The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

vegan

garlic, white bean and rosemary soup

It is two and a half years since the introduction in the UK of a 5p levy on plastic carrier bags, and there can be no doubt at all that it has transformed our shopping habits. In that time, plastic carrier bag usage has dropped by over 85%, and most of us now routinely take our own reusable bags when we go shopping. These figures are a convincing argument that […]

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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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smoky bean and tomato stew

Since 2010, initially under the guise of “austerity”, the British government has decimated funding for safety inspections within the food industry. Nowhere has the result of these cuts been felt as devastatingly as in the meat industry. 40% of meat hygiene inspector posts have disappeared in the last eight years, along with similar proportions of environmental health officer and trading standard officer posts. Little wonder, then, that we again face […]

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Keralan-style banana fritters

I recently returned from a trip across southern India, taking in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This was my first trip to India, and after my visit I now understand how difficult it is to imagine or describe this amazing country to those who haven’t been. Apart from the wonderful Indian people, one of the stand-out things for me was the quality of the fresh fruit and […]

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vegan chocolate, olive oil and smoked sea salt sorbet

The chocolate industry is worth over $100 billion per year. Most of that chocolate is manufactured and consumed in the USA and Europe, although the raw cocoa from which is produced is grown thousands of miles away on the west coast of Africa. The biggest exporter of cocoa is the Ivory Coast. When the Ivory Coast achieved independence, back in 1960, a quarter of the country was covered in dense […]

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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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cabbage, coconut and cumin pakora with coriander relish

Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide widely used in agriculture. In the USA, around 80% of genetically modified crops (GMOs) have been modified to be “Roundup-ready”, in other words to be resistant to the weedkiller Roundup, the world’s most popular glyphosate-based weedkiller. Many of these “Roundup-ready” crops end up in cattle feed, which is not just used in the USA but exported around the world. As a consequence traces of glyphosate […]

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vegan Indonesian-style fried rice

We are all going to die one day, one way or another, but there is a growing chance that for many of us it will be as a result of the biggest cause of death in the developed world today: so-called non-communicable diseases. These include cancer, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. And the biggest principal cause of death from non-communicable disease is obesity. According to calculations by the World Obesity […]

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roast squash, quinoa and black chickpea salad

In 2016 nearly 800 million people across the world did not have enough to eat. This was not, however, due to there being insufficient food to go round. Last month the World Food Programme published a report called Counting The Beans: The True Cost of a Plate of Food around the World. It is an eye-opening and uncomfortable read. Using a “global index” of food prices, the report calculates the […]

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mushroom and chestnut ragout with parsnip puree

Seeds are the stuff of life. That is why the increasingly tight grip over the international seeds market by a small group of powerful, unaccountable multinational corporations should cause us alarm. In achieving this market dominance these giant corporations, which include Monsanto, Bayer and Dupont, have enjoyed the support and active connivance of senior politicians. In the USA, for example, nearly thirty states have passed legislation known as “seed-preemption” laws. […]

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