The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

squash, mushroom and chestnut pie

squash-mushroom-and-chestnut-pie

The $66 billion acquisition of controversial US agrochemical multinational Monsanto by the German multinational Bayer will, assuming it passes regulatory tests, come into effect by the end of next year. It has been described rightly as a “marriage made in hell” by Friends of the Earth. The new company will be the world’s largest seller both of seeds and of agrichemicals, holding the intellectual copyright to over a quarter of […]

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miso and sesame glazed aubergine

miso-and-sesame-glazed-aubergines

Buddhism began to take root as the principal religion in Japan during the seventh century AD, and since Buddhism prohibited the destruction of life, the emperor issued a decree in 675 AD prohibiting the consumption of meat. Those caught breaking the decree faced a range of penalties, including death. Over the ensuing centuries, reinforced by this royal decree, the Japanese ate a mostly vegan diet (dairy produce did not feature […]

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individual pear tatins with cinnamon ice cream

individual-pear-tatin-with-cinnamon-ice-cream

Professor Jane Plant, a pioneering scientist and remarkable woman, died in March of this year. I had not heard of Jane Plant until last year, when a relative who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer recommended that I should read her book Prostate Cancer – Understand, Prevent, Overcome. Jane Plant was a geochemist by profession, whose personal circumstances ended up taking her in an unexpected direction: researching the impact of […]

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Szechuan-style mushrooms with aubergine

szechuan-style-mushroom-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

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

vegetarian-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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