A change in the air
The clocks have gone back, the ground is carpeted with gold, and as the seasons slowly shift we instinctively make small adjustments to our habits and routines. That ice-cold nutribullet that was so refreshing on a balmy summers morning - suddenly not so appetising. Pass the porridge, scotch pancakes, eggs, bacon and tea, please. Twice.
In Scandinavian countries, particularly in the North, these seasonal changes are even more pronounced. Sweden gets as little as 6 hours of sunlight on its shortest day, and the average temperature in Stockholm for November is a brisk 3°C! Despite the somewhat gloomy statistics however, Scandinavians have learned to embrace these changes. As the nights draw in and the thermometer plunges, the focus on socialising moves from the great outdoors to the humble abode, and special attention is paid to the creature comforts that make life more pleasurable.
The good news is; creating a warm, homely atmosphere can be as simple as lighting a couple of candles and putting on a hearty stew. After all; getting through the colder months needn't mean stocking up on tinned fruit and crackers, barricading the front door, and waiting for The Thing to crawl down the chimney!
And speaking of stew, here's one of our favourite recipes. It is both impossible to get wrong, and impossibly delicious - a winning combo in our books.
A hygge hit - beef stew
- 500g stewing steak
- 1 onion
- 3 large carrots
- 3 celery sticks
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 150g button mushrooms
- 1tbsp plain flour
- 3tbsp olive oil
- 50g butter
- 2tsp worcester sauce
- 1tsp English mustard
- 1 bottle red wine (minus one glass for yourself)
- Start by preheating the oven at 180C/350F/Gas4 while you prepare the ingredients.
- Chop the onion, carrots and celery into good sized chunks. You can leave the mushrooms and garlic cloves whole.
- Heat the casserole on the stove on a high heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the mixture is sizzling add the steak, season well, and brown the meat on all sides. This step is super important as it gives the stew its deep, rich flavour! Once the steak is nicely browned, sprinkle over the flour and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and bayleaves. Give it a stir and leave to cook for a few minutes. This is when those mouth-watering aromas really kick in, so take a moment to savour them. Just try not to drool everywhere.
- Then add the wine, worcester sauce, mustard and seasoning. Stir well, then pop the lid on and put the casserole into the oven for 2 hours. When you're ready to eat just sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with crusty french bread and butter!
If, after eating, you feel you're about to fall into a stew-induced coma, follow these simple steps:
- Promptly reach for one of our gorgeous quilts.
- Lie down on the couch, making sure to cover food-baby with said quilt.
- Issue friends and family with a polite but stern do-not-disturb warning.
New in: patterned quilt range by Nordal
We would love to hear your hygge highlights for this time of year. Leave a comment below to share!