The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

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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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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sous vide pear with hazelnut and cinnamon crumble

In a few days time the European Parliament is expected to vote to accept proposals for reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which accounts for a staggering 40% of the EU’s entire annual budget. Amongst the many problems with the CAP is that for many years it has been, in effect, subsidising environmentally harmful activities such as intensive farming, chemical pollution and the draining of wetlands. By taxing […]

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Thai pumpkin and coconut soup

Pesticides have been developed specifically to help prevent our crops being attacked, so are they necessarily a bad thing? Well, yes they are. Pesticides are designed with one purpose in mind: to kill. They are poisonous. That is why there are legally prescribed “safe” levels for their human consumption. The use of pesticides in agriculture is a recent one, in relative terms, which means that, despite a growing body of […]

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artichoke and taleggio pizza fritta

This winter the Red Cross will begin to distribute food parcels to the poor in Britain for the first time since end of the Second World War. The number of food banks in Britain, and the demands placed upon them have escalated in the past couple of years as families struggle with the effects of benefit cuts, food and fuel inflation and wage cuts. Before the austerity programme of the […]

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leek, mushroom and tarragon filo tartlets

The French philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon once famously declared, “all property is theft”. In the case of land ownership in the UK there is a substantial amount of truth in that proclamation. The concept of private land ownership in the UK can be traced back to the 13th century when King Henry III legalised the appropriation by the nobility of open fields, pastureland and other areas that previously had been deemed […]

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