The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Pad Thai

vegan Pad Thai

This week the Soil association launched “Not in Our Bread”, a campaign to highlight the use of wheat sprayed with glyphosate as an ingredient in the manufacture of one of the UK’s principal staple foods. Glyphosate, the key component of the weedkiller Roundup, manufactured by global chemicals company Monsanto, was declared to be “probably carcinogenic” by the World Health Organisation earlier this year. The principal reason why up to a […]

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raspberry vinegar

raspberry vinegar

Two developments which arguably marked the start of modern human civilisation were food cultivation and food storage. It was at this stage that humankind progressed from a hunter-gatherer way of life to one which featured a less nomadic, more ordered regime of planting and growing, and of storing excess food in times of plenty. Countries around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East began using the sun and the wind […]

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blueberry tart with lemon verbena ice cream

bluebery tart with lemon verbena ice cream

At the start of 2015 I made a decision to remove processed (“refined”) sugar from my diet. This was not as straight forward a proposition as you might think because there is a huge range of foods that include processed sugar. As a further consequence of my decision none of the recipes I have posted this year have included processed sugar. Where sweetness has been needed I have used just […]

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roasted crushed new potatoes

crushed roasted new potatoes

“The corporate model over-produces food that poisons us, destroys soil fertility, is responsible for the deforestation of rural areas, the contamination of water and the acidification of oceans and killing of fisheries. Essential natural resources have been commodified, and rising production costs are driving us off the land. Farmers’ seeds are being stolen and sold back to us at exorbitant prices, bred as varieties that depend on costly, contaminating agrochemicals. […]

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green pea and coconut dhal

green pea and coconut dahl

Rice plays a pivotal role in the diet of over half of the world’s population. Without it, many people in Africa and South East Asia would simply starve. But overdependence on rice in the diet comes at a price. Whilst it is rich in carbohydrates, rice is also poor in nutrients, and relying upon it as a principal food source can lead to vitamin A deficiency. In children under the […]

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gooseberry and mint sorbet

gooseberry and mint sorbet v2

Like it or not, each time we buy food we are, in effect, voting for the type of society we wish to live in. When we buy cheap, processed, subsidised food, or food grown using chemical interventions or exploited labour, we are implicitly sanctioning the processes by which that food ended up on our plate. Cheaper, non-organic food costs less because governments hand out disproportionate subsidies to agribusinesses which rely […]

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socca pancakes with char-grilled asparagus, tomato and herbs

socca pancake with chargrilled asparagus

I am posting this recipe from the Pays des Bastides in the south west of France, where my wife Sara and I are enjoying a week’s break. France doesn’t have a great reputation for vegetarian food so we are self catering, but that’s fine because one thing France does do in style is its wonderful food markets. The market stalls in the various villages we have visited so far have […]

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broad bean and coriander falafel

broad bean and coriander falafel 3

Growing your own food is not only a liberating and fulfilling experience: in a world where so much of our food is controlled by global corporations it is also an act of dissent. Some of the fruit and vegetables that I grow on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden are rare, heritage varieties which, under draconian EU seed legislation, are now illegal to buy and sell. In recent years, the […]

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broad bean, feta and chive tarts

broad bean, feta and chive tartlet

Is it possible that the tide is beginning to turn against fast food? Last month global fast-food mongers Pepsico and Kraft both posted a huge drop in profits for the first quarter of 2015. Business may be looking bad for them, but their troubles have been overshadowed by those of the global burger chain McDonald’s. It reported an 11% decrease in revenue and a 30% drop in profit for the […]

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butter bean and Spring herb dip

Spring herb and butter bean dip

Tomorrow marks the start of National Vegetarian Week, and this year the theme is “sharing”. If you normally eat meat, why not use the opportunity to try going a week without it? If you make the effort to look up and cook some decent vegetarian meals during the coming days you may be pleasantly surprised by the rich variety of flavours and textures which vegetarian cuisine can offer. Ethical considerations […]

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