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Tricolore Potato Cakes with Fresh Guacamole

My mum used to make really simple and quick potato cakes whenever there was any leftover mashed potato. It was simply mashed potato (and what better potato to mash than Maris Pipers!) mixed with an egg or two and fried on the hob for a few minutes each side.

They were so warming and tasty. Perfect as an after-school snack or as part of a meal. We loved them.

So with my childhood potato cakes in mind and wanting a recipe to bring a little warmth to these Autumn days, I made these tricolore potato cakes along with a quick fresh guacamole to have with them.

The 'tricolore' is reference to the ingredients that get added into the mashed potato and egg mixture. We added yellow sweetcorn, red pepper and green peas. This makes the recipe healthier too as it is a tasty way of getting those veggies into a meal.
Mixing in the colourful veggies
Here's the recipe:

1 kg of Maris Piper Potatoes
150g Sweetcorn (can be canned or frozen or fresh)
150g Peas (can be canned or frozen or fresh)
3 eggs
1 red pepper
Salt and pepper to season
rapeseed oil for frying

for the guacamole:
1-2 ripe avocados
a small bunch of fresh coriander
1 lime
several baby tomatoes - chopped into chunks

1. Wash the potatoes then boil them for around 20 minutes until cooked through.
2. Drain the potatoes and allow to cool (or run them under water to speed up the cooling process).
3. Now the potatoes are cooked, it should be easy to peel the skin off. I often do this to save time on peeling potatoes as I find that the skin becomes easy to peel off with fingers rather than having to use a peeler prior to cooking the potatoes.
4. Mash the potatoes with a masher.
5. Add 3 eggs to the mashed potatoes and mix well.
6. Add some chopped red pepper.
7. Add the sweetcorn and the peas and mix. If using frozen, you may wish to par-boil them first. I often just pop them in a mug with boiled water poured over and then drain. This just begins to cook them so that it speeds up the cooking process when you make the potato cakes.
8. Season as desired then spoon as potato cakes into a frying pan which has a little rapeseed oil in it.
9. Cook on the hob for several minutes on one side and then turn over and cook for a few minutes on the second side until they are cooked through and golden brown on the outside.
10. Make a quick guacamole by mashing the avocado with the juice of a lime. Roughly chop the coriander (stalks can be used too) and add to the avocado. Finally roughly chop the tomatoes and add. You might have noticed there's no chilli in our guacamole. The kids (and me) prefer it like this. You can of course add some chopped fresh chilli pepper if you wish.

Serve with a green side salad if desired.

This post is an entry for #FluffyMarisPiper Linky Challenge sponsored by Potato Council. Learn more at bit.ly/18rWnaB. You can also find out more about the linky here.


Road Trip Day 3 - Fowey Hall and the Amazing Red Arrows

Written up 'diary style' on Thursday 21st August. 
Woke up to a little voice calling out from her pop up bubble travel cot saying 'fall out'. As she'd awoken and moved around in her cot it had toppled onto its side. It is all soft sided and rests at floor level so Miss T was absolutely fine.

We all seemed to have had a good nights sleep and my back remained surprisingly good. Usually if I am a couple of days away from my own bed, I end up with a lot of back pain. Whether that's the GOPO at work, or just being fortunate to have really good beds so far on our road trip, I'm not sure. 

Breakfast was great with a selection of cooked options available to order as well as a cold selection of the usual cereals, yogurts, fruit salad, muffins and pastries. A cooked breakfast set us up for the day and we've managed to miss the need to stop for lunch.

The boys discovered more indoor playrooms, this time geared towards their age rather than Miss T. There's a room with 2 Wii's in it and table football, another room with table tennis and more games and a mini cinema room with a comfy sofa and big cushions. I believe they show a kids film at 8.30 each evening. 

At 10am we met at reception to go and feed the chickens. 
Then we borrowed some buckets, spades, nets and picnic rugs to head off to the beach. The views are just so scenic here. It's pretty hilly around Fowey but that makes for even more stunning views. 
I love spending time at the beach. Having grown up near the sea, it s something I miss a lot with where we live now. The kids get close to nature and can spend hours just digging in the sand, finding shells, rock pooling, making sand art or 'sculptures' with the treasures they find along the shore. 
When the sky clouded over it was time to pack up and get ice cream!

The surrounding hillsides get busy with spectators awaiting the Red Arrows.
Things are getting busy in town as the red arrows are doing a display this evening. We've been told we'll get the best views from the hotel. 

Back at Fowey hall, Miss T has a nap (having missed her naps for several days!) whilst daddy and the boys go for a swim. Shhh... don't tell miss T as she won't be pleased to have missed out on swimming. 

The plan is for the kids to have high tea at 5pm so we can all watch the red arrows together. Cookies and milk is from 6.30 onwards, then we'll put Miss T to bed. 

With a baby listening service available we're hoping to have a grown up meal whilst the boys play on the Wii's, in the games room, or watch a film. Fingers crossed that all works out ok. 
It's nearly 11pm and I am shattered. The meal worked out brilliantly with the baby listening and the boys entertaining themselves with all the fab facilities.  
The kids high tea was truly lovely too with the room decorated with paper chains, bunting and red paper planes to tie in with the Red Arrows theme. 

Then we headed outdoors for the Red Arrows.
At 6pm we had one of those 'can't believe we are really here' moments, a bit like how we felt the whole time when we were at Noma. We were sat on a picnic rug in front of Fowey Hall and the Red Arrows made their epic entrance by flying low with all their smoke colours right over Fowey Hall and right over our heads with their unmistakable roar. Unprepared for the moment, we didn't get a photo of what would have been a perfect picture.
The display was incredible. I had not seen the red arrows since I was a kid back in the 80s. In those days it seemed nothing special because my mum was a red arrows fan and so we got dragged out to watch their displays all the time so it had lost its magic for me. 
But seeing them this evening, I was totally awestruck by just how skilled these pilots are and just how much practice must go into it. Fowey Hall really was the best viewing spot for the Red Arrows as at times they were flying lower than us as they zoomed through the valley below. Truly amazing!

Miss T sat with me on the picnic rug and enjoyed it so much. She kept saying 'pink clouds' as the trails of red smoke faded to pink.

She also hugged me and said 'love you mummy' which is quite rare for her to say as she usually says 'love just daddy'. Each time the red arrows roared overhead she said 'awesome' or 'love it'. At the end she asked 'again?' So I guess we'll have to find an opportunity to see them again sometime.
'Red Arrows' menu for dinner
Our dinner was superb. We found the kids in the cinema snug watching smurfs with some other kids. All of them sitting so nicely and quietly enjoying the film. 
We'll be sad to be leaving Fowey Hall. It is not only chid friendly, but it is much more than that...truly child focused. Everything has been thought of with the recognition that if the kids are relaxed and happy, then parents will be too. 

We didn't book Miss T in for any childcare (there's 2 hours free included each day, bookable pre-arrival), and I didn't get the chance to try out any spa treatments. Perhaps next time, because I really hope there will be a next time to stay again in this grand old building with almost magical qualities - every child's dream come true. 
Was Fowey Hall the inspiration behind Toad Hall? - It is believed to be. 
Our first post about Fowey Hall can be found here.

A long overdue link up with #CountryKids:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Day 2 of our road trip: Fowey hall, Cornwall #52 Sleeps

After a long journey from Bournemouth, we arrive at Cornwall to a very busy town and a busy car park at the hotel. Our visit to Fowey Hall happens to coincide with the Fowey Royal Regatta, so it's probably one of the busiest times of the year to be here. We hadn't planned it that way as we only found out about the Regatta a few days ago.

Thankfully our room is ready even though it was 2 o'clock rather than the usual check-in time of 3pm. And wow what a room!

Our family room was a spacious top floor suite comprising 2 kids rooms as well as mum and dads room, a lobby area and a big bathroom. 2 nights here at this time of year would normally cost £850 so the rooms need to reflect that. At first glance the bed seems firm and so manageable for my back too.

The kids have been most looking forward to swimming so we head down for a quick bite to eat for lunch so that we can get to the swimming pool.

We had missed the official lunchtime slot which ended at 2pm but a selection of food is served all day including a children's menu. Staff were dressed up with Pierrot clown painted faces and we weren't sure if that was for the Regatta celebrations or whether it's like that all the time.

We were able to choose to eat outside, in the garden room, the lounge, or the toy room. The kids opted for the toy room.

We pushed back our dinner reservation from 6pm to 7pm as we'd had such a late lunch. Nothing seems too much trouble for the staff here. All are friendly, down to earth and helpful.

We immediately got the impression that this place has been catering for families for many years as they had thought about everything. There were buckets, spades and fishing nets to borrow by the entrance, kids wellies to borrow, there was a basket of baby bottles by reception, lots of great outdoor toys, the play room, and milk and cookies before bedtime!

The kids even had crab lines waiting for them on their beds when we arrived. Such a nice touch.

After our swim, the kids headed outdoors for a play. We watched the Fowey town band arrive with their tennis ball canon which made rather explosive bangs as it shot out tennis balls. There are stunning views from the hotel to see too.

We ended the day with a splendid meal in the garden room of the restaurant where families can dine together (there is a separate dining area which is child free, if you prefer that). Our meal was lovely and probably in line with what is the norm for a luxury family hotel - however, for 'normal' people like us, particularly with our 'savvy' credentials spending over £120 on a meal for two adults and two children (we had only 2 courses, with no starters and no wine), was a little on the pricey side.
Thankfully bedtimes have been going smoothly with Miss T managing to settle well in her Koodi travel cot and the boys going to bed fuss-free. I'm really proud of them all for having coped with such a long journey yesterday and an even longer journey today. That's no easy feat with J and his aspergers, D who is prone to travel sickness and Miss T being at a young and lively age.

I was getting serious bake off withdrawal symptoms this evening, but thankfully we managed to catch bake off on BBC iPlayer late this evening by getting the iPad to use the free hotel wifi.

Bedtime now. Looking forward to meeting Fowey Hall's chickens tomorrow and perhaps a spot of crabbing.

This post was written up on Wednesday 20th August 2014. Find out more about our Laterooms.com road trip here.


We've been playing with Tomodachi Life and have got just a little bit addicted!

As Nintendo Bloggers we were sent a game code for Tomodachi Life for Nintendo 3DS. Like all 3DS games, it is also compatible with the Nintendo 2DS console too. It is a game based on making Mii-style characters who you then look after, feed, play games with and so on. You can find out more about when we had fun making Mii's here.

Ten year old J has been playing it the longest and was keen to write his own review, then I'll give you my thoughts after:

Tomodachi life is AWESOME!!!

First you name your island.
I named mine moshimo island because I love moshi monsters and this sounds very moshi-like. 
Then you create mii's and give them a voice and a personality.
You can then feed them, give them advice and buy stuff for them.
They have different likes and dislikes.
You can level up your people on your island. 
When you level someone up you can choose to give them: pocket money out of your own money, an item, a phrase, a new room or a type of song.
You can unlock songs and your characters can sing solo or in a group.

I enjoy doing everything on Tomodachi Life. 

So that's what J thought. Then it was my turn to look around this little world filled with familiar looking mii's.

The reason they all looked so familiar is because J had created them based on people we know.

Here's Gran based on real life Granny which I thought was a good resemblance.

He's also created mii's based on his teachers, school friends and all time hero Mr. Moshi of Moshimonsters. He'd given Mr Moshi a personality and voice that was very realistic.

I decided to have a go at creating myself as a Mii. You can either use an existing one made on the Mii maker and then add the personality, temperament and voice characteristics. Or you can make one from scratch in Tomodachi Life. Just like on the Mii-maker, you can take a photo to use as a starting point or just create one choosing all of the features yourself from the outset.

We started by using a photo of me but I was dissapointed to end up with such a big nose, so we made a few tweaks. D then showed up and said he didn't think I looked pretty enough so I was happy to hand over the console and I have to say I was happy with the outcome.

Then we got stuck into having a nose around the island. The mii's all live in an apartment block, which gets upgraded to a bigger one and into different styles of apartment block to cater for a growing number of mii's living there.

You can feed your mii's and they have games they can play like wrestling or memory card matching games to help them win in-game 'treasures'. I won a big disco ball by winning my wrestling match. These treasures can be 'sold' to then buy food, clothes, hats and rooms.

There is a news feature which J described as quite funny as it makes up news about your mii characters and what they've been up to.

Your mii's can make best friends with each other or even get married and you don't get control over that. So we've ended up with some pretty odd marriage combinations!

I have to say this is a highly addictive game. I can see just why kids and adults could easily spend hours playing a game like this. I love the level of personalisation of the mii characters. I love the concept of using the mii characters to take on a life of their own on this fictional island. I loved the variety of activities you could do with your mii. I loved the funny news feature.

This is a fabulous fun game that is highly addictive!


Disaster Pasties (or wholemeal cheese and onion pasties gone wrong!)

After last night's bake off, me and Miss T decided to get back in the kitchen today and get baking again. I often feel a little home sick when we are away from home, but I hadn't banked on missing my kitchen so much whilst we were away in the Summer. Then last weeks European bakes were way too ambitious for us to even contemplate but what could go wrong with this week's pasties.

Well rather a lot we discovered. I had lots of stoneground wholemeal flour to use up so I wondered what a pasty might be like using wholemeal flour. So that's what we did. Not sure if the wholemeal flour was the culprit or just that I'd never made a pasty before so didn't have a clue what I was doing but they turned out rather disastrous. I don't think I helped matters by trying to make them more healthy by using half rapeseed oil and half butter for the fat content of the pastry.
My 'disaster' pasty
The pastry wouldn't hold together well so I ended up making a squidged together patchwork pasty. I couldn't bear doing anymore like that so the rest became little open tarts instead. 

Here's the recipe anyway if only to serve as a reminder of what NOT to do. Although the filling did turn out quite tasty. 

Ingredients for pastry:
300g stoneground wholemeal flour
75g butter
75g rapeseed oil
Pinch salt
4 tbs ice cold water

Method for pastry:
I made the most of my new kenwood food processor to blitz together the flour, butter, and oil to make breadcrumbs then adding in the water and salt to make a dough. A quick knead to bring it together and then I popped it in the fridge for around 15 minutes.

Ingredients for filling: (sorry I don't have quantities as this was a bit of a random throwing things together experiment)
Boiled potatoes chopped into chunks
2 small red onions
Grated emmental cheese 

plus 1 egg for glazing

1. Make your pastry as per above instructions (or rather don't follow that recipe if you want good pasties - find another recipe that is better!)
2. I used my food processor to finely chop the onion and parsley. Miss T helped take the stalks off the parsley first.

3. Mix together the grated cheese, potatoes, finely chopped red onion and parsley and your filling is ready.
4. This is where things really went pear shaped. Ideally I guess you'd now roll the dough into several circles, fill them and then fold over and crimp the edges. I struggled to roll the pastry without it breaking up.

So we made a single pasty and then moved onto a salvage plan and made the little tart type things. It meant I had a beaten egg left over as we didn't need to glaze the little tarts so I mixed the leftover filling into the egg and we made a kind of yummy cheese and onion potato cake made entirely of the leftovers. This was cooked on the hob for a few minutes each side.
eggy potato cake made with the leftover egg

Back to the disaster pasties...I baked the big pasty and the little tarts in the oven for 45 minutes at 180C but then put the oven up to 200C for the last bit of cooking time to make sure the pastry was cooked.

Miraculously the single pasty we made had somehow held together. It doesn't look particularly appetising but the little tarts actually tasted nice.

The wholemeal pastry might well have been a disaster but I liked the fact that it did taste healthy. I wonder if, with a few tweaks, it might work. Perhaps using all butter in it instead of oil? or perhaps adding an egg? I have no idea about these suggestions - so if anyone does know what might help please do let me know!

Regardless of the disaster, me and Miss T had fun together in the kitchen which is what cooking with kids should be all about.

Linking up with Mummy Mishap's Great Bloggers Bake Off:
And Raisie Bay's Kids in the Kitchen:
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