The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

raw

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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radish, broad bean and mint salad

Supermarkets deploy a considerable amount of science to exert subtle influences over our shopping habits and impulses. For example, all supermarkets now use planogram software to help with store layout in order to stimulate our purchasing behaviour and increase revenues. Essentially, planograms are used to determine where each product should be placed, not only to make the shelves we pass visually appealing but also to ensure each product is in […]

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winter slaw with ginger and sesame dressing

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2016 to be the International Year of Pulses. This announcement is important for several reasons. Firstly, it underlines the important role pulses play in the diets of a significant part of the world’s population. Secondly, it highlights the need for us to look at more sustainable sources of protein, given the meat industry’s massive contribution to global warming and profligate use of increasingly scarce […]

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chestnut and chocolate tart

vegan chocolate and chestnut cheesecake

Last month a rather bizarre court case commenced and ended abruptly in Los Angeles, USA. On one side was the refined sugar industry, represented by a group of major sugar refining companies. On the other was a consortium of manufacturers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), including global giants Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland. The lawsuit brought by the sugar manufacturers claimed that the HFCS manufacturers were guilty of “false […]

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pear, walnut and pomegranate salad

Whether it is through unfair European Union and government subsidies, or through the taxpayer having to underwrite the cost of cleaning up the environmental damage their growing methods can cause, fruit and vegetables grown using non-organic, chemical interventions such as pesticides often end up cheaper in the supermarkets than their organic equivalents. Being lured by the artificially lower prices of such produce can, however, mean exposing ourselves to greater risk. […]

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yellow tomato gazpacho shots

The switch to industrial-scale, chemical dependent agriculture which began in earnest at the end of the Second World War is often incongruously referred to as the green revolution. At the heart of that revolution was the use of chemicals, and artificial fertiliser in particular, to boost crop yields. It is no coincidence that the green revolution coincided with the end of the war. With the domestic military war effort suddenly […]

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raspberry vinegar

Two developments which arguably marked the start of modern human civilisation were food cultivation and food storage. It was at this stage that humankind progressed from a hunter-gatherer way of life to one which featured a less nomadic, more ordered regime of planting and growing, and of storing excess food in times of plenty. Countries around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East began using the sun and the wind […]

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butter bean hummus with herbs and sunflower seeds

Tomorrow marks the start of National Vegetarian Week, and this year the theme is “sharing”. If you normally eat meat, why not use the opportunity to try going a week without it? If you make the effort to look up and cook some decent vegetarian meals during the coming days you may be pleasantly surprised by the rich variety of flavours and textures which vegetarian cuisine can offer. Ethical considerations […]

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wild garlic oil

If you’re looking for an ethical reason not to eat meat, then it’s hard to better the words of the ancient Greek historian and philosopher, Plutarch who, in his work Moralia wrote: “but for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy” Human beings […]

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