Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Swedish Traditions: The Advents Calendar

It is the many Swedish traditions that makes my Christmas so special. One of them is the yearly Advents Calendar, presented by Swedish Television (SVT) every day of December. When I was a child this was one of the big highlights. My Mum bought the calendar and put it up in the kitchen. I got up early in the morning to have my hot chocolate and toast and after, the Advents Calendar show started on TV. It was a treat to watch TV early in the morning in those days.

It was all about the journey, opening one door a day on the paper calendar (that was accompanying the TV show) and counting down the days to Christmas Eve. Very often the story was a mystery and you talked about it in school, speculated about tomorrows episode and what was going to happen. Who was your favorite character, who was the bad one and who was the saint? Just before dinner you could watch it again on the daily repeat. As a child you couldn't get enough of this special event.

For as long as I can remember, my own children have watched the Swedish Advents Calendar as well. My Mum sends us the paper calendar in the mail every year to encourage the tradition to continue. Some years have had a better story than others but this year is looking very promising.

Selma's Saga (Selma's Fairytale) is a true Christmas adventure about finding Santa in Santa Winterland to make a heart filled wish come true and prove to everyone who has stopped believing in Santa, that he really exists. Very classic and very perfect. I love the message. In my house we believe in Santa because we want to believe and that makes Christmas so much more special. Obviously my children has understood I buy the gifts, but it is something comforting to keep this imaginary belief alive.

This morning I caught up on the first few episodes of Selma's Saga together with Emmy Bo on SVT PLAY on our computer in the office, having breakfast on our laps. I can't wait to see more. The scenery, props and set up is absolutely stunning and filled with knitwear and beautiful textiles, thrift store magic and old fashion Swedish cottages... Oh, and the COLORS!

Being recorded at Skansen (an open-air Sweden museum and animal park) in Stockholm to portrait a classic and authentic old Swedish countryside village, it is warm, inspiring, cozy and very Swedish. A unique cast put together from some of Sweden's best actors together with amateurs like Selma herself (who is cute as a button) is doing a great job. And even if you don't understand Swedish, just pop over here to watch it anyway! It is a true inspiration and makes my Christmas Spirit-O-Meter go high. Hopefully it will do that for you too. 

Note: All pictures are screenshots from the calendar on SVT PLAY.


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Monday, December 5, 2016

Swedish Saffron Buns

Oh how lovely to see you enjoyed my premier My Rose Valley video about making Swedish Saffron Buns. THANK YOU for all your fabulous feed back. It makes me so happy that the message of warmth and joy came through those blurry takes and cuts. It is a forever treasured memory in my heart.

Today is going to be a busy day, but before I run off to work and duties I'll share my recipe of making these wonderful Saffron Buns. Happy baking! 

Swedish Saffron Buns
(About 30 buns)

175 g (6oz) unsalted butter
5 dl (2 cups) milk
50 g (1 3/4 oz) fresh yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 dl (3/4 cup) sugar
1 g ground saffron
1 egg, beaten (optional)
1-1 1/2 liters (6 1/2 cups) all-purpous flour

For baking and garnish:
Wax paper and baking trays
1 egg, beaten, for brushing
A handful of raisins for decoration or pearled sugar

1. Mix a tablespoon of sugar with your saffron strands and grind together in a mortar.

2. Melt butter, add milk and heat to 37˚C (98˚F).

3. Crumble yeast into some of the milk mixture and stir until dissolved.

4. Add remaining liquid, salt, sugar, saffron & sugar mix from mortar and the beaten egg (optional).

5. Add flour until dough comes off the edges of the bowl.
Knead dough gently before leaving it in a floured/buttered bowl.
TIPS! I stir in flour with a baking spoon at first until dough is starting to form, then I knead it lightly. Do not over knead the dough! Just a few turns is enough to settle it into a nice ball.
Dough shouldn't be dry, more on the sticky wet side for best result.

6. Sprinkle dough with flour, cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in size for 30 - 45 minutes.

7. Tip dough out on your baking table. Don't knead the dough.
Cut pieces directly from your risen dough to form into Saffron Buns.
See my Swedish Saffron Buns video for how to create the traditional shape.
Place on baking trays.
Cover and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

8. Preheat oven to 225˚C (425˚F).
Brush buns with beaten egg, garnish with raisins or pearled sugar.
Bake buns for 5-10 minutes in the middle of your oven.
Let cool before serving.

Bon Appetit!



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Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Rose Valley presents...

... a special treat today. A video. Yep. We played around a bit with the camera this weekend while having some Christmas fun. Jay sat down to do some editing, wanting to make a short movie and BOOM! A cute little homey video was born. And maybe it wasn't really a BOOM... It took some time, sweat and tears before figuring out how to make a short film. But gosh how fun it was! Learning something new and seeing how boring clips comes together in harmony. It is a bit shaky, blurry and out of control but I LOVE IT just like that! Let me present my very first My Rose Valley video about making Swedish Saffron Buns. Hope you will enjoy.


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