Today is All Saints’ Day. In Finland it is a day to remember all those loved ones that have passed. All afternoon and evening people bring candles to the cemetaries. November is the darkest of months in Finland and fittingly today it rained all day. The little snow we had last week melted away. We stopped shortly at the cemetary. It was a sea of candles and full of people walking quietly about. I tried to capture the peacefulness and the candles, but with the darkness and rain these are not ideal shots. I will however share them with you.
After returning home, we told the kids that we could have a family “pikku-joulu” which means a “little-Christmas” when directly translated. I believe it is one way Finns cope with the darkness in November. The kids were excited. We lighted candles, put Christmas music on, made hot chocolate with whipped cream and tea bread which is a favorite evening snack and played a few games.
We used Clipper hot chocolate. Bring milk almost to a boil. Spoon 3 teaspoons of chocolate in each cup (for the very small cups we used only 2 teaspoons), add the hot milk and stir until dissolved. Garnish with whipped cream.
Ever since we were newlyweds (almost 14 years ago!) this tea bread or teeleipä, has been a favorite. The reason why it has been so popular in our family is due to its versatility. The recipe below is the plain version. But feel free to add any of the following: chopped apples, raisin, walnuts, maybe a little grated cheese, some cinnamon…the list could go on.
Teeleipä or Tea bread
7 dl/ 3 c old-fashioned oatmeal
7 dl/ 3 c flour
3 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
0.6 dl/ 1/4 c vegetable oil
1.8 dl / 3/4 c plain yoghurt
3.5 dl / 1.5 c milk
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Next mix in the oil, milk and yoghurt being careful to not overmix. Spread dough on a lined baking pan.
Bake at 225C/ 435 F for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a bit before cutting. Serve with butter and cheese.