Pesto is one of the things we love. And we also love playing around with it. Use different herbs. Different nuts. Different types of cheese. Always keep the extra virgin olive oil though.

This week we got inspired by our pistachios. With beautiful pink exteriors and vibrant green kernels, these little gems from the island of Aegina are sweet and intense in flavour. Nothing to do with your supermarket stuff.

This recipe is so versatile. You can make a large batch and then use it in so many different recipes. Mix with warm pasta shells, put a dollop over baked potatoes, mix it into your favourite soup, mix with some Greek yogurt for an easy dip. The combinations are endless. These are the recipes we love. Few, good ingredients. Easy to make. Easy to use.

Makes one cup of pesto
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
½ cup unsalted pistachios kernels
½ cup basil
½ cup parsley
1 tbs grated St Isidoros cheese* (or parmesan)
lemon juice to taste
pinch of salt

Pick the leaves from the herbs and save the stalks for stock. You can dry fry the pistachios in a frying pan if you like, but raw are better if you ask me. In a blender or with a pestle and mortar place the herbs and pistachios. Blend, adding slowly the extra virgin olive oil until your pistachios are crushed and combined with the herbs. Add the cheese and stir. Season with salt and squeeze generously the lemon juice to balance the nuttiness of pistachios. If you don’t use it right away, store in a jar in the fridge, pouring some olive oil on top.

*St. Isidoros is a goat’s milk hard cheese from Naxos Island. Come and try it at our shop at Borough Market.


Few trivia you might not be familiar with:

Not quite animals, not quite plants, not quite bacteria either; fungi received their own classification since 1969. Not all fungi are mushrooms but all mushrooms are fungi. Mushrooms are the fruit or the flower of the fungi.

Humankind has a long history of the use of mushrooms; in Ancient Egypt, they were considered food for royalty and that no commoner could ever consume them. One of the healthiest foods you can eat; they have anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents, very rich in protein and essential nutrients as well. Not only are they, one of the most commonly bought foods in the UK but there more types of cultivated mushrooms available here now than there has ever been, too.

Few tips for getting the most out of this flavourful ingredient:

• Chefs recommend cleaning the mushrooms by peeling them. This makes the food lighter in colour and improves the flavour as well, as mushrooms are crunchier when cooked after peeling. Alternatively, clean them with a damp cloth. If you want to wash them anyway, avoid soaking them in water but ran them under a quick shower, instead.

• Remove the stems for a yummier result. You can always use those stems for broths with wine, herbs and vegetables in order to enrich risottos, soups or stews.

• Cook them in medium high –high temperature. Also, don’t overcrowd them for their liquid to evaporate. Otherwise, they will only simmer in their liquid. While cooking, make sure they have enough fat and add more, if needed. Not only do mushrooms absorb fat fast but, you’ll avoid burning them, too. We recommend using evoo, not only for the precious polyphenols but for the wonderful flavour, as well.

Creamy vinaigrette* marinated mushroom recipe

1. Prepare 3-4 cups of mushrooms and slice them into medium-sized pieces. We used pleurotous from Northern Greece but portobello or button mushrooms would work, too.

1. Marinate your mushrooms for at least an hour with evoo, salt and pepper, oregano, thyme, marjoram (if desired).

3. Sauté or Grilling time: you can use a skillet or a grilling pan for a better result. Sauté until mushrooms are slightly brown and all water has evaporated.

4. Prepare your vinaigrette by whisking 1⁄2 tbs mustard and 15ml water and preparing a loose mixture, initially. Next, put 10-15 ml vinegar at a slow pace and whisk in 30 ml evoo until the mixture is emulsified. Finally, sprinkle salt, pepper; add oregano, parsley and chives to taste. Dress your mushrooms and enjoy!

* A vinaigrette is a mixture of vinegar/ lemon, oil, mustard and herbs for flavour. Usually three parts oil to one part vinegar and a tbs of mustard. Feel free to experiment with the recipe and let us know how you get on!


Valentine’s day is almost here! A celebration of love as they say. This week calls for chocolate of course. And what a better way to show your love than a home-made gift? Made of chocolate of course.

But one doesn’t have to be in love to indulge. This is perfect to give to any loved ones, friends, family, whoever really. Even yourself.

What are we making this week? A chocolate slab of course!

In our very own valentine’s slab, we are using pistachio nuts to add some crunch. And raisins for a chewy texture. Plus, both of these go great with white chocolate which we secretly love.  This white chocolate has vanilla as well!

Chocolate slabs are also a brilliant way to use whatever leftover chocolates that you have sitting around. Same goes for nuts and dried fruit. Or marshmallows. Anything really. This recipe idea is so versatile, you can use whatever you’ve got available.

Three-ingredient chocolate slab

1 bar of good quality white chocolate

a small handful of pistachios and raisins

Melt the chocolate of your choosing in the microwave or using a bain-marie. Be very, very careful to melt but not burn the chocolate. Don’t forget to stir very often as you go along.

Once melted, gently spread the chocolate on a greaseproof paper. Lick the spatula. Place the pistachio nuts and raisins on top of the chocolate. Here you can either sprinkle them or carefully place them one by one. Let the slab cool down so that the chocolate hardens. Once hard, break into pieces and indulge. Or give as gift, we forgot about that!

   


Winter is the time of the year when we need to be most careful. Eat well, everyone says. It’s cold outside. In the dark and gloomy days of February, protect yourselves from the cold with what we think is a pretty healthy combination of foods. What is healthy of course changes every few years, but let’s not get side-tracked.

Our inspiration for this week is the newly arrived favaki. What is that you say? Well, thank you for asking. Favaki is a genius (yet so simple) idea of our producer’s (Mr. Nestoras) wife , to combine lentils and yellow split peas (fava we call it in Greece). The result is a bit of yellow sunshine breaking the wintery brown of lentils.

What do we do with favaki? Once again, following the seasons, we grabbed some citrus fruit, our favourite pink grapefruit. Packed with vitamin C (as a nutritionist might say), pink grapefruit also has, what else, pink colour!

If you haven’t yet understood, yes we are going for colours this week, to brighten up February. And for another healthy kick, we also got some mackerel. Somehow eating fish makes us feel healthier, no?

The recipe is as always simple and easy to prepare.

For 2 people
150g favaki
2 Mackerel fillets
1 pink grapefruit or other citrus fruit of your choosing
a handful of rocket or other green leaves
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Boil the favaki until tender but not soft. You can boil it in vegetable or chicken stock if you want to flavour it more. Although really, it is amazing as is.
While your favaki is boiling, peel the grapefruit, getting rid of all the white. Slice horizontally or cut into triangles. Flake the mackerel or keep the fillets as they are, and debate with your partner whether to keep the skin on or not. Drain your favaki and place it on a beautiful platter. Place the mackerel and pink grapefruit. Scatter some rocket or other green leaves (finely sliced onions or black Kalamata olives would also work here).
Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


Some flavour pairings are very familiar to us. Take chocolate and nuts for example. It’s everywhere you look, from the artisan hand crafted truffles to the cheap candy-store bar. You probably have thought of pairing honey and nuts. Being used to these flavours it so happens that often we crave for something different. Something completely new. Something that we haven’t tasted before.

Indeed, the thought of pairing tahini, chocolate and honey may never have entered your head. Until now. Until you taste them together. Then you will be in love.Put together the exciting bitterness of dark chocolate, the comforting nuttiness of the tahini and nuts, and the sweetness of honey and you have something truly unique. Oh and gluten free!

As always, we’re here to inspire you. So go ahead, gather your ingredients and as you are melting the dark chocolate think of how exciting experimenting can be. And you know what they say, once you’ve tried something so exciting, you are already on the other side.
For a small tray you will need:

140g tahini
60g honey
100g dark chocolate (we used 85%)
40g pistachios, walnuts or other nuts
200g oats

In a saucepan on very low heat or using a bain-marie melt the chocolate, tahini and honey. Be very careful not to burn the ingredients. Remove from the heat and add the nuts. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add the oats and stir until all oats are covered in chocolate and mixture is compact. Place in a baking tray and press the mixture firmly together. Let it cool. Once cooled down, cut in the shape of your choosing (rectangular, squares). Savour with your eyes closed.


Coming in to our shop at Borough Market, you might have noticed a snail. It is called “Snail of approval” and it is the seal of Slow Food approval. The award criteria are the following: quality (food must taste good and be good for us), authenticity (food produced is true to its source), sustainability (paying attention to the consequences of how food is produced and distributed).

We are honoured to have earned such an outstanding seal of approval from a movement like Slow Food that celebrates good, clean and fair food. We started off about 6 years ago inspired by our great love for Greek products, organic farming and fuelled by our producers’ passion and commitment. Our star ingredients are unique, limited number products, harvested with traditional methods and kind to nature. These handmade goods are the labour of love, and not only do they represent the uniqueness of the craftsman but also the uniqueness of the Greek terroir.

For example, our family-owned independent smallholding has strong traditional farming roots and dedicated organic values. We source among others, a unique cultivated type of pistachios from Aegina, as well as Corinth raisins; both been awarded a Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O) product status.

You might be familiar with Slow Food, a grassroots international movement (1) which manifests that one can access a kind of cultural authenticity via local food. The movement encourages local food produced by “centuries-old traditions” in an attempt to counter the invasion of fast food and mass produced food. It also seeks to replace mass produced, artificial and sometimes tasteless fast food by whole-some foods produced in known placed by identifiable people.

Borough Market is filled with traders whose approach to producing or sourcing has gained them official accreditation from Slow Food UK. Slow Food philosophy closely mirrors that of Borough Market, and in recent years the ties between these two organisations have become increasingly close. Let’s not disregard the number of local –as well as international- foodstuff that would be at risk of survival if it weren’t for those hard- working to keep them relevant.

During October we celebrated quality, sustainability and ethical standards during Slow Food Week with fellow Borough Market traders. Slow Food Awards are a wonderful reward for either producing or sourcing products in a sustainable, small-scale, environmentally sound way. Those products not only do they respect culinary traditions but they also taste excellent. We were really proud to be runner up for the Best Individual Product in Slow Food Awards with our unpasteurised olives.

Join us at Borough Market and find out more about our products!

(1)  An excellent reference for further reading: Meneley, Anne. “Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Slow Food.” Anthropologica , vol. 46, no. 2, 2004, pp. 165–176. www.jstor.org/stable/25606192.