The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Greek-style tomato fritters

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 […]

Continue Reading →

spicy roast cauliflower with hummus and pomegranate

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 […]

Continue Reading →

blackberry and blueberry pecan crumble

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. […]

Continue Reading →

slow roast tomato soup with basil 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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

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 […]

Continue Reading →

vegan Vietnamese-style fried rice

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 […]

Continue Reading →

parpadelle with pea, pistachio and mint pesto

In April this year the European Union (EU) finally decided to introduce a permanent ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, following years of compelling evidence of the serious damage they cause to bee populations. A partial ban had already been in place, but the trigger for the EU’s decision was a report from its own organisation, the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa). The Efsa report confirmed that neonicotinoid pesticides affect not only […]

Continue Reading →

vegan strawberry crème brulee

The late American cosmologist Carl Sagan once observed that “national boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars.” How wise a race we might be if we all […]

Continue Reading →

Bombay new potato

Humankind’s relatively recent obsession with the beef burger and with fried chicken has had a huge impact on the world around us. This extent of that impact has been laid bare by a recently published study by Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science. The study, uniquely, set out to look at the distribution of all living things on Earth – plants and animals – by mass rather than population. Using this […]

Continue Reading →