The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

sweet potato, turnip and chickpea hash

sweet potato, turnip and chickpea hash

It’s Spring, at last, and the days are gradually getting longer and warmer. In the UK, the clocks go forward tomorrow and the Easter bank holiday is just a week away, a traditional time for many of us to start thinking about our gardens and allotments. One of the first jobs to tackle will be the weeding: as always it is the weeds, nature’s opportunists, which have stolen a march […]

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roasted Brussels sprouts and shallots with lemon and smoked sea salt

roast Brussels sprouts with shallot lemon and smoked sea salt

This week the Council of the European Union signed off a new Directive which could have huge ramifications for the food we eat. The Directive on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) will come into effect on 2 April. Its stated purpose is to allow Member States to ban or restrict the cultivation of genetically modified organisms on their territory, even if those crops have received EU approval. But at the same […]

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blood orange and thyme sorbet

blood orange and thyme sorbet

Healthy soil is fundamental to successful organic farming and gardening. If the soil is healthy, microbes and other soil organisms will thrive, and in turn will naturally decompose organic matter and harness nitrogen from the atmosphere, converting it into organic form. For the organic gardener there are a variety of ways to create and maintain a healthy soil. Many, like me, rely principally on compost generated from waste vegetable matter. […]

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chick pea curry with green pea pilau

chick pea curry with green pea pilau

Thousands of curry dishes are eaten every day in the UK, but few of them are cooked from scratch. Many are bought as ready meals or take-aways, although increasingly popular over recent years has been the ready made “cooking sauce”, representing a sort of “half way house”, where the cook prepares and cooks the other ingredients before stirring in the ready made sauce. By far and away the most popular […]

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radicchio, carrot and blood orange salad

raddicchio, carrot and blood orange salad

The human race first began growing crops around twelve thousand years ago and has been farming ever since. For the last 70 years – a mere 0.005% of the overall timespan – our farmers have been using manufactured pesticides. During this latter time period we have also witnessed a perilous decline in our bee population. This is not a coincidence. The European Union is currently half way through a three-year […]

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swede and carrot soup with smoked paprika

smoky swede and carrot soup

Many of the processes that are vital for life to flourish on this planet are dependent on interactions between living things, such as plants and micro organisms, and inorganic entities, such as the air, the oceans and the soil. Collectively, these interactions regulate the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere as well as its temperature, the fertility of its soil and even the salt levels in its oceans. The Gaia Hypothesis, […]

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rhubarb tart with star anise ice cream

rhubarb tart with star anise ice cream

An unavoidable challenge for any gardener is the problem of what to do about weeds, by which I mean plants which grow persistently in places you don’t want them. For me, weeding is a pretty routine task on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, but for one of the other plot holders on my site it is something of a special occasion. On the days he tackles his weeds he […]

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broccoli tempura with soy and ginger dipping sauce

broccoli tempura

For many decades, cigarette manufacturers refused to accept a growing body of scientific evidence which suggested a clear association between their products and diseases such as cancer. With the benefit of hindsight, it now seems extraordinary that anyone should have ever regarded smoking as anything other than an unwise and unhealthy activity. Ultimately, though, it was through decisive governmental action – restrictions on sales, enforced labelling, high taxation, restricted advertising, […]

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spinach, walnut and rosemary pesto

spinach, walnut and rosemary pesto

The worldwide fishing industry is in crisis. Fish stocks are in steep decline, and are not being replenished anywhere near as quickly as we are plundering them. Rather than respond to the crisis by drastically reducing the overall amount it catches, the industry has instead responded by employing more and more extreme techniques to maximise its haul of the dwindling fish stocks that remain. What is more, it has been […]

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roast savoy cabbage with miso and sesame

roast cabbage with miso and sesame

Those of us who grow our own food usually spend this time of year leafing through seed catalogues and planning what we are going to grow in the season ahead. Many of us will also have saved at least some of our own seeds from last year’s crops for sowing this year (I, for example, will be sowing pea, chickpea, tomato, pumpkin, butternut squash, Japanese onion squash, dwarf French bean, […]

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