The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

leek, potato and chive cakes with shallot and tomato sauce

leek, potato and chive cakes

This is the time of year when we gardeners like to indulge ourselves by browsing through seed catalogues and deciding what we want to grow in the year ahead. A proportion of the vegetable seeds I will be sowing this year are seeds I have saved from last season’s vegetables, all of them heritage (“true seed”) varieties. Some vegetable seeds are easy to collect, for example beans, peas, tomatoes and […]

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winter slaw with ginger and sesame dressing

winter cole slaw with ginger and sesame dressing

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses. This announcement is important for several reasons. Firstly, it underlines the important role pulses play in the diets of a significant part of the world’s population. Secondly, it highlights the need for us to look at more sustainable sources of protein, given the meat industry’s massive contribution to global warming and profligate use of increasingly scarce […]

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Tuscan style bean and vegetable soup

tuscan bean and vegetable soup

When we think of pollinators, we tend to think about bees, but butterflies are another important insect in the cycle of plant life. They pollinate plants whilst searching for plant nectar and, just like bees, their numbers are in alarming decline. In its report “The State of the UK’s butterflies 2015”, the Butterfly Conservation charity has recorded what it calls “major slumps” in the numbers of common butterfly species. The […]

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parsnip and chestnut soup with sage oil

parsnip and chestnut soup with sage oil A4

The UK’s world-renowned National Health Service (NHS) is creaking at the seams, in large part because it is spending more and more of its scarce resources on treating chronic conditions that result from poor diet. The NHS diverts far more resources into dealing with the symptoms than it does in addressing the causes. The latter could help tackle the former if we spent more on tackling the problems associated with […]

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Persian stuffed squash with tahini sauce and cinnamon onions

Persian stuffed onion squash

It is traditional at this time of year to consider those less well off than ourselves, and here in the UK there is no more poignant symbol of the divide between the haves and the have-nots than the food bank. They arose as a charitable and humanitarian response to growing inequality, and were intended to provide an emergency stop gap in times of need, but food banks have since have […]

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sweet potato and spring onion latkes

sweet potato and spring onion latkes

The plastic carrier bag was invented in the 1960s, although it really came into its own a decade or so later as supermarkets gradually came to dominate our shopping habits. Since then our reliance upon it has grown exponentially. Last year, in England alone, we got through a staggering 7.6 billion plastic carrier bags, which together weigh around 61,000 tonnes. Many of these bags end up as litter, much of […]

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chestnut and chocolate tart

chestnut and chocolate tart

Last month a rather bizarre court case commenced and ended abruptly in Los Angeles, USA. On one side was the refined sugar industry, represented by a group of major sugar refining companies. On the other was a consortium of manufacturers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), including global giants Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland. The lawsuit brought by the sugar manufacturers claimed that the HFCS manufacturers were guilty of “false […]

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portobello and wild mushroom and ale pie

portobello and wild mushroom and ale pie

It is something which is at once amazingly powerful and yet incredibly fragile. Without it we would not exist. Indeed, without it there would be no life on Earth. What is it? Soil. The living skin of planet Earth. This thin, fragile layer on the surface of our planet is literally teeming with life. Grab a small handful of soil and what you hold in your hand will contain more […]

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roast chicory and olive tart

roast chicory and olive tart

A bizarre, but also deeply disturbing, battle over food labelling has been waged across the USA over the past couple of years. On the one hand are consumer groups who believe US citizens have the right to know whether the food they buy contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs). On the other are the very companies responsible for putting GMOs into food who do not want US citizens to know if […]

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pear, walnut and pomegranate salad

pear, pomegranate and walnut salad

Whether it is through unfair European Union and government subsidies, or through the taxpayer having to underwrite the cost of cleaning up the environmental damage their growing methods can cause, fruit and vegetables grown using non-organic, chemical interventions such as pesticides often end up cheaper in the supermarkets than their organic equivalents. Being lured by the artificially lower prices of such produce can, however, mean exposing ourselves to greater risk. […]

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