A Snowy Easter and the Perfect Milk Loaf

I have been absent for a while from my little blog. I had a good reason: My parents were visiting us for the Holidays, and since I see them so rarely, I’d rather spend the time with them than with my computer when I have the chance 🙂

I picked them up at the happiest place on Earth  about two weeks ago, and I dropped them off at the saddest place on Earth this Sunday: the same airport. I am turning 31 this year, but after I saw my Mummy and my Daddy off at the security check, I went to the lady’s room, locked myself in a cubicle, and simply cried my heart out. Once I felt fit enough I washed my face and went to the car and drove home, knowing that I am not going to see them for 3 months…

However we had a wonderful time while they were here, even though the weather was far from Spring. Like everywhere else in Europe, poor Easter Bunny had to lay the eggs in the snow this year.

wintereaster

It didn’t stop us feel all eastery and decorate the whole house with eggs and flowers.

decoreggs

And Saturday we had the traditional Easter dinner, Hungarian style: ham, cooked eggs, and braided milk loaf 🙂 A little bit of Denmark was also represented in the form of tiny chicken tartelets:)

eastertable

Milk loaf is the best yeast dough you can find, something between a bread and a cake, and it cannot be missing from our Easter table. Usually you can buy beautiful milk loafs in any Hungarian baker shop, but Danes don’t bake such a thing, so I had to turn to my cookbook and used the recipe of my great-granny to create some milk loaf for us.

Milk Loaf

My favourite thing in Easter Milk Loaf is the raisins popping up in it, but my husband cannot stand raisins in any kind of baked product, so I decided to make one of the loafs without raisins, and instead I put some cocoa powder in one of the braids. My kids simply loved the results, Cherry basically only ate milk loaf with honey for the two days while the loafs lasted.

I tought I will share the old family recipe with you, because milk loafs are a treat for a birthday breakfast, for Easter, for Christmas or just because 🙂

Milk Loaf Recipe:

  • 1 kg flour
  • 40 g yeast
  • 4 eggyolks
  • 150 g margarine
  • 100 g sugar
  • 7 dl milk
  • 2 teaspoon salt

Put the flour in a big bowl. Take 4 dl of the milk, warm it up a little, stir in  2 tablespoon of the sugar and crumble the yeast in it. Cover the milk and the yeast will appear in the form of foam on the top within 8-10 mts. Now make a little hole in the middle of the flour with your hand, pour in the yeasty milk, stir in a little bit of the flour around the hole (this is called the sourdough), sprinkle some extra flour on top, cover the bowl, put it in a warm spot and leave the sourdough rise.

dough

Once it has risen a bit, warm up the rest of the milk and melt the margarine.  Pour the milk on the soursough, add the rest of the sugar, the eggyolks, and finally stir in the melted margarine, bit by bit.

The dough should be shiny and airy. Sprinkle some flour on top again, cover the bowl and leave it to rise. It should rise up pretty high, about double as high as it was, within about half an hour.

Now sprinkle some flour on your worksurface, and pull the dough out of the bowl. It is sticky and thin, but don’t worry, that is the way it should be, just put some flour on your hands, and it makes it easier to work with the dough. Make 6 rolls out of it, and if you want to add something extra to the different braids (like raisins, dried fruit or cocoa powder), now is the time. Take one roll by its two ends and spin them into opposite directions. Repeat the same with all of the rolls.

braided

Now braid 3 rolls together, and the other 3 rolls together. Put them in greased bread forms, or you can put them next to each other in an ordinary cake form as well.  Now cover them again and leave them to rise. Once they have risen close up to the edge of the form, grease them with some whipped egg and put them to the warm oven.

baked

Bake them on cca. 175 C for about 40-45 minutes. Enjoy 🙂

raisins and cocoa

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Is It Spring Yet?

My poor body is longing for spring. Mentally I don’t feel it’s been a long winter, at least not yet, but my body says: “I want sunshine! I want vitamins!” and it also says: “Let’s sleep!”. And so we do. I sleep 10-11 hours per night (I know, it’s unheard of among mums with small kids, but luckily mine are marmots – they are very good at sleeping – so noone disturbs me), still, in the morning I can barely crawl out my bed, and by the afternoon I cannot keep my eyes open. I am constantly craving for apples and tomatoes (and I swear, I am not even pregnant!) and coffee… These are all signs of my body is getting discharged.

But there is hope! Today suddenly the temperature rised significantly, and the snow started to melt in patches, also in our garden. And guess what’s been hiding under the snow? Spring! Spring has been hiding under it 🙂

eranthis

snowdrop

Frijsenborg

We are lucky to have some wonderful forests around us where we can always go for a little walk whenever we feel like to do so.

One of them is the beautiful forest of Frijsenborg, which is a private forest, belonging to the palace in the middle of it, but of course the public can also enjoy the tours in it.

Like many other people, we decided to go for a walk there last Sunday. It was a beautiful, snowy day. We took the kids, a sleigh and the dog with us. Just like other families 🙂 After a few hundred meters in the woods, we quickly realised, we are not the only 2 parents-2 kids-dog-sleigh combo around 🙂

forest walk

But enough of talking, let the pictures tell their stories 🙂

field

road

woods

stream

palace

The downwards spiral just before Christmas

There are so many things I wanted to write about lately

Like the huge big snow that fell about two weeks ago, and how nice it was to go out in the garden, all of us, and build a snowman. Then another one in front of our front door, hanging our “welcome” sign on it. But then came a certain puppy, who beheaded the first snowman, and ate its carrot nose… then came a terrible windstorm later that evening, and simply blew away the second snowman…

snowmen

 

Then I wanted to do so much, as preparation for Christmas. More cookies, more baking, more handmade Christmas presents for the loved ones…

But of course, our yearly, regular, pre-Christmas sickness had to knock on our door.

Paddington started it. He was suspiciously silent one afternoon, and didn’t even want to eat. That was when I knew for certain, that he was about to get sick. Yep, by the evening he had fever. Luckily these kind of viruses go as quickly as they come, and after 2 days Paddington was healthy and fresh again. But for that 2 days the only thing he could bear was to cuddle with Mummy. I don’t mind cuddling with my babies, it’s the best thing ever, but it also means, that cuddling is prioritized higher than any other plans I made, and also, once Paddington got fresh, I got sick…

Actually I don’t even remember, when was the last time I was so sick. I couldn’t get out of bed for two days, and when I did, I spent the time on the toilet. I didn’t eat, and even fainted once. Paddington’s everyday cold got mixed up with some indigestion from my part, it was no fun, you can believe me. I lost a few kilos in a very short time, and our home, which was left to the care of my husband for these two days, looked like a mess. The kitchen resembled of something that had been savaged by wild animals, and not a single spoon or plate was washed or even moved from the spot it had been used… The children ate frozen french fries my husband baked in the oven, and the other day he ordered pizza for dinner. Man, a mother just simply cannot allow herself to be sick!

The only thing that could lift my spirit a little bit, was the story my mother told me once. My Mum is a high school teacher, and a few years ago a student walked up to her, saying that he has diarrhea… My Mum sent him down to the school secretary, in the hope that she might be able to give the poor fellow some medicine against it (school nurses only have a few hours per week in each school there). Well, the good secretary  was looking and looking for a medicine she could give the student, but couldn’t find any. So by saying: “That is the only thing I could find, use it somehow!”, she handed over a tampax to the slightly shocked boy… I leave it up to your imagination what the good secretary could have been thinking, all I would like to add, is that the boy didn’t use the tampax because he “had no idea what to do with it…” as he later told my Mum. But since then every time someone in our family suffers from diarrhea, I always think about the tampax, and I have to laugh 🙂 (which is not a very good thing, when I am the one suffering from indigestion…)

In the meantime, Cherry got conjunctivitis (and eye-drops against it)… She has an unfortunate tendency to get it. I will never forget the time I was very pregnant with Paddington, and Cherry got sick with conjunctivitis. I had to wipe her beautiful eyes with chamomile tea all the time, because of the yellow mess coming out of them, and she got huge blue marks under the eyes, once the medicine started to work against the bacteria. And then, one night, my water broke. After consulting with the midwife several time during the night, at 6 o’ clock in the morning we decided, it was time for me to go to the hospital. My husband and I went into Cherry’s room, to wake her up, and drop her off at our friends, who promised to take care of her while I am in labor. We walked up to her bed, my husband gently touched her back, she woke up, and instantly started to cry out of terror, her eyes were stuck, she couldn’t open them, she was kneeling in the bed, reaching out blindly with both arms to grab on to her Daddy. We washed her eyes with chamomile tea and gave her the drops, and she was taken good care of at our friends’ place, but I was still crying, feeling so sorry for her, when we entered the delivery room. It was a terrible feeling to know that I left her behind so sick, and I was giving birth to her little brother thinking of this. Poor little baby girl, she looked like someone has punched her in both eyes on all the first pictures taken together with Paddington…

By the time I got better and could crawl out of bed to somehow clean up at least the kitchen, my husband got sick. “It is my turn now” he said (or rather coughed), and covered himself with a blanket, up to his nose. He had a nice few days of some influenza-like sickness. Great.

Needless to say, I kind of gave up on all our cookie dreams, I managed to buy gifts for everyone (much faster than making, I’m afraid), got the dog vaccinated, and now trying to get everything ready for the big Christmas journey. Thursday evening we are leaving for Grenaa, to spent a “Little Christmas” with my husband’s parents, and on the 23rd we are flying to Hungary, to spend the real holidays with mine. I think I’d better go and start another load in the washing machine.

Hope you are all healthy!