It seems funny how although over 2 years have now passed since our departure from Switzerland, there are still aspects of our life there that still form part of our new one in the UK. Time has flown, and with much to do have really neglected my blog. However, in some ways I suppose its indicative of the fact that reverse culture shock for us now no longer exists, just perhaps we are left with a frustration about how inefficient the UK can sometimes be.
As the German brands of Gut and Günstig from Marktkauf wane in my cupboards, (yes, I actually finished the large bottle of rinse aid for the dishwasher just the other day, such was my cellared Swiss stockpile!) Its a reminder that our Swiss life sadly fades with time. However, two weeks ago, Alice said that we had to bake Grättimaa for today, 6th December. She always enjoyed picking up the fresh ones from COOP and posting them into a bag. Even I loved eating them, strangely comforting eating a soft white doughy bread figure with the crunchy Hagelzucker strewn over the top.
Alice put together a presentation last night so that she could tell her friends all about St. Niklaus, and share some of the old photos we took when Schmutzli and St. Niklaus came to visit. It was great to trawl through these old photos and think about memories past.
First, the logistics of getting some fresh Grättimaa to school, as there is nothing worse than a stale one :-) As I had a Christmas concert rehearsal for 3 hours last night, I knew it had to be a quick mix and bung in the fridge for a slow rise over night jobby.
I used this recipe:
500g Soft Extra Strong Bread Flour (Swiss friends: Zopfmehl)
1 tsp Salt
100g Butter (or 50:50 white fat and butter)
75g fine sugar
40g fresh yeast
1 tbsp honey
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg whisked with a little milk for egg wash
Sultanas soaked in water overnight (find they burn less this way)
Hagelzucker (can crunch up sugar cubes for similar effect)
1) Take 2 tbsp of the flour and put into a jug with 300ml warmed milk, egg and fresh yeast and a tbsp of honey whisk and leave to froth up.
2) Add salt to remaining flour, and rub fat into the flour.
3) Add sugar, zest.
4) Add the liquid to the dough and mix (if you have a machine with dough hook even easier)
5) Leave to rise and double in size (1-2 hours depending on how warm the room is).
6) Knock down and divide into about 10-12 small balls. Roll small ball for head, and roll larger ball for body. Roll into oval with rolling pin. Use scissors to cut arms and legs. Attach head.
7) Turn oven to 180 degs C Fan (190 degs C Conventional). Egg wash tops, leave to rise second time on lined baking sheets.
8) Re-eggwash tops sprinkle Hagelzucker over the bellies. Poke 2 raisin eyes into the head. Bake for 20 mins until golden and hollow sounding
9) Cool and inhale the smell of lovely fresh bread :-)
This morning, Alice excitedly showed all her friends the Grättimaa and at that moment reflected that we were very privileged to have had exposure to other cultures that most other children may never get to experience. She is going to get her classmates to chant the Santi Niggi Naggi if she has time this afternoon, I will be excited to learn what they think. When Alice recited it off the computer screen last night, the Swiss accent came out, and it was like we have never been away....