Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Getting into the Spirit of Panvis

My home-baked Christmas cake got its last feeding of alcohol last night - over the last 3 weeks I've alternately fed it scotch and rum and by now it must be more soused than George Best ever was. A week of drying out and it will be ready to ice. Not sure what to use instead of marzipan, which I detest. A layer of apricot jam is favourite at present, but any suggestions are most welcome as an alternative to prevent the icing being stained by the cake.

The Christmas tree is still languishing in a bucket of water outside (I don't hold with putting decorations up too early), but will be turned into a festive installation before the end of the weekend.

Plum puddings were made at the local church in the village on Stir-up Sunday.

Have you seen the price the supermarkets are charging for goose? We're definitely not having goose this year, much as I love it and prefer it to turkey.

We have a tradition of a family breakfast on Christmas morning - all three households of the kampong (us, Hay's sister and partner and Hay's dad - sometimes with a few hangers-on) congregate in one of our houses and have kedgeree. It's our turn this year and last night I had a practice run by making panvis, a Dutch kedgeree made of potatoes, rice, onions and mustard. Perhaps not up to the standard of my dad's panvis, but a very good attempt (needed slightly more mustard).

Here's my recipe:


  • 2 medium onions 
  • 4 pieces smoked cod or haddock 
  • 1 cup rice 
  • 3 baking potatoes 
  • 2 tablespoons English mustard (gives a bite and colour)
  • Salt and Pepper 
  • Butter 

  • Gently fry the finely sliced onion in butter till translucent and caramelised (as if making French onion soup). 
  • Poach the cod/haddock in very little milk. 
  • Boil the rice and the potatoes (separately). Mash the potatoes.
  • Combine all the above and mix with the mustard, salt and pepper. 
  • Spread into a baking tray and dot with butter – fluff up the top so it will catch the oven heat and crisp. 
  • Sprinkle with a few pinches of mustard powder and paprika and put foil over the top.
  • Place into a 200 degree oven with foil on top to thoroughly warm up. Turn up the heat up to 250 degrees after about 25 minutes, removing the foil to crisp up the top.
  • Serve with steamed shredded greens, or similar.
Makes enough for 3 or 4.

As a kid I remember carefully going through my plate of panvis to check for fish bones. Seems to me that filleted fish was a luxury in those days and we had to rely on my mum's (or dad's) inexpert filleting.

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