The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

wild garlic tartlets

wild garlic tartlets

According to Joanne Blythman’s book “Bad Food Britain”, which I have just finished reading, something dramatic has been happening to our collective cooking knowledge and skills over the course of a couple of generations. Fifty years ago the average British family meal took 1 hour and 20 minutes to prepare and cook. By 1980 that figure had dropped to an hour. Now it takes on average just 13 minutes to […]

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samphire, hazelnut and roast lemon salad

samphire hazelnut and roast lemon salad

In a relatively short period of time high fructose corn syrup has replaced natural sugar as a sweetener right across the food industry. It is now widely used in products such as cereals, breads, cakes, crackers, soft drinks, soups, yoghurts, baked beans, ice creams, ketchups and salad dressings. In fact, so pervasive is this product that it might be just as easy to list those commercial food products that don’t […]

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wild nettle pizza

wild nettle pizza

During the transition between the end of winter and the middle of spring is a period which traditionally was known as the “hungry gap”. This marked the grim phase of the growing calendar when the last of the hardy winter crops had been used up and the new season’s first crops were not yet ready to harvest. In times gone by the poor had to rely on whatever food they […]

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parsnip and orange cake with mascarpone cream cheese

parsnip and orange cake with marscapone cream cheese

It is a shocking fact that an estimated one billion people living on this planet are suffering from long-term malnourishment. But that statistic becomes truly shameful when set against the fact that here in the developed world we have an over-abundance of food and one billion people who are overweight or obese. In a fair and logical world, the excess food in the developed world would be redistributed to alleviate […]

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flageolet bean and crispy leek risotto with truffle oil

bean and leek risotto with truffle oil

A recent study published by Cambridge University revealed that people who live or work close to fast food outlets have an increased likelihood of obesity simply because it means they are more likely to be tempted to eat unhealthily. It seems we are simply unable to restrain ourselves when we are presented with the opportunity for a quick fix of cheap, highly processed, energy-dense food. The Cambridge University report reminded […]

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Borlotti bean, hazelnut and porcini pâté

borlotti bean pate

In 2012 the UK exported 320,000 tonnes of pork, 264 million eggs, 466 million litres of milk and 38,000 tonnes of butter. In the same year, the UK imported 696,000 tonnes of pork, 4,290 million eggs, 129 million litres of milk and 69,000 tonnes of butter. Does anything strike you about these statistics? That’s right. What the figures show (apart from the fact that the UK is importing far more […]

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chickpea cakes with curry oil

spicy chickpea cakes with curry oil

A scandal has been taking place in India, largely unreported in the West, where over the course of the past decade an average of over 1,000 farmers per month have been committing suicide. One of the root causes of this astonishing statistic lies in the consequences of a deal struck between the Indian government and the International Monetary Fund in the early 1990s. In exchange for international loans, the Indian […]

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rhubarb and vanilla Bakewell tart

rhubarb and vanilla Bakewell tart

What am I eating? Where did it come from? How did it get here? These are three really simple questions which should be very easy to answer. But just take a look in your fridge and store cupboard and work out what percentage of the food you are intending to eat readily allows you to answer those three questions. The serpentine complexity of much of our food chain makes it […]

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kale and shiitake tom yum

kale and mushroom tom yum

I am old enough to remember the UK before the first McDonalds opened up here, and I believe the arrival of the global fast food chain to our shores coincided with a pivotal shift in our attitudes to food. To me, with the benefit of hindsight, it seemed to herald two things. Firstly, a gradual onslaught of fast, cheap, energy-dense food, a trend continued subsequently with the seemingly irresistible rise […]

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rhubarb and vanilla jam

rhubarb and vanilla jam

This is a recipe using the last of the forced rhubarb from my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, harvested in a flying visit earlier today during a rare break in the rain, which over the last few weeks has caused the river Severn to burst its banks, closing significant parts of Worcester and engulfing the park directly opposite my house. On the subject of the weather, at the same time […]

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