Category: News

Knowsley Pie

Can pheasant be a sustainable option?

In the UK around 25 million pheasants are reared every year (BIORXIV, 2019). This can be highly resource intensive and disruptive to existing wildlife. On average it costs around £30 to rear one pheasant, which goes on to retail for around £5. The gap in income is covered by the fees paid by visitors to the estates on which shoots are held. Under normal circumstances the main outlet for pheasants and other game, including venison and partridge, is fine dining restaurants.  Due to the closure of restaurants because of Covid19, much of the game shot this year has gone to waste.

This is where Alchemic Kitchen step in. We are working with Homebaked Anfield, a community run bakery, to develop a Knowsley Pie.


We feel that game that is shot should not go to waste. It is difficult to calculate the number of pheasants that go uneaten. The commercialisation of game shooting has resulted in a huge increase in the number of pheasants reared in the UK. Indeed, there has been a 900% increase between 1960- 2010 (Robertson et al, 2017). Market demand for pheasant has not evolved to keep up with the supply resulting in a large surplus. We should not let this meat go to waste!


Local pheasant vs. soya fed chicken


In certain circumstances there can be environmental and health benefits to game. Pheasants, for example, are high in protein and low in cholesterol. They are usually free range and have very low antibiotic intake. Furthermore, in the case of Knowsley pheasants they are locally reared and fed on barley or foraged grain rather than soya. This contrasts with sharply with the industrialised production of chicken which relies heavily on imported soy and high levels of antibiotic use.


Game is often overlooked in the debate surrounding sustainable protein sources. It is considered to be elitist and inaccessible to most consumers. Many at-home cooks do not feel comfortable preparing game which can have an inconsistent taste or texture and can contain shot. This has created a barrier to mainstream uptake despite the fact that game is in many cases affordable, lean, local and tasty.


The Knowsley Game Pie will form part of circular food economy. This model aims to close the gap between production and demand to reduce waste and support local economies (Feedback). As a country we have a strong tradition of game pies, indeed some of the earliest English recipes contain pheasant mixed with spices and nuts. Our modern take on the game pie will be available through Liverpool Independent Delivery Service and will be distributed as meal support through Knowsley Kitchen. We have worked closely with Homebaked to ensure that the finished product is delicious and affordable.

Get your pie here.

Green Guild Christmas Cook along

Thank you for taking part in Liverpool University’s cook along. All of the recipes we are attempting are structured to help you make the most food you are likely to have at home and reduce household food waste. All of the recipes are vegan. You can see more of our Your Food Needs You campaign on here.

Cranberry and orange rocky roads 


50g digestive biscuits

1 orange

300g vegan dark

50 g dried cranberries

100 g pistachios or walnuts

100ml non- dairy milk


  1. Zest the orange and squeeze the juice.
  2. Break up the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and add the orange juice. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt.
  3. slowly add in the non-dairy milk.
  4. Break up the biscuits into small pieces and add to a bowl with the nuts and cranberries.
  5. Pour over the melted chocolate and stir to combine. Pour into a lined tin and press down firmly. Allow to set in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  6. Slice with a sharp knife and enjoy.


Apple and cranberry chutney 


2 apples

1 garlic clove

50 ml cider vinegar

60g brown sugar

20g dried cranberries

20g fresh ginger

1tsp mixed spice


  1. Place all ingredients except cranberries and half of the diced apple in a large heavy-based saucepan, then gently heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 mins, stirring regularly until the apple is are tender, the mixture has thickened and no watery juice remains.
  2. Add the cranberries and rest of the apple, then cook for a further 5 mins or so until just softened.
  3. Spoon the hot chutney into sterilised jars and seal. Store unopened in a cool, dark place. The chutney will keep for up to 6 months. Chill on opening.


Pickled Pears


20g fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp mixed spice

70ml cider vinegar

60g brown sugar

2 pears


  1. Place all ingredients except the pear in a large heavy-based saucepan, then gently heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 mins, stirring regularly.
  2. Cut the pears into long slices. Depending on how firm your pears are you may want to keep the skins on.
  3. Add the pears, then cook for a further 5 mins or so until just softened.
  4. Spoon the hot pears into sterilised jars and seal. Store unopened in a cool, dark place. The chutney will keep for up to 6 months. Chill on opening.


Image credit:

Green guild cook along

Thank you for taking part in Liverpool University’s cook along. All of the recipes we are attempting are structured to help you make the most food you are likely to have at home and reduce household food waste. All of the recipes are vegan. You can see more of our Your Food Needs You campaign on here.


Soda Bread

  • 200 g plain white flour
  • 150 g wholemeal flour
  • 50 g oats plus extra to scatter on top
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 300 ml oat milk

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F. Dust a baking tray (I actually use a pizza tray) with a little plain flour.

Step 2

Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Add the oat milk and vinegar, and stir to combine.
Step 3
Keep stirring until the ingredients come together as a dough, then squidge together to form a ball.
Step 4
Place the ball of dough on your baking tray and cut a deep cross in the centre.
If you wish, you can dust the loaf with a little flour and a sprinkle of oats, then place the bread in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Pumpkin Butterbean Stew

  • 400g tinned butter beans
  • 1 small pumpkin
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, white is best but red is fine
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 800g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Pinch mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley plus extra to serve

Step 1

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, tip in the onion and garlic, then cook over a medium heat for 10 mins until softened but not browned. Add the tomato purée, cook for a further min, add remaining ingredients, then simmer for 2-3 mins.

Step 2

Season generously, then stir in the beans. Leave to simmer for 10 mins.

Step 3

Serve with parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.

Apple & Oat Spiced Cookies

  • 130g oats
  • 100g plain flour
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbs bicarb of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbs mixed spice
  • 1 apple
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 30ml oat milk
Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2
In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Step 3
Chop the apple into rough chunks.
Step 4
Mix oil and oat milk together, then pour into mixing bowl with dry ingredients.
Step 5
Drop 12 heaping tablespoon-sized mounds onto a parchment-lined (or silicon-lined) cookie sheet. If you prefer smaller cookies, you can level off your tablespoons of dough, and make about 15 cookies.
Step 6
Bake for 15-16 minutes, or until edges of cookies are slightly browned. (If you’re making 15 smaller cookies, bake for 12-13 minutes.)
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Pumpkin Disco Soup Recipe

For our Pumpkin Disco Chop we will be cooking Rachel Roddy’s Italian inspired pumpkin and rice soup. If you would like to have go at recreating the meal at home just follow the recipe below. This event is part of Your Food Needs You and is funded by MRWA Community Fund.


Rice and pumpkin soup

Serves 4

30g butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
Salt and black pepper
400g pumpkin or butternut flesh
, diced
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock, or water
180g rice
(arborio or vialone nano)
2 tbsp grated parmesan, plus extra for serving
Red chilli flakes (optional)

In a large, heavy-based pan or casserole, heat the butter, olive oil, onion, carrot, celery and a pinch of salt, frying gently until the vegetables are starting to turn translucent.

Add the pumpkin and stir for a minute or two so each piece is well-coated and glistening. Add the stock, bring to an almost-boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the rice and simmer, stirring every now and then, for 17-20 minutes, or until it is tender – you may need to add more water. Taste and add the parmesan, more salt and pepper.

Serve, passing round more grated parmesan, olive oil and red chilli flakes for those who want them.

You can read the full article which originally featured in the guardian here.

Pumpkin Kitchen Remedies

Fancy cooking up a storm with your pumpkin but struggling for inspiration? Look no further! Over the next few weeks that Alchemic Kitchen team will be sharing their favourite Pumpkin recipes. This week Helena shares her tips.

Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Without a doubt, my favourite pumpkin recipe is pumpkin pie.  Growing up I would make pumpkin pie with my sisters every Halloween so it has a special place in my heart. We always used loads of black treacle in the filling and mixed spice in the pastry, so it smelt and tasted incredible.


For the pastry;

  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 100g butter, diced
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp mixed spice.



For the filling;

  • 750g/1lb 10oz pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 3 tbs black treacle
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 175ml milk
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar.



Put the plain flour and unsalted butter in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.



Mix in the icing sugar, mixed spice and a pinch of salt followed by 1 egg yolk. If the pastry feels too dry to form a dough, add 1 tbsp water. Shape the dough into a ball, flatten it out into a disc, wrap it in cling film, then chill for at least 30 mins before using in your recipes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with a greased piece of foil.



Arrange pumpkin in a single layer on the baking tray. Roast for 30-40 minutes until tender. Place in a colander and allow to drain for 15 minutes to remove excess water. Transfer to a cleaned food processor and whiz until smooth. Set pumpkin puree aside to cool completely.



Grease a fluted 23cm x 3cm round loose-bottomed tart pan.



Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Line the tart pan with the pastry, trimming the excess, then chill for a further 30 minutes.



Reduce oven to 180°C.



Line the pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and weights and bake for a further 3 minutes until golden and dry.



Place treacle, sugar, spices and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from heat. Add the eggs to the mixture, whisking gently to just combine. Whisk in the pumpkin puree.



Pour into the tart case and bake for 30 minutes or until set but with a slight wobble. Cool, then dust with cinnamon and serve.

Pumpkin Disco Chop

A kitchen disco with a twist

To celebrate Halloween, and the traditional influx of pumpkins, we are hosting an online Disco Chop on Wednesday 28th October. You can join our kitchen disco with a twist on Facebook Live from 6.30pm via @alchemickitchen.NW. This will be the first Disco Chop that we have held online, usually we hold events in  communal spaces, guests come together to dance, cook and eat. Despite the change in circumstance, the Disco spirit lives on. This year the disco is available through a Spotify playlist (Pumpkin Disco Chop) and a hearty pumpkin soup recipe which you can cook alongside the Alchemic Kitchen team via Facebook Live. We will be cooking a delicious Italian inspired Rachel Roddy recipe. Ingredient bags are available to residents in Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley. Just get in touch with [email protected] to request a delivery.

Pumpkin food waste

We are all becoming incresingly aware of the issues surrounding pumpkins and food waste. According to Hubbubb, millions of pumpkins that are grown for Halloween go un-eaten and end up in landfill. Pumpkins are not only delicious; they are also packed fully of vitamin A and antioxidants. Instead of chucking out the pumpkin flesh and rind why not try making pumpkin pie or pumpkin gnocchi? The options are endless! Head over to for recipe inspiration. This event forms part of Your Food Needs You and is funded by Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority Community Fund. Alchemic Kitchen’s parent charity is Feedback Global who are working to regenerate nature by transforming the food system. You can read about their work at

Food Waste Challenge- One week in

Food waste challenge

To mark zero waste week Alchemic Kitchen launched the  food waste challenge as part of Your Food Needs You. Households across Liverpool have been given a food caddy, over a 3 week period we monitor their food waste and provide ideas to help participants reduce the amount of food they are chucking out.


The trends so far

Initial findings are showing an interesting trend. The households with the most environmentally friendly diets, i.e. more fruit and vegetables than meat, are creating a higher amount of food waste. The household who produced the highest amount of food waste (3.5kg) is predominantly vegetarian and cooked at home most nights. Their caddy was full of shavings, peelings and mostly the inedible parts of fruit and veg. In stark contrast the household with the most protein heavy diet only had 0.8 kg of food waste, this household frequently ate out and did not cook every night.


What should we be doing with food waste?

This would suggest that a switch towards a vegetarian diet will inherently produce more domestic waste. The question then becomes how we process that waste in way which minimises environmental damage. Are there ways in which we can encourage households to use up every part of the vegetable, for example cooking veg with the skin on rather than peeling? Do we need to think more about community compost schemes so that the energy from waste can be used to grow more produce locally?

Take part

These are questions we will be looking into further throughout the year long program. If you would like to take part, please get in touch with [email protected].

Your Food Needs You

We will shortly launch our new initiative Your Food Needs You following on from a winning bid with Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority Community FundOur exciting new project aims to reduce food waste cross Liverpool City region through events such as Disco Chops, community meals and Food Labs.

Why is food waste a problem?

Every year households in Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley dispose of approximately 59,000 tonnes of food. Hundreds of hours, gallons of water and tonnes of plastic packaging all go into making food that ends up being thrown away. That’s not to mention the money that households spend on food that they don’t end up eating. We are here to help you to find fun and creative ways to reduce the amount of food that is thrown away at home.

Food Labs and Disco Chops

We will be hosting a number of Food Labs and Disco Chops throughout the year, the first wave of events starts at the end of August in collaboration with The Gateway Collective and Swanside Community Centre. These will focus on ways to use up the most commonly disposed of foods, milk, bread, bananas and potatoes. We will also host pumpkin parties in the run up to Halloween. All of our events are free and suitable for all the family.

Get involved

Zero waste week, 7-11th September, will also see the beginning of the Family Food Waste Challenge. Over a three week period volunteer families will be challenged to reduce their food waste. They will be provided with a compost bin and helpful tips on how to use up extra food they may have at home. Compost bins will be weighed by Alchemic Kitchen at the end of each week. participants will be encouraged to ask for recipe ideas from our social media community by using the hashtag #YourFoodNeedsYou. Food waste will be collected, composted, then donated to community grow projects.

Project officer, Helena Appleton, said “We can’t wait to get started with the Food Labs and Disco Chops we have planned. We are a region brimming with creativity and innovation, why can’t we bring that passion to the kitchen to tackle our household food waste?”

If you are keen to take part in the Family Food Waste Challenge, please email [email protected] or via social media @alchemickitchen

Stay home soups

Don’t worry, this is not another official statement about how Alchemic Kitchen is dealing with Covid-19, it is an unofficial one.

As a team we put our heads together and decided on how we could best utilise our resources to help our community; which resulted in putting the marmalade making to one side to focus on tackling potential food shortages in the region. We have been overwhelmed at the support we have received from chefs and restaurants over the last couple of weeks, their response has been fantastic and has aided the work we are doing to ensure people are being fed. We have received donations of food from places that have been forced to close as a result of government advice and have been turning it into hearty soups. We are working with partner organisations to then get the food to where it needs
to be.
We have figured that we have the capacity to feed up to 250 people per week, providing there is an appetite for it, and we can get enough community partners involved to run the operation safely and within the guidelines set out by the government. That is a lot of soup to make over the coming weeks and months and so far we have either made or
had donated:
Celeriac, Apple & Wild Garlic
Leek, Carrot & Fava Bean
Roasted Red Pepper &Tomato
Spiced Tomato
Thai Corn & Sweet Potato
Potato, Mushroom & Basil
However, this is just the beginning. We have received a fresh delivery of lentils, fava beans and split peas from Hodmedod and I am still working through a mountain of produce that has been donated
to the cause. My life isn’t just all soup now, though. I am also writing recipes that might be useful for people at home who are leaning on their store cupboard a little more than usual (see the bottom of the page
for the first little taster) and we are also running a kitchen diagnostic on social media so if you need a little inspiration get in touch with us on Thursday's by tweeting @AlchemicKitchen with the hashtag
#AlchemicKitchen with your cooking quandary and we will reply between 5pm-7pm.

Stay well,
Keenan Humble
Alchemic Kitchen.