The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘supermarkets’

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 be […]

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beetroot and horseradish soup with thyme and caraway croutons

Somehow I suspect it won’t end the debate, but it is worth noting that a recently published study by Newcastle University – the biggest of its kind ever undertaken – has reached the very clear conclusion that organic foods are significantly healthier than their non-organic counterparts. The international team which conducted the research not only found that organic foods contained up to 60% more key antioxidants than non-organic, but also […]

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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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smoked cheese and chive beignets

Where would we be without herbs? Our world would certainly be far less sensuous and magical. Gone would be the rush of heady scent conjured up as you brush past a basil or lavender plant on a warm summer’s afternoon. And without the transformative culinary impact of these wonderful plants imagine how uninspiring and insipid our food would become. Herbs are one of the first plants to appear in the […]

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smoked paprika tagliatelle with asparagus and wild garlic pesto

This week’s recipe combines two flavour-packed delights of early Spring, asparagus and wild garlic. Asparagus is at its best right now whereas wild garlic is already heading towards the end of its short but prolific season. If, like me, you are fortunate to be able to forage for wild garlic locally, please only ever pick the leaves not the whole plant, and always take only what you need. On reflection, […]

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beer battered asparagus with lemon and gherkin aioli

There are few things more dramatic in the vegetable garden than the way the first of the new season’s crop of asparagus suddenly and proudly pushes its head out of the the soil. The arrival of the asparagus crop signals a turning point in the growing year, when the other early vegetable envoys for the new season start to limber up, getting ready to take their bow in the warm […]

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Borlotti bean, hazelnut and porcini pâté

In 2012 the UK exported 320,000 tonnes of pork, 264 million eggs, 466 million litres of milk and 38,000 tonnes of butter. In the same year, the UK imported 696,000 tonnes of pork, 4,290 million eggs, 129 million litres of milk and 69,000 tonnes of butter. Does anything strike you about these statistics? That’s right. What the figures show (apart from the fact that the UK is importing far more […]

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kale and shiitake tom yum

I am old enough to remember the UK before the first McDonalds opened up here, and I believe the arrival of the global fast food chain to our shores coincided with a pivotal shift in our attitudes to food. To me, with the benefit of hindsight, it seemed to herald two things. Firstly, a gradual onslaught of fast, cheap, energy-dense food, a trend continued subsequently with the seemingly irresistible rise […]

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chargrilled broccoli and spaghetti with lemon and basil pesto

As I sit here writing this post I can see, just a few hundred metres away from my house, the lapping edge of the swollen river Severn. Normally the river is about half a mile away but the seemingly incessant rain of the past couple of months has caused major flooding in my adopted city, Worcester. Across the UK, the floods are not only damaging property but also threatening cropland […]

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parsnip, ricotta and chive gnocchi with lemon and sage butter

It is estimated that over a third of all crops grown on this planet are now diverted into animal feed to sustain the meat industry. Here in the UK we are a net importer of animal feed, mainly in the form of soya and maize, and around 85% of that feed now consists of genetically modified (GM) crops. Unlike the governments of countries such as Germany, France, Sweden, Luxembourg, Austria […]

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rhubarb and lemongrass granita

refreshing rhubarb and lemongrass granita

The UK produces less than two-thirds of the food that we eat in a year. Another way of absorbing that fact is this: if all the food produced in the UK was stored in one single giant cupboard and on New Years Day we had all started eating only from that cupboard, the cupboard would be completely bare by August 14th. The situation is getting worse. Our percentage of food […]

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Brussels sprouts with spring onions and sriracha

As I write this post it is now a year since the so-called horsemeat scandal erupted in the UK, after horse DNA was found in beefburgers and beef lasagne ready meals for sale in British supermarkets Leaving aside the issue of criminality, what the scandal really revealed was how difficult it is to trace the origin of imported produce in our food supply chain. It showed that the longer and […]

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