This time of year is always so magical with Christmas decorations lighting up the streets, mugs of warming glühwein, sitting by the fire and excitedly preparing for the Christmas holidays. But winter can get people down. It is dark in the mornings making it incredibly difficult to get out of bed. It is dark by 4pm, a time that a lot of people are not even halfway through their afternoon at work. Daylight is just a flicker through the blinds from your office window. It is cold and especially at this time of year it can also be wet and rainy. This is why I have come a big fan of the danish concept, hygge. Taking pleasure in your surroundings and going for long walks, making the most of good food and company and hibernating for an afternoon with a good book by the fire with a load of candles.
It is easier for us to accomplish this feeling of hyyge at the moment as the festive period brings with it lots to be merry about. But for the British, and to some extent the Germans, as soon as Christmas is over it kind of feels like a punishment. Even talks on new years day will result in ‘oooh back to the diet tomorrow’ or ‘enjoy this last bit of cake, that’s Christmas over with now’. My real hate is peoples obsession to fret over how much they indulged over Christmas and to turn into a negative atmosphere around the dinner table. We get it. You ate too much. It’s done. We kind of torture ourselves with only thoughts of the gym and bland meals as part of the January detox. Whereas the Danish and other Scandinavian countries treat themselves, they carry on that enjoyment and don’t see post Christmas as some kind of punishment.
I am not saying that we should indulge as much as we do over the holidays. But I do think we should be a bit more lenient. I have been reading up on the art of hyyge quite a lot lately and one major part of it is of course food. Food to enjoy with the family – a breakfast, light lunch, snack or dinner. This is one of my hyyge inspired recipes. It is great for lunch and easy to make. The pickled radishes add that little zing to the smoked mackerel.
- 6-8 slices of fresh bread (then halved)
- 300g smoked mackerel
- Handful of radishes (finely sliced)
- 100ml white vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Small bunch fresh parsley
- 1 small pot creme fraiche
- Wholegrain mustard
- Black pepper
- Add the radishes to a bowl. Pour in the vinegar and add the juice of 1 lemon. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 10 - 20 mins.
- Lay out the slices of bread. Spread the creme fraiche on top of each slice.
- Flake the mackerel by using ur hands or taking a fork and tearing chunks away from each part. Place a small chunk on each bit of bread.
- Drain the radishes and then top the bread with some pickled radish. Add a small spoon of mustard on top and then garnish with some parsley.
- Season with a bit of pepper and serve with some lemon wedges.