Saturday, September 26, 2009

Locusts and butternut squash soup...all in a day.

The Great Big Veg Challenge has been asleep online for a few I recovered from a back injury. I have returned ashamed to find weeds in the garden in the form of Bloog Spam. Freddie and I have weeded the garden, turned over the soil and are back to share our vegetable-eating adventures with all of you who are kind enough to visit and read. Thank you!

To celebrate and get back into the right frame of mind to be adventurous we went to the new Darwin centre in the Natural History Museum. If you are ever in London, this is the most amazing place, recently opened by Prince William to house many millions of natural history specimens.
(Picture from Natural History Museum site)
They have opened the Attenborough Studio, a space-age space where you can sit and listen to scientists share their enthusiasm. The events are all broadcast live online so at 1230 today if you had logged on to the museum site you might have caught sight of me biting into a (dead) locusts, egged on by Freddie. This was the Edible Insects lecture with scientist and insect - eating enthusiast Stuart Hine. "Is this as bad as eating celeriac?"he whispered as I sat back down. Well, Stuart had kindly placed the fried locust into a rocket and marie rose sauce sandwich which made the prized locust seem more like a crunchy prawn. We have just got home and are preparing to eat a more conventional meal and share the recipe with you all. And its a soup that Freddie and Alex love. No locusts required. Oh - and because we need to get back to old habits - this soup gets a 10 out of 10 from the former Veggie-phobe.
Smoky Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup
Half a butternut squash ( around 700g)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 medium peeled potato
olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
5 carrots diced
1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock
3 tbsp of creme fraiche to serve
1 tsp of smoked paprika
salt and ground pepper to season

preheat oven to 180 c (350F)
Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds
Rub a little olive oil on the flesh and place the squash flesh-down on a baking tray with a little rosemary underneath. This adds the most delicious flavour to the squash. Bake for 40 mins in the oven. when ready, scoop out all the baked flesh. Put aside the rosemary.

Saute onion, garlic,diced potato, diced carrot in a pan with a little olive oil and the paprika. When the onions are softened and translucent. (takes about 4 mins)

When they are soft and ready - add the butternut squash flesh, the stock and
bring to the boil, stirring all the time. When it reaches boiling point, turn the heat right down and simmer gently for 20 mins.

Remove from the hob, stir in the creme fraiche and blend the soup in a processor or with a hand blender....

(No locusts required)

So what's weirdest food you have ever eaten?


  1. Good to see you back :) As for the oddest thing I've eaten (I'm not that adventerous!) is Dragon Fruit.

  2. Welcome back, you have been missed!

  3. Hi Charlotte and Freddie,

    So glad to have you back. And with a delicious soup recipe to boot!

    Hmm, weirdest food? Ostrich maybe. I don't know if that counts as weird or not.

  4. Welcome back! Hope you're feeling strong and well again :-)

    Edible Insects! how brave of you!

    The weirdest food? - I ate a lot of weird things when we went to Japan, but I have no idea what they were! Things steamed over magnolia leaves and strange speckly jelly stuff on lolly sticks.

    ... had reindeer steak in Stockholm - not very weird and very very tasty

    I'm up for tasting pretty much everything - but I'm not rushing back to eat tripe cooked Portugese style.


  5. charlotte9:17 PM

    Tripe - are right - that's a tricky one. I had a specialist tripe starter pate in Nante and I am afraid I did not enjoy it.
    Thank you all for your welcome back - it has been a tricky year and now getting easier.

  6. Anonymous10:09 PM

    welcome back Charlotte :o)
    I've not eaten any really unusual foods but the most weirdly cooked (and disgusting tasting) food was a meal made by some japanese students that stayed with us when I was a child. They were worried we wouldn't like their traditional japanese food so had a stab at making some english food too. Their tempura vegetables and a potato dish were lovely - the peas, scramble egg and boiled rice were not because they put masses of sugar in them all. We couldn't even swallow it the taste was so alien and syrupy.

  7. charlotte9:35 AM

    Nip in the Bud

    Peas and egg and rice and sugar. nice.....

  8. Good to see you back Charlotte, hope your year continues to improve.

    Love the idea of smoky soup too. Afraid I don't really have anything vastly unusual to report eating - would lavender count?

  9. Welcome back! It's so good to see you posting to your blog again.

  10. Squash anything is so good. I absolutely love fall for the huge variety of squash recipes being posted. Can't wait to try this one out.

    Bill M.

  11. So glad you are back & look forward to sharing your vegetable-eating adventures

    Hope your back is well & truly mended


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