The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

About Me

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My name is Steve Dent and I am a self taught cook and an organic allotment keeper. Unless otherwise stated, the vegetarian recipes on this site are my own but they have been inspired by the food I grow and they have been developed and adapted from ideas and recipes I have encountered over many years of cooking for pleasure.

When I am in the kitchen I like to experiment and to try out new ingredients and new techniques, not unlike my approach to growing produce organically on my allotment (the Circus Garden).

This blog is also about the politics of food. There is so much that is out of balance in the way we produce, distribute, regulate, package, buy, sell and discard the food we consume. I am passionate about the quality of the food that we eat and I deplore the limited variety and standardisation ofย shape, texture and taste presented to us through commercialised food mass production and marketing. An underpinning intention of this blog will be toย serve up some of my views on the unsustainable absurdity of our food industry, but I will try to do so in digestible, bite-sized portions.

When creating a dish I have previously tended to rely on my judgement rather than on kitchen scales or measuring jugs. Cooking for this blog has therefore meant adding a new and unfamiliar element – precision – to my cooking. Having said that, the quantities I suggest can be varied according to your preferences. A recipe should always be a guide, not a prescription.

I hope you will enjoy reading this blog, that it will occasionally provide food for thought and that you will be tempted to try out some of the recipes.

38 replies

  1. I absolutely agree, the best asparagus in the world is grown in the UK, not far from Circus Garden. The imported stuff is a pale imitation in terms of flavour and texture. These phallic little beauties should be enjoyed fresh, in season and simply cooked to experience the full taste experience. They are a harbinger of Spring, a tantalising glimpse of the abundance to come. The whole point of season food is to experience it in context, who wants tough bland strawberries at Christmas when its snowing outside, get some Sticky toffee pudding down you! Delay gratification, you know it makes sense.

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  2. A response about you: You are a real inspiration and your enthusiasm makes me want to try out the recipes. I plan to try your vegetarian sausage recipe as soon as possible.
    Teresa Napier

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  3. Thx for stopping by my blog Steve..glad to have found yours ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  4. I have just come across your blog today and I love what I have read so far, am looking forward to following and reading more. Claire

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  5. Thank you Claire, I’m enjoying writing this blog and I’m truly delighted and humbled that people enjoy reading it.

    Steve

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  6. Hi Steve,
    Your blog has caught our attention at Everyrecipe.com.au because of the quality of recipes.
    EveryRecipe is a search engine that compiles the best cooking sites and blogs from the Internet and gives an opportunity for users to save and share recipes collecting them in cookbooks. It is a part of an international cooking search engine MyTaste.com, which is now operating in 40 countries all over the world.

    http://www.everyrecipe.com.au

    Kind regards,
    Everyrecipe.com.au

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  7. Hi There! I’ve nominated you for the very inspiring blogger award! Acceptance is optional, and so if you’re interested please check out this post: http://ineedafeed.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

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  8. I have been following your blog for some time but I am a bit tardy when it comes to comments. But I was struck by your comment ” There is so much that is out of balance in the way we produce, distribute, regulate, package, buy and sell the food we consume. ” that I thought you might be interested in one of my posts on rice production in Australia. http://wp.me/p5CsVT-1t This is on imdouglass43.wordpress.com By the way, I am just going outside to put a forcing pot over one of my rhubarbs as you suggested.

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  9. Thank you for commenting, and for sharing your post on a similar theme, which I read with interest. I am now following your blog too!

    Steve

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  10. Hey! We just wanted to let you know that weโ€™ve nominated you for a One Lovely Blog Award at: https://eat2healthblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/one-lovely-blog-award/
    Thanks for your great blog and all that you share! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. Hi Steve! You’re very welcome! Your blog is wonderful; keep up the great work! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks so very much for the follow on my travel blog. It led me to yours which is a wonderful find. Off to explore more now.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love your blog! I’ve just nominated you for the Liebster award! Check it out http://www.katesvegancooking.co.uk/2015/08/02/leibster-award/

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Circus Gardener, thank you for all your lovely support. I really enjoyed reading your profile and looking forward to indulging in the recipes.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a wonderful About page… I completely appreciate your passion for food, and your frustration with the food industry! I couldn’t agree more. Looking forward to exploring your blog and recipes!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I am delighted to find your beautiful inspiring blog and looking forward to read more.

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  17. You have a lovely blog Steve; look forward to reading many more of your posts.

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  18. I just found my way to your blog after you ‘liked’ a comment I made on a blog about sociopaths. I am really glad I found this. You have a wonderful style of writing. Food was always a passion of mine and I loved to cook. My son was recently diagnosed with a food allergy. I will follow your blog as it will help me reignite my passion and prepare healthy, tasty meals for my son and I. You have affirmed and inspired my desire to change the way I eat, and procure, food. Thanks again.

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    • Thank you for your lovely comments. I’m so pleased you have found some inspiration here. It’s always a delight to receive such positive feedback. Steve ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Thanks. Inspiration is always inspiring! Lovely blog. I cannot think now…do you prepare or are you aware of any tasty gluten free recipes. My son is allergic…I am a Korean food fanatic and make a few Asian stir fry type things as he loves the ‘sticky’ rice and textures and flavours. …soya, Oyster flavoured sauce, Hoi sin, garlic and sesame esp. Ginger too…God Bless You. Take Care.

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  19. Quite a large number of my recipes are gluten free. If you go to the recipe index page, you will see a number of categories listed to the right of the list of recipes (just below the small photos), including “gluten free”. If you click on that it will bring up all my gluten free recipes.
    There are also some great bloggers I follow who specialise in gluten free cooking. Since you have also e-mailed me via my contact page I will e-mail you back with links to their blogs.
    I realise going gluten free will be a challenge for you and your son, but it is at least a healthy diet, and one that many people do follow successfully.
    With best wishes, Steve

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  20. I believe your blog may very well become an obsession for me. I love it!

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  21. Such a pleasure to cross paths with you, your recipes and writing. Cheers, Melissa

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  22. Steve, I am so happy to have found your blog! It was nice to read about circus gardener. Your recipes looks amazing and i look forward to reading many more.

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  23. Most definitely every good home cook says the same about recipes being a guide. I had to watch my mum cooking / baking and take notes because she used a pinch of this and a handful of that. Her soups were amazing, Steve, but no amount of note taking helped as she basically used what was at hand when she made them. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

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    • Hi Mary, and thanks for commenting. Your mother was clearly a natural cook. For me, the more you cook without the constraints of precision in measurement and technique the more you allow your natural instincts to develop and flourish. Steve

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  24. Hi Steve, I found you in a roundabout way checking in on other blogs. Your Tai cucumber salad really caught my attention. I have several chronic conditions that all require different nutritional food choices and it has brought be back to my days as a vegetarian (I added some meat in when I was diagnosed with a type of anemia best “treated” with protein from red meat. I ate it, but only once a week and covered in lots of other things ;-). I look forward to looking through all your other recipes as well. My background is fulfilling a dream by going to culinary school at 45 (I am now 58) and catering until my body said “Stop, no more of this!” So I play around in my kitchen and experiment on my hubby (a meat eater who enjoys some of my vegetarian concoctions. Anyway, just thought I would introduce myself!

    Liked by 1 person

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