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#ThatTranslatorCanCook week 8: Squash and Sweet Potato Crumble

The humble crumble originated in the UK, first making an appearance during World War II, as a more ration-friendly substitute to pies – as the wonderful Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall explains.

As a simple yet satisfying dessert, I’ve made many a crumble in my time, featuring delicious seasonal fruit like apples and rhubarb (or even better – feijoa or tamarillo, if I’m in NZ). However this was my first ever savoury crumble.

Based on my own experience, and a brief search of popular recipe websites for France and the UK, it seems savoury crumbles might be more common in France than in the UK.

What say you, Brits – did a savoury crumble feature in your childhood home, or does it feature now, in your cooking repertoire?


I mainly chose this recipe as I was looking for recipes to feature butternut squash, that was something a bit different from soup.

To eat, to carve, to stuff, as cattle feed? The differences between pumpkins, squashes, gourds, or citrouille, courge, potiron,

Growing up in New Zealand, as I remember, supermarkets sold two varieties of this stuff: the greyish-green skinned, bright orange fleshed ‘pumpkin,’ and butternut squash. The former was always referred to simply as ‘pumpkin’ and featured in soups and in roast meals, alongside kūmara (sweet potato), potatoes, and parsnips.

However, since living in the UK and visiting my local farmers’ market, I’ve discovered a huge variety of squashes, such as spaghetti, patty pan, kuri squashes – and the list goes on. Find a description and picture of a number of varieties.

What is a ‘squash’?

The most useful definition I can offer is that you should eat squash, hollow out pumpkins for Hallowe’en, and save gourds for hitting burglars over the head with. And let’s be clear: a marrow is a rubbery canoe in which no amount of spiced filling can counteract its ­intolerable blandness.

So, in fact, a NZ ‘pumpkin’ is a British ‘squash’, and in fact the variety so familiar to me seems to be a ‘Crown Prince’. I suspect that distinctions are different in North America, but can’t provide any insight there.

Courge (UK English ‘squash’)

  • General term for the cucurbita family.

Citrouille (UK English ‘pumpkin’)

  • The large orange variety with fibrous flesh, used for carving at Halloween. Otherwise, used for feeding livestock.

Potiron (UK English ‘squash’)

  • Said to often be confused with citrouille – there at least seven varieties in this category, including buttercup.

Getting down to the nitty gritty

(Based on information provided in this article on The Telegraph) There are three main species of squash:

Cucurbita moschata

  • Bright orange flesh, some of which is stringy. Includes the butternut.

Cucurbita pepo

  • Very diverse, includes the courgette, acorn squashes, ornamental groups, spaghetti squashes.

Cucurbita maxima

  • Huge number of varieties, with superb flavour. Grow well in cool climates and store well. Includes the hubbard, turban, and bananas squashes.

Other fun facts

  • As mentioned above, courgettes are part of this family, being its summer manifestation. Now that I think about it, given the general name courge, the word courgette now makes complete sense (since ‘ette’ is a diminutive, indicating that something is small or cute).

  • courge can also be used as an insult in French, meaning ‘idiot.’


The dish was tasty – with such a large amount of parmesan in the crumble topping, I could hardly go wrong. However, next time, I would leave the hazelnuts chunkier, and bake it perhaps a little longer, to ensure a greater variety of texture. Adding some additional herbs or spices would be nice for a bit more excitement perhaps.

Next time

No fixed plans just yet – keep your eyes peeled your ears pricked.

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