Wim van Blaricum | It's cold in Holland. Brrr!
Last Monday Elisabeth got of the buss carrying two heavy bags and an even heavier suitcase. All the way from Sweden came a new grinder weighing 6 kilos, spare parts for the engine, lots of knitting yarn, crossword magazines for several years, books, medicines, boat parts and gadgets, new credit cards, letters and magazines and more of this and that. It felt good to hug her after three weeks listening to the cat talking. Here on Curacao taking the buss is very cheap, a taxi costs a fortune so of course Elisabeth travelled by buss. Dragging heavy things and bags around is part of a sailors workday. Going by buss costs less than 2 euros while a taxi wants at least 50 USD to drive you to the airport from Spanish Water. The choice is thus simple.
She also had some things with her that are hard to find outside of Sweden: dill seeds, anchovy (sprats), Swedish 'kaviar' and green pepper corns. Dill seeds are used to make pickles, 'kaviar' is good on boiled eggs or on a sandwich (it is not Russian caviar). Green pepper corns do not seem to be used in cooking here in the Caribbean but can be found in expensive pepper blends. The anchovy we bought on Lanzarote was made with olive oil, has a great taste but doesn't do well in a 'Janssons Frestelse' (see the recipe).
The name of this creamy potato side dish (YAHN-sonz FREH-stel-suh) is Swedish for "Jansson's temptation." It's not really clear just who Jansson was -- either a 19th century opera singer, or a character in an early 20th century Swedish film. Either way, an entire nation was tempted in the end.
Janssons Frestelse is particularly popular for Christmas, but you'll find it served at special occasions year round.
4 to 6 servings.
Potatoes, peeled -- 2 pounds
Butter -- 4 tablespoons
Onions, thinly sliced -- 2
Swedish preserved sprats, rinsed (see variations) -- 1 (3.5-ounce) tin
Heavy cream -- 3 cups
Salt and white pepper -- to season
Bread crumbs -- 1/2 cup
1. Oven to 375°F. Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds, then cut the rounds into 1/4-inch strips.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a sauté pan or skillet over medium flame. Add the onions and sauté onions until wilted and translucent but not browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Butter a deep casserole dish on the butter and sides. Layer one third of the potatoes evenly over the bottom of the casserole, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Next spread one half of the onions over the potatoes, and half the sprats over the onions, lightly seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Spread another third of the potatoes in the dish, followed by the remaining onions and the rest of the sprats and finishing with the rest of the potatoes, seasoning each layer.
4. Bring the cream to a simmer in a saucepan, then pour it evenly into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the potatoes. Dot the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over the breadcrumbs.
5. Place the casserole on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through and the dish is browned and bubbling.
JANSSONS FRESTELSE VARIATIONS
Sprats: Recipes for Janssons Frestelse in English often call for anchovies, but this is a mistranslation. For authenticity, sprats preserved in oil (ansjovis in Swedish) should be used. You can find Swedish sprats for sale online or at your local Ikea in the food section. Nonetheless, if you can't find true ansjovis, regular anchovies, rinsed well in fresh water, can substitute.
It took the whole of Tuesday to unpack everything and find a place for all the things on Bengt but in the end I could start replacing blocks, lines an shackles while Elisabeth rested her arms.
We had a lot to talk about our the first night together so sleep came late. Long flights are tiresome and the 'jet lag' makes you feel tired and sleepy att the wrong time so we took it easy the first days but on Wednesday we took a long walk to 'Jan Thiel' and had a swim in the ocean at Caracasbaai beach.
Thursday had Elisabeth starting making a sprayhood for our dinghy from awning fabric which she had found at her parents house. Our 'Lille Bengt' is very wet in all but the slightest sea so we needed some protection to keep our shopping and ourselves dry. A Swedish yacht 'Hakuna Matata' anchored not far from os. They had not been able to fill there gas bottle on Bonaire and therefor couldn't enjoy a morning coffee with their breakfast. Elisabeth rowed over with a thermos hot water before Andreas and Cecilia went ashore to try to get there bottle filled. We also had a coffee and sundowner or two with Neill and Heidi from 'Artemis' before they sailed on to Aruba. Nurse Heidi was very pleased with the way my mosquito bites looked so it was thumbs up for swimming.
Att an IKEA-store near you!
The next day we took the free buss to the supermarket 'Vreugdenhil' to do some shopping. We stumbled upon a hula hoop att the toys department which turned out to be the perfect support for the dinghies sprayhood. 'Lille Bengt' was hoisted on deck so Elisabeth could measure and cut the fabric, not an easy task in the usual gale force afternoon wind. After sewing and putting the fasteners in we took the dinghy for a test ride against wind and waves. The result of pounding into the gale force wind with our little dinghy was that the water stayed outside (well, most of it) and that we kept reasonably dry. We thank the crew of 'Mylady' for this brilliant idea.
We finally managed to do the much needed oil change on our outboard before I went of to Holland. We have been neglecting our brand new Honda since we bought it on Martinique. First oil change should have been done at 10 engine hours. It was no surprise that both engine oil and gear oil were black but after it got some fresh oil and a clean-up and grease job it ran smoothly again. This time we can let it work for 50 hours before the next service.
After my visit to Holland we will have to wait for some spares to arrive on Curacao before we head to Aruba and on to the Panama canal.
Lille Bengt ready for a testdrive