The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

aloo chaat

Hailed as one of the emerging great economies, India boasts some of the wealthiest people in the world. It is also home to more of the world’s poor than any other country on the planet. Whilst the country has seen a huge expansion in its technology and consumer goods industries over the past two decades, around 70% of India’s inhabitants still live in rural areas and have been largely untouched […]

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beetroot and horseradish soup with thyme and caraway croutons

Somehow I suspect it won’t end the debate, but it is worth noting that a recently published study by Newcastle University – the biggest of its kind ever undertaken – has reached the very clear conclusion that organic foods are significantly healthier than their non-organic counterparts. The international team which conducted the research not only found that organic foods contained up to 60% more key antioxidants than non-organic, but also […]

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Thai-style sweetcorn fritters with sweet chilli dipping sauce

Tomorrow is the first day of national “Waste Less, Live More” week here in the UK. To mark the occasion I would like to suggest the following ten point checklist to help reduce unnecessary personal food waste, which on average amounts to a quarter of all the food we buy. Reducing our individual food waste is not only ethically right, it also helps save money and reduces the environmental impact […]

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peach, smoked avocado and mozzarella salad

I recently returned from a week’s holiday in Avignon in Provence, Southern France, a town and a region with a great and enduring love for good food. Returning to the contrasting food culture of the UK has left me pondering about the very strange paradox that seems to underpin the British public’s relationship with food. On the one hand, UK restaurants have undergone a renaissance over the past two decades, […]

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courgette, tomato and olive tian

Three weeks ago the Guardian newspaper reported an attempt by the British government to shelve publication of the official report from an Inquiry into the country’s 2013 horse meat scandal. Yesterday, the report was finally published. The Inquiry, chaired by Professor Chris Elliott of Belfast’s Queens University, had been set up to investigate how horse meat had managed to find its way into a range of processed meat products for […]

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tomato, lentil and tamarind soup

Sometimes you eat something and it is so good that it fleetingly stops you in your tracks, suddenly, unexpectedly giving you a deep sense of wellbeing, the kind of food that you never want to stop eating. That’s what I envisage whenever I hear the expression that something has been “cooked with love”. For me, it signifies food from pure, wholesome ingredients that have been put together with the intention […]

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Thai basil and lemongrass ice cream

There is one very big advantage to making your own ice cream: you know exactly what has gone into it, an important consideration given that there are nearly 1,500 registered chemicals than can be used legally in commercial ice cream making. Since making a successful soy-milk based elderflower ice cream a couple of months ago I have been experimenting more and more with natural vegan ice cream flavour combinations, and […]

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onion bhaji

Several research projects in recent years have confirmed the positive effects of gardening as a mental health intervention, particularly in cases involving anxiety and depression. This makes sense: we gardeners plant and sow seeds, often in cold and unpromising conditions, in the hope and expectation that good things will grow from them. We are optimists, either by nature or through experience. Gardening encourages us to adapt to a different pace […]

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cucumber, shallot and strawberry salad with mint and passionfruit dressing

Right now, here in the UK, we have a wonderful abundance of locally grown, fresh organic fruit and vegetables to choose from, making it the perfect time to prepare and appreciate a good quality salad. This is a recipe for one which is delicious, quick to prepare and light on calories. Fresh food is an uncomplicated, healthy alternative to the fatty, sugary, additive-loaded processed foods that form such a large […]

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Vietnamese style tofu with pak choi and basil

Last month the global chemicals giant Syngenta applied to the UK government for an “emergency exemption” from a temporary EU ban on the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids. Thanks in no small part to the activities of environmental protesters and the campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, who delivered a petition of 200,000 signatures to Downing Street, Syngenta eventually decided to withdraw its request just before the cabinet was due to discuss […]

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