You can’t move these days without bumping into Hygge: the Danish word for “cosy”.


t’s a lifestyle aspiration we have been slow to adopt but in the wake of scandi dramas and nordic knitwear everyone is lighting candles and pronouncing themselves Hygge Devotees.

Warning: do not leave a naked flame unattended.  More than a quarter of Copenhagen burnt to the ground in 1728 – reportedly after a boy knocked over a candle.  But fortunately for the Danes it is more than just scattering a few tea-lights around the living room.  There is no direct translation of Hygge – it is more a state of mind influenced by calm and comforting surroundings.  Before I get too tied up in my own philosophising I’ll get back down to earth with my own Hygge Essentials:

  • Comfort food
  • Calming candlelight
  • Cosy blankets
  • Close family and friends
  • Cats

img_4564-tinkMy husband would add cheese and cream to that list – but instead I have added it to a lovely soup that will banish all midwinter ills and Christmas stress.  Leek and Cheddar Soup.

You will need
  • 750g trimmed leeks
  • 1 ltr vegetable or chicken stock
  • 25g butter
  • 1 large floury potato
  • 175g grated cheddar
  • milk


Cook leeks in the butter over a very gentle heat until they are soft and translucent but not coloured.

Dice the potato and add to the leeks and cook gently for a further minute.  Add the stock and bring to the boil.  Simmer until all the vegetables are tender.

Blitz in a liquidiser until smooth.  Add the cheese and stir until melted into the soup.  If it is too thick add a little milk until you get the desired consistency.

Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if required.

Garnish with a sprig of winter herbs.

As I write it’s a grey, wet winter solstice so dress for comfort not style, cook your favourite food and cuddle up with someone you love.