The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics


smashed cucumber salad

“The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable”. So said UN Secretary General António Guterres as the UN released its damning climate change report earlier this week. Drawing on over 14,000 scientific studies, the United Nations IPCC report provides the most detailed and comprehensive picture of the imminent danger we are in because of man-made climate change and global warming. It is clear now that global warming is […]

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quick carrot pickle

Last month, the UK’ Environment Agency published figures which showed that only 14% of rivers, streams and lakes in England can be designated “ecologically healthy”. The remaining 86% fail to meet standards for “pollution safety”. The three main sources of pollution of these waterways are industrial waste, sewage and agrochemicals used in intensive farming. The UK government had previously set a target for all water bodies in England to be […]

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summer slaw with Pad Thai dressing

The benefits of gardening in respect of mental health and well-being are now well documented. Indeed, garden therapy is increasingly prescribed by doctors to help tackle anxiety, loneliness and depression. But research from the University of California suggests that gardening can also help tackle the growing problem of obesity, especially amongst children. We now know that being overweight puts us at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19. […]

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sourdough starter

Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened bread. It takes much longer to ferment than most commercial UK bread but it produces a much superior loaf, both in flavour and texture. I’ve had several people ask me to share my sourdough recipe after I recently posted a picture of a couple of my sourdough loaves on Instagram, so I’ve decided to do so. But, first things first. The base component […]

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strawberry gazpacho

We are witnessing a strange political contest here in the UK. The Conservative Party is in the process of electing a new leader, and the successful candidate will automatically become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The voters in this election are a tiny, unrepresentative group. Demographically, they are predominantly white, male, well off, based in the south of England and with an average age approaching 60. They are, of […]

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raspberry and mint sorbet

A couple of years ago the World Health Organisation predicted that all nations in the European Union would continue to see increases in the proportion of their population that are obese, with one exception: the Netherlands. More on the Netherlands later, but an interesting piece of news closer to home caught my eye recently: the city of Leeds in the UK has managed to reduce the rate of obesity amongst […]

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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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asparagus, strawberry and red onion salad

This recipe has been published to mark the start of national vegetarian week. If you’re not already vegetarian, why not give it a try by going meat-free for the next seven days and see how you get along? For those who follow this blog on Facebook or Instagram I will be posting a vegetarian recipe suggestion each day during this week to give you some inspiration. There is a lot […]

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beetroot, avocado and pink grapefruit salad

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver attracted criticism recently over his claim that poor people “eat crap” because they “think in a different gear” to the middle classes. His remarks were made in the context of figures revealing that poor children are twice as likely to become obese as rich children, and were themselves taken out of context. He had gone on to say, “what you see is parents who aren’t even […]

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celery with peanut butter and smoked paprika

For many of us, as we head into the new year, this is a time for resolutions. One of the most common involves “doing something” about our diet. I’m not a fan of diets, not least because so much of the diet industry is owned by the same food industry that makes us fat in the first place (for example, Slimfast is owned by Unilever, Lean Cuisine is owned by […]

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Thai-style cucumber salad

Today marks Earth Overshoot Day, the day in the calendar when humankind has already used up the equivalent of a year’s worth of natural resources. It marks our continuing failure to adapt towards a more sustainable pattern of existence. When Overshoot Day was first calculated, back in the mid 1980s, it fell on 19 December. Although in recent years the rate of acceleration has decreased (last year Overshoot Day fell […]

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strawberry sorbet

Not long ago Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company (and several times voted “the world’s most evil corporation”), caused alarm amongst environmentalists by launching a hostile take over bid for Syngenta, the world’s largest crop chemical producer. The bid was ultimately unsuccessful, but it now appears that the proposed takeover was merely a precursor for a much larger feeding frenzy within the agrochemical industry. Monsanto is back in the news […]

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