The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

pea and tarragon soup

“Modern distribution and storage methods can significantly increase the time period before there is loss of quality for a product, and it has become increasingly difficult to decide when the term ‘fresh’ is being used legitimately.” The quote above is from an official document published by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), setting out the criteria for use of the word “fresh” in food labelling. It’s not surprising that even […]

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asparagus, lemon and basil pasta

A myth that is regularly peddled by GMO (genetically modified organisms) apologists is that a “more efficient” food system is now required to feed the world’s growing population. What is actually required is a halt to the practice of land-grabbing by big agribusinesses (often with governmental collusion) which is continually squeezing small-scale farmers off arable land and replacing food crops destined for local markets with commercial crops destined for export. […]

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asparagus, broad bean and Spring herb tart

If I could encourage readers of this blog into one simple, routine habit it would be this: to read the label on any item of fresh produce before you decide whether or not to buy it from the supermarket or store. I can guarantee that if you are not in the habit of doing so, you will be surprised by what you find. Take asparagus as an example. Those who […]

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new potato salad with rocket, lemon and mint pesto

Whilst the eyes of many environmentalists have been focused on the “marriage made in hell” that will result from the takeover of notorious agrochemical giant Monsanto by Bayer, two other equally alarming acts of corporate consolidation are in train. The state owned Chinese chemical company ChemChina is in the process of swallowing up Syngenta in a $43 million deal. Last week, the proposed deal received both EU and US antitrust […]

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cannellini beans with garlic and oregano

Earlier this month it was reported that neonicotinoids had been found in drinking water in the USA. Neonicotinoids are chemical compounds found in a number of pesticides and have been heavily implicated in the alarming global decline in bee populations. They only came on to the agrochemical market in the late 1990s and because they are still relatively new, no “safe” level of exposure for humans has yet been established […]

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20 alternative & fabulous vegan ice cream recipes

The weather has been warming up of late, which makes for a great excuse to revisit some unusual but delicious vegan ice creams from the Circus Gardener’s Kitchen archives, as well as to share some great vegan ice cream recipes from other bloggers. There are one or two technical challenges involved in producing a good vegan ice cream, particularly around getting the right fat content to give it a creamy […]

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beer battered halloumi with chips and “mushy” peas

In June last year, during one of the lighter moments of Britain’s rather squalid EU referendum campaign, “leave” campaigner Nigel Farrage led a flotilla of fishing boats up the Thames, calling on Britain to “take back our waters” and to “stop giving away our fish”. However, his flotilla was ambushed by a rival flotilla, led by “remain” campaigner Sir Bob Geldoff wielding a megaphone and yelling out such memorable taunts as “you’re […]

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chickpea soup with rosemary oil

I gave up my beloved allotment plot, the Circus Garden, last year, after an unfortunate accident that had left me incapacitated for several weeks. It had happened at the worst time of the year, just when I should have been out preparing the ground, sowing seeds and planting crop seedlings. As I slowly recovered from my injuries the weeds, of course, had a field day. Once I began to feel […]

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coffee ice cream with pecan biscotti

In case you weren’t aware, we are currently in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight, an initiative launched by the the Fairtrade Foundation to encourage us to be more aware of the origin of the produce we buy, and how it came to reach our table. I’m using coffee in this week’s recipe and, as it happens, coffee was the very first product to come under the wing of the Fairtrade […]

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gigantes

It may only have been lettuce, rather than a staple foodcrop, but some of the supply problems faced by UK supermarkets over the past few weeks provide a fascinating glimpse into the fine margins upon which much of our food supply now depends. The Murcia region of Spain, the main source of fresh salad crops in UK supermarkets over the winter months, has recently suffered unusually heavy rains and flooding. […]

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