You can’t move these days without bumping into Hygge: the Danish word for “cosy”.I
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
My 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.
- 750g trimmed leeks
- 1 ltr vegetable or chicken stock
- 25g butter
- 1 large floury potato
- 175g grated cheddar
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.