The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

rhubarb and vanilla Bakewell tart

What am I eating? Where did it come from? How did it get here? These are three really simple questions which should be very easy to answer. But just take a look in your fridge and store cupboard and work out what percentage of the food you are intending to eat readily allows you to answer those three questions. The serpentine complexity of much of our food chain makes it […]

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kale and shiitake tom yum

I am old enough to remember the UK before the first McDonalds opened up here, and I believe the arrival of the global fast food chain to our shores coincided with a pivotal shift in our attitudes to food. To me, with the benefit of hindsight, it seemed to herald two things. Firstly, a gradual onslaught of fast, cheap, energy-dense food, a trend continued subsequently with the seemingly irresistible rise […]

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rhubarb and vanilla jam

This is a recipe using the last of the forced rhubarb from my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, harvested in a flying visit earlier today during a rare break in the rain, which over the last few weeks has caused the river Severn to burst its banks, closing significant parts of Worcester and engulfing the park directly opposite my house. On the subject of the weather, at the same time […]

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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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rhubarb and lemongrass granita

refreshing rhubarb and lemongrass granita

The UK produces less than two-thirds of the food that we eat in a year. Another way of absorbing that fact is this: if all the food produced in the UK was stored in one single giant cupboard and on New Years Day we had all started eating only from that cupboard, the cupboard would be completely bare by August 14th. The situation is getting worse. Our percentage of food […]

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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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