The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

wild nettle pizza

During the transition between the end of winter and the middle of spring is a period which traditionally was known as the “hungry gap”. This marked the grim phase of the growing calendar when the last of the hardy winter crops had been used up and the new season’s first crops were not yet ready to harvest. In times gone by the poor had to rely on whatever food they […]

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flageolet bean and crispy leek risotto with truffle oil

A recent study published by Cambridge University revealed that people who live or work close to fast food outlets have an increased likelihood of obesity simply because it means they are more likely to be tempted to eat unhealthily. It seems we are simply unable to restrain ourselves when we are presented with the opportunity for a quick fix of cheap, highly processed, energy-dense food. The Cambridge University report reminded […]

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Borlotti bean, hazelnut and porcini pâté

In 2012 the UK exported 320,000 tonnes of pork, 264 million eggs, 466 million litres of milk and 38,000 tonnes of butter. In the same year, the UK imported 696,000 tonnes of pork, 4,290 million eggs, 129 million litres of milk and 69,000 tonnes of butter. Does anything strike you about these statistics? That’s right. What the figures show (apart from the fact that the UK is importing far more […]

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pea and chickpea cakes with curry oil

A scandal has been taking place in India, largely unreported in the West, where over the course of the past decade an average of over 1,000 farmers per month have been committing suicide. One of the root causes of this astonishing statistic lies in the consequences of a deal struck between the Indian government and the International Monetary Fund in the early 1990s. In exchange for international loans, the Indian […]

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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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