LET’S HYGGE DECEMBER 2021
[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 wish you a wonderful December, with lovely Christmas projects to decorate your home and welcome in the holiday spirit!
The e-book Let’s Hygge CHRISTMAS, gathers together my Christmas preparations, celebrations and traditions. I share some of my heirloom Christmas recipes, handmade decorations, favourite white flowers and some of the traditions I was brought up with in Denmark, as well as some new ones I have created living here in Australia. My wish is to add a little hygge to your CHRISTMAS. If I could choose only one thing to make for Christmas, it would be the DANISH HONEY CAKES – you can find the recipe on page 40! Enjoy! Please tap on the book to access the e-book!
Living in Australia means Christmas is the time for making Elderflower syrup. I was overwhelmed with joy when, only a few years ago, I saw elderflower trees growing here in Australia. Making syrup from elderflowers is one of the traditions that I have missed living abroad. In Denmark, many families make their own syrup and in elderflower season, when the trees are in blossom, it is common to be asking friends and family if they have made their elderflower syrup yet. We have now planted several elderflower trees at The Barn and I am eagerly watching them grow but, until they get big enough, we have the best agreement with our lovely friend and local joiner – we get to pick his elderflowers and we supply him with elderflower syrup! When the syrup is ready to bottle, I freeze the fragrant flowers from the infusion in small bags to use again in cakes and rhubarb jams. Because the elderflowers have been marinated in citrus, they add a particularly delicious flavour to any cake or jam. This year we have also kept the citrus rinds and I will try dehydrating them. We froze the sliced lemons separately to use in drinks instead of ice cubes. We enjoy the elderflower syrup as a cordial, mixed with soda water or crémant, or in salad dressings.
25 elderflower heads, stalks removed
3 lemons, preferably organic
20 g citric acid
1 kg raw sugar
1-1.5 litres boiling water
Sterilize a medium sized saucepan that will fit in the fridge. Add the sugar and boiling water to the saucepan and stir to dissolve. Peel the zest from the lemons and cut the peeled lemons into slices. Mix the citric acid with a little lemon juice for it to dissolve and add to the pan. Shake the elderflowers to remove any small bugs or insects and remove the stalks so you are only left with the flowers. Add the flowers to the sugar syrup and stir so all of the flowers are covered by the syrup. Add a bit more boiling water if needed. Cover and leave to stand in the fridge for 2-3 days, stirring morning and night. Strain the elderflower cordial through muslin and decant into sterilized bottles. It’s now ready to use! Mix it with water or soda water at a ratio of 1:5 or top up with Prosecco or Champagne for some Christmas fizz!
THE BOOK ABOUT AUSTRALIAN TREES by Inga Simpson is a children’s book, but I couldn’t help but buy it for myself. The words and drawings are a pure celebration of Australian native trees. It is the perfect gift for every little boy or girl! Here’s a little snippet from the introduction:
“Australia has some of the tallest, oldest, fattest and most unusual trees in the world. They have changed over thousands of years, adapting to this continent’s deserts, mountains, and coasts. Many have found clever ways of dealing with drought and fire. Their leaves, flowers and seeds are food for birds, insects and mammals. Old trees have lots of hollows, which make good homes for possums, sugar gliders, birds and bees. But trees aren’t just important for other animals, we need them too. What trees breathe out, we breathe in. They are a vital part of the Earth’s ecosystems. When you first stand in a forest, the trees all seem the same. But if you look more closely, they are each a little different, like people.”
This book is a love song to Australian trees, from the red ironbark to the grey gum, the Moreton Bay fig to the Queensland bottle tree. Please tap on the book to take you to the bookstore!
The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix has been a wonderful mini-series to watch. It begins in a 1950’s orphanage where a young girl reveals an astonishing talent for chess, which is the start of her unlikely journey to stardom, all whilst grappling with addiction. The costume design and cinematography are outstanding, with each set more beautiful than the last. It is truly inspiring! Actually, my husband has promised me the teach me how to play chess…
Christmas season also means that the powerful Yucca Gloriosa is in full bloom. You can find them growing along the sides of the roads. I always have garden scissors in the car so I am prepared to collect a couple of naturally wild growing specimens along the way… Yucca Gloriosa is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to the southeastern United States. Growing to 2.5 m (8 ft), it is an evergreen shrub. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental for its architectural qualities and has reportedly become established in the wild in warmer climates in various parts of the world. It actually does not have a scent but makes up for that with it’s overwhelming beauty and elegance. It will last for a long time in a vase if you make sure it always has water. Remove the dried flowers along the way.
For me, Handel’s Messiah is the sound of Christmas and I play it all through December. It’s wonderful to listen on full volume so that the music fills every corner of the house. It energizes me and fills me with joy! I have started a little early this year and have had it playing along, adding its magic, as I create this month’s journal! Tapto hear Handel’s Messiah performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, directed by Sir Colin Davis!
Every month I highlight a Danish Design item to cherish. This month I will celebrate a gift that I treasure every day when I drink my morning coffee. This beautiful Blue Fluted Plain mug features a distinctive high handle, expressing elegance and gracefulness. When I first met my husband, I was gifted 18 lunch plates in this iconic Danish design for my birthday by his grandfather. This started my love for the pattern and I have been an eager collector ever since. A couple of years ago, Royal Copenhagen – the company behind the iconic porcelain, came to Australia. I was over the moon when I was asked to design the invitations for their elegant dinner hosted in The Art Gallery of NSW. Creating the invitations with the iconic blue, fluted design gave me an even deeper appreciation of the product. Blue Fluted Plain came to life in 1775 as the first ever pattern from Royal Copenhagen. Today it is one of the world’s most famous and desirable porcelain sets. Blue Fluted Plain is still produced in the same way as it was in the beginning; each piece is treated as a work of art and is lovingly painted by hand. Tap the mug to go to Royal Copenhagen’s website in Australia: https://www.royalcopenhagen.com.au/patterns/blue-fluted-plain/
Do you want to catch up on some of the previous months? Please head to my Journal here: https://lindbjerggraphic.com.au/journal/
Feel free to share “let’s hygge” with a friend…
I wish you a happy December filled with lovely preparations, timeless traditions and an abundance of hygge!
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.