I ate crickets in a chilli con carne but it's not as crazy as you think! Some people may cringe and be weirded out at the idea of eating bugs, but I love a challenge and taking on a strange new adventure especially when it comes to food.

From rabbit to kangaroo meat I've tried it all - but eating edible insects has always intrigued me due to its great source of nutrients. According to the Natural Institutes of Health, researchers generally agree that insects are extremely rich in protein, fat, and vitamins.

The only thing that has stopped me thus far is the appearance, I couldn't imagine indulging on a long-legged, big-eyed creature that I would normally scream at if I saw them. Luckily, STOCKED and YumBug partnered up to offer a chilli con carne ready meal with minced cricket meat.

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'Minced cricket meat,' you may be wondering, yes you read that correctly. Yum Bug and STOCKED share a vision for creating a more sustainable food system, and together they have created the UK’s most adventurous ready meal yet.

Yum Bug is the UK’s leading cricket meat company on a mission to change perspectives about edible insects in the UK, whilst STOCKED create nutritious, chef-cooked, award-winning meals, which are frozen into space-saving, personally portioned Blocks.

East London-based entrepreneurs Charlie Gilpin and Sam Moss, who created STOCKED, appeared on TV screens nationwide in February, as they took on the Dragons’ Den, ultimately gaining backing from Steven Bartlett. I was fortunate enough to receive a package with 4 different ready meals; Chilli con Cricket, Smoky No'rizo, Curried Chickpeas, and the Chicken Tinga.

A range of STOCKED ready meals
A range of STOCKED ready meals

For the taste test, I decided to have a Mexican feast with my friend by using the Chilli con Cricket and the Smoky No'rizo. As a starter, we used the vegan chorizo-ready meal as a topping for homemade nachos.

I love my nachos with guacamole and pico de Gallo (a type of salsa that is not a sauce). The prep was simple, easy and cheap. Ingredients and Methods went as follows:

Nachos - use your favourite tortilla chips I used lightly salted tortilla chips by Sainsbury's

Pico De Gallo - Chop up each ingredient finely and combine in a bowl

  • 4 Tomatoes
  • 1 Red Onions
  • Half a bag of Fresh Coriander
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • A teaspoon of Salt
  • A teaspoon of Black Pepper
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Lemon
Guacamole and pico de gallo prep
Guacamole and pico de gallo prep

Guacamole - Mash the avocado until smooth, chop finely and combine the ingredients in a bowl.

  • 2 Medium ripe Avacados
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Lime
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • Half a bag of Fresh Corriander
  • A pinch of Paprika
  • A pinch of salt
  • Chilli flakes to taste

Cheese sauce - Put milk and cheese in a pan and season to your taste, you can also add flour for thickness.

  • Full-Fat Milk
  • Cheddar cheese

Smoky No'rizo - Take out of the packet and place in a bowl, heat for 3 minutes per block.

Homemade nachos with stocked's smokey No’rizo
Homemade nachos with stocked's smokey No’rizo

Each pack of STOCKED ready meals contains 8 Blocks which is enough for 2-4 meals and can be heated in 3 minutes. STOCKED Blocks can be served with rice, baked potato or pasta, or as fillings for wraps and sandwiches, or get creative with tacos and curries.

I enjoyed the Smoky No'rizo with my nachos, I was pleasantly surprised by the smell as it was the same as chorizo. The texture was smooth like a sauce but not like regular chorizo.

Whilst the flavour was delicious, it is not a direct dupe for the pork sausage but definitely had hints of the smoky flavour. The servings were great, for the two of us we had 2 blocks in one packet on our massive plate of nachos to share which only took 6 minutes.

Now for the moment of truth...the crickets. With the prep for the nachos taking a bit of time we wanted to see if we could make a fast ready meal that doesn't require much to do. For the Chilli con Cricket, we heated it up with Uncle Ben's Mexican rice which takes only 2 minutes in the microwave.

STOCKED chilli con cricket with uncle ben's rice
STOCKED chilli con cricket with uncle ben's rice

For added texture, we put some leftover pico de Gallo for some crunch and extra flavour. We used 6 blocks of the chilli con cricket for the two of us which was the perfect amount for a dinner portion. The texture was also quite smooth but looked like regular beef mince.

I have to say...it smelled fantastic! I honestly thought it looked and smelled like a regular chilli con carne. I took the first bite in uncertain anticipation. When you first bit into it you couldn't tell you was eating anything out of the ordinary.

Despite being delicious and full of flavour, I have to mention the texture was a bit chewy, which is unexpected when you think of insects. My friend compared it to eating liver but as someone who has never tried liver (surprisingly), I wouldn't be able to agree. If you didn't know it was crickets then you would assume you were eating chewy minced beef but the flavour was worth the try.

If you don't like rice then STOCKED has a list of recipes on their site. The food company has won a Great Taste Award and offers Nutritious and preservative-free meals. The ready meals has fresh, high-quality ingredients that is low fat, high fibre and high in protein.

STOCKED not only offers plant-based meals and edible insects but it also has a range of meat-inspired meals. Simply choose your Blocks, how many you’d like, and pair them with a side that everyone will eat.

Orders of STOCKED start at £44.00 for four packs of eight Blocks; Blocks are priced from as little as £1.17 when you pick a six-pack subscription, courier delivery included. Order boxes as a one-off, save by subscribing or gift to house movers or new parents. Join the block party and get your freezer stocked at www.stockedfood.com

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