The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

vegan chocolate, olive oil and smoked sea salt sorbet

The chocolate industry is worth over $100 billion per year. Most of that chocolate is manufactured and consumed in the USA and Europe, although the raw cocoa from which is produced is grown thousands of miles away on the west coast of Africa. The biggest exporter of cocoa is the Ivory Coast. When the Ivory Coast achieved independence, back in 1960, a quarter of the country was covered in dense […]

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cabbage, coconut and cumin pakora with coriander relish

Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide widely used in agriculture. In the USA, around 80% of genetically modified crops (GMOs) have been modified to be “Roundup-ready”, in other words to be resistant to the weedkiller Roundup, the world’s most popular glyphosate-based weedkiller. Many of these “Roundup-ready” crops end up in cattle feed, which is not just used in the USA but exported around the world. As a consequence traces of glyphosate […]

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vegan Indonesian-style fried rice

We are all going to die one day, one way or another, but there is a growing chance that for many of us it will be as a result of the biggest cause of death in the developed world today: so-called non-communicable diseases. These include cancer, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. And the biggest principal cause of death from non-communicable disease is obesity. According to calculations by the World Obesity […]

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roast squash, quinoa and black chickpea salad

In 2016 nearly 800 million people across the world did not have enough to eat. This was not, however, due to there being insufficient food to go round. Last month the World Food Programme published a report called Counting The Beans: The True Cost of a Plate of Food around the World. It is an eye-opening and uncomfortable read. Using a “global index” of food prices, the report calculates the […]

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mushroom and chestnut ragout with parsnip puree

Seeds are the stuff of life. That is why the increasingly tight grip over the international seeds market by a small group of powerful, unaccountable multinational corporations should cause us alarm. In achieving this market dominance these giant corporations, which include Monsanto, Bayer and Dupont, have enjoyed the support and active connivance of senior politicians. In the USA, for example, nearly thirty states have passed legislation known as “seed-preemption” laws. […]

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roast mushroom tagliatelle with tarragon sauce

For the past few weeks I have been building an “insect hotel” at the project where I work as a volunteer on Saturday mornings, Worcester Old North Stables Community Teaching and Display Gardens. The intention is that the “hotel” will provide a haven for hibernating insects, including solitary bees and solitary wasps, butterflies, ladybirds and beetles. If the end result of my endeavours is half decent I may publish a […]

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baked potato soup with chive oil

Earlier this year I helped set up a local food waste initiative called Worcester Food Rescue. It consists of a small group of volunteers who collect food from supermarkets and other suppliers which is past its “display by” date but before its “use by” date. The food we collect is then distributed to several local charities. This is one of many similar initiatives across the UK. Without the intervention of […]

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aubergine, basil and tomato penne

Last week the UK Conservative Party held its annual conference. Most of the British media’s coverage focused on the various tribulations which haunted the Prime Minister, Theresa May, as she attempted to deliver her keynote speech. But a coughing fit, an interruption by a prankster and a collapsing set weren’t the only causes for embarrassment at that conference. As one newspaper, spotted, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt managed to deliver […]

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