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Melt the butter in a pan, then fry the onions and bacon together for 10 mins until the onions are soft and bacon has started to colour. Add the cabbage or sprouts to the pan with a good grinding of black pepper. Stir well, then add a splash of water and cook, covered, for 5 mins more until tender.
Tip the potatoes and cooked veg into the pan, then mash really well. Mix in the eggs, then season to taste. Turn onto a floured surface, flatten out, then cut into squares about the size of a scone. Roll each piece into a cigar shape about 10cm long and the width of a £2 coin. Cool.
Roll each croquette in the flour, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. Put onto a tray and chill for at least 1 hr.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Heat a 5mm depth of oil in a large frying pan; then, once a crumb turns golden within a few secs, shallow-fry the croquettes in 2 batches for 2 mins each side, turning carefully. Drain on kitchen paper and transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for 15 mins or, if making ahead, cover and chill for up to 2 days. To reheat, give them 15 mins in the oven at 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 until hot through and crisp on the outside.