The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

radish, broad bean and mint salad

radish broad bean and mint salad

Supermarkets deploy a considerable amount of science to exert subtle influences over our shopping habits and impulses. For example, all supermarkets now use planogram software to help with store layout in order to stimulate our purchasing behaviour and increase revenues. Essentially, planograms are used to determine where each product should be placed, not only to make the shelves we pass visually appealing but also to ensure each product is in […]

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asparagus, basil and sesame wraps


The European Food Safety Authority recently began a review of the temporary ban on neonicotinoid pesticides imposed two years ago by the European Union (EU) in response to evidence about the harmful effect of these chemicals on bee populations. The evaluation is due to be completed by January 2017 and it could lead to the ban being lifted or maintained. Since its introduction, the multinational pesticides manufacturers Bayer and Syngenta […]

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yellow split pea and wild garlic tarka dhal

yellow split pea and wild garlic dhal

The recent announcement by the makers of Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s, advising consumers that their sauces should only be consumed once a week, struck me on two levels. Firstly, as the manufacturer was not required to make this declaration, I wondered what could have motivated it to take such a unilateral step. Ever the cynic, I believe this move was less about serving the interests of consumers and more about […]

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six fabulous vegan street food recipes

six fabulous vegan street food recipes

My culinary experiments and adventures have been restricted of late, following a freak accident which has left me with multiple rib fractures. Believe me, fractured ribs cause a lot of pain! I am hoping to be fully back in action very soon, but in the meantime here are six vegan recipes from the Circus Gardener’s Kitchen archives, each of them inspired by street food classics from around the world. As […]

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herb and spring onion panelle


I recently chanced upon an interesting research paper, originally published in the Journal of Applied Ecology in April 2014, in which the quality of soil found on UK farms was compared with soil sampled from allotment sites. The researchers found that industrialised farming practices had seriously degraded soil quality, whilst in contrast the allotment soils they sampled were consistently found to be of significantly high quality. The research also noted that allotments […]

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kale and caramelised onion tart with walnut crust

kale and caramelised onion tart with walnut crust

As I write this post, repercussions from the UK chancellor’s March budget statement continue to make the news. George Osborne’s budget not only triggered a ministerial resignation it also exposed rifts within the governing Conservative party over an economic doctrine that produces tax cuts for the rich at the expense of benefits for the poor and disabled. But when the dust has died down, what might well emerge from this […]

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roast chickpea and avocado salad

roast chickpea and avocado salad

  In the past twelve months some 2,000 square miles of the Amazon rainforest has been lost to clearing – equivalent to 50 football pitches every minute. Although some of these losses are due to illegal logging, much of it has been to meet the demands of the cattle industry. In 2009 the multinational food giants McDonald’s and Cargill were named and shamed by Greenpeace for their role in the […]

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rose petal and rhubarb ice cream

rose petal and rhubarb ice cream

What a charmed life companies like Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, KFC, Mars, Nestlé, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have been leading here in the UK. For months they have kept their corporate heads down while all around them there has been a growing clamour for the UK government to introduce a sugar tax on unhealthy products, many of them produced by these self same companies. The government, however, seems more concerned with protecting its […]

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leek, potato and chive cakes with shallot and tomato sauce

leek, potato and chive cakes

This is the time of year when we gardeners like to indulge ourselves by browsing through seed catalogues and deciding what we want to grow in the year ahead. A proportion of the vegetable seeds I will be sowing this year are seeds I have saved from last season’s vegetables, all of them heritage (“true seed”) varieties. Some vegetable seeds are easy to collect, for example beans, peas, tomatoes and […]

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