I am Neuroscience PhD, a humanist, skeptic, feminist, avid reader, science enthusiast, woolly-liberal über-nerd, and, as of October 2015, father to the Lykketroll.

I moved from England to Norway in January 2012 and live in Lørenskog with my wife, the Lykketroll, and our two aging rescue cats, Socrates and Schrödinger. 

I am on paternity leave from the 4th of July to the 18th of November. 

The job I am on leave from is as an  Associate Professor and Head of Studies at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences. My background is in child neurodevelopment (my PhD looked into the relationship between fatty acids like omega-3 and cognitive development in young children) but I now work on a hodge-podge of things roughly within the field of Universal Design of ICT 50% of the time, the other 50% of my time I am Head of the 'General' Studies (Allmenn in Norwegian) Unit, which is comprised of around 24 academics within a range of fields, including mathematics, physics, Norwegian, and technology and leadership.

In between working and doing the usual dad things,  I like hiking and running in the beautiful Norwegian outdoors, cooking and playing video games. 

If I believed in souls I would say that mine was born in Norway. 

I plan to sleep when I'm dead.

Recipe: Baked chocolate swirl cheesecake

At the end of term, I like to bake a cake for my students on the last day of class. (No, it has nothing to do with the fact they have to fill in their feedback forms around the same time.) One of the groups got to vote on which cake they prefered and went with chocolate chip cheesecake. To mix things up a little, I decided to experiment a little and added a swirly twist, using a mixture of a couple of recipes I know. 

Whenever I bake cakes now, I always make a little extra batter and bake it seperately in a ramekin for my wife's grandmother. I don't like tooting my own horn but she said that it was the best cake that I had ever made and that it tasted like it came from a proper bakery. The students really like it too and asked me to blog the recipe, so here it is. 

As I hadn't planned on blogging it, I didn't take any pictures of the cake before it got gobbled up, but I can assure you that it is as pretty as it is delicious. 


Ingredients 

Crust

  • Small cube of butter, to grease
  • 300g pack of digestive biscuites (for Norwegian readers, Bixit is a good choice) 
  • 125g butter, melted

Filling

  • 2 x 300g pack of cream cheese (I prefer Philadelphia light; at room temperature)
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 125ml double cream
  • 100g dark (minimum 70% cocoa) chocolate
  • 3 drops of vanilla extract 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Brush a 20cm springform pan with butter.
  3. Crush the bisuits. You can do this in a food processor, but I prefer to smash them up with a rolling pin and get out a little aggression.
  4. Add the melted butter and mix well until it's all combined.
  5. Tip into the baking form and spread evenly over the bottom (the back of a spoon works really well). If you want, you can also create a crust up the side, although I prefer a single, thick base. Place it the fridge to firm up whilst you make the filling.
  6. In a large, sturdy mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese and sugar. If you're using an electric beater, you'll want it on a low-medium setting. 
  7. Add one egg at a time until combined, add the vanilla extract and slowly mix in the double cream. (Norwegians: for a cake with a little more tang you can use Kesam instead of the cream; People who aren't Norwegians: just use cream as I don't know how to explain what Kesam is or what it's equivalent might be.) 
  8. Pour around a third of the filling into another bowl (this will become the swirl mix).
  9. Roughy chop the chocolate, leaving a few big chunks. Mix a third of the 'chocolate chips' into the larger share of the cheesecake filling.
  10. Melt the remaining chocolate. (The best method is to use a heatproof bowl placed over a over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water and keep stiring until it's smooth.) Let the melted chocolate cool slightly and then slowly mix into the remaning third of the cheesecake filling.
  11. Pour the chocolate chip filling into over the biscuit base. 
  12. Drizzle in the chocolate mix and then use a skewer to create swirls. Make sure that the drizzle is evenly spread throughout the cake but be careful not to over swirl. 
  13. Give it a gentle shake and tap to remove any air bubbles. 
  14. Bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for 45 minutes or until it has set (i.e. the centre doesn't wobble when you give it a gentle shake).
  15. A good tip to prevent baked cheesecakes from cracking is to turn the oven off after 45 minutes and leave the cake inside with the oven door open. After about an hour, take the cake out and let it cool completely.  Once it's cool, keep it in the fridge.

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