The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

gluten free

Borlotti bean, hazelnut and porcini pâté

In 2012 the UK exported 320,000 tonnes of pork, 264 million eggs, 466 million litres of milk and 38,000 tonnes of butter. In the same year, the UK imported 696,000 tonnes of pork, 4,290 million eggs, 129 million litres of milk and 69,000 tonnes of butter. Does anything strike you about these statistics? That’s right. What the figures show (apart from the fact that the UK is importing far more […]

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pea and chickpea cakes with curry oil

A scandal has been taking place in India, largely unreported in the West, where over the course of the past decade an average of over 1,000 farmers per month have been committing suicide. One of the root causes of this astonishing statistic lies in the consequences of a deal struck between the Indian government and the International Monetary Fund in the early 1990s. In exchange for international loans, the Indian […]

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kale and shiitake tom yum

I am old enough to remember the UK before the first McDonalds opened up here, and I believe the arrival of the global fast food chain to our shores coincided with a pivotal shift in our attitudes to food. To me, with the benefit of hindsight, it seemed to herald two things. Firstly, a gradual onslaught of fast, cheap, energy-dense food, a trend continued subsequently with the seemingly irresistible rise […]

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rhubarb and vanilla jam

This is a recipe using the last of the forced rhubarb from my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, harvested in a flying visit earlier today during a rare break in the rain, which over the last few weeks has caused the river Severn to burst its banks, closing significant parts of Worcester and engulfing the park directly opposite my house. On the subject of the weather, at the same time […]

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rhubarb and lemongrass granita

refreshing rhubarb and lemongrass granita

The UK produces less than two-thirds of the food that we eat in a year. Another way of absorbing that fact is this: if all the food produced in the UK was stored in one single giant cupboard and on New Years Day we had all started eating only from that cupboard, the cupboard would be completely bare by August 14th. The situation is getting worse. Our percentage of food […]

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celeriac and cumin oven fries

Since the inception of the UK government position of Secretary of State for the Environment in 1970 there have been twenty one holders of the post. Some have been very good, and a few not so good, but of them all, the current incumbent, Owen Paterson, is surely the least suitable for the role. Mr Paterson certainly doesn’t seem to believe that acting as advocate for the environment is part […]

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wok-fried Brussels sprouts with sriracha

As I write this post it is now a year since the so-called horsemeat scandal erupted in the UK, after horse DNA was found in beefburgers and beef lasagne ready meals for sale in British supermarkets Leaving aside the issue of criminality, what the scandal really revealed was how difficult it is to trace the origin of imported produce in our food supply chain. It showed that the longer and […]

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potato, rosemary and chilli soup

I’d planned to publish this recipe to coincide with what should have been National Potato Day later this month at Ryton Gardens, an event usually held under a giant marquee at the home of Garden Organic. Unfortunately, Ryton is undergoing refurbishment and therefore not hosting the event this year, so I’m left to source my organic seed potatoes from elsewhere. It’s one of the key crops on my allotment plot, […]

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carrot, cashew and coriander fritters

Originating from Afghanistan the carrot was originally grown for its leaves and seeds rather than for its root. Back then carrots were either purple or yellow in colour. The orange carrot didn’t appear until the 17th century, in the Netherlands, where it was bred as a tribute to William of Orange (who later became William III of England) – an early example, one might say, of politics interfering with food. […]

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