Welcome to Gastro-Entomology 101! Today we will take a closer look at the predatory dragonfly and the very sociable honey bee. Let's start this lesson off with a video clip I prepared. Will someone kindly turn down the lights?
Now that we've had a glimpse of the dietary behaviour shared among the Odonata and Apoidea, let's explore how they might fit into our diet.
Ever had stir-fry grasshoppers or beetles? Well, K was brave enough to sample the street fare while in Thailand a few years back, circa the meat-eating days. I still gag each time I think about it, yet, I am fascinated. So much so, that I decided to finally indulge - wuss style.
Insects are best enjoyed fresh, but first you need to catch them. I designed two types of traps, as shown above, each specific to a type of insect and concocted from secret ingredients to attract and lure the prey.
First in line, the ever sociable Honey Bee. Difficult to distract from its busy-bee, running around for the queen all day long self. This one was instantly attracted to the set trap, cleverly disguised by what he mistook for a honeycomb.
Once in contact with the surface, a magical adhesive was released, trapping the insect. No buzzing off for this little guy. Where's your queen when you need her, huh?
Next up, the super-cool, flying dragon with its long slender body and stained glass-like wings. Doesn't he just reek of coolness? I mean look at those sunglasses! Really? He too met the same fate as our bee friend.
So that we are clear - no insect was hurt in the making of the movie clip or cupcakes. These entomological delicacies were hatched from this recipe for modelling chocolate and this silicone mould. I then made them all pretty and blingy-like with edible dust in various colours (remember my sugar brooches?). The ingredients that attracted and lured these fancy fliers, lavender and honey - Lavender Honey cupcakes, to be exact. That secret adhesive, royal icing - yup!
I topped off this batch of cupcakes with black marshmallow fondant and used impression mats to create the patterns, which I then painted with edible dust dissolved in vodka. The other batch were treated differently and queued for a future post.
How about we end this lesson with a little bee rap?
Cue the beat -
I like bee butts and I cannot lie, those other bees can't deny, that when a bee flies by with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face, you get stung...Sir-Mix-A-Lot remake not your thing? How about a little bee humour?
Q: Who is the bee's favourite singer?
Q: What did the bee say to the naughty bee?
A: Bee-hive yourself.
Q: What did the confused bee say?
A: To bee or not to bee.
How about some dragonfly humour? Not to worry, couldn't find any worth sharing. Cue the sighs of relief...
Consider this the next time you reach for the honey -
Honey bees transform nectar into honey by a process of regurgitation? YUM!!
These cupcakes are tres facile to make, so what you waiting for?
(Bee humour borrowed from here.)
Lavender & Honey Cupcakes
Yields 18 regular-size cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1 tbsp. lavender honey (I bought mine from a farmer's market last year, but it can be found in health food stores and some supermarkets)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Prepare your muffin pan. If not using baking cups, grease and flour the pan.
Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
Combine all the ingredients in a mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium for 2-3 minutes, or until fully combined.
Use an ice-cream scooper to spoon batter into the cups/wells.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and let cool on a rack.
Decorate to your liking and enjoy!