This is not a cheesecake, not a cheesecake: punk anthems, metal ballads and strawberry fields forever
I remember the first music album I ever got. I was about eleven, and it was Gazzebo's album. I was mad about "I like Chopin" and I really wanted that album, so my parents' got it for my birthday. The eighties were very good musically, come to think about it, and during those first years, my musical tastes went from Duran Duran, discovered at the age of nine, to Spandau Ballet, Alphaville, Nick Kershaw and obviously enough, Wham! - I mean, who the hell was twelve years old, smack in the early eighties and did not have a huge crush on George Michael? Though my hearthrob was always Martin Kemp, and may I say did the man age well!! I liked what my friends liked, what girls my age liked, musically. Untill I was introduced to Iron Maiden, by this guy in my seventh grade, who was such a fan of theirs. I was shaken, riveted, I was transported into a whole new dimension. And my life long affair with metal began. I'm not a fan of bubblegum pop, I don't like acid, trance, dance music, electro pop, whatever you want to call it. As I grew up I detested Dire Straits - whaaaaat??? - and Bruce Springsteen - I now see sense in him, and enjoy listening to his old stuff, like 'Born in the USA'. I liked my guitars fast, my voices highpitched, and my drums blaring. I liked metal. The heavier, the better.
My sister, on the other hand, was into punk rock and alternative music, like The Smiths and Nick Cave. I got used to listening to them, and became quite a fan of both, but the one band that we could agree on, and sit down to listen to their albums together was The Clash. Along with Iron Maiden, they will always be referenced as my fave band, because they englobe all that I like musically in both genres. They're the figure heads, you know? I may like other bands better, momentarily, but those are my staples, the ones that linger on. And Faith No More, of course. When I was fifteen I started dating this boy who was into punk rock, and who introduced me to The Ramones, The cure, Siouxie and the Banshees, Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, etc. I remember I would enter a trance like state just by listening to P.I.L.'s "This is not a lovesong", I remember I felt my nerves raw and on edge when I heard "California über alles" first accords play, I remember I wanted to dance the night away to the sound of "Sheena is a punk rocker". Because, come to think about it, there are no anthems as a punk rock anthem. How many of you feel your heart tingle as you hear "God Save the Queen?" or is it just me?
At the same time, the proverbial heavy metal ballad was the perfect soundtrack for my heartaches and love meanders, with those crying voices, those heart ripping guitar solos. I could spend hours stargazing to the sound of Doro Pesch wailing away heartfelt burdens in Warlock's "Für Himmer", or writting obnoxious poetry to the hauntingly beautiful guitar solo on Keel's "Tears of Fire", or having my heart nearly rip out of my chest as Michael Kiske sang his woes in Helloween's "A Tale That Wasn't Right", the ultimate love song - and I still have my heart tear a little at the sound of it! I would write truly bad love stories and make up truly silly love scenarios in my head to the sound of these heavy metal balladas, and believe no one could love as well as a headbanger boy - must be the reason why I always prefered long haired men, huh? And I could also find myself being philosophical and thinking of the world and society in general, just by listening attentively to the lyrics of Ronnie James Dio's "All the Fools Sailed Away", quite an underrated and very current song, rest his soul.
But what does this all have to do with food? Well, if you're anything like me, food is as important to you as music and reading, as breathing and drinking water, music is living, and it can either bless you or damn you - I'm prone to the damning part of it, as my musical preferences would proudly state! So to paraphrase Johnny Rotten as he anounced loudly that "This is not a love song, not a love song", on P.I.L.'s anthem, this is not a cheesecake, not a cheesecake. But this is as fresh and sweet and delicious as any cheesecake you might have. And this is pretty and yummy and a treat, and as I look at it I can almost listen in the back some sort of 1950's rock or twist playing in the background, maybe some a capella rendition of "Blue Moon" - there's a mighty good one!! - or even some Beach Boys surfing the waves singing "I Get Around". It is that fresh. It is all Summer. It is all pleasure. Are you sure you don't want to try it?
The idea for it came to me from this mousse. As soon as I had that one done, my mind was reeling with ideas, thinking out flavour combos, ingredients, visual interests, platings and pairings. I latched on to the combo of chocolate and strawberry because, well, it is rather foulproof, right? Though I am particular to pairing off chocolate with orange, my husband is not a fan of such combination, and since we had some strawberries around, while there's always chocolate in this house, it wasn't hard for me to explain away the idea and convince him we had to try this one straight away. And so we did. The bottom half of this cake - for lack of a better name - is a crumbly, crunchy chocolate biscuit concotion, where you do need to make your own biscuits, but it's so worth it. The top is a mousse and a coulis, which makes me think of Tru Blood - any fans out there? - and makes me want to call this Sookie Fae cake. Or maybe not.
So for the chocolate cookie you will need:
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100 gr butter
- 175 gr sugar
- 1 egg
- 50 ml milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 50 gr cocoa powder for cooking uses
- 325 gr flour
You will need:
- 1 sachet of strawberry gelatine
- 250 gr of strawberries, cut to pieces
- 1 pack of cream
- 2 heaped tablespoons of sugar -I used vanilla sugar
- 1 dl boiling water
For the coulis you'll want:
- 125 gr strawberries
- 2 heaped spoons of icing sugar
- a splash of water - you can also use lemon juice, if you want