The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

coffee ice cream with pecan biscotti

In case you weren’t aware, we are currently in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight, an initiative launched by the the Fairtrade Foundation to encourage us to be more aware of the origin of the produce we buy, and how it came to reach our table. I’m using coffee in this week’s recipe and, as it happens, coffee was the very first product to come under the wing of the Fairtrade […]

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gigantes

It may only have been lettuce, rather than a staple foodcrop, but some of the supply problems faced by UK supermarkets over the past few weeks provide a fascinating glimpse into the fine margins upon which much of our food supply now depends. The Murcia region of Spain, the main source of fresh salad crops in UK supermarkets over the winter months, has recently suffered unusually heavy rains and flooding. […]

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stir fried broccoli with sesame and garlic

Perhaps it’s laziness. Perhaps it a belief that we simply don’t have the time. Whatever the reasons, British people have an enduring relationship with fast food, spending almost £30 billion each year on the stuff. A UK Parliamentary research paper, “Barriers to Healthy Food”, published last year suggested that the average Briton consumes 200 to 300 excess calories per day, in large part linked to fast food consumption. Characterised by convenience, […]

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saffron braised leek with cannellini and farro

Tomorrow, as the world looks on with varying degrees of trepidation, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America. With Republican majorities in Congress and the House of Representatives, he has the scope to fulfil many of the sweeping changes he promised during the presidential election campaign, with potentially profound impacts on US foreign policy, trade, immigration, and civil rights. However, his […]

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spiced clementines with clementine sorbet

Recently published research in the USA by the University of Virginia has confirmed that the increased use of genetically modified crops (GMOs) by farmers has led to a significant increase in the use of herbicides. Covering a thirteen year period up to 2011, this is the largest study ever undertaken into the impact of GMOs on US farming and the environment. The researchers found that on average farmers growing genetically […]

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Jerusalem artichoke and roast garlic soup

Traditionally, the onset of winter is the time when those who maintain gardens, allotments and smallholdings settle down with a handful of seed catalogues to decide what to grow next year. David Holmgren, one of the originators of the permaculture system of gardening, once described growing your own food as “a political act”. It is certainly true that those of us who do grow at least some of our own food are a […]

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kale and butter bean fritters

The UK now imports over 50% of the food that we eat, a proportion that has grown steadily over recent decades (in 1987, for example, it stood at 36%). One hidden consequence of this growing reliance on other countries for our food is that as we import more and more food from abroad we simultaneously export more and more of the environmental impact of growing that food. A recent study […]

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squash, mushroom and chestnut pie

The $66 billion acquisition of controversial US agrochemical multinational Monsanto by the German multinational Bayer will, assuming it passes regulatory tests, come into effect by the end of next year. It has been described rightly as a “marriage made in hell” by Friends of the Earth. The new company will be the world’s largest seller both of seeds and of agrichemicals, holding the intellectual copyright to over a quarter of […]

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miso and sesame glazed aubergine

Buddhism began to take root as the principal religion in Japan during the seventh century AD, and since Buddhism prohibited the destruction of life, the emperor issued a decree in 675 AD prohibiting the consumption of meat. Those caught breaking the decree faced a range of penalties, including death. Over the ensuing centuries, reinforced by this royal decree, the Japanese ate a mostly vegan diet (dairy produce did not feature […]

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