The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Neapolitan style tomato pizza

heritage tomato pizza

About three months ago I began working as a volunteer on a community gardening project close to where I live. Situated on the edge of Worcester racecourse, the Old North Stables Teaching and Display Garden was set up to provide an opportunity for people to learn sustainable gardening practices and to share knowledge and skills. By the time I joined the project, a number of volunteers had worked hard to […]

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yellow tomato gazpacho shots

yellow tomato gazpacho shots

The switch to industrial-scale, chemical dependent agriculture which began in earnest at the end of the Second World War is often incongruously referred to as the green revolution. At the heart of that revolution was the use of chemicals, and artificial fertiliser in particular, to boost crop yields. It is no coincidence that the green revolution coincided with the end of the war. With the domestic military war effort suddenly […]

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Kung Pao cauliflower

Kung Pao cauliflower

Fifteen years ago China was a net exporter of grain. Now it is the second largest importer of grain in the world. It was once also the world’s leading producer of soya beans, but now it imports soya too. The seeds of these extraordinary changes were sown in China’s economic reforms which began in the late 1970s. Since then, as its economy has developed, average incomes in China have risen […]

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loganberry and lavender ice cream

loganberry and lavender ice cream

On my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, I often find myself drawn, by the constant lilting hum of countless bees, to the lavender that grows around the border of the plot. I love to watch these wonderful, busy creatures at work. Some of the bees are honey bees but many of them are wild, such as carder bees and red-tailed and white-tailed bumble bees. When I observe the natural industry […]

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French bean and sesame salad

French bean and sesame salad

Although the era of food rationing in the UK is usually associated with the second world war, in fact it was first introduced in Britain in 1917, during the first world war. At the time, German U-Boats were regularly attacking supply ships bringing food to the UK from overseas. So successful were these attacks that at one stage Britain was judged to have enough food supplies to last just six […]

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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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