The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

vegetarian

chargrilled broccoli and spaghetti with lemon and basil pesto

As I sit here writing this post I can see, just a few hundred metres away from my house, the lapping edge of the swollen river Severn. Normally the river is about half a mile away but the seemingly incessant rain of the past couple of months has caused major flooding in my adopted city, Worcester. Across the UK, the floods are not only damaging property but also threatening cropland […]

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parsnip, ricotta and chive gnocchi with lemon and sage butter

It is estimated that over a third of all crops grown on this planet are now diverted into animal feed to sustain the meat industry. Here in the UK we are a net importer of animal feed, mainly in the form of soya and maize, and around 85% of that feed now consists of genetically modified (GM) crops. Unlike the governments of countries such as Germany, France, Sweden, Luxembourg, Austria […]

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leek, mushroom and pepper stroganoff

For many years, on New Year’s Eve instead of making new year resolutions, I simply write a list of between six and ten things things I would like to achieve in the year ahead. Generally these range from the the purely pleasurable, such as taking my wife Sara to Venice, to the more challenging such as running a half marathon or cycling coast to coast from the Irish Sea to […]

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chestnut and pecan raised pie

Christmas is traditionally a time of overindulgence and, despite the dire economic times we are living through, this festive season is unlikely to be much different to last, when UK households threw away the equivalent of two million turkeys, five million Christmas puddings and millions of tons of other seasonal fare. Why is this? Are we are just very bad at predicting the amount of food we actually need to […]

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apple kringle

It is the fruit that inspired one of Britain’s greatest ever scientists, Isaac Newton, to formulate his “theory of gravitation”, and many of us would regard the apple as a quintessentially British fruit. A generation or two back it truly was, but over the past 40 years nearly two thirds of all UK apple orchards have been lost, and more and more traditional varieties of this fruit face extinction. Nowadays […]

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chard and Parmesan tart

Is it right – morally, never mind environmentally – that we fill our shopping trollies with asparagus from Peru or Mexico, green beans from Senegal or Kenya, mangetout from Zimbabwe and peas from Guatemala, when we know that these are countries that face problems of food shortages and poverty? Farms in these countries holding contracts with UK companies are high tech, commercialised operations that are required to produce food to […]

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sous vide pear with hazelnut and cinnamon crumble

In a few days time the European Parliament is expected to vote to accept proposals for reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which accounts for a staggering 40% of the EU’s entire annual budget. Amongst the many problems with the CAP is that for many years it has been, in effect, subsidising environmentally harmful activities such as intensive farming, chemical pollution and the draining of wetlands. By taxing […]

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artichoke and taleggio pizza fritta

This winter the Red Cross will begin to distribute food parcels to the poor in Britain for the first time since end of the Second World War. The number of food banks in Britain, and the demands placed upon them have escalated in the past couple of years as families struggle with the effects of benefit cuts, food and fuel inflation and wage cuts. Before the austerity programme of the […]

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leek, mushroom and tarragon filo tartlets

The French philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon once famously declared, “all property is theft”. In the case of land ownership in the UK there is a substantial amount of truth in that proclamation. The concept of private land ownership in the UK can be traced back to the 13th century when King Henry III legalised the appropriation by the nobility of open fields, pastureland and other areas that previously had been deemed […]

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plum and cobnut frangipane tart

I went to Rome for the first time a few years ago, a beautiful city, vibrant, cultured and steeped in history. Of the many fond memories of my stay there, one is of walking along streets lined with lemon trees. It has got me into wondering why our streets here in the UK aren’t similarly lined with fruit trees. Apart from anything else it could provide a ready and free […]

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