Danish comfort, a great export product
What is this hygge, and what attracts us to this phenomenon. We know the word cosy (in English, and gezellig and gezelligheid in Dutch). Or is it the simplicity, of being attracted to all things Scandinavian.
The word hygge is a hype at the moment and one that hopefully is there to stay. What better then to spend some time with the ones near to us in comfortable surroundings. Put on your hygge socks and enjoy!
Hygge is in fact being studied, and lots of books are written on the subject. I've got two of them at home. One in English by Signe Johansen called How to hygge (the secrets of Nordic Living) and one by Meik Wiking available in many languages including English and Dutch: Hygge, the art of living. On a grey November day like today there is nothing better then to relax and read some chapters of these books. Just trying to understand some of the essences of this special export product of the Nordic countries.
Winters in Scandinavia are much longer then the ones in Holland. It gets light late and dark early during winter time. Every reason to make the time spend indoors as comfortable as possible. So candles are being lighted, something delicious being baked and a cosy atmosphere created. It sure isn't that it are all grand gestures. It's all in the detail, and those details matter a lot. The book by Meik Wiking has a whole chapter on this subject.
The five aspects of hygge: 1. the taste of hygge, could be described as the taste of comfortfood, known flavours to be enjoyed time and time again. 2. the sound of hygge, the sound of an open fire. As we don't have one, the absence of harsh noises count too. Natural sounds that are evocing a feeling of security inside the home. 3. the smell of hygge, the smells that take you back to into history, very personal, the smells that make you feel at home. 4. the feel of hygge, small things you can touch. Organic, natural, small details are giving a comfortable feeling. 5. to see hygge, looking at slow moving objects/items. Snowflakes that are falling, the flames of an open fire. No harsh colours and little and pleasant lightning.
For me this results in lighting the candles, a comfortable indoors climate, a cosy spot on the sofa, a cup of tea and maybe even some homebaked goodies to go with my tea. Just not needing to do too much. Well, you can't just have enough of the above to enjoy and not think too much. That is just it for me!
Make your day a hyggelig one!
Source: Meik Wiking, Hygge, the art of Danish living. The Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen. Available in bookstores and online. This is a book I highly recommend.
It’s yellow and brown
During the holiday period I often find that bananas tend to ripe fast. The change of routine, not taken to school and the higher temperatures are the cause of that. Luckily I’ve got a teenage daughter that wanted to do something. Well those bananas really were inviting to make this delicious slices. I’ve got lots of recipes. In books, saved from magazines, from the internet, some are never used some once and some have become a family favorite. These slices really are one of the favorites. Original recipe by Delia Smith, altered through the years by us. With the weather conditions not being on the sunny side a lot, this is a nice recipe to make and, not less important, very nice to eat! That is what I would call hygge, rain outside, inside drinking tea and eating these delicous slices!
Banana chocolate chip slices, makes 12
2 large, very ripe bananas, peeled and roughly chopped into 1 cm pieces
75 gr dark chocolate chips or dark chocolate chopped small
250 gr self-raising flour
150 gr cold butter, cut into small cubes
150 gr golden caster sugar
Cake tin 15x25 cm (just about) lined with baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
First of all, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Then add the butter and rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (can be done in a food processor, if you like). Next, stir in the sugar, chopped bananas and the chocolate. This will look like crumble mix.
Now press the mixture evenly into the lined baking tin and bake it on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes or until it is firm to touch in the centre and lightly golden.
Leave to cool in the tin. Keep the slices refrigerated.
July 24th, 2017
The smell of vacation
Washing up liquid
One of the things that you notice when you are on a holiday is the different smells. Wherever you are travelling to, even in your own country, the smell is different everywhere. I love it. My holiday smell isn’t the one of fries and suntan lotion. Glad it isn’t! My holiday smell is the one of the sea, sand, forest, and washing up liquid! Yes, no mistake, washing up liquid.
I found this out by accident when we left house too fast and forgot a lot of things. Some of it were washing up liquid, shampoo, shower gel and body lotion. Everyday items that are easily bought. So we bought the local products and they sure smelled good! No fancy products, just what was directly available. We took home with us what was left over. At a certain point we came to use those products at home. We were transported back to our previous holiday in one smell! It was so connected to our holiday home and surroundings. The feeling came back instantly. So we don’t need funny souvenirs, just washing up liquid.
Ever since that holiday we make it a challenge to find those products we really like or search for new ones. The smell of holiday so easily exported to your own home!
I can think of more items: cleaning liquid, toothpaste, hair gel/pomade, laundry powder, fabric softener etc. etc.
So regard the supermarket on your vacation as the ideal souvenir shop, you´ll be surprised!
July 19th 2017
[grandmothers apple pie]
When I posted a picture of this dessert on my Instagram account there were lots of request for the recipe. So I decided to add it as soon as possible to my blog. This recipe is typical Danish and very popular.
When we first visited Denmark we often saw it on the menu together with other pies. It could be ordered with your tea or coffee too. In Holland grandmothers apple pie is a totally different one. More like a proper pie baked in a baking pan. This is more like an apple sauce with crunchy toasted sugary breadcrumbs and unsweetened whipped cream.
To our surprise our friend in Denmark made this for dessert when we visited her one day. We were pleasantly surprised. A not so sweet delicious dessert. I went looking for a recipe when we were home and found this one. Although there are many varieties this one is very easy to make because all the ingredients are widely available. The trick to the crunchy breadcrumbs is to bake it slowly on a rather high heat and to keep stirring. That way the cane sugar and crumbs will caramelize and turn into a yummy crunch for your dessert!
Lets get cooking!
Ingredients for 4 persons:
0,5 dl water
750 gram apples of your choice, peeled, core removed and cut into pieces
1 tablespoon of cane sugar
½ of a vanilla bean, cut open and seeds used
75 grams of unsalted butter
150 grams of breadcrumbs
85 grams of cane sugar
0,5 liter of unsweetened whipped cream
Some red (currant) marmalade
How to make:
Put the water, vanilla seeds and the apple pieces in a pan. Cook over a low heat, with the lid on, for 10 minutes or until softened. Set aside to cool.
Melt the butter in a pan on a high heat, don’t let it go brown. Add the breadcrumbs and cane sugar and stir constantly until golden and crisp. Leave to cool on a baking sheet that has been placed on a baking tray. Stir every now and then so it will be crumbs.
In a large glass bowl or several small glasses/bowls put in the apple sauce and crunch in layers. End with a thick layer of the whipped cream. Additionally put a teaspoon of red marmalade on top.