The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

spiced clementines with clementine sorbet

spiced-clementine-with-clementine-sorbet

Recently published research in the USA by the University of Virginia has confirmed that the increased use of genetically modified crops (GMOs) by farmers has led to a significant increase in the use of herbicides. Covering a thirteen year period up to 2011, this is the largest study ever undertaken into the impact of GMOs on US farming and the environment. The researchers found that on average farmers growing genetically […]

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Jerusalem artichoke and roast garlic soup

jereusalem-artichoke-and-roast-garlic-soup

Traditionally, the onset of winter is the time when those who maintain gardens, allotments and smallholdings settle down with a handful of seed catalogues to decide what to grow next year. David Holmgren, one of the originators of the permaculture system of gardening, once described growing your own food as “a political act”. It is certainly true that those of us who do grow at least some of our own food are a […]

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kale and butter bean fritters

kale-and-butter-bean-fritters

The UK now imports over 50% of the food that we eat, a proportion that has grown steadily over recent decades (in 1987, for example, it stood at 36%). One hidden consequence of this growing reliance on other countries for our food is that as we import more and more food from abroad we simultaneously export more and more of the environmental impact of growing that food. A recent study […]

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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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