The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

courgette, aubergine and tomato tart

With a demanding job and a lovely but large and sometimes noisy household, I really treasure the time I get to spend immersed in the tranquility of my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, a special place where I can de-stress and unwind. The gentle pace demanded of a simple task like weeding turns it into an almost meditative act on a warm afternoon. Sometimes while I am there in the […]

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gooseberry crumble and elderflower caramel ice cream

After two months writing this blog I’ve decided it’s time that I featured a recipe for a dessert, and I’m basing this one on a traditional allotment stalwart. Is there a fruit more quintessentially British than the gooseberry? It is perfectly suited to our temperate climate and, just a few generations back was so revered that “gooseberry shows” proliferated across the Midlands and North of England. But then the supermarkets […]

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potato, spinach and broad bean frittata with mint oil

To me, there’s always a profound thrill in harvesting the first crop of potatoes on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden. You can never be sure what’s down there. It’s like digging for buried treasure. This year I’m growing eight different varieties of potato. That may sound somewhat excessive, and if I’m honest perhaps I did slightly overindulge myself at January’s National Potato Day at Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens (these […]

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Indonesian style spicy noodles with summer cabbage

This year I am growing several different varieties of cabbage on my allotment plot, The Circus Garden, and all being well these should keep us supplied with cabbage from now through to January. Regular readers of my blog will know that I grow my vegetables using organic principles. This means that I do not use pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or artificial fertilisers. To deal with the pests and diseases that cabbages […]

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pea, avocado and basil risotto

I grow a beautiful variety of pea on my allotment which for many years I’d known as Lancashire Lad, but which I’ve recently discovered is actually, rather more prosaically, called Victorian Purple Podded. Both Lancashire Lad and Victorian Purple Podded are what is known as heritage varieties, neither being available commercially. Such is the extraordinary way seed production is regulated that it is in fact illegal to buy or sell […]

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broad bean pilaf with slow roasted cinnamon tomatoes and lemon zhug

If I had to pick a favourite vegetable the broad bean would be very near the top of my list. Not only a proud harbinger of summer, this protein and vitamin rich vegetable can also be transformed into a wonderful, sweet, emerald, buttery delight by the patient cook. The variety I grow on the Circus Garden (my allotment plot) is called superaquadulce, which in my experience not only produces lots […]

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garlic, porcini and pistachio sausages

Although today has been beautifully sunny and warm, it is tomorrow that will mark the official start of summer. It will also mark the close of one of the coldest springs on record. The low temperatures throughout March, April and May have delayed early vegetable harvesting in vegetable gardens and allotment plots everywhere, including mine, the Circus Garden. So in this week’s post I am presenting another of my recipes […]

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herb and mozzarella fritters

In this blog I write about the food that I grow organically and what I cook with it. I had anticipated that by this week I might be writing about broad beans or even peas, but the vagaries of the British weather have delayed the first harvest of these early allotment vegetables. So instead I’m going to write about another group of plants that are currently doing rather well on […]

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asparagus with poached egg, mint and Parmesan

I cannot adequately convey the frisson of joy I feel when I first see asparagus shoots emerging on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden. To me it’s a signal that summer is truly on its way. And of course, you simply cannot beat the taste of freshly picked and steamed asparagus – sweet, succulent and slightly grassy. On a good day I can cut the asparagus, leap on my bike, […]

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