Miriam’s Hygge Dinner
Hygge – this is the Danish word for a feeling we can experience in a warm space where we gather with kind people to share a meal. Hygge is a way of living, it is a word created to grasp the feeling of being at home, of embracing coziness in a loving environment. Hygge could take form in a comforting big jumper, our favourite hot chocolate mug or it could be the romantic light of scented candles with a heartwarming classical piece playing in the background. Hygge is contentment. Miriam, a wonderful Danish food enthusiast, wanted to bring this concept a bit closer to us so she invited a bunch of excited food-loving women to her Hygge dinner party. What can I say – it was an ultimately cosy experience.
Miriam loves to cook and learned to do it when growing up. Her father was the cook of the family and would make homemade pizza every now and then – Miriam’s childhood favourite dish. While her father cooked basic traditional dishes, her mother would cook more rarely but experiment more with ingredients and techniques. Her stepmother taught her how to bake and since then, Miriam enjoys whipping together flour, water and fresh yeast to make fresh focaccia and all kinds of other delicious goods.
For tonight’s dinner, she chose to go along with an interactive menu – one where we could create our own dish and assemble the ingredients we wanted to have on our plate aka stuffed into our rice paper rolls. What did we have?
Here’s the hygge menu:
homemade focaccia with black & green olive tapenade and sun-dried tomato pesto
summer rolls with a selection of vegetables, fried tofu, mango, cilantro and peanut butter sauce*
red fruit compote with cream
*anything with peanut butter is a winning dish
Now, who would say no to that?!
By the time I arrived at Miriam’s place, the kitchen had already been turned into a busy workspace. She and our good friend Lisi were chopping, skinning, roasting, baking and having a few laughs along the way. Lisi is the wonderful person who introduced Miriam and I – it all comes full circle!
When everyone else successfully made it to the living room where it all took place, Miriam served homemade elderflower syrup with white wine and red currants and walked us through the night’s theme: be cosy, share your thoughts and enjoy each other’s company – hygge, hygge, hygge.
We talked about what it’s like to live in Berlin and how we experience the life in a busy, crazy, colourful yet traumatised city (we were a mixture of Danish, Australian, American, Lebanese/German, Norwegian/Dutch and German gathered around one table). Lisi said: Berlin gives us the freedom to be who we are yet also to be whom we’re becoming. Good food with such valuable insights are my favourite kind of dinner parties!
Spending time with fellow women is a very empowering experience. There was space to giggle and laugh, to be intimate and very honest, to talk about our own lives and learn from the lives of others. Miriam had the very wonderful idea of throwing two questions into our middle that we could think about throughout the evening.
The questions were:
‘What is something that is burning away at this point in your life?’
What is something that you feel is blooming?’
Within the next hours of the evening, these questions did something with each of us. Every now and then, one of us would raise their voice (potentially having to wait until the others finished laughing about a hilarious joke) and announce: I have an answer to that question! We shared our thoughts, laughed about this silly life and dipped our summer rolls into a too-good-to-be-true peanut butter sauce. An evening well spent!
The red fruit compote Miriam made was served and paired with not only cream but also red wine – yum! We also discovered that the fudge bites I brought along complemented her dessert very well so we combined the almond-date-and-chocolate-filled squares with the fruity creaminess of what she had prepared. Fusion food at its best.
Thank you, Miriam, for inviting us to your very cosy home. You made all of us feel very hygge and we shall carry this candle-light-featured tradition into many more dinner nights.
Until soon for more dinner fun!