The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

celeriac and cumin oven fries

Since the inception of the UK government position of Secretary of State for the Environment in 1970 there have been twenty one holders of the post. Some have been very good, and a few not so good, but of them all, the current incumbent, Owen Paterson, is surely the least suitable for the role. Mr Paterson certainly doesn’t seem to believe that acting as advocate for the environment is part […]

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wok-fried Brussels sprouts with sriracha

As I write this post it is now a year since the so-called horsemeat scandal erupted in the UK, after horse DNA was found in beefburgers and beef lasagne ready meals for sale in British supermarkets Leaving aside the issue of criminality, what the scandal really revealed was how difficult it is to trace the origin of imported produce in our food supply chain. It showed that the longer and […]

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potato, rosemary and chilli soup

I’d planned to publish this recipe to coincide with what should have been National Potato Day later this month at Ryton Gardens, an event usually held under a giant marquee at the home of Garden Organic. Unfortunately, Ryton is undergoing refurbishment and therefore not hosting the event this year, so I’m left to source my organic seed potatoes from elsewhere. It’s one of the key crops on my allotment plot, […]

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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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vegetarian gravy

This is a very simple but flavoursome gravy, designed to accompany my chestnut and pecan raised pie but which also works well with similar vegetarian and vegan dishes, such as my kale, quinoa and nut roast en croute. Although Mediterannean in origin, rosemary is a robust herb that happily survives the winter months and it provides a subtle herbal note to this rich and tasty sauce.

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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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Moroccan butternut and lentil soup with sweet chermoula oil

I know that in this blog I do tend to go on a bit about Monsanto, the giant chemical company which, alongside Bayer and Syngenta, now owns the “patents” to around two thirds of the world’s vegetable seeds. But I’m not alone in my antipathy – the company was recently voted the “most evil corporation” of 2013 in a poll of 16,000 readers of the US website Natural News. In […]

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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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carrot, cashew and coriander fritters

Originating from Afghanistan the carrot was originally grown for its leaves and seeds rather than for its root. Back then carrots were either purple or yellow in colour. The orange carrot didn’t appear until the 17th century, in the Netherlands, where it was bred as a tribute to William of Orange (who later became William III of England) – an early example, one might say, of politics interfering with food. […]

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