The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

rosemary flatbread biscuits

rosemary flatbread biscuits

It was nearly thirty years ago that the giant multinational burger chain McDonald’s first moved into the historic heart of the beautiful city of Rome, opening up a restaurant in the Piazza di Spagna, next to the famous Spanish Steps. For many Italians who cared deeply about their culture and their food heritage this incursion into their capital city was regarded as nothing less than an outrage, and McDonald’s arrival […]

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wild garlic tagliatelle with wilted greens

wild garlic tagliatelle with wilted greens

This post represents a departure from the usual format of posts on my blog. Instead of the typical, barely-controlled rant about some aspect of the food industry to which I happen to have taken exception, I am instead posting a short video showing me gathering the wild garlic used in this recipe and then creating the dish. The video was filmed and edited by the very talented Luke Smith of […]

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wild garlic oil

wild garlic oil

If you’re looking for an ethical reason not to eat meat, then it’s hard to better the words of the ancient Greek historian and philosopher, Plutarch who, in his work Moralia wrote: “but for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy” Human beings […]

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nettle top fritters with chilli dipping sauce

nettle fritters with chilli dipping sauce

Down on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, I’ve been busy of late sowing and planting in preparation for the new season’s vegetable crops. Although my focus is primarily on the future, I still have produce from the old season which has survived the mild winter and continues to provide us with fresh organic vegetables. Leeks, kale, spinach, chard and purple sprouting broccoli have done particularly well and are still […]

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sweet potato, turnip and chickpea hash

sweet potato, turnip and chickpea hash

It’s Spring, at last, and the days are gradually getting longer and warmer. In the UK, the clocks go forward tomorrow and the Easter bank holiday is just a week away, a traditional time for many of us to start thinking about our gardens and allotments. One of the first jobs to tackle will be the weeding: as always it is the weeds, nature’s opportunists, which have stolen a march […]

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roasted Brussels sprouts and shallots with lemon and smoked sea salt

roast Brussels sprouts with shallot lemon and smoked sea salt

This week the Council of the European Union signed off a new Directive which could have huge ramifications for the food we eat. The Directive on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) will come into effect on 2 April. Its stated purpose is to allow Member States to ban or restrict the cultivation of genetically modified organisms on their territory, even if those crops have received EU approval. But at the same […]

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blood orange and thyme sorbet

blood orange and thyme sorbet

Healthy soil is fundamental to successful organic farming and gardening. If the soil is healthy, microbes and other soil organisms will thrive, and in turn will naturally decompose organic matter and harness nitrogen from the atmosphere, converting it into organic form. For the organic gardener there are a variety of ways to create and maintain a healthy soil. Many, like me, rely principally on compost generated from waste vegetable matter. […]

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chick pea curry with green pea pilau

chick pea curry with green pea pilau

Thousands of curry dishes are eaten every day in the UK, but few of them are cooked from scratch. Many are bought as ready meals or take-aways, although increasingly popular over recent years has been the ready made “cooking sauce”, representing a sort of “half way house”, where the cook prepares and cooks the other ingredients before stirring in the ready made sauce. By far and away the most popular […]

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radicchio, carrot and blood orange salad

raddicchio, carrot and blood orange salad

The human race first began growing crops around twelve thousand years ago and has been farming ever since. For the last 70 years – a mere 0.005% of the overall timespan – our farmers have been using manufactured pesticides. During this latter time period we have also witnessed a perilous decline in our bee population. This is not a coincidence. The European Union is currently half way through a three-year […]

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swede and carrot soup with smoked paprika

smoky swede and carrot soup

Many of the processes that are vital for life to flourish on this planet are dependent on interactions between living things, such as plants and micro organisms, and inorganic entities, such as the air, the oceans and the soil. Collectively, these interactions regulate the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere as well as its temperature, the fertility of its soil and even the salt levels in its oceans. The Gaia Hypothesis, […]

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