LET’S HYGGE AUGUST 2023
[definition of hygge]
a quality of cosiness and comfortable living that engenders a feeling
of contentment and well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
Add a little hygge to each month
I hope this little greeting finds you well. This month is the 3 year anniversary for my journal “let’s hygge”. I am so thankful for the lovely community that has grown over this time. I enjoy creating my monthly greetings to you immensely. It has been a very rewarding project, teaching me many new skills. Most importantly, I hope my efforts have inspired you to add a little hygge to your months by either creating a small project, cooking a delicious dish, enjoying a quiet moment watching a good movie or listening to a lovely song – in other words, by doing something that makes you smile!
Coming back to winter in Sydney after some lovely weeks in Denmark, Sweden and Italy, has been wonderful. I have found it cosy to light the candles and settle in front of the fire at night. This winter weather definitely calls for comfort food! I will share with you my version of Minestrone soup, which basically uses the vegetables you have to hand….
One of my highlight experiences in Denmark, apart from spending time with family and friends, was attending a one-on-one class in Abstract Sculpture making – using plaster. It was so joyful to be creative without working to a brief or set outcome. Plaster is such a unique material and I loved how it became warm and heated during the process. It felt like it became alive and was an extension of me, as you cannot let go of the cast until the plaster has cooled. Below I will show you the result of my day’s learning and explain more about the process.
If you feel like enjoying some relaxation time in great company, I can recommend the film “The Quiet Girl”– it is a captivating story about a girl’s transformation… a quiet film… a whisper of a film really. Its unassuming nature makes it even more effective.
The curator and artist Katrine Blinkenberg runs sculpture workshops in Copenhagen in both cast and clay. You can check out her website here. Thank you to my friend Pernille Folcarelli for the inspiration and introduction! Below is the result of my one-on-one workshop with Katrine and some photos taken of the process. I absolutely loved working with the cast and will now order the materials needed so that I can experiment on my own. Katrine has made a great video of “How to create a plaster sculpture“. I am dreaming about getting Katrine to come to Australia to have some workshops here. Please send me a message if you would be interested in a workshop like this!
Hearty and nutritious, minestrone soup. This is a large portion as we were having guest for dinner! You can easily half it, if you are less people!
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
1 clove of garlic
1 red onion
2 sticks of celery
2 mini aubergines
1 large potato
1 x 400 g tin of cannellini beans
2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
a branch of rosemary
1 fresh bay leaf
2 x 400 g tins of tomatoes
1 litre organic vegetable stock
1 large handful of seasonal greens, such as savoy cabbage, curly kale, swiss chard (silver beet)
100 g soup pasta
Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. Trim and roughly chop the carrots, celery and aubergines, then add the vegetables to a large bowl. Scrub and dice the potato. Drain the cannellini beans, then set aside. Finely slice the bacon.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry gently for 2 minutes, or until golden. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, aubergines, rosemary and bay and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally. Add the potato, cannellini beans and tinnned tomatoes, then pour in the vegetable stock. Stir well, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cover with a lid and bring everything slowly to the boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through. Meanwhile…
Remove and discard any tough stalks from the greens, then roughly chop. To check the potato is cooked, pierce a chunk of it with a sharp knife – if it pierces easily, it’s done. Add the greens and pasta to the pan, and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. This translates as ‘to the tooth’ and means that it should be soft enough to eat, but still have a bit of a bite and firmness to it. Try some just before the time is up to make sure you cook it perfectly. Add a splash more stock or water to loosen, if needed.
Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, then serve with a grating of Parmesan and a slice of bread, if you like.
“The Quiet Girl” takes place in rural Ireland in 1981. Nine-year-old Cait is sent away from her overcrowded, dysfunctional family to live with foster parents for the summer. Quietly struggling at school and at home, she has learned to hide in plain sight from those around her. She blossoms in their care, but in this house where there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers one painful truth. Watch it here in Australia or here in Denmark!
Coming back home to Sydney to find the wattle blooming was another huge joy. I have been making bouquets and enjoying the lovely scent that perfumes the house. If you live in Australia, keep an eye out for wattles in bloom. There are over 1000 wattle species in Australia.
I’ve compiled my family traditions into a digital flip book “let’s hygge CHRISTMAS” for you to peruse and take inspiration from.
Spring is here and I am excited to start gardening again and have ordered my seeds – I can’t wait to see them grow.
I’d like to share a family recipe with you for Danish Kokostoppe. They are a delicious treat and very easy to make.