Mash hits


I’m sitting here, mug of hot cocoa in hand, blogging and Pinteresting to my heart’s content. The lovely husband is away on his annual man’s weekend. This years’ theme was Japanese so they’re ploughing through episodes of The Samurai and Gigantor, chugging sake in front of an open fire. I sent him on his way with a load of Tsukune (teriyaki chicken meatballs) and Sweet potato, quinoa and edamame salad with miso dressing.*
I spent the afternoon with some beautiful lady friends (partners/wives of the men’s weekend gang), kids and dogs; chatting, eating and drinking wine. The boys and I feel very well-nourished. Thanks JC!
Now, onto cooking… this week’s recipes (and rather gaudy photos) feature mash! Mash is fantastic and it’s always worth making more than you need as you can use it in countless ways. Leftover potato mash is perfect for korokke (Japanese potato croquettes), mashed pumpkin can be hidden in chocolate muffins and sweet potato mash forms the base for gorgeous Sweet potato and tuna croquettes. The only tricky bit with these croquettes is the double-crumbing, a technique I stole from the Dutch. This makes for the most beautiful crispy croquettes, and the crunchy layer protects the molten cheesy filling.
I’m all for my boys enjoying vegetables in many configurations, so the occasional deep-fried treat is fine by me. These croquettes are excellent dunked into classic Green Goddess sauce – a concoction traditionally made with sour cream, tarragon and parsley. Personally, I find blended tarragon and parsley can taste a bit like lawn clippings; so I prefer a mixture of dill and mint. I also use yogurt in place of sour cream.
Reserve half the sweet potato mash to use as topping for Mini shepherd’s pies. You can use just about any meat-based sauce, stew or ragu as the base – I’ve listed my suggestions in the recipe. We especially love Bolognaise shepherd’s pies. They make a fab change from pasta, and my kids will hoover anything mini-sized. How cute are the Le Creuset mini baking dishes?? I borrowed them from my lovely neighbour, who has an enviable excellently-stocked kitchen. Thanks Tracey!
*I know I’m the quintessential 1950s housewife cooking for my man, but we fell into gender-stereotypical roles pretty quickly in our relationship I’m afraid. I love to cook (no, really)! He doesn’t, but is happy cleaning, fixing stuff and doing the gardening. I figure as long as the boys witness me cleaning the loo and their dad occasionally cooking, they’ll grow up to be well-balanced young men. Thankfully both our boys love cooking, something I’m very happy about!

Sweet potato and tuna croquettes[Recipe 1] Sweet potato and tuna croquettes with Green Goddess sauce

Ingredients for the mash (serves 4 for 2 meals):
650g (1½ lb) peeled, chopped, mashing potatoes (desiree, sebago, spunta, idaho or coliban)

650g (1½ lb) peeled, chopped, orange sweet potatoes
1 large garlic clove, crushed
tablespoons (approx. 30g) butter, chopped
⅓ cup (80ml) milk
¾ cup (75g) finely grated vintage cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra ingredients for the croquettes (serves 4, makes 16 croquettes):
45g (1½ oz) almond meal
2 spring onions, green ends only, finely chopped (approx. ¼ cup)
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1 x 185g (6 oz) can tuna in olive oil, drained
1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting

4 eggs, beaten
2 cups dry breadcrumbs
Vegetable or sunflower oil for deep-frying
Green Goddess sauce, to serve

Place potatoes and sweet potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until soft. Drain and return potatoes to pan. Add the garlic, butter, milk, cheese, salt and pepper and mash well.
♦ Reserve half the mash (600g/2 heaped cups) for the mini shepherd’s pies with sweet potato topping.
To the reminder of the mash add the almond meal, spring onions, sweet chilli sauce, lemon rind and tuna and mix well. Refrigerate mixture for at least one hour (and up to 1 day), to allow it to firm up.
Roll about 16 little sausage-shaped logs from the mixture. 
Double-coat the croquettes. Spread 1 cup of breadcrumbs out on a plate. Dredge each croquette in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip into egg and coat well with the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate the croquettes for at least 15 minutes to help the coating adhere.
Repeat the entire coating process, using the second cup of breadcrumbs, so that each croquette gets two coats of flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Your hands will be a mess, but it’s worth the effort!
Deep-fry the croquettes in two batches at 180°C (350ºF) for 2–3 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t be tempted to cook them for longer, as they’ll start to split.
If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test whether the oil is ready by dropping a few breadcrumb lumps in the pot. They should sizzle as soon as they hit the oil.
Drain croquettes on kitchen paper and serve immediately, with Green goddess sauce.

  • Croquettes can be made in advance and stored uncooked in the fridge for up to 1 day.
  • Croquettes are best eaten immediately. They don’t stand up to re-heating in the oven as they lose their beautiful crispiness.
  • I’m not normally one to spruik multi-Nationals, however, Aldi’s ‘White Mill’ dry bread crumbs are magnificent! They contain rye, oats, barley, wheat bran, oat bran, linseeds, sesame seeds, amaranth and quinoa! And they’re made in Australia.
Mini shepherd's pies

[Recipe 2] Mini shepherd’s pies with sweet potato topping

Ingredients (serves 4):
800g (1.8 lb) bolognaise sauce (or lamb ragu or beef and guinness stew or chilli con carne)
♦ 2 heaped cups (600g) reserved sweet potato mash
1 egg, whisked

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Divide bolognaise (or ragu, stew or chilli con carne) amongst four 5cm (2″) deep 1 cup capacity lightly-oiled ovenproof dishes or ramekens.
♦ Spread evenly with reserved sweet potato mash and roughen the surface with a fork.
You’ll need about half a cup of mash for each mini shepherd’s pie. Brush tops lightly with egg.
Place shepherd’s pies on a baking tray. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until tops are golden.
Serve with a green salad.

36 thoughts on “Mash hits

  1. croquettes are something that I always say, yep, I’ll make them and never get round to doing. I think I get scared off that they are too time consuming…I do love them though.
    As for stereotypical roles, hmm, yes same here. As long as my kids get to see a fair share of warrior princess from me rather than barbie princess, I don’t mind. I just like cooking!

    • Honestly Brydie, these croquettes are a cinch and you can even handball the log-rolling duties to the kids! Ha, ha I can’t picture you being a princess in any guise but perhaps that’s the private, unshared you 😉

  2. What a fantastic post, dear Saskia! I love home-made croquettes a lot but rarely make tem at home. Your special croquettes look Amazing superb even! MMMMMMMMMMMMMM! I also love your 2nd recipe: so apart & well flavoured!

  3. Oh yum! Saskia, this is such a gorgeous post. I adore mashed potato. There’s just something so warm and comforting about it. Oh, and re the gender roles… I am exactly the same as you! I love cooking, I actually love washing up also (it’s the therapeutic warm water thing) so I have no desire for my husband (who hates both) to have to do these tasks. He’s like your man – he loves fixing things, he cleans the car and occasionally the house, he does the hard stuff that I can’t do. I love it, no matter what anyone says! 🙂 I do think your men are pretty lucky though. You’re awesome x

  4. Another drool-worthy post! Lovely orange … and how could anyone resist something called green goddess sauce! I’ve seen it in vintage recipes but have never tried it despite its fascination. RE. the Aldi breadcrumbs – I was surprised by the ingredients when I chanced to buy some. I’m usually suspicious of packaged breadcrumbs and couldn’t quite believe my luck.

    • Thanks Pinry! It’s the best-named sauce isn’t it. It was apparently invented in the 20s as a tribute to an actor in a play of the same name. I’d love to have seen his face when presented with it. It’s not exactly Peach Melba is it? It is delicious though! Occasionally Aldi really do come up with the goods. Their ‘Dairy Dream’ Creamy Greek Style deli yogurt is to die for too.

  5. Ahhhh the boys weekend! My husband is currently on a boy’s week (annual fishing trip in Northern Saskatchewan –two provinces over). It is also birthday week and my work is out of control busy. Can you feel the stress? Love the croquettes. Do hey also work well with just regular potatoes? I can’t get the girls to eat sweet potatoes. Shall we plan a girls’ weekend and meet in the middle? Fiji? Hawaii? I recently met up with a couple blogging friends and it was AMAZING! Felt like I was visiting with old friends. Have a glass of wine for me!

    • The kids at school sometimes called me Saskatchewan. No one could say my name properly. It always puzzled me as surely Saskia is much easier to say than Saskatchewan, but I digress…
      It must be the season for men’s weekends! Ha, wouldn’t a half-way catchup be ace! I’ve met one blogging friend, which was lovely – we call ourselves penfriends.
      I definitely think the croquettes would work with regular potatoes. You could also swap the sweet potato for butternut squash. Hope work eases up for you Barb.

  6. Man weekend eh. Tyler goes on a golf trip every year and I suppose that is the same thing really. His are themed around beer and golf though.. the Japanese theme sounds much better to me! Let me count the ways I love mash – there are so many. It has been my go-to my whole life. I think it first happened around the time that I had braces that made my mouth hurt so bad that I couldn’t chew. I would happily eat a bowl of mashed potatoes with parmesan grated on top. It is my favourite ‘meal’ and I love the sweet potato take!

    • We’re huge mash fans too, and yes that was one of my favourite ‘meals’ too when I was a college lady.
      At least Tyler’s weekend has some form of physical activity to counter all the alcohol. I had a very seedy man arrive home on Sunday night!

  7. Great idea combining regular potatoes with orange sweet potatoes giving the mash not only a deliciously sweet taste but also a beautiful color. I too am a freezer junkie. Helps to save time and money.

    • Exactly! One of my favourite whitegoods is our small stand-alone freezer. It’s tucked into the hallway cupboard with a very nerdy hand-written contents list magnetized to the top. I start to mildly panic when nearly everything on the list is crossed off. It sets off a frenzy of soup, stew and sauce making.

  8. Saskia! You are so creative! These sweet potato dishes are amazing….I absolutely love sweet potatoes in any form. I’m loving the croquettes and that green goddess sauce looks like something I’d like to drink! 🙂

    • Thank you! I think we must both be on a sweet potato binge at the moment – loving the look of those SP fries in your latest post! Ha – I do confess to spooning quite a lot of the Green Goddess sauce straight into my mouth while I was testing it! It’s quite like an adult-friendly thick-shake.

  9. I like both dishes but those mini-shepherd’s pies seem tailor-made for me. Rather than make a large baking dish that I’d be eating for a few meals, these mini-dishes could be frozen and spread out over a few weeks. In Winter, they’d be especially welcome. Thanks for sharing, Saskia.

  10. I’ve been going through an absolute craze with sweet potatoes, and I love that all of this is soooo different from anything I’ve done with them! These recipes look deeply delicious and comforting. My teenager routinely avoids sweet potatoes, saying ‘they just aren’t my thing’, but I have a feeling that he must just become a convert if I try these (fingers crossed!). Your man-free weekend sounds like it has been delightful. Our household is equally traditional, with me doing the cooking and my husband doing other things. He’s a bit unusual in that he bakes bread (and is doing so as I write), but that contribution is quite sporadic and our roles are otherwise fairly traditional. Whatever works!

    • Thanks df! I LOVE sweet potato too. I find the best way to encourage my boys to eat it is to add ‘normal’ potato to the mix. It makes for a firmer, more potato-ish mash; which the boys very happily eat. They do love sweet potato chips though, but I guess kids will eat anything ‘chipped’.

  11. i love the sweet potato shepherd pies= something i can make from leftovers!!! my husband, the chef has a new job and won’t be home in time to make dinner so it’s officially up to me and the kids who are home on summer break. i’ll be diving into your blog to look for more recipes now 🙂

  12. Your sweet potatoe recipes are just what I need with this cold weather in the deep South of Australia.
    Such delicious comfort food.

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