The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

peach, smoked avocado and mozzarella salad

peach, smoked avocado and mozzarella salad

I recently returned from a week’s holiday in Avignon in Provence, Southern France, a town and a region with a great and enduring love for good food. Returning to the contrasting food culture of the UK has left me pondering about the very strange paradox that seems to underpin the British public’s relationship with food. On the one hand, UK restaurants have undergone a renaissance over the past two decades, […]

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courgette, tomato and olive tian

courgette, tomato and olive tian

Three weeks ago the Guardian newspaper reported an attempt by the British government to shelve publication of the official report from an Inquiry into the country’s 2013 horse meat scandal. Yesterday, the report was finally published. The Inquiry, chaired by Professor Chris Elliott of Belfast’s Queens University, had been set up to investigate how horse meat had managed to find its way into a range of processed meat products for […]

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tomato, lentil and tamarind soup

tomato, lentil & tamarind soup

Sometimes you eat something and it is so good that it fleetingly stops you in your tracks, suddenly, unexpectedly giving you a deep sense of wellbeing, the kind of food that you never want to stop eating. That’s what I envisage whenever I hear the expression that something has been “cooked with love”. For me, it signifies food from pure, wholesome ingredients that have been put together with the intention […]

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Thai basil and lemongrass ice cream

Thai basil and lemongrass ice cream

There is one very big advantage to making your own ice cream: you know exactly what has gone into it, an important consideration given that there are nearly 1,500 registered chemicals than can be used legally in commercial ice cream making Since making a successful soy-milk based elderflower ice cream a couple of months ago I have been experimenting more and more with natural vegan ice cream flavour combinations, and […]

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onion bhaji

onion bhaji

Several research projects in recent years have confirmed the positive effects of gardening as a mental health intervention, particularly in cases involving anxiety and depression. This makes sense: we gardeners plant and sow seeds, often in cold and unpromising conditions, in the hope and expectation that good things will grow from them. We are optimists, either by nature or through experience. Gardening encourages us to adapt to a different pace […]

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cucumber, shallot and strawberry salad with mint and passionfruit dressing

cucumber, shallot and strawberry salad

Right now, here in the UK, we have a wonderful abundance of locally grown, fresh organic fruit and vegetables to choose from, making it the perfect time to prepare and appreciate a good quality salad. This is a recipe for one which is delicious, quick to prepare and light on calories. Fresh food is an uncomplicated, healthy alternative to the fatty, sugary, additive-loaded processed foods that form such a large […]

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Vietnamese style tofu with pak choi and basil

Vietnamese-style  tofu with pak choi

Last month the global chemicals giant Syngenta applied to the UK government for an “emergency exemption” from a temporary EU ban on the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids. Thanks in no small part to the activities of environmental protesters and the campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, who delivered a petition of 200,000 signatures to Downing Street, Syngenta eventually decided to withdraw its request just before the cabinet was due to discuss […]

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carpaccio of summer vegetables

summer vegetable carpaccio

Although we humans probably like to think of ourselves as the single most successful organism on this planet, there is a strong argument that it is bacteria which should occupy that position. Capable of evolving at extremely fast rates, bacteria are as a consequence supremely adaptable to any challenges their environment throws at them. Over the relatively short human time span since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin eighty six years ago, […]

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chocolate and olive oil mousse with kirsch soaked cherries

chocolate and olive oil mousse with kirsch soaked cherries

Cherries have a short but glorious growing season. I don’t grow them myself but I am fortunate enough to know someone who does, and who has kindly donated some to me for this recipe. The centrepiece is a wonderful chocolate mouse adapted from a brilliant recipe by Gabriela Llamas, a chef who runs an acclaimed cookery school in Madrid. As with all my recipes, the eggs I’ve used in this […]

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roasted cauliflower and thyme risotto with lemon pangritata

roasted cauliflower and thyme risotto

A couple of months ago I received an approach from Suma, a vegetarian wholefoods cooperative based in Yorkshire, who asked if I would be willing to join their newly formed vegan and vegetarian bloggers network by creating recipes for their bi-monthly catalogue. Suma runs on strong ethical principles, specialising in fairly traded, organic and natural products, and as a workers’ cooperative to boot they pretty much tick all the right […]

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