If you have some nice shredded ham hock or smoked ham, these little savoury cakes are a nice way to use it up. A potato ricer makes lovely smooth mash but little ones will probably have to watch you do it as they won't have the muscle to do the job alone. These versions are oven-baked, not fried, to keep the fat content down. Serve with peas or green beans and a dollop of herby crème fraîche, if you like. You can freeze these uncooked then cook from frozen at 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6 for 40 minutes.
1kg King Edwards
250g ham hock or ripped-up smoked ham
4 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp capers (optional)
salt and pepper
2 tbsp polenta, for coating
a few dollops of crème fraîche mixed with extra flat-leaf parsley, to serve (optional)
cooked green beans or peas, to serve
Takes 55 minutes
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Boil the kettle, peel the potatoes and chop into equal-sized pieces. Simmer in the boiling water until soft (about 15 minutes) then drain really well in a colander.
2. Spoon into a potato ricer and show the kids how to make the potato rain through it into a large mixing bowl (or pound with a masher). Show them how to crack in the egg then add the ham. Get them to finely chop the parsley and add that too (kids find this easiest using multi-blade herb scissors like these). Add the capers, too, if using, plus salt and pepper. Give it all a really good mix.
3. Lightly drizzle a large roasting tray with olive oil. Now divide your mixture into 8 equal pieces and shape into little cakes about 2cm thick (the kids may find this easiest with slightly wet hands). As you shape the cakes put them straight into the tray. Carefully flip them in the oil to coat them on both sides then get the kids to sprinkle over the polenta. Turn over again, coating the cakes on both sides in the excess polenta in the tray.
4. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through then serve with peas or green beans and a dollop of herby crème fraîche, if liked.