It's all about the hygge!
Do you have enough hygge in your life? Hygge (pronounced "hooga") is Danish for a sense of cosiness and well-being, whilst enjoying the good things in life. Now despite the long, cold winters, the Danes have a reputation for being the happiest people on the planet, so perhaps it is all about the hygge! And as Christmas approaches the Danes are in full swing, creating hygge in their homes using the cosy glow of candles and firelight, enjoying mugs of steaming Glog (mulled wine) and hot chocolate as well as good, simple food shared with family and friends.
Fancy a bit more hygge in your life? Then you need to set the stage and the mood will follow! Create a cosy living space with ambient lighting. Use lamps and candles to create pools of golden, warm light around your home rather than harsh overhead lighting. Drape woollen throws over the arms of chairs and couches to give an extra snuggle factor, as well as looking super stylish it will give a room that elusive sense of hygge. Place a folded bedspread on top of your duvet, at the bottom of your bed, to give an extra layer that can be pulled up if needed and makes a bedroom feel more hygge. Getting the idea? We have some beautiful woollen throws and cotton bedspreads that are worth a look if you're inspired to try and set the mood. Finally, on a cold evening why not make mulled wine, not only does it taste good, it will perfume the whole house with the delicious scent of Christmas.
There are lots of recipes for mulled wine but here I share our family recipe which is based on the traditional German Gluhwein; something we've enjoyed whilst browsing many a magical Weihnachtsmarkt and also after flinging ourselves down many a ski slope over the years! We hope you enjoy it!
2 bottles of a full bodied Red Wine such as Shiraz (Syrah) or Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup of Orange Juice
1 shot of Brandy (optional)
1 cup water
2 Lemons (zest pared into strips)
3 cinnamon sticks (3 inch)
1/2 teaspoon ground Cardomon (optional)
1 cup of sugar (add more or less to your taste)
Begin by removing the zest from the lemons using a potato peeler. Take care not to remove the white pith as this will make the mulled wine bitter. Once done juice the lemons and add both juice and zest to a large saucepan.
Push the cloves into an orange and add to the pan with the lemon, tie the cinnamon sticks in a bundle and drop them in along with the ground Cardomon , then add the Orange juice, water, sugar and stir well. Place on a high heat and bring to a simmer then turn down the heat and keep simmering until the liquid's reduced by about a third (15 - 20 minutes) stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar doesn't burn.
Finally add the Red Wine and Brandy, turn the heat up and bring it back to a simmer but don't let it boil. Discard the Orange and Cinnamon bundle before serving.
Cheers or Skal if we're being truly hygge...