The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Szechuan-style mushrooms with aubergine


Earlier this year the French government introduced legislation making it illegal for supermarkets to throw away food that had gone past its “sell by” date. Under the new law they must now donate unsold food to charities and food banks or face fines. The Italian government recently announced that it is also planning legislation on supermarkets and food waste, although rather than impose fines the proposed law would provide tax […]

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triple cooked chips


Of the many things thrown into long-term doubt by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (“Brexit”) is the UK’s commitment to EU environmental policies. Then again, you only need to look at the UK government’s withdrawal of subsidies for renewable energy and support for fracking to see the likely direction of travel. Of particular concern should be the fate of EU’s temporary ban on the use of pesticides […]

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vegetable chow mein


Britain leads the rest of the world in consumption of ready meals. Our trust in the manufacturers of processed foods and drinks would be touching if it was not so harmfully misplaced. Time and again, those processed food and drink manufacturers have been shown to be far more concerned about maximising and protecting their profits than they are about the health of their customers. Their most profitable ingredient is also […]

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smoked aubergine, tomato and chickpea casserole

smoked aubergine, tomato and chickpea casserole

Occasionally I am told that one of the “problems” of a vegetarian or vegan diet is that we humans can only obtain “complete protein” from eating meat and fish (a “complete protein” being one which contains the nine “essential” amino acids). This claim is wrong on two counts. Firstly, it is factually inaccurate: there are several plant-based foods that not only contain traces of the nine essential amino acids but […]

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griddled plums with thyme, orange and vanilla ice cream

griddled plums with thyme orange and vanilla dressing

According to a 2015 report by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, nearly one in five UK children are obese by the time they leave primary school. That is a shocking and scandalous state of affairs, which to my mind is evidence of a new type of child abuse. Without a drastic change in their circumstances, most of these young children, already obese at age eleven, will go on […]

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Thai-style cucumber salad

Thai style cucumber salad

Today marks Earth Overshoot Day, the day in the calendar when humankind has already used up the equivalent of a year’s worth of natural resources. It marks our continuing failure to adapt towards a more sustainable pattern of existence. When Overshoot Day was first calculated, back in the mid 1980s, it fell on 19 December. Although in recent years the rate of acceleration has decreased (last year Overshoot Day fell […]

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broccoli, courgette and wasabi soup

broccoli, courgette and wasabi soup

Over the centuries aggressive nations have used their military might to subdue, colonise and plunder other nations for prized resources. At one time such plunder would have consisted of “precious” minerals like gold, silver, copper and diamonds. Subsequently, with the advent of industrialisation, the exploiting nations turned their attention to the plundering of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Now, rather than precious metals and fossil fuels, it is […]

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cherry, almond and pistachio crumble

cherry, almond and pistachio crumble

One of the biggest difficulties in trying to assess the likely impact of Britain leaving the European Union (EU) is that we don’t yet know what form “Brexit” will take. What is not in doubt, however, is that no other sectors of our economy are likely to feel the consequences of the UK’s vote to leave the EU quite so keenly as agriculture, food and the environment. Last year, UK […]

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pea and ricotta polpette with mint and pistachio pesto

pea and ricotta polpette with mint and pistachio pesto

As I write this post it is a week since the momentous decision of the UK electorate to vote to leave the European Union (“Brexit”). In the run up to the referendum both the “Vote Leave” and the “Vote Remain” camps led disgracefully shallow and misleading campaigns. As someone who is proudly European and who sees immigration as a positive cultural influence, I was particularly dismayed at the barely concealed […]

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strawberry sorbet

strawberry sorbet

Not long ago Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company (and several times voted “the world’s most evil corporation”), caused alarm amongst environmentalists by launching a hostile take over bid for Syngenta, the world’s largest crop chemical producer. The bid was ultimately unsuccessful, but it now appears that the proposed takeover was merely a precursor for a much larger feeding frenzy within the agrochemical industry. Monsanto is back in the news […]

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