Tag Archives: Norwegian

What to make for dinner? Fiskeboller med hvit saus

I have an old Norwegian cookbook from the late sixties, “Hva skal vi ha til middag?” What shall we have for dinner? It’s a basic cookbook, and I was reminded of that as I sweatily dragged four boxes of books from storage to my bedroom the other day. Most of our books are back in Rome, as humidity and dust are hard on books. Ten-twelve cookbooks came along to Accra. There are a couple from Nigella, a Simon Hopkinson, the wonderful first Rachel Roddy. But the cookbooks are in a box I have not found yet, so this month I am looking in my food cupboard, online bookmarks and a few precious UK food magazines for inspiration. There is no perfect meal planning, but cooking helps boost morale. Having some ideas at hand does help, also so there is a packed lunch ready for workdays. I am trying out Google Keep for collecting ideas:


Half the time ingredients are not available here, but still excellent inspiration. The uppercase abbreviations are reminders of where the recipe is, like OL=Olive magazine or BM=bookmark, for Nigel Slater’s baked pumpkin and spiced chickpeas recipe – which looks amazing. I have not found lemongrass and lime, so I might try a ras el hanout variation for the chickpeas instead. We shall see. Tonight is definitely fiskeboller med hvit saus, Norwegian tinned fish balls in white sauce, served with boiled potatoes and raw grated carrots. And a sprinkling of curry powder! Very retro, but that is a well-travelled tin that is not going on a third housemove. One could make fiskeboller from  scratch, but the tinned ones are normally used.


Take one tin……

Fiskeboller med hvit saus  (source: TINE)
8 potatoes  (or 4 very large ones, halved)
4 carrots
2 tbs butter
3 tbs all-purpose wheat flour
250 ml stock from the tin of fiskeboller
100 ml milk
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tin of fiskeboller  (Norwegian fish balls: like dumplings, boiled, not fried)

To serve: Sprinkle of curry powder

  1. Wash the potatoes and boil under done, 20-30 minutes.
  2. Make white sauce: melt the butter on low heat, add flour and stir well. It will look fry. Pour in stock drained from the tin of fiskeboller, a bit at a time, keep stirring until it is smooth. Add milk and bring to slow boil for a few minutes, so it thickens. Season the sauce  with salt, pepper and nutmeg (taste it!). Add more milk if the sauce is too thick, and stir well so it does not burn.
  3. Carefully add the fiskeboller to the sauce and heat gently so they are warm through before serving.
  4.  Serve with boiled potatoes, raw grated carrot and a sprinkle of curry powder on the fiskeboller and potatoes.


Note: Wonderful lighting, and such a photogenic dish! Leftovers now packed for three lunches, and two of us had dinner with this. In the TINE recipe the carrots are boiled, but I like them grated raw with this.

PS The coffee pod note at the end of the list above is because I really miss my morning cappuccino, normally magically appearing bedside at 0615, but the barista (my husband) is currently a continent away. The French press is in a box somewhere. Coffee capsules are not ideal, but I am contemplating getting a coffee pod machine for the weekends…. if coffee capsules can be found outside the Nespresso shop at Marina Mall. Still looking. Has anyone tried the refillable coffee capsules? Less waste would be good.


Kokosmakroner and Christmas in Norway

julekrans Yes, we had a Norwegian Christmas! Almost everyone in the family had been sick or was getting sick with coughs and colds, so I was lucky not to get ill until the very end. I have just been ill ever since (cold, bad cold, bronchitis, then really bad bronchitis) with too much travelling (Accra-Norway-Accra-Rome-Accra) so finally I can catch up a bit. Norway was lovely: hardly any snow over the holidays, but lots of family and Christmas spirit. Back to the family farm to stay with my parents, which is no longer something I take for granted. We are all getting older, but they are still in good shape, fortunately. My mother has been fighting breast cancer again, but this time it seems to have gone better.

pyntet juletre

We decorated the tree with old tinsel, Norwegian flags and familiar old ornaments from all over the world (I can see a German wooden house and a star from Kampala there), and enjoyed the peace before the youngest generation arrived. Of course, the julenek had to be put up for the birds (a sheaf of oats for Christmas), despite the lack of snow.

julenek We waited for the hurricane Urd to hit the west coast, but hardly noticed it in the east. We ate clementines, walked in the woods, made Norwegian paper stars and just enjoyed being home with parents, siblings and their spouses, and the increasing horde of nieces and nephews, who are all very sweet. It was great. The ten days went so quickly!

Norwegian paper starAnd we baked. Traditionally there should be seven kinds of cookies for Christmas, if you are Norwegian. But we eat less cookies now (not the grandchildren, they hoover down any cookies around), and had plenty of cake, but some cookie making must be done. As my father is diabetic and, we made almond macaroons for him with artificial sweeter (not bad), and coconut macaroons for the rest of us, along with some other varieties This is from “Kaker som smaker”, a classic baking book, and as you see, the recipe can vary quite a bit. Egg whites only, or whole eggs; potato flour or wheat flour, or no flour. Butter? I never used butter in mine. But maybe it works?


Kokosmakroner (coconut macaroons with whole eggs)

3 eggs
200 ml white granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
5 tbs all-purpose wheat flour
600 ml flaked coconut

Whisk eggs and sugar light and airy, quite stiff. Sift in flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar (the latter is Norwegian, can be skipped or maybe add a very small splash of vanilla extract). Stir in the flaked coconut carefully, you do not want to lose the air whisked in. We had large fresh eggs from our neighbour’s farm,  so I added more coconut than the recipe specified as as the cookie batter was very runny. You might want to do a test cookie as well, the cookie should hold its shape when dropped on cookie sheet with teaspoons. With smaller eggs or drier coconut, you might need less. Bake 10-12 minutes at 180 C, in the middle of the oven, until they are lightly golden but not too dry. Store in air-tight box, keeps for ages.  If you have any left after the holidays, old kokosmakroner are nice in apple crumble too.

kokosmakronerYes, Santa came and left gifts…….. and the rice porridge left in the barn for him was eaten up.

julenisse fotspor


Riskrem for Christmas Eve

IMG_4404Being Norwegian, it would not be Christmas Eve without rice porridge for lunch. Cooked with milk, and served with cinnamon, sugar and an eye of butter, it is essential. Usually there is a blanched almond hidden in here, and whoever finds it wins a marzipan pig  (in red wrapper below).  This one came from Norway. ingredients for rice porridge I had brought rice for the porridge from Norway, and found expensive almonds at Koala here in Accra (32 cedis for 200 grams, about 8 USD. Still the almonds were in the fridge and thus not rancid, so worth it.  With power cuts and heat, nuts are often not at there best even well before expiry date, but these were good. As mentioned earlier,  I was searching high and low here for cinnamon for my Christmas Eve rice porridge, and almost cried when shop after shop had no cinnamon and it was the 23rd. Cloves, nutmeg, ginger: none of those would have been quite right. I must have looked upset: one of the staff in the last shop found me an opened jar of cinnamon sticks in the back, which I clasped with joy and took home, grating it with much gratitude. The lone blanched almond cooling on the kitchen counter attracted an army of tiny ants: we must keep all food sealed, I can see.

As you see, there is also raspberry syrup and potato flour here: leftover rice porridge is cooled and mixed with whipped cream, and served cold as riskrem for dessert Christmas Eve, with a fruit-based sweet sauce. If the almond has not been found, it’ s the second chance to find it. I made

Riskrem med rød saus   (Creamed rice with red sauce)

Rød saus: (do earlier):
3 desilitres of undiluted sweet fruit cordial (raspberry, cherry, or red currants)
4.5 desilitres water
1.5 tbs potato flour (cornflour might work too)
3 tbs water

Heat cordial and water. Stir the potato flour into the 3 tbs of water, and when the cordial mixture is coming to the boil, pour it in while stirring. Boil briefly, it will thicken and become syrupy. Cool.

7 desilitres cold rice porridge
5 desilitres whipping cream
1.5 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tbs sugar

Whisk cream with sugar, fold gently into cold porridge. Serve with a little cooled red sauce poured over. Voila!  As I forgot to take a photo, here is a nice one from http://ceciliesmat.no/  (many thanks!)

PS If you want a to make a  vegan version of rice porridge and creamed rice, have a look at Arctic Grub’s Riskrem: a classic Norwegian Christmas Dessert.  Informative, vegan and delicious!