The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

gluten free

parsnip, cranberry and nut roast

This week’s recipe is for parsnip, cranberry and nut roast, a delicious vegan alternative Christmas dinner. An enormous amount of meat will be consumed, and discarded over the Christmas period this year. Aside from ethical considerations about the slaughter of other sentient life, there is no doubt at all that our current levels of meat consumption are contributing directly to climate change. The government’s own Committee on Climate Change is […]

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sweet potato oven fries

vegan sweet potato chips

A recent study entitled “What are the barriers to eating healthily in the UK?”, led by the Social Market Foundation, concluded that 10.2 million people resident in the UK are living in what the report calls a “food desert”. It defines a food desert as an area where residents have severely limited access to fresh fruit and vegetables, usually in the form of a local supermarket. The findings of this […]

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Keralan-style pumpkin and lentil curry

delicious vegan Keralan curry

I spent three weeks in India at the start of this year. It was my first visit to that wonderful, extraordinary country and I brought back many great memories. Hair-raising tuk-tuk rides through the crazy Bangalore traffic, the vibrant hustle-bustle of the huge Devaraja fruit and vegetable and flower market, beautiful lakeside sunsets up in the hills of Wayanad, tea plantations gracing the slopes around Coonoor, sailing a converted rice […]

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portobello steaks with salmoriglio sauce

The Gaia hypothesis, conceived by Professor James Lovelock, contends that the Earth is a self-regulating mechanism. According to Lovelock, this means that the planet as a whole is able to calibrate a highly complex set of interdependent relationships. These relationships are between living organisms (animals, plants, micro-organisms) and inorganic entities (air, water, soil). In fulfilling this regulatory role, the Earth’s ultimate objective is to achieve “steady state”, in other words […]

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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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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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