The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

frisée, canellini bean and avocado salad

canellini bean and avocado salad with smoked paprika and garlic dressing

Farming in the UK began approximately 6,000 years ago with the gradual clearance of forest land to make way for fields for the growing of crops. Over the ensuing centuries, and until the industrial revolution of the late eighteenth century, farming methods and techniques evolved at a gradual pace and remained relatively simple, relying upon sustainable practices and techniques handed down from generation to generation. The introduction of mechanisation, which […]

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aubergine, tomato and Parmesan bake

For those who wonder whether consumer pressure ever works, consider this. When I first began writing, several years ago, about the unseen contribution made by supermarkets to the problem of food waste there was already a growing concern amongst various pressure and consumer groups over the issue. At the time, supermarkets were estimated to be responsible for around a third of all food waste in the UK, mainly due to […]

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borlotti bean cassoulet

vegan cassoulet of borlotti beans, carrots and celery

The UK’s level of self-sufficiency is in long-term decline. We now produce just over half of the food we consume. Of the shortfall, nearly three quarters is currently made up of food imported into the UK from the European Union (EU). Climate change related uncertainties – highlighted by scorching temperatures and insufficient rainfall over this year’s long hot summer – are an additional food security concern. Some UK crops were […]

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Greek-style tomato fritters

vegan tomato keftedes

I grow a modest amount of fruit and vegetables in my back garden. This year the list has included cherries, pears, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, raddichio, peas, beans, courgettes, red onion squash, cabbage, chickpeas, leeks, kale and chard. Aside from the sheer pleasure which gardening provides, I also know exactly how each plant has been grown: carefully and tenderly nurtured. Of course, I grow only a tiny proportion of the […]

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spicy roast cauliflower with hummus and pomegranate

hummus with pomegranates and pine nuts, spicy cauliflower and halloumi

It is now three years since the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that glyphosate, the key ingredient of the popular weedkiller Roundup, is “probably carcinogenic to humans”. In response, Monsanto (the manufacturers of Roundup) has set about trying to discredit the WHO’s findings by, for example, setting up and funding numerous research projects, each of which, unsurprisingly, has gone on to conclude that Roundup is safe. Safe or not, glyphosate […]

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blackberry and blueberry pecan crumble

vegan and gluten free blueberry crumble with blackberries

The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS), which allowed UK fruit and vegetable growers to employ migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania as seasonal workers for up to six months at a time, was closed under the last government – a knee-jerk response to British media hype about immigration levels. Ironically, SAWS had a 98.4 per cent returnee rate, so was never actually an immigration issue despite being presented as one. […]

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slow roast tomato soup with basil oil

organic tomato soup with a drizzle of herb oil

Regular readers of this blog will have come to realise by now that I regard the UK’s Brexit vote as an act of national self-harm. That is also pretty much how I view the election of Donald Trump to the office of president by the voters in the United States of America. Since his inauguration, climate change denier Trump has set about undoing much of the environmental protection that had […]

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crispy aubergine with a hot, sweet and sour sauce

Today marks Earth Overshoot Day, the day in the calendar when humankind has used up the equivalent of a whole year’s worth of the Earth’s natural resources. When I began writing this blog five years ago, Earth Overshoot day fell on 20 August. Each year since then it has moved to an earlier date in the calendar, marking our continued failure to live a sustainable existence on this planet. The […]

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broccoli, pea and chive tart

The Chief Executive of Swiss chemical giant Syngenta warned recently that if the world abandons the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops in agriculture “there could very well be, 10 to 20 years from now, significant issues around feeding the world.” As Mandy Rice-Davies once famously said “Well he would say that wouldn’t he?” Syngenta – already the world’s largest manufacturer of pesticides – is about to merge with […]

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vegan Vietnamese-style fried rice

vegan spicy fried rice, Vietnamese style

Fewer and fewer of us are cooking our food from scratch. In some cases this may be due to a lack of skills or confidence. In many cases, however, it is down to a distorted attitude to time. We are in the grip of the “convenience” food industry, which encourages us to regard any time we spend preparing and cooking food as time wasted. Anything, it seems, which short-circuits time […]

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