Surrey Street treats: butternut squash soup

By - Friday 25th April, 2014

In the first instalment of a new series, Jess Bashford whips up a delicious soup with ingredients from Surrey Street market

G.Y. Liang International Produce stall where Jess bought her ingredients. Image taken by author and used with permission.

Surrey Street Market is always bustling. You find yourself weaving between swathes of people up to your elbows in fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s something that’s been part of Croydon since medieval times and something that I think would be great for us to use more. When I’ve had to pop into the town centre recently, I’ve made an effort to nip down to Surrey Street and buy some ingredients. As a food lover, I decided it was about time I make use of this convenient cove of fresh produce. So I thought I’d start sharing some of the things I whip up based around what I buy. Hopefully it’ll get some of you popping out and using the market’s gems yourself.

Here’s my first attempt: butternut squash soup. A substantial soup with a warming hint of heat (and I’ve thrown in some crunchy croutons too.)


Image taken by author and used with permission.

From the market: A hefty butternut squash and four bulbs of garlic from G.Y. Liang International Produce (£2.49).

From the kitchen: A large onion, a carrot, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp cumin seeds or powder, 1 tsp dried chilli, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp parsley, about 1 litre chicken (or vegetable) stock, 2 bay leaves, salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon, couple of slices of bread and a sprinkling of parmesan.


1) Chop your onion, carrot and three garlic cloves and soften them in a big pan with a touch of oil.

2) Chuck in the herbs and spices and stir them through.

3) Now for the only hard part: peeling and cutting your butternut squash. Chop your squash into small, peeled pieces and pop them in the pan with everything else.

4) Pour in your stock so that it just covers everything, stick the bay leaves in and clamp that lid on.

5) Let everything simmer for 30 minutes.

6) While things are simmering away, make your croutons. Tear a couple of slices of bread on to a tray covered in baking paper. (Save yourself some washing up by making them on the tray.)

7) Scatter pepper and parsley over the bread. But don’t bother with salt – put parmesan on instead.

8) Using your hands, get all the bread coated with the pepper, parsley, parmesan and a little bit of oil. Also chuck a garlic clove – still in its skin – on the tray.

9) When you’re nearly ready to eat them, pop them in the oven at 200 degrees for around 12 minutes. (Or just wait until they’re crispy enough for you.)

10) Once your pot has been simmering for 30 minutes, check that the squash is soft. If it is, take it off the heat. If it isn’t, leave it simmering until it is.

11) When your squash is soft, take out the bay leaves and use a hand blender to blitz everything into soup. Get it smooth or leave it as chunky as you like.

12) Now try it and add anything extra that you want to fit your taste. I like to add a good spritz of lemon and take the garlic clove from the crouton tray (once they’ve been cooked) and squeeze it out of its skin into the soup.

13) Make sure everything is combined and blitzed to how you like, ladle it out and sprinkle your croutons on top.

All that’s left is to eat your Surrey Street treat.

Image taken by author and used with permission.

Image taken by author and used with permission.

Jess Bashford

Jess Bashford

Jess Bashford is a writer at a brand language consultancy and an English literature and creative writing graduate. She’s passionate about showing that Croydon is a great place to live and excited to delve into Croydon’s cultural side. She loves all things wordy and foody.

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  • Anne Giles

    Looks delicious!