The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

dairy free

vegan gravy

This is a very simple but flavoursome gravy, designed to accompany my chestnut and pecan raised pie but which also works well with similar vegetarian and vegan dishes, such as my kale, quinoa and nut roast en croute. Although Mediterannean in origin, rosemary is a robust herb that happily survives the winter months and it provides a subtle herbal note to this rich and tasty sauce.

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Thai pumpkin and coconut soup

Pesticides have been developed specifically to help prevent our crops being attacked, so are they necessarily a bad thing? Well, yes they are. Pesticides are designed with one purpose in mind: to kill. They are poisonous. That is why there are legally prescribed “safe” levels for their human consumption. The use of pesticides in agriculture is a recent one, in relative terms, which means that, despite a growing body of […]

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winter squash and bean chilli with guacamole

Cargill may not mean a great deal to most of us. But it should. Just as Monsanto has a growing stranglehold over the seeds and chemicals used for growing our food, so Cargill looms large at the other end of the global food business conveyor belt. As the company boasted in a corporate brochure a few years back: ‘We are the flour in your bread, the wheat in your noodles, […]

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golden beetroot, saffron and fennel soup

There is a very simple philosophy underpinning the organic approach to gardening – feed the soil. Plants need soil, along with sunlight and water, to synthesize the amino acids on which all we humans ultimately depend. Take away any one of these three elements and that process cannot take place. Organic growers use sources such as compost and rotted horse manure to replace nutrients and enrich the soil in which […]

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cauliflower samosas

One of the many problems of the 365 day, out-of-season provision of fruit and vegetables by our supermarkets is that it has led to many of us losing our understanding and appreciation of truly seasonal produce. The result is that we have lots of bland and inferior produce flown from halfway across the world to sate our apparent demand for courgettes in March or green beans in December instead of […]

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beetroot, chickpea and bean burgers

A crisis is looming. We have a world population that is rapidly approaching plague proportions and we have a finite amount of land upon which to produce enough food for that population to eat. There are some, including our current Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who enthusiastically advocate the use of genetically modified (GM) crops to help meet this challenge. The argument is that GM crops will give us improved yields […]

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scallopini soup with garlic and mint

There’s been some good news recently for those of us concerned about the prospect of genetically modified (GM) crops entering our food chain. The global chemical giant and leading GM proponent Monsanto has announced that it is withdrawing several applications to grow genetically modified crops in the EU. These relate to genetically modified soya beans, corn and sugar beet. This decision may not necessarily be a victory for anti GM […]

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calabrese pakora

Before we start cooking I’d like to draw your attention to a recent, apparently minor, item of news that in all likelihood escaped your attention. A leading British researcher, Dr Helen Thompson has just quit her post with the government’s Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) in order to take up a post with the global giant chemical company Syngenta. Why is this significant? Well, in a previous blog I […]

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green chickpea hummus

Earlier this year, as an experiment, I sprouted some dried chickpeas and planted them on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden. Traditionally, chickpeas are used in Middle Eastern, Indian and North African cooking. Around three quarters of the world’s supply of this highly nutritious, protein-rich food is grown in India and Pakistan, so I didn’t harbour great hopes for my own crop here on the outskirts of Worcester in the […]

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