The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian cooking with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘supermarkets’

baked potato soup with chive oil

Earlier this year I helped set up a local food waste initiative called Worcester Food Rescue. It consists of a small group of volunteers who collect food from supermarkets and other suppliers which is past its “display by” date but before its “use by” date. The food we collect is then distributed to several local charities. This is one of many similar initiatives across the UK. Without the intervention of […]

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pea and tarragon soup

“Modern distribution and storage methods can significantly increase the time period before there is loss of quality for a product, and it has become increasingly difficult to decide when the term ‘fresh’ is being used legitimately.” The quote above is from an official document published by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA), setting out the criteria for use of the word “fresh” in food labelling. It’s not surprising that even […]

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asparagus, broad bean and Spring herb tart

If I could encourage readers of this blog into one simple, routine habit it would be this: to read the label on any item of fresh produce before you decide whether or not to buy it from the supermarket or store. I can guarantee that if you are not in the habit of doing so, you will be surprised by what you find. Take asparagus as an example. Those who […]

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chickpea soup with rosemary oil

I gave up my beloved allotment plot, the Circus Garden, last year, after an unfortunate accident that had left me incapacitated for several weeks. It had happened at the worst time of the year, just when I should have been out preparing the ground, sowing seeds and planting crop seedlings. As I slowly recovered from my injuries the weeds, of course, had a field day. Once I began to feel […]

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Szechuan-style mushrooms with aubergine

Earlier this year the French government introduced legislation making it illegal for supermarkets to throw away food that had gone past its “sell by” date. Under the new law they must now donate unsold food to charities and food banks or face fines. The Italian government recently announced that it is also planning legislation on supermarkets and food waste, although rather than impose fines the proposed law would provide tax […]

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pea and ricotta polpette with mint and pistachio pesto

As I write this post it is a week since the momentous decision of the UK electorate to vote to leave the European Union (“Brexit”). In the run up to the referendum both the “Vote Leave” and the “Vote Remain” camps led disgracefully shallow and misleading campaigns. As someone who is proudly European and who sees immigration as a positive cultural influence, I was particularly dismayed at the barely concealed […]

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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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apple and rosemary tartlets

Last Saturday I visited a fruit farm near Newent in Gloucestershire with around twenty others, all of us there with the same purpose: to collect as many apples as we could on the day. This was my first such outing as a “gleaner”. The farmer had kindly agreed to open his orchards to our group of “gleaners” for the day, and between us we harvested three and a half tonnes […]

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French bean and sesame salad

Although the era of food rationing in the UK is usually associated with the second world war, in fact it was first introduced in Britain in 1917, during the first world war. At the time, German U-Boats were regularly attacking supply ships bringing food to the UK from overseas. So successful were these attacks that at one stage Britain was judged to have enough food supplies to last just six […]

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