Friday, August 3, 2007
Switzerland's National Day, Gladioli and Pleasing Pancakes
August First is Switzerland's National Day. You can Wiki it if you want to know its colourful history. One interesting point is that it was neutral during the world wars and spies criss-crossed it or were based there, slipping information across its borders with Germany and France. In Somerset Maugham's 'Collected Short Stories: Volume 3', I read of British secret agent Ashenden's adventures while he is stationed in Switzerland.
Maugham's eminently readable spy stories are essentially studies of character and portraiture in words. He is a master at describing and fleshing out grey characters with little judgment or proffering merely wry comment.
Thought I should include a picture of the little town I live in, Cham. Here you can see a golden crown (at left) hanging outside a restaurant, while a double-rainbow arches over a flag.
Also, on account of the national holiday, I would like to present close-ups of one of my favourite flowers grown in der Schweiz, gladioli. (Mrs HBT, here's a tribute to you and the lovely mothers we know.)
Also, as it's still summer, it's a good time to indulge in some pancakes which you can top with fresh red currants (Johannisbeeren) and slices of banana and nectarine or peach.
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk (buttermilk makes it fluffier)
1 tbs powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Mix flour with baking powder, salt and sugar. Use a handmixer to combine flour mixture, milk and egg. Add 2 tbs water if you want a thinner pancake. Top with fruits of your choice directly after pouring enough dough into a heated and buttered pan to make a big round. Cook for a couple of minutes on medium-low heat. No need to turn over.
If the pancakes are made plain (flipped over once to lightly colour the other side), you can eat them dusted with powdered sugar and powdered cinnamon with applesauce (Apfelmus). Or with honey and a squeeze of lemon. Also tastes wonderful with some chopped mushrooms saute-ed in butter with onions, beef stock and a bit of milk.
Pancake dedicated to Lyrical Lemongrass: "Here's smilin' at you, kid!"
This one's with freckles and a hint of moustache (adolescent spent too much time in the sun?).