The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

Tag Archive for ‘supermarkets’

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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apple kringle

It is the fruit that inspired one of Britain’s greatest ever scientists, Isaac Newton, to formulate his “theory of gravitation”, and many of us would regard the apple as a quintessentially British fruit. A generation or two back it truly was, but over the past 40 years nearly two thirds of all UK apple orchards have been lost, and more and more traditional varieties of this fruit face extinction. Nowadays […]

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chard and Parmesan tart

Is it right – morally, never mind environmentally – that we fill our shopping trollies with asparagus from Peru or Mexico, green beans from Senegal or Kenya, mangetout from Zimbabwe and peas from Guatemala, when we know that these are countries that face problems of food shortages and poverty? Farms in these countries holding contracts with UK companies are high tech, commercialised operations that are required to produce food to […]

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cauliflower samosas

One of the many problems of the 365 day, out-of-season provision of fruit and vegetables by our supermarkets is that it has led to many of us losing our understanding and appreciation of truly seasonal produce. The result is that we have lots of bland and inferior produce flown from halfway across the world to sate our apparent demand for courgettes in March or green beans in December instead of […]

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calabrese pakora

Before we start cooking I’d like to draw your attention to a recent, apparently minor, item of news that in all likelihood escaped your attention. A leading British researcher, Dr Helen Thompson has just quit her post with the government’s Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) in order to take up a post with the global giant chemical company Syngenta. Why is this significant? Well, in a previous blog I […]

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stuffed arancini with smoky tomato sauce

Around three quarters of the tomatoes that we consume in the UK are imported, mostly from Spain, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Two years ago, an investigation by The Guardian newspaper revealed that migrant African workers picking Spanish tomatoes for export were being paid less than half the legal minimum wage and were living in atrocious conditions. The tomato pickers were not only charged “rent” for living in appalling squalor, they […]

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