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SALAD DAYS

This week we have a lovely low-carb salad for summer taken from Domini's best-selling The Ketogenic Kitchen. It does have feta, but you can replace that with a non-dairy cheese if you prefer.

Greek-ish salad

Domini says: "I love Greek salad but really love the way this one is a bit more robust with the cumin in it. Red wine vinegar also works instead of the lemon juice."

Serves 2-4

  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 120 g good black olives (approx 12-15 stoned olives)
  • 100 g feta, crumbled
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red onion, very finely sliced
  • Bunch mint, roughly chopped
  • Punnet cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Approx 150 g mixed leaves
  1. If you have a gas hob, stick the green pepper over a gas flame and char the skin.  Alternatively you can rub the skin with a little oil and grill under a hot grill. Either way, remove the skin or be lazy and leave it on. Slice it finely.
  2. Toast the cumin seeds in a frying pan for a minute or two until you start to get a good roast smell from them. Allow them to cool slightly and then whisk together the cumin, oregano, lemon juice and olive oil. Season well and add a pinch caster sugar if the dressing is too sharp. 
  3. Toss the salad leaves with a little dressing and then layer up the other salad ingredients. Drizzle some more dressing on top and serve straight away.

We hope you love it and that there's some sunshine to go with it this weekend!

Many thanks.
Team Alchemy

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PICNIC TIME

With the weather allegedly going to improve over the next few days, we thought we'd share a recipe from Domini's days as food writer in The Irish Times. This goregous Caramelised Garlic Tart is based on an Ottolenghi recipe and is perfect picnic fare. And, as always, it's super-tasty and very easy to prepare.

Caramelised Garlic Tart

Use any type of goat’s cheese but using some hard and some soft gives a great balance of textures.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g pack of puff pastry, defrosted
  • 3 heads garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 220 ml water
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp chopped herbs: rosemary & thyme
  • 120 g soft goat’s cheese
  • 120 g hard goat’s cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g crème fraiche
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Roll out the puff pastry so that it lines the base and sides of a 28 cm tart tin. If you have the time, stick it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to rest. Then, prick the base with a fork and line the pastry with greaseproof paper and dried beans or rice. Blind bake for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the paper and beans and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes so that the base dries out. Set aside to cool.
     
  2. Sweat the whole garlic cloves in the olive oil, over a very gentle heat for ten minutes. Don’t allow them to colour. The turn up the heat and add the balsamic vinegar, the water and sugar. Simmer gently for 10 minutes then add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Most of the liquid needs to evaporate and the cloves should be well coated in a dark caramel type thick glaze. Set aside.
     
  3. Scatter the cheeses onto the base of the pastry. Then scatter the garlic cloves and any of the balsamic juices on top, arranging the cloves so that they are evenly distributed.
     
  4. Whisk the eggs and crème fraiche and pour on top. Bake the tart on a baking tray (so that it’s easier to transport) at 160 for about 35 minutes or so, until the mixture looks as though it has just set – mind you, there’s not that much liquid in this recipe so it does cook quickly.
     
  5. Allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving with a big salad.

We hope you like it . . . . and we hope the sun shines!

Many thanks.
Team Alchemy

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KALE & HEALTHY

As you obviously know by now, we’re huge fans of eating healthily here in Alchemy, with kale being a particular favourite ingredient of ours. So we loved this piece on the Authority Nutrition website listing 10 proven benefits of kale: https://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-benefits-of-kale/

We don’t put kale in everything, but we do use it an awful lot of things and it has proven very popular with you, our customers.

Here are some of our kale-based dishes, including a juice and a smoothie (they work!!!):

  • The MEAN GREENS juice comes with kale and spinach, cos, celery, cucumber, flat leaf parsley, apple, lemon, ginger and mint. And it’s gorgeous!
     
  • The KALE-KETO CRUSH smoothie has lightly steamed kale with coconut milk, coconut oil, cider vinegar and Sun warrior powder. You will love it!
     
  • The KALE CRACK SALAD comes with tahini, seeds and raisins. Simple but effective!
     
  • The PALEO CAESAR SALAD comes with free-range Irish roast chicken, kale, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and tamari. This Caesar dressing means kale has never tasted so good!
     
  • The BEEF CRACK KALE SALAD has rare Irish beef, Asian dressing, Portobello mushrooms, quinoa, nutritional yeast and crushed walnuts. This a particular favourite of Domini’s – and it’s not hard to taste why.

We hope you enjoy them all!!

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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HEALTHY GRANOLA BARS

Our Alchemy Granola Bars are one of our most popular healthy treats here in our Leeson Street shop as well as in our new pop-up horsebox in Kildare Village. And like a lot of the healthy eating recipes devised by Domini Kemp and her fellow chefs for Alchemy, they are also simple to prepare at home while also being super-tasty.

So here's the recipe below.

Gluten-free granola bars

Ingredients

  • 200g gluten-free oats
  • 200g dried dates, chopped
  • 100g dried figs, chopped
  • 75g goji berries
  • 75g dried blueberries
  • 75g raisins
  • Two tbsp flax seeds
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • One to two tsps vanilla extract
  • Two tsps pumpkin seeds
  • Three frozen bananas, semi-thawed and broken up in a blender into ‘banana mush’

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C.
  2. Put the dates and figs in a saucepan, cover with twice the amount of water, and simmer for 45 minutes until it’s a sloppy, sweet liquid.
  3. Add the blueberries, raisins, flax seeds and cinnamon, then mix well. Add in the oats, vanilla, pumpkin seeds and bananas. Pour into a baking tray, or brownie tray lined with parchment, and bake for about 45 minutes.
  4. Cool the mix down in the tin, then cut it into bars, wrap in parchment paper and freeze. Just pull them out as you need them – they thaw very quickly and I’ve even eaten them while frozen as they go chewy instead of hard.

Many thanks and we hope you enjoy them!
Team Alchemy

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RECIPE TIME

This week, we have a gorgeous recipe for you from Domini's best-selling low-carb, high-fat cookbook, The Ketogenic Kitchen. Co-authored with nutritional therapist Patricia Daly, it's a must-have for anyone interested in LCHF eating.

The recipe is for CAULIFLOWER, COURGETTE AND GOAT’S CHEESE PIZZA with a based made from cauliflower. As always with Domini's recipes, it's easy to make and really, really tasty.

Photo: Jo Murphy (http://www.joanne-murphy.com/)

Domini says: "This would easily serve four to six people, but it is quite more-ish and surprisingly filling. I think it’s better when it cools down to room temperature. I used Old MacDonnells Farm goat’s cheese, though St Tola would also be soft enough to use."

For the base

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 200g soft goat’s cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Sauce
  • Good glug of olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 red pepper, cored and roughly chopped
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch smoked sweet paprika or cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Topping

  • 1 courgette
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • 100g of your favourite goat’s cheese

Method

  1. To make the base, remove the green stalks (these are good when you’re roasting cauliflower, but don’t work here) and cut or break the florets into small pieces. Blend in a food processor on pulse mode until you make white “breadcrumbs” that look a little damp. Don’t over process, but do make sure it’s fully ground up.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the crumbs with the goat’s cheese, thyme and egg. It’s almost like beating sugar and butter together with no electric beater. I just did it with a spatula, and it’s easier if the cheese is soft and at room temperature. Eventually you will feel that everything is reasonably well distributed.
  3. Get a baking tray or brownie tin and generously line it with parchment paper. Then spread the “dough” onto the paper and pat down with the spatula. Put another sheet of parchment over it and smooth out the cauliflower with your flat hands so that it spreads out to about half an inch inch thick. You can set this aside and chill it (even overnight), while the sauce is cooking away.
  4. Cook the base on its own for about 20 minutes at 200 degrees/gas 6. It will start to look a little pale golden on top. Lift up the paper to check the underneath is okay. The edges may char a bit, but this is fine. Set aside to cool down.
  5. Heat up the olive oil and sweat the garlic, onion and red pepper. Do this for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer over gentle heat for about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, and when the sauce has cooled down, blitz until smooth in a blender. This will make too much sauce, but it can be frozen so you have some ready to go next time you want a homemade pizza sauce that’s a bit fruitier than normal.
  6. Cut the courgette on a mandolin, or very finely with a knife. Toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.
  7. When you are ready to do the final 10 minutes of cooking, spread a few tablespoons of sauce onto the pizza base, then top with slivers of courgette and scatter some goat’s cheese on top. Bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese is just starting to melt.

Allow to cool and settle and serve. This is just as good cold, if not better.

Thanks and enjoy!!
Team Alchemy

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VILLAGE LIFE

Folks, our pop-horsebox is up and running in Kildare Village. We are beside So Collective, just up from Joe’s Coffee. Come along and check us out! We’ll be handing out free samples!

Here’s the menu:

JUICES

  • Mean Green: kale, spinach, cos, celery, cucumber, flatleaf parsley, apple, lemon, ginger, mint
  • Gateway: spinach, cos, celery, pineapple, apple, pear, parsley, lemon, ginger
  • Anti-Everything: carrot, apple, fresh turmeric, lemon, ginger, black pepper, cold-pressed flax oil
  • Beat It: beetroot, spinach, cos, celery, flat-leaf parsley, apple, lemon, ginger

SMOOTHIES

  • OMG: banana, dates, almond milk, almond butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, HPS
  • Green Brute: avocado, cold pressed green juice, almond milk, spinach, banana,dates, lemon juice, ginger
  • My My Milkshake: banana, espresso, raw cacao, maple syrup, almond milk
  • Berry Buddy: banana, strawberries, blueberries, acai powder, coconut water, HPS

TREATS

Granola Bar, Cashew & Choc Chew Bar, Chia & Chocolate Cookie, the legendary Bounty Brownie and, of course, our delicious Protein Balls and Spirulina Balls.

We also have our famous Bone Broth, our gorgeous Sweet Potato Soup and our Turmeric Tonic as a shot or tea.

Plus coffee from The Barn Berlin and teas from Clement & Pekoe.

And if you want our healthy salads, Joe’s has them!

You can’t go wrong!

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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ALCHEMY HITS KILDARE VILLAGE

Alchemy Juice Co is delighted to be occupying one of the cool pop-up horseboxes being operated in Kildare Village by Domini and Peaches Kemp. They have already had in some really cool brands including Hatch & Sons (see photo) with more to come including Wild Berry Bakery (Susan Robbins Fehily’s sweet treats), Luxe Gelato and Bean & Goose.

The Alchemy horsebox will be up and running for a week from Tuesday, May 9th. To celebrate and to give you a taste of what we do, we will be doing special free samplings in Kildare Village on Tuesday from 12-3 pm, on Saturday (May 13) from 12 -3 pm and on Sunday (May 14th) 1-4 pm.

You will be able to taste our smoothies (OMG, Berry Buddy, Green Brute, My My Milkshake), our Bone Broth, our Turmeric Tonic, our juices (Mean Green, Beat it, Gateway, Anti-Everything) and our healthy treats at different times

For more on all these, go here: http://www.alchemyjuice.ie/#menu

And we hope to see you in Kildare Village next week!

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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TREAT YOURSELF

Great short interview by the guys in Kildare Village with Alchemy and Joe’s Coffee co-founder Domini Kemp. She gives her top tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the go without depriving yourself of the occasional treat!

Photo: Aidan Crawley

Photo: Aidan Crawley

KILDARE VILLAGE: What is your favourite menu item from Joe's here in the Village?
DOMINI KEMP: So the thing I love about Joe's is not just the great coffee, we also have an amazing range of Alchemy cold-pressed juices as well as wheat-, diary- and sugar-free lunchboxes which are great if your following a low-carb diet.
KV: What is your top tip for healthy eating?
DK: People are always looking for the magic or the silver bullet when it comes to dieting and I think it all comes down to what suits you. For me, that means a low-carb diet, plenty of whole foods and great green vegetables such as kale and broccoli.
KV: What is your top tip for healthy eating on the go?
DK: My top tip is if you're travelling or on the go and you probably can't eat that well, I think a green juice is fantastic and also some nuts, so for me cashew and macadamia nuts are brilliant snacks to have. One of the things we have done with the upcoming range is to make sure that the nutritional information is available on the lunchboxes, so if you're interested in your carbs and protein and fats, all that information is there which is really helpful!
KV: We know that you recently spoke about your perfect yoga hideaway in the Sri Lankan jungle (http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/travel/long-haul/ulpotha-the-perfect-yoga-hideaway-in-the-sri-lankan-jungle-1.3029053). Have you any spots in Ireland where you could recommend to escape for the mind, body and soul?
DK: The Burren in County Clare is a really magical place, just going for walks, the beaches, amazing food, great producers, it’s a really special place. When you go there, you just realise: “Oh my goodness, Ireland is amazing!” It really is, it’s special, it’s almost spiritual and I have to say it’s a lovely place to go for a break.
KV: And with that in mind, what tips can you give for those who don’t want to fall off the diet wagon when on holidays?
DK: It’s really hard! That’s my honest answer and I tend to not be too precious about it when I’m on holidays. Recently, I was in Galway and there was amazing sour dough bread, just ridiculously good stuff that I wouldn’t normally eat and I think a big part of living is being able to just relax and enjoy yourself, so the main thing is when you are falling off the wagon look at your portion size but also be prepared to do the work the following couple of weeks! And just don’t beat yourself up! Enjoy it, live in the moment because good food is so, so special.
KV:  Finally, what are your go to, guilt-free summer treats?
DK: My idea of a healthy treat is actually a range of ice-cream which we have developed for Alchemy and it is all wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free and we’ve got some gorgeous toppings on it; it is served out of a “99” machine, so it is a much healthier “99”! It’s really delicious and it is a treat; obviously there is some sugar in there with bananas and dates and so on, but certainly lots of nutrients and goodness, a decadent but slightly healthier treat.

For more on Joe’s in Kildare Village, go here:
https://www.kildarevillage.com/en/food-drink/joes-coffee/

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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HOME BREW

As you know, we take our coffee pretty seriously here in Alchemy. This is partly because of our association with Joe's speciality coffee shops and with coffee aficionado Roark Cassidy and Joe's head barista Mate. That's one of the reasons we also use beans from The Barn in Berlin.

However, Alchemy founder Domini Kemp is also pretty serious about good coffee.  So we decided to share this great piece in The Irish Times recently about what speciality coffee kit the pros use at home to get the best brew.

Here's what the Barn-loving, Chemex-using Domini had to say: 

“The MoccaMaster is a really sophisticated machine which makes excellent coffee and looks absolutely gorgeous. So although I currently use a Chemex which is a really simple way of making delicious coffee, I am going to get the MoccaMaster – because all you have to do is press a button, it’s so easy. Our main roaster at Joe’s is Ralf Rueller from The Barn in Berlin. Their roasting style is Nordic and they take great pride in sourcing ethically and sustainably so this is what I drink at home – buying in small quantities (€11.50-€12.50) and going through it quite quickly. I should also be grinding my coffee, but know my limits in the morning so I understand why some people say making fresh coffee is too much hassle, but delicious coffee is like delicious food, you get back what you put in.”

To read the full piece, go here:

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/interiors/home-brew-an-expert-guide-to-the-best-coffee-makers-1.3019006

Thanks,
Team Alchemy

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EASTER RECIPE

With Easter weekend ahead, here is a favourite recipe of Domini’s which was first published in The Irish Times. Like so many of Domini’s recipes, it is easy to prepare and delicious.

DOMINI’S ROAST SHOULDER OF LAMB

This is a great dish when you want to feed or eight or so people and are not sure what time you’ll be eating. This can sit around for an hour or so and as long as it remains wrapped up, it will stay moist and sticky.

INGREDIENTS (serves: 8)

  • 2 shoulders of lamb
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • Salt (preferably Maldon)
  • Black pepper
  • Half a bottle of white wine
  • Handful of any fresh herbs: oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary
  • 1 good tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 good tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 heads garlic
  • Drizzle honey

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees or higher. Place the lamb shoulder, fatty skin side up, in a large roasting tin. Smear with olive oil and season generously with salt.
     
  2. Roast on a high heat for about 25 minutes until some good caramelisation is taking place. Then turn down the oven to about 150 degrees and take the lamb out while you doctor it up.
     
  3. Add the wine, the herbs and spices and peeled whole cloves of garlic. Wrap the roasting tin very securely with tin foil to seal it as much a possible, but still giving you the ability to occasionally baste.
     
  4. Cook for another 2-3 hours, at least, occasionally basting or turning it over and checking to see that the roasting pan still has wine in it. If not, then you need to improve your tin foil roof or add a splash of water.
     
  5. What I tend to do, though, is give it 2-2½ hours of slow cooking, then give it a final blast, at about 160 degrees, without foil and a drizzle of honey. The lamb should be a lovely dark brown and literally melting away.
     
  6. If it isn’t, then keep it wrapped up again, add more liquid and keep slow cooking. It will happen eventually, which is why this is always good to get cooking from lunchtime.
     
  7. It is fine to keep warm, well wrapped up for up to an hour after this. I also like to smear the very soft garlic cloves onto the skin, halfway through before the final blast.

Once you master this, it will become a firm favourite.

Thanks and have a great Easter weekend!
Team Alchemy

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Life in white

Alchemy founder and chef Domini Kemp on the ups and downs of the restaurant industry . . .

The food industry is like an adrenaline sport. So many things can go wrong at any one time – or all at the same time. That’s what makes it so exciting. There are so many different elements combined into one business. It’s not like retail where your stock comes ready-made.

You’re sourcing all the raw materials and making the product, while at the same time running a service. It’s tough and if you want to survive in this industry you have to be able to adapt – within reason, of course.

You shouldn’t be stubborn – if something isn’t working, you’ve got to be able to change it. But at the same time, you can’t be too ‘knee-jerky’ and change concepts and chase every fad.

There’s a certain amount of luck involved in this business too. Sometimes things happen that are nobody’s fault. You could be really unlucky and have Luas works outside your front door for two years. It’s not like you didn’t work hard enough or your concept was wrong.

Creativity

One of my team’s biggest strengths is their flair for branding and the creative side of our business. We’ve always had strong visions for our brands.

I love good design and have always been really interested in graphics and what works in a sign or a logo. I find it really interesting and it’s something I really adore. I guess I’d have very strong opinions about what looks good and what doesn’t. But that’s the ‘fluffier’ side of a food company. You can’t be indecisive about that stuff. People agonise over these things, but they’re really worrying about the wrong things.

Some young restaurants and cafés spend far too long agonising about the colour of the paint on the walls, and they don’t notice that their kitchen is on fire. You should never be distracted from what you should really focus on, which is sheer grunt work. A fancy shopfront will only hide so much if your menu isn’t up to scratch.

When you’re just starting out, I think it’s really important to carefully map out your site. You have to think about the boring but crucial stuff like how you’re going to get deliveries in.

Make sure you’ve contacted the HSE and showed them your plans before fitting out. There’s no point ploughing ahead with the kit-out stage only to learn later on that you should have put in an extra hand sink. You should be really proactive about the health and safety and legal side of the business. If you don’t, it will bite you in the ass at some stage.

Social media

When it comes to actually getting people in the door, I can’t stress enough how useful it is manage your social media properly. I know it’s trite to say it, but social media has really transformed how restaurants get their message out there.

I’m quite long in the tooth now, and when I started, you took out ads in the Irish Times or the yellow pages.

We were only just starting websites in the late 90s, early 00s, but they were really expensive. You couldn’t edit them yourself and it would cost an obscene amount of money just to change a price on a menu or whatever. Social media has just been phenomenal for the hospitality industry.

The margins are so poor in this business so you’re not going to be able to do a €100,000 marketing campaign. You’re always looking for cheap, clever ways to market your business like with a Facebook competition.

Give it a year

Unless you’re haemorrhaging money, you should allow for at least a year to judge how a restaurant or café is performing. If you’re seeing small, month-on-month increases and can see that it’s heading in the right direction – albeit slower than you or the bank would like – I think you have to stick it out for a year. Of course that all hinges on whether you’re losing vast amounts of money each month.

You can open to big fanfare, but if you’re seeing repeat business dropping off each month, you’ve got a problem and you’re going to need to take drastic action. I’ve seen that happen. There are some people who think they’re a great cook and their spouse loves people so they decide to open a restaurant. But it’s doomed from day one because their only customers are friends and family.

You have to be honest with yourself. If it’s not working and a mistake has been made, recognise it and pull the plug. That’s important.

Inspiration

If things are going well and you’re looking for inspiration to grow the creative side of your business, I think you should read a lot and always stay aware of what’s happening in the world. I’m a bit of a magpie and collect ideas from newspapers and magazines. I just cut out stuff and stick it in a scrapbook. I’d read a lot of cookbooks too, even just to see the direction of the food photography, what way that’s going.

I buy fashion magazines for the aesthetics. Fashion editors are a whole season ahead of where clothes are going and you can really tell a lot from that. When you keep an eye on the likes of politics and fashion, these things really start to paint a picture of how people are eating.

There are definitely easier ways to make money than food. Never forget that. It’s a bit of a vocation and you really have to love it. You have to love food and love people.

This article first appeared on fora.ie and was written in conversation with Conor McMahon as part of a series of masterclasses with some of Ireland’s most influential business people

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Spring slaw

This is a gorgeous, fresh and healthy recipe from Domini’s stint as The Irish Times food writer. It can be eaten on its own or with meat. The best part of it is probably the dressing, which is fragrant and fresh and would be ideal served over roast spring lamb this St Patrick's Day weekend ... plus the dressing is GREEN!!!

Makes plenty for 6-8 people

Photograph: Courtesy of The Irish Times

Photograph: Courtesy of The Irish Times

Ingredients

  • 100 g pumpkin seeds (100g)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and grated (400g)
  • 200 g baby spinach leaves (200g)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced (150g)
  • 1 red cabbage, thinly sliced (1kg)
  • 2 Belgian endive, thinly sliced (170g)

Mix all the leaves together, add the green sauce and season. Chill until ready to serve.
 
Green dressing

  • Massive handful of parsley (25g)
  • Massive handful of mint (25g)
  • Massive handful of coriander (25g)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled (18g)
  • Big knob ginger, peeled (10g)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (80g)
  • 100 ml olive oil (100g)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (11.4g)
  • 1 tbsp capers (8.6g)

Whizz all the ingredients together for the dressing, season and use as required.  It does lose some of its lovely green colour if you keep it too long in the fridge, so best to make only a few hours before you need it.
 
Per portion (1/8 of the salad plus dressing):

  • Net carbs - 13.5g - 21%
  • Protein - 6.5g - 10%
  • Fat - 19.1g - 69%
  • Fibre - 7.7g
  • Calories - 249

Enjoy!
Team Alchemy

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SPREADING OUR HEALTHY WINGS

Folks, as you know, our flagship store is now on Leeson Street just off St Stephen’s Green where we open Monday to Saturday. However, there now lots of other places where you can also buy our healthy products.

National Gallery of Ireland: Our salads and juices are now stocked in the Wintergarden Cafe in the Millennium Wing of the National Gallery. The restaurant, which is run by Domini and Peaches, has a range of dishes including quiches, salads and ciabattas. It is also housed in a truly wonderful space which is really worth checking out. Open seven days a week. More details here: www.nationalgallery.ie/planavisit/Wintergarden_Cafe.aspx

Industry & Co: You can now buy our range of raw, cold-pressed juices in the fabulous Industry & Co shop and restaurant on Drury Street in Dublin city centre. It’s a really special shop and we are delighted to be working with them. Open seven days a week. Their website is here: industryandco.com/

Joe’s Coffee, Liffey Street: The first speciality coffee shop opened by Domini, Peaches and Roark is located in Arnotts and it is really worth a visit. As well as coffee from The Barn Berlin, they stock the full range of Alchemy salads and juices. Open seven days a week. Website: www.joes.ie

Joe’s Coffee, Montague Street: The second Joe’s opened in 2015 in the Camden Street area of Dublin where there wasn’t a lot of speciality coffee. There is now! It is located just off Harcourt Street, opposite the Green Bench Cafe. They serve Alchemy salads and juices as well as a range of hot and cold gourmet sandwiches. Like the other Joe’s coffee shops, they also have special guest roasts from around the world. Open Monday-Saturday. Find out more here on the Joe’s blog: www.joes.ie/blog

Joe’s, Kildare Village: The Joe’s in the Kildare Village Retail Outlet serve Alchemy salads and juices as well as a range of hot and cold gourmet sandwiches. The house roast is The Barn Berlin and there is also 3FE coffee and various guest roasters. Open seven days a week. The Kildare Village website is here: www.kildarevillage.com/en/home/

Itsa Cafe in Harvey Nichols: The Itsa Cafe is housed in the unmissable glass box beside the Harvey Nichols store in the Dundrum Town Centre. As well as its own distinctive menu with a range of soups and salads, it now also stocks the full range of Alchemy juices and salads. Open seven days a week. The Dundrum Town Centre website is here: www.dundrum.ie/

So that’s pretty much all of Dublin and Kildare sorted! We’ve attached the video about our food philosophy here to give you an idea of what we do and why we do it!

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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WEEKEND WONDER

Looking for a healthy recipe for the weekend? This is a lovely one for Eggs Benedict by Domini Kemp. And, as always, it's easy to prepare and really tasty!

Eggs Benedict. Photo: Jo Murphy (http://www.joanne-murphy.com/)

Eggs Benedict. Photo: Jo Murphy (http://www.joanne-murphy.com/)

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 4 Portobello mushrooms (336g)
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (23g)
  • Salt and pepper (3g)
  • 2 ripe avocados, mashed (360g)
  • 1 tbsp tamari (18g)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (4g)
  • Few shakes of Tabasco (5g)
  • Splash of white wine vinegar (2g)
  • 4 eggs (228g)
  • Furikake seasoning

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Peel the mushrooms but leave them whole. Put them in a roasting tray, sprinkle with the sherry vinegar and season. Roast for 15–20 minutes, until they are soft and juicy.
  3. Mix the mashed avocados with the tamari, sesame oil and Tabasco and set aside.
  4. Now poach your eggs. If I was doing this in a large batch, then I would just plop them in without worrying too much about swirling the water and so on, so just get on with it. Get a frying pan and fill it with water.
  5. Bring it up to the boil and add the white wine vinegar, then reduce the heat so that it’s barely bubbling.
  6. Crack the eggs into the water, keeping the water simmering very gently.
  7. After 11⁄2–2 minutes, lift the eggs out of the saucepan with a slotted spoons andpat them dry with some kitchen paper.
  8. Top the warm mushrooms with the avocado cream, then the poached eggs, then Furikake seasoning, which is available in health food stores, good delis and Asian markets. It’s a mix of toasted sesame seeds and seaweed and is quite delicious, especially sprinkled on avocados.

Many thanks.
Team Alchemy

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Fighting stress through diet

Scientists from the Science Foundation Ireland-funded APC Microbiome Institute have shown that a combination of two prebiotics– soluble fibres fructo- (FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) – could modulate anxiety, cognition and stress-related behaviours in healthy mice.

The research also shows that these prebiotics modified specific gene expression in key brain regions. FOS/GOS treatment also reduced chronic stress-induced elevations in stress hormones and immune factors in addition to stress-induced depressive-like and anxiety-like behaviour.

UCC professors John Cryan and Ted Dinan, leaders of the research on prebiotics and stress. Photograph: Catherine Buckley/APC Microbiome Institute  

UCC professors John Cryan and Ted Dinan, leaders of the research on prebiotics and stress. Photograph: Catherine Buckley/APC Microbiome Institute
 

We asked Prof John Cryan of the APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork some follow-up questions about the study.

How can people in the general population improve their gut biome?

The field is still at an early stage but what we do know is that there are a number of factors that negatively influence our microbiomes so we should avoid these. Most importantly we should only use antibiotics when necessary.

Diet is the main way to modify the microbiome so we should have a diverse diet. Cutting down on processed food, emulsifiers and sweeteners is key. Stress and sleep disturbances/jetlag all affect the microbiome. Avoiding C-Section and supporting breastfeeding are key early in life. Interestingly, having a pet also increases diversity.

How new is the field of nutritional psychiatry?

This is a relatively new field but in essence goes back millennia to Hippocrates. The first international congress on the topic took place in 2015 and Lancet Psychiatry published a key review on it signalling its becoming mainstream in medicine:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2215036614000510

[The second international meeting takes place this summer and Prof Cryan will be giving one of the Keynote Lectures at it http://isnpr2017.org/]

How would you define “psychobiotics”?

Originally they were defined by Prof Ted Dinan, Prof Catherine Stanon and [Prof Cryan] at the APC Microbiome in Cork as live bacteria (probiotics) which, when ingested, confer mental health benefits through interactions with commensal gut bacteria. More recently, together with colleagues in Oxford, they have expanded this definition to encompass prebiotics, which enhance the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and other means to modify the microbiome: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166223616301138

What foods help improve gut microbiome (other than fermented foods)?

In general prebiotic foods, those high in fibre including a variety of vegetables such as Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, leeks, asparagus. Also bananas. Foods rich in polyphenols (berries, dark chocolate, red wine, grape juice) and omega 3 fatty acids.

Are there ways of enhancing/combining these foods to make them even more effective?

Yes, indeed, but we need to test such diet mixtures in proper randomised controlled trials.

What new things are we learning about diet and stress?

We are learning that diet may be one of the best ways to target the microbiome to reduce the stress response. Our animal study with prebiotics having marked anti-stress effects supports this and now human studies are warranted.

What advances have been made about diet and illness, in more general terms?

In general we are seeing the power of diet and nutrition to both positively and negatively affect health. We are understanding the power that diet has in modulating the microbiome and thus the brain in health and disease. (http://www.translationalres.com/article/S1931-5244(16)30264-X/abstract). The first controlled trial of a successful diet-based adjunctive intervention in major depression was just published this past week: https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-017-0791-y, which is a real step in the right direction.

And finally how long before dietary strategies will be used to target stress-related disorders such as depression and anxiety in humans?

Hopefully within three to five years the appropriate clinical studies should be completed.

We’d like to thank Prof Cryan for taking the time to answer these questions.

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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BREWING WITH THE BARN

As you know, our house coffees come from The Barn in Berlin run by the legendary Ralf Rueller. This is partly because of our relationship with speciality coffee shop Joe’s Dublin, but mainly because The Barn roast such fine coffee.

So we thought we'd share some of their philosophy on coffee with you, which will explain why we love working with them:

  1. "Being served by some of the finest coffee shops worldwide, The Barn represents the specialty coffee movement at its highest level. 
  2. Unique quality approach is what made us The Barn. We give farmers incentives to produce higher qualities. We never blend any of our coffees to showcase clean flavours and terroir. Everything we buy is fresh in season and scores 86 points or higher. This makes our coffee so very special.
  3. Nordic roasting at The Barn: We have perfected our production process to roast our coffees light and at the same time we develop the sweetness and body of our coffees. To keep them clean and tasty. The result is a fully flavoured cup.
  4. At The Barn only dedicated coffee lovers work. Everything is about making our coffees better. Our talented staff take ownership and great pride in their handmade craft. The customers experience a friendly, competent and passionate member of our crew.
  5. Integration is crucial. We run our quality control on highest levels. Feedback on flavour, roast, brew behaviour is given by our skilled baristas and flows directly into our production. This is how we achieve the great consistency of our roasts.
  6. Sustainable coffee farming is very important to The Barn. The only way to achieve that is to build close bonds to farmers, show them how to get better - and then pay up for the quality they are producing. We pay a price up to three times higher than Fair Trade. Premium pricing leads to premium quality. Simple as that.
  7. The Barn family: we like to stay close to all our business partners and friends. We guide them in using our coffees to get the best results. Those relationships are driving us to better performance."

We are very proud to be working so closely with Joe’s and Ralf and the Barn team!!

For more on The Barn, go here: http://thebarn.de/

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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SUPER SALMON, TASTY TUNA

This week on the blog we have a really gorgeous recipe from Domini for Super Healthy Salmon and Tuna Fishcakes. And, as always, it is also easy to prepare!!

Super Healthy Salmon and Tuna Fishcakes

Ingredients

  • 200 g fresh salmon fillet
  • 200 g fresh tuna fillet
  • 1 piece lemongrass
  • 2 red onions (peeled and diced)
  • 2 lime leafs
  • 2 red chilli (de-seeded and diced)
  • small bunch coriander and basil
  • knob peeled ginger
  • 2 tblsp tamari or regular soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • splash sesame oil
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1-2 egg whites to bind

Method

  1. Dice equal amounts of fresh salmon and tuna and leave to cool in a bowl in the fridge. Process the lemongrass, red onion, lime leaf, red chilli, coriander, basil, ginger, tamari, fish sauce, sesame oil and fresh lime juice until smooth.
  2. Mix with the fish and leave for 1 hour for the flavours to develop.
  3. Remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to start cooking and mix with one or two egg whites. Roll into balls or cakes and put in the freezer on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes.
  4. Roll the fishcakes in sesame seeds and then pan-fry for 30 seconds on each side before transferring to an oven to cook for 15 minutes at 180°C until fully cooked. Serve with lime wedges.

Thanks and enjoy.
Team Alchemy

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BEAUTIFUL BONE BROTH

It's January, so you need food that's hot and healthy ... just like our bone broth! Domini makes the Alchemy Juice grass-fed bone broth with ginger and turmeric and seasoned with Himalayan Pink salt. And, of course, simmered for 48 hours!

“Bone broth – when properly prepared – offers lots of nutrients and minerals, including the protein collagen which is great for gorgeous skin. It helps boost your immune system, heals your gut and is anti-inflammatory. An all round winner, I’d say," Domini says.

Here's more on the Authority Nutrition website about bone broth and its many benefits: 

https://authoritynutrition.com/bone-broth/

Pop in and get yours! And don't forget that we are now opening on Saturdays from 9.30am until 2.30pm!

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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DOMINI ON LCHF

Here, Alchemy founder Domini Kemp talks about her journey to low-carb, high fat eating:

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

"Like many in my generation as well as my parents’, I grew up regarding fat as an enemy. As long as every dinner was home cooked and contained very little fat, then I was sure I was on the right track. I used to happily eat toast for breakfast – with no butter, of course, but lashings of honey or jam. Then I’d eat more carbs at lunch and a bowl of pasta for dinner with a tomato sauce or sautéed vegetables, again with no fat, which therefore implied it was healthy, right?

Wrong!

Following the standard advice at the time – which was to embrace a low-fat diet without really mentioning all those processed carbs – I thought I was doing great. But it’s clear looking back on it that it was skewed towards one main food group. I have always been against heavily processed foods, so although you could say the diet was weighted towards one food group, on the plus side at least I was cooking. But I thought nothing of sugar and how it cropped up in practically everything we eat.

But as I have learned more over the years, I realise this information is being turned on its head.

For example, our understanding of the role of fat is definitely changing. For years we were told fat was bad, or at best to be eaten only in moderation. But ‘good’ fats (no icky trans fats or hydrogenated fats, thank you) play a crucial role in keeping our bodies, digestion and brains supple and responsive. Some nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and K, are fat soluble and therefore can be absorbed only if eaten with fat. Fats also do some seriously heavy lifting – in energy production, cell building, oxygen transport and blood clotting, for starters. No mean feat, I reckon. But it wasn’t always this way with fat. It used to be Public Enemy No. 1.

So although I was restrictive when it came to eating fat, I have always detested the processed spreads and low-fat convenience foods that are often touted as ‘healthy’. What nonsense some of those food companies peddle. To try to figure out what we should be doing, I listened to folks like Michael Pollan, whose sage advice includes snippets like ‘don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognise as real food’, then branched out into nutritional experts who have overturned the status quo, like Sally Fallon, who embraces fats with a vengeance and is vociferous about our use of seeded oils and our underuse of organ meats and fresh food.

My sister-in-law Doris Choi, a best-selling author and raw food chef from New York whom I met in 2008, really started to open my eyes about raw food, juicing and general well-being. Every summer we get to spend two weeks in the kitchen cooking for our husbands’ families (handy, huh? two of the brothers married chefs) and swapping tips and ideas.

Another important person also came into my life around this time: Susan Jane White, whose best-selling book, The Extra Virgin Kitchen, is all about wheat-free, dairy-free and sugar-free cooking. Over many dinners with Doris and Susan Jane, I began to learn about nutrients – which abound in natural foods – and also about the use of home remedies.

More and more, I started to see that diet was becoming increasingly confusing for those of us who are not in the business of full-time nutrition as more and more information became available. I liked parts of what everyone said, but found they couldn’t all agree on everything. But they did agree on lots of things, so it was really a question of trying to figure out what and how I could convert that into what I wanted to cook at home for my family for everyday nutrition and well-being.

So when my breast cancer diagnosis came, I knew what I wanted to do. For the most part, that meant lots of green juicing, reducing carbohydrates, avoiding sugar or anything processed plus drinking wheatgrass shots and using turmeric, garlic and ginger as much as possible. Bone broths and miso soup became staples. Fermented foods were introduced and I inadvertently ended up fasting a bit during chemo.

Don’t get me wrong: I do not eat a perfect diet and on occasion I take a more relaxed approach. Naturally, I would break out and celebrate if out with friends, but I tried to eat better 80–90% of the time.

The more I am learning, the more it seems so clear and obvious that although there are a few common mistakes with the dietary advice patients are being given, I think patients want to do more to help themselves and healthy people want to do as much as possible to prevent disease. Trying to stay fit and lean helps. Exercise is vital. And stress levels need to be kept in control – one of the trickiest things, I find.

It’s also about making some small changes, seeing how you get on and then if it feels good, following that path further.

Today’s advice

Now, I do not claim to be a nutritionist, but I am a chef with a keen interest in nutrition. I do know a reasonably small amount, but in the last few years I have made it my business to learn more, not just about how to cook, but about how to cook in ways that maximise nutritional uptake so our bodies make the most of what we put into them – all those vitamins, minerals and suchlike.

It can take time to introduce new flavours and textures to your weekly menu, however. Training your palate is a process, especially if your diet has been high in processed foods full of sugar, unhealthy fats and salt for a long time, as few foods can match the brain’s appetite for these substances; they send our pleasure receptors haywire. Really, then, you’re retraining your brain as much as your taste buds.

Or at least that’s the gist of it. For example, many of my recipes in The Ketogenic Kitchen are more like guides, really. This is because many ingredients, such as herbs and spices, can be successfully swapped for something else if that’s what you like and it works for you. Don’t like kale? Use spinach instead. Don’t like goat’s cheese? Sure, feta will do, and if you want to ease up on cheese, mash an avocado and season it up and you’ll get the required creaminess we often crave. It’s all about figuring it out as you go along.

Gaining the confidence to cook in this way takes a bit of time, and if you’re a novice cook it can feel important to stick to recipes as it builds your confidence. But as your skills and confidence grow, well, in theory the world is your culinary oyster.

Hopefully these small steps will help you and your loved ones to feel brighter, healthier and stronger."
 
This is an edited version of a piece written for Chelsea Green Publishing, the US publisher of The Ketogenic Kitchen

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