This recipe is typical of the simple but delicious food enjoyed in the Nordic hygge lifestyle philosophy, which emphasises the importance of enjoying ad hoc meals with loved ones, spending time in nature and coziness.
Chicken was always considered something of a luxury when I was growing up in Norway. Whole chickens were exorbitantly expensive so we never had the tradition of a chicken roast on Sundays like you have here in the UK. When I’m short on time, this is my go-to chicken dish—it’s quick to prepare, full of diverse flavours and textures and supremely delicious.
1. Rinse the puy lentils and pearled spelt and cook according to the packet instructions (or use the ready-cooked variety if you’re really famished and pressed for time).
2. Once they’re cooked, remove from the stove and allow to cool a little before assembling the salad.
3. Divide the ingredients equally between four plates, or arrange them on a large serving platter.
4. Dress a drizzle of oil and vinegar and some seasoning.
5. Scatter the herbs (if using), flowers and nuts around the dish to make a colourful arrangement and eat within an hour as the salad leaves and flowers will wilt quite quickly.
Variations: as an alternative, try smoked duck or smoked venison, bacon, bresaola or any salty charcuterie/cured meat that complements the earthy flavour of the beets and the freshness of green herbs.
How to Hygge: The Secrets of Nordic Living by Signe Johansen is out October 20 2016, published by Bluebird, RRP £14.99.