The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘monoculture’

parpadelle with pea, pistachio and mint pesto

In April this year the European Union (EU) finally decided to introduce a permanent ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, following years of compelling evidence of the serious damage they cause to bee populations. A partial ban had already been in place, but the trigger for the EU’s decision was a report from its own organisation, the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa). The Efsa report confirmed that neonicotinoid pesticides affect not only […]

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vegan peanut butter and chocolate tart with roast banana ice cream

I recently read an article about a small group of Canadian beekeepers who were refusing to loan out their bee colonies to blueberry farmers in British Columbia. The reason, they explained, was that they were concerned about the impact on the health of their bees of pollinating only one single crop. This news article struck me on two fronts. Firstly, the very fact that bees need to be transported to […]

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Keralan-style banana fritters

I recently returned from a trip across southern India, taking in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This was my first trip to India, and after my visit I now understand how difficult it is to imagine or describe this amazing country to those who haven’t been. Apart from the wonderful Indian people, one of the stand-out things for me was the quality of the fresh fruit and […]

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almond stuffed pears with chocolate sauce

  My adopted home city, Worcester, has as its symbol a black pear. It appears on the city’s coat of arms, on its rugby and cricket club badges and features in numerous other associations with the city.         The Worcester Black Pear is in fact an ancient, local variety of pear, believed to be at least six hundred years old. No longer grown commercially, it can still […]

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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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broad bean, spring onion and oregano soup

With Spring now in full sway down on my allotment plot, the Circus Garden, I had (quite literally) a growing number of ingredients from which to choose when creating this recipe to mark National Vegetarian Week. What started as a mere trickle of plants just a few weeks ago – the initial, tentative shoots of asparagus, the first stirrings into life of mint, chives and other herbs – has started […]

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rosemary and pine nut semifreddo

As the weather continues to warm up, the new season’s array of herbs are sprouting up in my greenhouse and all over my allotment plot, the Circus Garden – mint, oregano, chives, parsley, French tarragon, horseradish, basil, coriander, lemon thyme, lemon verbena and fennel, alongside more unusual varieties like blackcurrant sage, lemon basil and basil mint, each offering a range of different culinary possibilities. But one herb has always been […]

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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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broad bean pilaf with slow roasted cinnamon tomatoes and lemon zhug

If I had to pick a favourite vegetable the broad bean would be very near the top of my list. Not only a proud harbinger of summer, this protein and vitamin rich vegetable can also be transformed into a wonderful, sweet, emerald, buttery delight by the patient cook. The variety I grow on the Circus Garden (my allotment plot) is called superaquadulce, which in my experience not only produces lots […]

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