The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘ready meals’

vegetable chow mein

vegetarian-chow-mein

Britain leads the rest of the world in consumption of ready meals. Our trust in the manufacturers of processed foods and drinks would be touching if it was not so harmfully misplaced. Time and again, those processed food and drink manufacturers have been shown to be far more concerned about maximising and protecting their profits than they are about the health of their customers. Their most profitable ingredient is also […]

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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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roasted crushed new potatoes

crushed roasted new potatoes

“The corporate model over-produces food that poisons us, destroys soil fertility, is responsible for the deforestation of rural areas, the contamination of water and the acidification of oceans and killing of fisheries. Essential natural resources have been commodified, and rising production costs are driving us off the land. Farmers’ seeds are being stolen and sold back to us at exorbitant prices, bred as varieties that depend on costly, contaminating agrochemicals. […]

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French tarragon and olive oil ice cream

French tarragon and olive oil ice cream

I wonder how many of you in the UK have come across those large delivery lorries with a “3663” logo painted on the sides and wondered what just what the “3663” represented. Well, for those of you who don’t know, 3663 is in fact a UK-based food supplier (“3663” is the number that you type in if you try to spell the word “food” on a telephone keypad). The company […]

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chick pea curry with green pea pilau

chick pea curry with green pea pilau

Thousands of curry dishes are eaten every day in the UK, but few of them are cooked from scratch. Many are bought as ready meals or take-aways, although increasingly popular over recent years has been the ready made “cooking sauce”, representing a sort of “half way house”, where the cook prepares and cooks the other ingredients before stirring in the ready made sauce. By far and away the most popular […]

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pumpkin seed, cranberry and nut tartlets

pumpkin-seed-cranberry-and-nut-tartlets

For decades official nutritional guidelines have warned us that saturated fats cause heart disease. This guidance was based upon the findings of a single, biased research project carried out in the 1950s, but it has taken the best part of sixty years to overturn those findings. Earlier this year Cambridge University became the latest respected institution to publish research which concluded that saturated fats are not, and never have been, […]

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mushroom fricassee with butternut squash fondant

mushroom-fricasee-with-butternut-squash-fondant

  There’s a common misconception that “healthy” foods are more expensive than other foods. That perception is encouraged by the fact that manufacturers of unhealthy foods receive billions in taxpayer subsidies each year whilst producers of healthy foods do not. This is how the market is distorted in favour of the multinational food producers, and why highly processed, unhealthy food often seems the cheaper option compared to freshly picked, unprocessed […]

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courgette, tomato and olive tian

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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cucumber, shallot and strawberry salad with mint and passionfruit dressing

cucumber, shallot and strawberry salad

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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wild garlic tartlets

wild garlic tartlets

According to Joanne Blythman’s book “Bad Food Britain”, which I have just finished reading, something dramatic has been happening to our collective cooking knowledge and skills over the course of a couple of generations. Fifty years ago the average British family meal took 1 hour and 20 minutes to prepare and cook. By 1980 that figure had dropped to an hour. Now it takes on average just 13 minutes to […]

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