For the biscuits 60g (2oz) butter 75g (2¾oz) soft light-brown sugar 2 tsp ground cinnamon 2 tsp ground ginger ½ tsp ground cardamom 1 tsp finely grated orange zest 1 tbsp black treacle or molasses 2-4 tbsp milk 225g (8oz) plain flour ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer.
Add the spices, orange zest and treacle or molasses and beat again, then add 2 tbsp of the milk.
This is backed up by several studies which have found that those who exercise outdoors are more likely to keep up a consistent routine.
The Scandinavians firmly believe in ‘lordagsgodis’ – Saturday Sweets – and allow children to have a small bag of pick-and-mix once a week.
The annual event when we get together to make our own flower-crowns and gather family and friends around a long table for a meal outdoors, which will inevitably include at least three types of herring and two types of salmon washed down with aquavit. Well, there’s no direct translation: hygge – pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ – is a Nordic word that describes ‘a feeling of cosiness and content’, and ‘enjoying the good things in life with good people around you’.
For Swedish people like me, the traditional midsummer celebration is the essence of ‘hygge’, but its philosophy goes far beyond an annual lunch in the garden: it is a mentality shared by all Viking descendants.
Hunting is a popular pastime in Scandinavia, involving a long waiting game where an entire day can be spent sitting alone and completely still in the forest without even seeing an animal, simply breathing and concentrating.
This is hygge, too: that feeling of being content, in nature, without breaking a sweat.