Wednesday 26 December 2012

Anna's Recipe for 'Holiday Spirit Blog Fest' - RFW Challenge No 48 - Beginning, December 12th, 2012

Here is my recipe for Jansson's Temptation, a very Swedish potato casserole:

If you ever get to visit Sweden and don't know what to eat, you can always eat potatoes. Ever since Jonas Alströmer (1685-1761) introduced the potato to Sweden, it has been the mainstay for generations of Swedes. Swedish potatoes are special to me. They are firm in consistency and have a mild taste that complements any meat or fish or sauce that you serve with them. New potatoes (the first potatoes in the early summer) are best. This recipe may not be so easy to make outside of Scandinavia, but here it is, my own recipe for Janssons Frestelse, (=Jansson's Temptation), a potato casserole better than any other potato-casseroles; taught to me by my mother and grandmother:

[This is a post from 2010.]



 All photos copyright Christina Wigren 2010

'Jansson's Temptation' is a very Swedish potato-casserole called 'JANSSONS FRESTELSE' (which means literally 'Jansson's temptation'), that is a must for every genuine Swedish Christmas buffet (smörgåsbord).

Please don't ask me who 'Jansson' was/is. I don't know at this moment. But if anyone does know, you are welcome to leave that information in a comment. It was probably some chef who invented this recipe. Wait a moment, here is what I found on Wikipedia:

It has often been claimed[1] that the name originated with the opera singer Pelle Janzon (1844-1889), remembered as a gourmand. However, another claim[1] for the origin of the name has been made by Gunnar Stigmark in an article – "Så var det med Janssons frestelse" – which appeared in the periodical Gastronomisk kalender. According to Stigmark, the name was borrowed from the film Janssons frestelse (1928) featuring the popular actor Edvin Adolphson; as a name for this dish it was coined by Stigmark's mother and her hired cooking lady for the particular occasion of a society dinner, whence it spread to other households and eventually into cookbooks.
The dish is also very popular in Finland as Janssonin kiusaus, which also means literally "Jansson's temptation".

This is a photographic/pictorial step-by-step recipe using pictures taken by me in my humble kitchen. (No Googling or Wikipedia-help here! No, wait... For Wikipedia's recipe please click here and for information, and about the name Jansson's in English here and in Swedish please click here.)
These are the utensils that you will need:

Some kind of oven-proof glass or material baking dish that is low and long. I am making a two mini-temptations using smaller baking dishes, for the photos to save time, and you can do the same if you just want to test the recipe or make a variation of it. The large dish is approximately 11 x 7 1/8 inches (28 x 18 cm) and the smaller one is 5 1/2 x 7 1/8 inches (19x14cm).

A good potato-peeler and a kitchen knife and a cutting-board.

(You can also use a handkrank or machine cutter.


Make sure you choose the right setting, approximately for 'shoe-string french-fries'.)

A large enough bowl of cold water. (The bowl in this photo is too small. It only serves as an illustration.) I usually peel all of the potatoes first and put them in cold water so that they do not turn brown in the time it takes for me to peel and cut all of the potatoes into strips.

You can use a special separate cutting-board to cut, slice or chop the onion, or you can use an onion-dice if you have one. I do not. I cut everything by hand with just a knife and a cutting board.
Ingredients for 4 portions:

8 to10 medium-sized firm potatoes. No floury over-sized Idaho baking-potatoes. Choose potatoes that have a firm consistency that could be used in, for example, potato-salad.

A tin of anchovy filets (20 filets). This may be hard for you to find depending upon where you live in the world. I have actually taken tins/cans with me on trips to visit relatives and friends in the US. If you have an Ikea-store near you, they may be able to help you. (But I don't know for sure, since I never have tried to ask them for help.)

Using the filets saves time. But, my mother taught me how to clean and filet the whole anchovies, so I know it is possible to use them if you only have un-fileted, whole ones. It's like cleaning any fish except that these are very small.

Do not throw out the saucy liquid that the filets come in. We will be using it for flavouring. It's the ingredient that 'makes or breaks' this dish. So it is important that you find a tin of anchovies. (I have tried flavouring Jansson's with capers, and it just does not work! It is not the same to take any old salty thing! But there is a recipe for 'vegetarian' Jansson's Temptation! )

Approximately 1 1/3 cup (3dl) of heavy cream or cream with milk or milk.

Two medium-sized yellow onions/Spanish onions (allium cepa), sliced or finely chopped.

One or two tablespoons of butter or margarine. (I prefer butter.)

One tablespoon bread crumbs, unseasoned. (I usually take piece of crisp bread (knäckebröd) and crush with a mortar and pestle.)

What to do:
1. Grease your oven-proof dish.

2. Peel the potatoes and put them in the cold water bowl while you do the next step.

3. Chop your onion(s).

4. Cut the first potato(s) into the right size strips and lay them in the bottom of your baking dish.

If you find that the knife sticks to the potatoes when cutting making it difficult, wipe your knife between cuts with a little salad oil. Put some oil on a 'Wettex'-cloth on a flat dish by your cutting board. It makes cutting easier.

5. Sprinkle pieces of onion over the thin layer of potato-strips.

6. Lay the anchovies filets over the onions and potatoes.

7. Lay more layers of onions and potatoes until you don't see the anchovies anymore.

8. Mix the liquid from the anchovies tin with the heavy cream and pour it all over the potato-onion-anchovy-layers. It will sink to through to the bottom of your dish.

9. Put some bits (about a tablespoon) of butter here and there over the potato-onion-cream-anchovies mix.

10. Distribute some finely crushed bread crumbs over everything.

11. Bake in oven at 225 degrees Celsius (437 degrees Fahrenheit) for 45 minutes.

(Cover with aluminum foil for the first 35 minutes and then remove for the last 10 minutes to get a golden brown colour.)

12. You can eat it warm or cooled to room temperature. You can reheat it the next day. (Add milk for moisture.) And you can freeze it in a couple of plastic bags for a couple of months.
Jansson's Temptation is a great as a side dish for a Christmas buffet (smörgåsbord) or main dish with sausage or a cold slice of Christmas ham, a tossed salad and a glass of beer for a midnight snack on New Year's Eve.

Try making this well ahead of time first, if you have never made this or even tasted it. Not everybody outside of Sweden likes it. Please follow the recipe before you start experimenting. Do not add extra salt or peppar. The cream, onions and anchovies are the only seasonings you need.

Smaklig måltid! (= [approx.] Wishing you a tasty / delicious,  meal / repast! or Bon Appetite!)

Best wishes,

First Commenter:

Aduro Ojo 


Aduro Ojo Presents

CHALLENGE NO 48 - Beginning December 12 - 21


Memoir, Fiction, Recipes, Traditions...and more

This is a holiday blogfest with a difference! Please join in the fun!

For this Holiday Spirit blogfest, we are looking for excerpts of up to 800 words involving fiction or non-fiction stories of family tradition, favorite/unique recipes, inspirational articles, etc.; that involve the essence of the holiday spirit.   (Recipes and news articles do not have to adhere to the 800 word limit.) RFW, and the blogsphere itself, include a multitude of countries, cultures, and citizenry of the world.  Not every culture celebrates Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yom Kipper, or any variety of holidays of the “giving spirit” during the same season.  Because the RFW hosts are a part of western civilization, we choose this month for our yearly celebration, Christmas, and would like you to post whatever passes for the Holiday Spirit in your neck ‘a the world.

For once, your submission does not need to include an element of romance; however, we at RFW acknowledge that ANY writing involving family (their values, traditions, and conflicts) is a Romantic writing.  What is more romantic than Family?

Because of the special nature of this Holiday Spirit blogfest, we are allowing up to two submissions; however, they must be in two separate categories.  Meaning, you could post your favorite recipe AND an inspirational 800 word excerpt; or a link to an inspirational news/magazine article and a recipe or true story; but not two of each (two recipes, two memoir posts, two articles). If you are posting two separate submissions, please add your blog link twice and add to your name/link what it contains - eg - Donna Hole, Recipe, so participants know to look for two separate posts.
The linky will open on December 12 and remain open thru December 31 to encourage linking to the direct post.  However, if you decide to link then schedule a post (or two) later, just leave a comment to let everyone know when your excerpt will be available.  The RFW hosts will be checking the comments and links, and if a direct link is available, we will edit your link(s) if you haven't done so.

Please join us in celebrating life, love, presents, good food, and of course Family Traditions of all types of all cultures.

This is not a competition - it is a sharing. We hope we'll all get to know each other better!

Sunday 28 October 2012

Drusilla's Cauldron - Spooktoberfest 300w flash fiction text 26-29th October 2012

[This is really me at four or five years old.]

Here is my 300-word spooky text:
[The required 5 words are highlighted in chartreuse.]

Drusilla loved Halloween. It was so simple and fun. Every year she would dress up in her black witch-costume and paint green make-up on her face and hands, to greet the trick-or-treaters who would come to her door. 
She had a huge papier-maché cauldron filled with little paper bags of assorted candies. She would hang cobwebs all over the living-room. Using a razor-sharp knife, she cut faces into seven pumpkins and put these jack-o-lanterns on the porch and in each of the front windows. Then she would dim the lights and wait. 
The sun went down. The wind picked up speed and clouds played tag with the full moon. Wading through piles of fallen yellow, red and brown leaves, a troop of small witches, ghosts, pirates and princesses wandered up the path to Drusilla's door. 
'It's dark except for the lit jack-o-lanterns,' commented a tall ghost holding a paper bag, 'Shall we ring the doorbell?'
'There are seven of us', observed a short but brave pirate, 'Let's see what they have to offer.'
A tiny witch pressed the bell-button and the door cracked opened an inch or two.
'Trick or treat!' the children shouted. The door opened wider revealing the cauldron of bags of sweets, but no human being. Then they heard cackling laughter from the dark room. And in a flash, there stood Drusilla in her black pointed witch's hat, grey wig, black dress and green-painted face and hands.
'Take what you like, my pretties!' she said laughing so ghoulishly that the tall ghost threw back his bag of candies and ran. The little witch yelped and did the same. The pirate and the princess and others also ran away.
Drusilla never had to buy new candy. 
[Text Copyright 2012 Christina Wigren]
Word Count according to WordCalc: 293
Best wishes,


First Commenter:

Yolanda Renee


Defending the Pen

Here are Jackie's and Dani's instructions for this Spooktoberfest blog fest:

Who’s up to their old blogfest tricks again?
Dani at Entertaining Interests and myself, that’s who.

Spooktoberfest is where cobwebs tickle your nose, cauldrons are brewing, jack-o-lanterns light the way, and ghosts go bump in the night. Oh yeah, watch out for the razors!

1.  Your Flash Fiction piece cannot be any longer than 300 words. Sorry… that’s part of the challenge. It can be scary, comical, romantic, whatever you choose. Just be creative!
2.  You must use the MANDATORY 5 words listed below 
3.  Post your Flash Fiction piece on your blog anytime between ...
Friday Oct. 26 - Monday, Oct. 29th.  The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. Monday.
4.  Follow Dani and myself if you don’t already. We will follow back.
5.  It’s a blog hop, so hop around to other participating blogs and leave some awesome comments when the stories are posted.
6.  Have fun!

It'd be super cool if you'd post the Spooktoberfest button on your page.
Dani and I will each choose a winner. That's two winners total. 
We will post our decisions on HALLOWEEN . . . Wednesday, Oct. 31st.
PRIZES: Candy and a grab bag of awesome stuff. The winners will get the biggest bags we can find of their favorite candy along with a bag containing some fun spookified items.
This blogfest is international. 

So what are you guys waiting for? Sign up using the linky thing below and spread the word on your Blog, Twitter, Facebook, owl messenger, or however you want!

Friday 19 October 2012

Halloween House of Horrors! RFW-Challenge No. 47 - Friday October 19th, 2012

Welcome to Romantic Friday Writers Challenge No. 47 for Friday October 19th, 2012. RFWers is a fortnightly challenge that is founded by and hosted by and Donna Hole. For Challenge No 47, participants are asked to write a text 1000 words or less using the prompt, 'Halloween House of Horrors'. 
Scroll down past my text to read the challenge guidelines:

 Title: 'Jenny's Robinson Crusoe - Halloween '

(If you want to read the whole story so far go to this page: Lost and then Found)

It’s nearly Halloween, thought Jenny, as she sat writing in her journal, alone on the deserted island, where she and two friends had crash-landed almost four years ago.

Halloween, on this tropical island, was no different from any other time of year. There were no pumpkins to make jack-o-lanterns; there were no trick-or-treaters to give sweets to at one’s door. Jenny thought tearfully of her children, Colin and Sarah, and wondered if they would join a band of happy candy-hunters dressed as goblins, witches, pirates and ghosts.

Yes, ghosts. 'Give me a ghost or two!' Jenny said out loud.

After more than three years of waiting to be rescued, Jenny welcomed meeting the ghosts of her two friends who had died around the time of the crash.

‘Oh Jack,’ Jenny whispered, remembering the party in honour of his birthday; his very last. But no one knew that at the time. Except for perhaps one.  

Jenny ate her last substantial meal at Jack’s party and often dreamed about all the gourmet food there that she would never again consume.

‘Please haunt me, Jack!’ Jenny called out. She missed both Tom and Jack, but for different reasons. She had grown up with Tom and missed him like a brother, although she sometimes wished that she had married him instead of her husband, Paul.

‘Please haunt me, Jack. You can do it in my dreams,’ continued Jenny, beckoning to the wind. Jenny thought of Jack’s beautiful, warm smile with dimples and his intense ice-blue eyes. She tried to forget how she closed those lovely eyes when he was dead and how she had to bury both her friends. No. She wished to see them both again as they were in life; especially Jack who made her feel so intensely alive in the short time that she knew him.‘Please haunt me, Jack', she whispered.

That very night, Jenny dreamed about Jack.

‘Hello beautiful!’ Jack said in his most playful voice, ‘Why do you want me to haunt you?’

‘Oh, Jack, I miss you, and I can’t get the radio to work. I want to get out of here! And I’m so hungry!’

‘I see that you have made good use of my leather oxfords’ said Jack playfully pointing to her feet.

‘I’m sorry. I thought it a shame to bury them with you, I mean, your...' said Jenny embarrassed. 'Look. They fit me perfectly! I can climb around the island without cutting my feet on the rocks, which is what I would have done if I had worn my silly city sandals.’

‘It’s alright, Jenny.' reassured Jack, fatherly. 'I’m only teasing. I’m glad you can use them. Please wear them. I’ll even hide in them when you leave the island and come back with you. 
'You look sharp in my khaki clothes and hat too’, Jack said with a twinkle in his beautiful blues.'

‘My skin burns so easily in the sun. I am freckled enough as it is.’

‘My pleasure, Jenny’, Jack said pulling her toward him. His embrace felt warm and natural to Jenny. Oh how is this possible?, she thought.
‘Thanks, Jack. I just wish...’

‘No, Jenny. Let's not speak of regrets. Let me help you get off the island. And perhaps you can help me solve a couple of mysteries.

‘Anything, Jack!’ she said and kissed his cheek and then looked at him squarely in the face, ‘What mysteries?’

‘Mystery number one: If my wife, Myra, mailed my flight-plan to the authorities, someone should have been out looking for me and my aircraft, even if they mistakenly thought that you and Tom went down with that ship.

‘And what is mystery number two?’ asked Jenny already guessing what that might be.

‘Why did I die so suddenly?’

‘Yes, I have wondered about that. I assumed that it was a heart attack, but you did not seem to be a likely candidate for one.’ (When Jack slumped over in the cock-pit, he was just about to land on this tiny island. As co-pilot, Tom took over and crash-landed the plane on land rather than in the depths of the Pacific. While Tom was doing this, Jenny pulled and dragged Jack back toward the rear of the aircraft where she worked hard at trying to resuscitate him blowing air into his lungs and pounding his chest to try get him to breathe again. But he never regained consciousness.)

‘Exactly. Let’s do a little dreamtime-travelling together. Hold my hand and no one will  see us.’

With the speed of a film fade-out, it was more than three years earlier, and the invisible Jenny and Jack were standing in the middle of the decorated patio where Jack’s birthday party was about to begin.

Jenny’s mouth watered at the sight of all the party food, once again newly laid on the serving table before the guests would arrive.

‘Remember, Jenny’, warned Jack softly, ‘We cannot eat or do anything here. We are only here to observe.’

‘But I’m so hungry!’

‘I know, my sweet. You’ve been having a rough time, and you have been doing brilliantly. I’ve seen the way you’ve gathered food and been careful to boil your drinking water. But we cannot change anything here. We’re here to find out what happened. If we succeed, you will be able to return home and be with your family.’

‘You’re so thoughtful, Jack.’

‘And I need your help.'

'Why, Jack?' 

'I think that I may have been murdered.’

‘Oh no! But how could that be?’ asked Jenny trying not to think about how she really longed for a piece of pumpkin pie.

Reading her thoughts, Jack gave her a hug and a kiss, ‘All in due time.’


Word count: 977

[Text Copyrght Christina Wigren 2012]
Word count, according to WordCalc, for 'Halloween House of Horrors' is: 977; FCA; Full Critique Acceptable

Best wishes,


story uses the characters, Jenny Holland and the pilot, Jack Richardson, in order to fit the criteria for the given theme: Halloween/ghosts/horror/mystery/romance. It is experimental, and may or may not fit into the final novel.

This text is fictional. Any resemblance to events, firms or to persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.

First Commenter:

Yolanda Renée


Defending the Pen


It's Halloween!

Another FW/RU Challenge

We’re looking for chilling stories of ghosts and haunted locations – and maybe even love from beyond the grave. 
A romantic element is essential, but we’re looking for stories with a thrilling edge of fear to add to the romantic tension building between our Hero/Heroine.

Have fun with this one! 
Don't forget the Romantic Element!

Let your head go! 
You can write up to 1,000 words of prose/prosetry!

Translate a text here: