The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

spinach, mozzarella and Parmesan sausages

spinach and parmesan sausages

California, the state known as America’s breadbasket because it provides so much of the USA’s fresh food, is going through its worst drought in a generation. California is used to drought, and its fertile growing region has survived plenty of such droughts in the past. However, what is happening there to deal with this latest challenge is typical of the responses to water shortages in areas of intensive agriculture across […]

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apple strudel ice cream

appel strudel ice cream

An astonishing amount of food waste occurs within the link between supermarkets and their fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers. As a matter of routine, perfectly edible fruit and vegetables are rejected before they even reach supermarket shelves simply because they do not conform to standard shapes and sizes. As a grower of fruit and vegetables I have come to love and cherish the knobbly potato, the misshapen pear and the […]

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beetroot, kale and blue cheese tartlets

beetroot, kale and blue cheese tartlets

Last week was rather a good week for the “Save Farm Terrace” campaign. The campaign was set up to try to save an historic allotment site in Watford from the predatory clutches of the local borough council and housing developers. On Thursday, a judicial review – which had followed a High Court ruling last year – again overturned a decision by the UK government’s Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to allow […]

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almond stuffed pears with chocolate sauce

almond stuffed pears with chocolate sauce

  My adopted home city, Worcester, has as its symbol a black pear. It appears on the city’s coat of arms, on its rugby and cricket club badges and features in numerous other associations with the city.         The Worcester Black Pear is in fact an ancient, local variety of pear, believed to be at least six hundred years old. No longer grown commercially, it can still […]

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mushroom fricassee with butternut squash fondant

butternut squash fondant with mushroom fricasee

  There’s a common misconception that “healthy” foods are more expensive than other foods. That perception is encouraged by the fact that manufacturers of unhealthy foods receive billions in taxpayer subsidies each year whilst producers of healthy foods do not. This is how the market is distorted in favour of the multinational food producers, and why highly processed, unhealthy food often seems the cheaper option compared to freshly picked, unprocessed […]

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aloo chaat

aloo chaat

Hailed as one of the emerging great economies, India boasts some of the wealthiest people in the world. It is also home to more of the world’s poor than any other country on the planet. Whilst the country has seen a huge expansion in its technology and consumer goods industries over the past two decades, around 70% of India’s inhabitants still live in rural areas and have been largely untouched […]

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beetroot and horseradish soup with thyme and caraway croutons

beetroot and horseradish soup with caraway and thyme croutons

Somehow I suspect it won’t end the debate, but it is worth noting that a recently published study by Newcastle University – the biggest of its kind ever undertaken – has reached the very clear conclusion that organic foods are significantly healthier than their non-organic counterparts. The international team which conducted the research not only found that organic foods contained up to 60% more key antioxidants than non-organic, but also […]

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Thai-style sweetcorn fritters with sweet chilli dipping sauce

Thai style sweetcorn fritters with sweet chili dipping sauce

Tomorrow is the first day of national “Waste Less, Live More” week here in the UK. To mark the occasion I would like to suggest the following ten point checklist to help reduce unnecessary personal food waste, which on average amounts to a quarter of all the food we buy. Reducing our individual food waste is not only ethically right, it also helps save money and reduces the environmental impact […]

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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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