home. I can do 10 from a dead hang, military style, but i’ve been stuck at that number for over a year. My goal is to reach , i dunno.. 15-18 at some point. Because that would be totally awesome and kickass.
In my next post, i’ll be discussing my upcoming trip to NYC in March, where I’ll be taking part in an exhibition as part of my reward for winning the peoples choice in that ArtistsWanted contest. I’ll include details about the show, for anyone who’s nearby that would be interested in seeing it and perhaps saying hi to me in person. Ciao for now.
(the picture above, and the one at the top of this post were both taken today , (feb 20th) to see if my extra enthusiastic workouts of the last few months have been paying off at all)
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Sometime last spring (spring 2008 that is), i decided, for some reason i no longer quite remember, to take some large branches i found in my parents yard and paint them white.. I figured they’d come in handy as props in some photos ; they did ultimately end up being the centerpiece in this photo here, taken in March 2009 :
Before reaching that conclusion , however, I lugged these “trees” around with me all last summer, propping them up in different locations (always at night), the farthest from my home being Jökulsárlón last August.
After driving all the way over there , timing my trip carefully so as to end up there in the middle of the night, i was somewhat devastated that it was raining when i arrived there at 3 in the morning. But, since my plan of having the place to myself had at least worked (the parking lot crowded with campers filled with sleeping tourists), i decided to wait out the rain, (sipping instant coffee with swissmiss and reading some stephen king novel by flashlight) Around 4:30 I donned rubber boots and lugged my trees down to the lagoon, carefully balancing them with large rocks in the freezing water. (seriously hoping nobody would wake up extra early and ask what on earth i was up to, probably would have appeared more than a little eccentric, which is of course the norm for me..) Anyway, after so much effort, i couldn’t help being a bit dissapointed at how unremarkable the lake itself was, with hardly any ice floating anywhere near the shore, which is unusual. You win some, you lose some, i guess. I’m heading out that way next week, heard its quite spectacular right now.
For all the physical effort put into this series, i was ultimately not all that happy with it. Put all the pictures aside and pretty much forgot about them. While browsing thru archives on one of my hard-drives today, I figured i might as well share them now. Enjoy.
view of Breiðdalur , on the way to Kleifarvatn
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