We recently attended Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet recording where one of the foods discussed was rice pudding. In the UK rice pudding is oven baked and links to memories of childhood pasts. In Greece, it’s made in the hob and yes, links to memories of childhood pasts.

Rice pudding basically is made of three things: Rice. Sugar. Milk. But such ingredients scream for something else. Something subtle which will give the whole dish an exciting undertone, without it losing its comfort. Nor the link to a happier past.

What do we mean? When you make rice pudding try adding some subtle flavourings. This dish is the vessel for whatever you can think of. So in the recipe below, try adding a vanilla pod. Some lemon peel (find unwaxed lemons please). Maybe orange zest. A cinnamon stick.

This time, we used some lemon peel and sprinkled some cinnamon on top. Delicious.

The recipe below is by Greek pastry chef Stelios Parliaros.
Feeds 4

100g rice (you need rice with high amylopectin (starch) content such as Arborio or other risotto rice)
100g white sugar
1.2L whole milk
peel of one lemon (optional)

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil stirring gently. Be very, very careful here. Don’t let your milk boil-turn down the heat in its lowest setting as soon as your milk is near boiling. Why? Well, it sounds obvious but the writer of this blog post, who made rice pudding four different times, at four different kitchens this last month managed to let the milk boil, overflowing the pot, making a mess in two kitchen stovetops. That’s 50% success. You don’t want that. Lower the heat and let your rice pudding simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice is soft and the milk has thickened.

Serve hot, cold or at room temperature- with cinnamon or whatever else you prefer.


People often wonder what Greek food is all about. For us here at Oliveology, and for most Greeks maybe, it’s about two things. Greek food is about simplicity. Dishes usually use few ingredients. This is why one should be very careful when selecting these ingredients. When there are only onions, fava and olive oil in a dish, these better be some damn good fava (split yellow peas; not to be confused with fava beans).

The other thing is about simplicity in the cooking method. With a few exceptions recipes don’t usually require spending hours in complex preparations or involve elaborate steps in the cooking process. However, cooking takes a long time. Why is that? Well, we Greeks associate cooking for a long time with care. The food needs to spend a good time in the oven or hob. It needs to become soft and mellow. You need to keep an eye on it, show your care.

This recipe we have for you this week combines both these elements. It only has three main ingredients. Fava, olive oil, onions. You may add some thyme, and of course salt and pepper. Having this solid base, then you can really let yourself be creative with what you pair it with. Caramelise some onions. Chop some raw red onions for an extra kick. Add salty juicy capers. Try different oils. Definitely lemon juice. How about truffle oil even? There are many things you can do with fava. We like onions, capers and lemon. But it’s really up to you.

400g fava (yellow split peas)
200ml olive oil 
2 medium onions, finely grated
salt
fresh thyme (optional)
lemon (to taste)
capers (to taste)
red onions (to taste)

Rinse the fava under running cold water, until water runs clear. Place the fava in a large saucepan and add cold water. The volume of water you add must be approximately the same as the volume of fava. Bring to the boil, removing any white foam as the fava heats up. Once your fava starts boiling, lower the heat to the lowest possible setting. Add the onions and olive oil, thyme if you are using. Salt to taste but bear in mind, the flavours will concentrate. You can add more salt later.  Let the fava cook at very low heat, until it looks like mashed potatoes, stirring occasionally. Yes, fava magically breaks down into mush. If needed add a bit more water as you go along.

Serve with olive oil and lemon juice, capers and raw onions.


Unsalted Kalamata olives are a very interesting ingredient. They are very different than any other Kalamata olives you’re used to eating. The lack of salt makes all other flavours become more intense. What do we mean by that? Imagine an olive with a more fruity olive-y taste. An olive with the acidity of vinegar biting you gently. And that olive paired with mellow Spartan extra virgin olive oil and wild herbs from the Mt. Taygetus. Add to that the fact that they have been hand picked, hand selected, cured in fresh water and they have not been pasteurised. You see where we are going with this?

Unsalted Kalamata olives are a very unique ingredient.

And sure you can enjoy them plain or in salads. But because of their unique flavour they change anything plain to super interesting. They add colour to a white canvas and they do not overpower the dish with added saltiness.

What is the whitest of canvasses for a cook? White bread of course.

So here it is, for this week, a recipe for bread that comes to life with the unsalted olives. Oh and we’ve added some sun dried tomatoes and oregano, too. But we’ll tell you more about the beauty of our sun dried tomatoes and oregano another time.

Makes 1 loaf

500g strong bread flour
1 sachet (7g) of yeast
1 tbs of salt
1-2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
375ml of lukewarm water
1 tbs oregano
50g unsalted olives, finely chopped
50g sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped

Mix the yeast with water and stir gently until it dissolves. Add the olive oil. Mix the salt with the flour on a clean surface. Make a hole in the middle and slowly incorporate the water-yeast, stirring with a fork or with your fingers until all ingredients are combined together. Dust a bowl with flour and place your dough inside. Let it rise for a few hours, until double in size.

Dust a surface with flour and kneed the dough, adding the olives, sun dried tomatoes and oregano, until all ingredients seem to have combined evenly. Don’t kneed too much though. Shape a loaf (shape it as you wish) and let it rise until again doubles in size.

Bake at very hot oven (250oC), by placing your loaf on a pre-heated baking tray. It takes about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven once your bread is golden brown and responds with a hollow noise when you tap its bottom. Wait until it cools down to cut. Or don’t. Hot bread makes right all that’s wrong in the world.


Voroina is organised annually by the winemakers and members of the wine producers association“Wines of North Greece”. The event features an impressive selection of indigenous and international grape varieties cultivated at the famous vineyards of the area.

It is a wonderful opportunity for Greek and foreign wine professionals and wine lovers of course, to meet with producers and taste wines as well as wine spirits. In the event context, a series of other events such as workshops, seminars, tastings and special dinners in restaurants or hotels took place, too. Voroina is a first class opportunity to watch the Sommelier of the Year 2017 competition, but that’s a whole different story.

This year, this brilliant trip to the region of North Greece culminated to the tasting event at Hilton Hotel on 30/01/2017. You might remember reading about its Cretan equivalent, Oinotika wine fair previously. With Greek wine on the rise, warm and exhilarating wine tasting events like this get really popular. This makes absolute sense since with an 8€ entrance fee (or 5€ for pre-registered visitors) the visitor can taste the best that 25 regional wineries have to offer. Especially, when it takes place at the central located Hilton hotel there’s no doubt it’s going to be a smashing success.

Wine producers are thought to be generous and charismatic and the Greek ones especially -if we may add- as they choose to go against all odds and create wonderful products with passion and ingenuity. The visitors seemed quite delighted and kept engaging in conversations with the producers mostly about the winemaking procedure as well as regarding food pairing.

The vineyards of Northern Greece, Drama, Kavala, Halkidiki, Goumenissa, Naoussa, Amynteo, Rapsani, Zitsa, Metsovo and other areas, cover a total of approximately 100,000 acres. These areas have many international varieties, producing some of the best wines from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Syrah in Greece, but also indigenous varieties such as Debina, Savvatiano, Limnio. Topography, soil, climate, varieties are all the necessary ingredients to create a great wine that coexist harmoniously in North Greece.

The flagship variety of Macedonia is Xinomavro, the “Greek Nebbiolo” is considered aggressive, austere and complex. Its high acid, high tannin character as well as its vegetal, rose petaly and sun dried tomato aromas make it a brilliant food wine. This multifaceted variety can yield different types of wine. We are quite excited for the future as sommeliers contend that the variety hasn’t reached its full potential, yet.

White wines, rosés and reds, fresh and older vintages, varietals or blends, dry, sparkling and sweet, as well as wine spirits, were presented at the event, from internationally recognised to niche boutique producers, introducing their newest and finest selections.

We allowed ourselves to indulge in a number of other varieties as well, indigenous and international, always for research purposes, of course. While I am writing these lines, I am still smitten with the glorious wines I tasted. Beyond the classics, I highly recommend the following wines: Oneirikos (Malvasia aromatica) by Foundi Estate, Rapsani Grand Reserve 2010 (Xinomauro, Stavroto, Krasato) by Tsantali winery, Chrysogerakas (Gewurztraminer, Malagouzia) by Kyr Yianni winery.

We’re off to Peloponnese wine festival next, stay tuned!


Or else, what’s the easiest way to cook chickpeas. Well, it’s this one here. I know many of you don’t really go for dried chickpeas. Maybe the tinned ones seem easier. But they are not, really. The only thing you need to do with chickpeas is plan ahead. Which means decide the night before that you will have chickpeas the day after. And soak them in cold water.

To make the revythada all you need to do is gather the ingredients and place them in an oven dish. Then slowly cook them in the oven. On Greek islands revythada is traditionally cooked in wood fire ovens. Unfortunately we don’t have one, so we will go for the next best thing here. Our conventional oven. The result is still a very comforting stew that requires almost no active cooking time. Can you think anything better than that?

Feeds two people

200g chickpeas
1 large red onion
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 spring of rosemary
salt to taste

Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water. Drain and rinse. Place them in an oven dish and cover them with water. Roughly chop the onion and add it to the chickpeas, along with the rosemary and olive oil. Season with salt. Stir. Cover the lid and bake at 170C for approximately 2-3 hours, until chickpeas are tender. Check every hour or so, adding a bit more water if needed. Once ready, serve on a plate and generously squeeze lemon juice. Enjoy hot or at room temperature. Even cold they are really nice!