Mash hits

[Recipe 1] SWEET POTATO and TUNA CROQUETTES with GREEN GODDESS SAUCE transform into
[Recipe 2] MINI SHEPHERD’S PIES with SWEET POTATO TOPPING
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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.