According to Danish experts, we all need to make space for a little bit of Hygge in our lives. Hygge – pronounced Hoo-gah; is the Danish concept that emphasises coziness and all manner of things that make you feel good. Having less and enjoying more. Pretty sure that doesn’t include drugs, sex and rock and roll. Hygge is all about lighting scented candles, wearing woollen socks and embracing the moment of now, Denmark’s biggest export since Lego.
This Scandinavean lifestyle, the art of being in a state of hygge and apparently, now `lykke´ (that means happiness) has recently taken the world by storm. This is partly due to the fact we are all ardent Scandophiles at heart, the unquestionable fact that Denmark ranks among the top three happiest countries and the phenomenal success of ´The Little Book of Hygge´ and more recently, ´The Little Book of Lykke`. Maybe, because it emphasises savouring the moment in a busy world of endless Facebook scrolls, Instagram posts and a non stop news cycle.
But, is there is a whiff of smugness in our flag waving neighbours? If the Danes consider hygge the pinnacle of human endeavour, what sort of shallow, superficial non person am I if I can’t or am unable to achieve hygge?
Scandanavians enjoy a high standard of living, don’t work very much, plus they get to ride their bikes every day. Not too hard to get your hygge groove on me thinks.
Bit different in our little toy shop, eh? What a challenge to stick a Ikea middle manager on a dual season charter boat to work an 18 hour day for weeks on end and see if he or she could embrace their inner hygge. Not so easy when you are picking up short curly hairs up from the toilet, making vegan, gluten free, paleo food for demanding charter guests or quietly suggesting to the owner that no, it might not be a fabulous idea for his inebriated son to jump from the fly bridge in Monaco harbour during the boat show?
With holidays fast approaching, I’m not going to suggest to go out and purchase fake fur throws and blond wooden coffee tables but the recipes that follow might achieve some hygge and hopefully mucho lykke whilst you are on watch in your hyggebusker (fave trackie pants). Glogg, the liquid hygge that all we need to scare the cold away, some aebleskiver to warm the belly and Risengrod just because, yes.
750ml bottle of red wine Rind of 1 orange
2 cinnamon sticks 1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup of blanched almonds 10 cardamom seeds
1/4 cup honey
1 cup port
1 cup brandy
Put the wine, orange rind, cinnamon sticks, sultanas, almonds, cardamom seeds, cloves and honey in a large saucepan and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Remove spices and add the port and brandy. Ladle into mugs and enjoy the hygge.
2 cups strong white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon white sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons melted butter 2 cups buttermilk
cup vegetable oil for frying
In a clean glass bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they can hold a stiff peak. Set aside.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, sugar, egg yolks, melted butter and buttermilk at one time and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites last.
You will need a special Aebleskive pan for frying……Amazon sell them for about 20euros. Heat up the aebleskive pan to a medium/ hot heat. Pour about 2 tablespoons oil in the bottom of each aebleskiver pan cup and heat until hot. Pour in about 2 tablespoons of the batter into each cup. As soon as they get bubbly around the edge, turn them quickly with a wooden stick or fork.
When the aebleskiver have a solid surface, turn them regularly so they get an even and light brown crust. Serve with jam and icing sugar. Uhmmm……
Rice Pudding 2 vanilla pods
300g arborio rice
1.6 litres whole fat milk 2 teaspoons salt
tablespoons caster sugar 150g blanched almonds 500ml double cream
700g pitted cherries 150g caster sugar 1 vanilla pod
Cut one of the vanilla pods lengthways without cutting it all the way through. Bring 300ml of water to boil in a large, heavy based saucepan, add the rice and boil for 2 minutes whilst stirring.
Add the milk and split vanilla pod and stir until it returns to a boil. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring often so it doesn’t burn. You can also put it in a oven proof dish and bake in the oven, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and add the salt. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes then stir in the sugar, leave until cold or overnight.
Remove the vanilla pod and transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl. On a board, chop almonds quite finely except for one which must be left whole for the prize.
Cut the second vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out all the seeds with the tip of a knife and add them to the rice. Whip the cream in a bowl until it forms soft peaks form. Fold one third of the cream into the rice to loosen, then fold in the rest. Add the chopped almonds and the whole almond.
Mix the cherries, sugar and vanilla pod with 500 ml water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Mix cornflour with 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl so that you have a thick paste. Slowly add to the cherry mixture until it thickens, stirring constantly.
Serve the cold rice with the hot cherry sauce… Vaersgo!!
Tradition dictates, that whoever gets the whole almond must keep quiet until all the pudding has been finished, make sure you have a small gift for the winner.
Galley Goddess xoxo
Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves for we shall never cease to be amused