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The perfect spicy croquettes by Ben Smith

It was great to be able to order click-and-collect or contactless delivery food when we were under level 3 conditions and I hope you supported your local restaurants and takeaway businesses, they worked hard to ensure we were able to enjoy their food in a safe manner.

It was also a great time to continue honing those cooking skills at home but now we have eased into level 2 restrictions we need to remember how much we actually enjoyed spending time in the kitchen.

To help motivate you Ben Smith from Street Food on Washington has given me a recipe for Jalapeno and Corn Croquettes with Ranch Dressing to share with you.  

He says while the recipe has a few steps they really are easy and is a dish that’s easy to make with the kids.

Ben and his wife Bridgette own Street Food on Washington and all four of their children work in the business at various times so they totally understand the benefit of cooking with the kids, Ben says “they learn a range of life skills as well as a bit about cooking, they learn they need to be self-sufficient in life and the benefit of good food. And if they help to make the food they tend to enjoy eating it more too.”

“These croquettes are really versatile, you can add as much jalapeno as you like, maybe split the batch into two and add more for the adults and less for the kids. It also doesn’t matter if the shape isn’t perfect, especially when the kids make them. They can even make their own shapes so they know which croquettes are theirs.

“They’re perfect as an entree with a small side salad, to serve with fresh pan fried fish or you can even add them to a homemade burger as part of the filling” says Ben.

If the kids are helping there’s only one rule – frying them in the hot oil is an adult’s only job, the last thing anyone needs is kids with hot oil burns.




  • 125 g Flour
  • 125g Butter 
  • 600ml Milk
  • 150g Creamed Corn
  • 150g Jalapeno
  • 100g Grated cheese
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Paprika (either hot or smoked to suit your taste)


  • 150g Flour 
  • 150g Breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 ml milk 

Ranch dressing 

  • 200 ml plain Yoghurt
  • 200ml Mayonnaise
  • 1 stick celery finely chopped
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced 
  • 2 cloves of Garlic crushed or finely chopped
  • 20 ml White wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Parsley chopped (small handful) 


Ranch Dressing

  1. Blend yoghurt Mayonnaise garlic and celery remove from blender into small bowl 
  2. Add lemon juice and zest 
  3. Add White wine vinegar 
  4. Add salt & pepper to taste 
  5. Add parsley 
  6. Whisk to combine 

Croquette mix

  1. Melt butter in medium sauce pan 
  2. Add flour over low heat and stir to make a rue
  3. Add milk 50 ml at a time and whisk after each addition until sauce is smooth 
  4. Leave on low heat for 5 min stir occasionally 
  5. Remove from heat 
  6. Chop the jalapeno and add to sauce 
  7. Add creamed corn, cheese, salt, pepper and paprika 
  8. Stir to combine 
  9. Line a small tray with baking paper and pour mix into tray approx 2 inch deep 
  10. Place in fridge to cool for at least 4 hours 

Assembly and cooking

  1. Prepare egg wash by whisking eggs and milk together In large bowl 
  2. Place flour and breadcrumbs in two more separate bowls 
  3. Remove croquette tray from the fridge and tip out onto a chopping board 
  4. Cut set mix into 5cm squares 
  5. Dusk each square with flour 
  6. Place each square into egg wash 
  7. Drain of excess eggs and coat in Breadcrumbs 
  8. Return croquettes to the fridge 
  9. For min half hour 


  1. Heat some oil in medium sauce pan or suitable deep fryer 
  2. When oil is hot carefully place each croquette into the oil for 1 to 2 min and turn over half way through 
  3. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels 
  4. Season with salt and serve with ranch dressing 

Published in the Nelson Mail 15-09-2021

I have been writing a regular wine column for The Nelson Mail newspaper since 2000.

Unfortunately the column space is not big enough to include my thoughts on all of the many wines I taste. Hopefully this blog will fix that. It also gives me somewhere to archive the many columns I write. I will also include some favourite recipes from my dearly beloved who loves cooking and of course because wine and food simply go together. I will also point you in the direction of upcoming events and websites I think are great. Enjoy, Neil

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