I’ve been wanting to try this recipe ever since I had an email conversation with my beloved Michael MacMahon about Jansson’s Temptation.  I think it was after I had cooked the best film star recipe ever, Jocko Marx’s Herring Potatoes.  (the first time around…)

Jocko Marx Herring Potatoes

This pot contained the most delicious meal I have ever made…

I was hoping for good things from this recipe, and it WAS good.  Just not QUITE as good as Jocko’s herrings, which I am now craving like mad.  Every time I see that lovely casserole dish which I bought from Cha Cha Cha Vintage in Muswell Hill, I have a Pavlov’s Dog reaction and I want herring…

I’ll make Jansson’s Temptation again though, I was just reading how nice this dish is with lamb and I could see how that would be so.   Mmm.  Lamb and anchovies.  Yes!

David Niven’s Jansson’s Temptation

6 large peeled potatoes

2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced

8 to 10 anchovy fillets

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 and half cups light cream (or milk)

softened butter

Cut potatoes in thin slices.  Place layer of potato slices in well greased, ovenproof baking dish.  Top with anchovies, sliced onion;


end with layer of sliced potatoes.  Season to taste but use salt sparingly as anchovies are quite salty.  Pour cream, or milk, over all, mixing with a fork; dot with bits of softened butter.  Put casserole in pre-heated 350 degrees F oven (175 degrees C, gas mark 4).  Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes (or until potatoes are tender).  Add more cream (or milk) if potatoes get dry.  Serve as luncheon or midnight supper snack with Knackerbrod (Swedish rye crisp), sweet butter, hunks of dark rye bread, herring salad (available in Swedish delicatessans) and Vasterbotten (pungent semi-hard cheese) with steaming goblets of Glogg or Julol (special Christmas beer).


Note: I used 5 big Cyprus potatoes (about 1 kilo), 2 cups single cream and a whole package of these gorgeous little fishies from The Fickle Fish…


These are DIVINE.  I’m going to get another packet of these so I can have some in a Vincent Price Buckingham Eggs breakfast sometime soon.  I have decided that I must always have a pack of these in the house.  It’s a new rule.

I had a jar of herring salad in my fridge that I bought last time I was at the Scandi Kitchen (love that place!) but I forgot to put it on the table.  I did manage to get some dark rye bread though and a cheese approximating Vasterbotten.  It’s a shame Mr R wasn’t around as he is part Swedish, so this meal would have been right up his street.  I also could have issued my standard threat whenever he mentions his Swedish ancestry: “I’m going to take you to Scandi Kitchen, then we’ll see how Swedish you are!”


I’ve read a LOT about Jansson’s Temptation on the inter webs and I realise that it’s more traditional to use sprats, rather than anchovies.  Confusion has arisen because the Swedish word for sprats is ansjovis.  So all of this is giving me a great excuse to make a trip to Scandi Kitchen to get me some…


Vic brought a bottle of Mateus Rose, which took me right back to the 1970s.  The height of sophistication back then…


We chatted about how retro Mateus Rose is and Corinna said: “It’s a bit like drinking Babycham.”  Vic’s response was: “It certainly is NOT!”

So the Cedar Court Three had a fine old time getting sloshed on wine and eating the WHOLE dish of Jansson’s Temptation.  Yum.

In the newspaper article that included this favourite recipe of Niven’s he says: “My wife makes a simple thing called Jansson’s Temptation that’s terribly good.”  His second wife was Swedish model and actress Hjördis Genberg.  So I guess the title of this post should really be Hjördis Genberg’s Jansson’s Temptation…


More fishy Hollywood tales over at this lovely blog about Hjördis Genberg. Greta Garbo hit in the face with a mackerel?!




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