If we were having coffee…or even a cup of tea…

If we were having coffee…or even a cup of tea…we would be enjoying some mini mince meat pies with a cup of Earl Grey tea. We would talk about all the rain we have had over the past few days, and how the sun is shining again now this afternoon. There was even the sound of a few cicadas – summer is here!

If we were having coffee…or even a cup of tea…we would of course talk about our holiday plans. We would talk about how we have decided to change our plans, and head over to Hawke’s Bay instead of Bay of Islands. You say given the fact that Northland is remaining in the red ‘traffic light’ zone this seems like a good idea.

If we were having coffee…or even a cup of tea…we would talk about Christmas food, and you would ask about Janssons frestelse, the classic Swedish dish. I say I will share the recipe with you, taken from the 2003 edition of Annas Mat by Anna Bergenström, and that this is my translation. I tell you that the fish to use is ansjovis, a type of pickled sprat.

Preheat the oven to 225C and grease an oven proof dish. Peel and chop two onions into thin slices, then fry in oil for about 10 minutes. Slice around 10-12 potatoes into thin matchsticks, then layer the potatoes, onions and ansjovis, finishing off with potatoes. The recipe suggests 2 x 100g of fish – the brand I buy is a 125g tin and I find that is enough. Mix together 200 ml or cream and 100ml of milk, and pour half of this mixture with 3 spoons of the pickling liquid from the fish. Dot with butter and breadcrumbs and bake for about 30 minutes. After this time, add the rest of the liquid around the sides and bake for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked.

You ask – how many anchovies should I use if I can’t get ansjovis? And I say I don’t know as I only make it with the correct fish which can be found in Scandinavian shops and maybe even Ikea if you have on in the country you live in and they sell food (there is no Ikea in New Zealand…).

If we were having coffee…or even a cup of tea…I would say why not stay for lunch? There is some bread and cheese if you are happy with something simple. You say yes that sounds excellent. So we put together some bowls of salad, sliced some bread and put out the cheese and some pickles and sat down to continue our conversation.

Also entered in the last weekend coffee share of 2021, hosted by the wonderful Natalie the Explorer.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. All so very peaceful … just what is needed at this time of the year. Your mince pies look deliciously delicate – perfect to be accompanied by Earl Grey tea!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this pre-christmas time in New Zealand. Back in Europe it was always both fun but also stressfull. Here in NZ we do not have all those 100 pre-xmas parties, people to invite, people to visit, the hassle in the shops and at work… It is just so much more relaxed here 😀 Have a wonderful Xmas!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi T&K,
    Thanks for a very cordial virtual visit. We do have an IKEA about an hour drive away, but it’s in a city we try to avoid due to high crime. (too bad. . .) but I’m not much of an fan of small canned fish. I’m more of a swordfish kind of guy.
    I do wonder if we’re ever going to be able to let all the variants of covid slip into the background like other flues, we have all the variants here, but I think that more of us have had it and herd immunity is growing. I’d like to see trusted numbers, but would bet that more people are already suffering / dying from normal flu than from covid. Losing anyone to disease is bad, but it’s getting silly how we turn everyone’s lives upside down for this one bug.
    I always enjoy a quick visit to NZ each weekend, Thanks for making it happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw a headline today that said the pandemic will be with us until 2024. What a cheery thought….but you are so right that our lives are turned upside down, and dividing families and splitting friendships too. Anyway, happy to have you visit New Zealand if virtually. It is a lovely, sunny summer’s day here today too.


  4. Thank you for the coffee, the lunch and the recipe for Janssons frestelse. It was a great #weekendcoffeeshare. Wishing you a happy holiday and a wonderful new year.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m behind with reading, it’s been a tough month with issues that I wasn’t expecting…and I’m reading back 2front with gmail inbox!

    I read that IKEA is coming to NZ, not sure when…or even where.

    And now it’s a couple of days from the 25th, and there is a lot of sun…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. stupid place Auckland!

        A big furniture store opened in the NW part of Auckland – it’s gone now to the receivers. Of course covid didn’t help it’s life….

        Why it couldn’t be in a town that could really use the business….

        Liked by 1 person

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