The Danes know all about getting cosy, with their chic furniture and sub-zero winters, and their concept of hygge (pronounced hooga) - get-togethers with friends, warming food, welcoming spaces - is all the rage now. So how can you make your home hygge, and what are the top foods for your well-being this winter?
Top tips to hyggify your home
Hygge is about creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with lovely people, illuminated by soft candlelight. It was created to help Danes get through their long, dark winters – in Denmark the sun sets before 4pm during the winter months.
Friends and family are very hygge, as are over-sized jumpers, big cushions, bowls of soup, and chats in front of an open fire. It’s more about comfortable friendships, snuggly clothes and furniture you can curl up on, than something tangible which you can buy. A warm feeling, rather than a fancy object.
Yoga at home with friends is the most hygge thing you can do – gently healthy, nurturing your mental wellbeing, with the people in whose company you feel most relaxed. If it’s followed by a warming meal or some home-made cake, even better – see our hygge La Española Olive Oil recipes below. And instead of a work-out, take a nice walk with friends – the company will lift your spirits, as will the fresh air. Relish each step on your beautiful ramble, wrapped warm in your coat and scarf, soaking up the colours of the foliage and moody sky. Afterwards, eat a home-cooked meal together
- make sure soft blankets are always within easy reach, to ensure maximum cosiness
- light lots of candles, whether tiny tea lights or big fat pillars (remembering to keep them away from curtains – in the fireplace or on shelves or mantelpieces are the best places)
- invite your friends round – the ones who make you feel good, not the ones you think you ought to see
- Eat, drink, laugh and enjoy
Spiced honey ginger cake
Instead of sugar, this recipe uses more nutritional honey, just as La Española Light in Colour Olive Oil is a healthier replacement for animal fat. If you prefer a less fiery taste, leave out the stem and fresh ginger.
- 100g dark muscovado sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 150g honey
- 150g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 200g stem ginger, chopped
- 1cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 100g La Española Light in Colour Olive Oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 5 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 160C / Fan 140C / gas mark 3.
Put the sugar, syrup and honey in a saucepan over a low heat and cook gently until melted. Stir well, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the ground ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon and cloves. Mix together.
Add the cooled melted mixture, followed by the stem and fresh ginger, olive oil, eggs and milk. Mix thoroughly with an electric beater.
Spoon the mixture into an oiled and lined loaf tin, and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour until the cake is dark golden brown. You can brush the cake with a little more honey while it’s still warm as a glaze.
Roasted cauliflower soup
A hearty, nutty savoury-sweet soup which is a meal in itself – serve with crusty bread.
- 2 heads cauliflower, broken into florets
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp La Española Olive Oil
- 750ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 250ml water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 500ml double cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley, finely chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 220 C / Fan / Gas Mark 7. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, garlic and shallots. Spread out on a roasting tin or baking tray.
Roast in the preheated oven until toasted and tender, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a soup pot and pour in the chicken stock and water. Season with thyme and the bay leaf and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
Put the cauliflower and liquid into a liquidiser in batches, then return to the pot. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Heat through before serving (but be careful not to boil) and sprinkle with parsley if you like.