Over the years many of you who come to our shop or contact us ask for our recipes, tips and advice on how to use our ingredients. Inspired by all of your questions and interest, the time has finally come for us at Oliveology to share our passion, knowledge and spirit of Greek foods with all of you! How? We’ve got many things planned for the future. Think cooking classes, food tastings, wine workshops and many, many more.

How do we kick it off? Well, how else? Teaming up with guest chefs who share our vision, we are beginning a series of cooking workshops. These will have various formats and themes. Some will be shorter, others will be longer. Some will be focusing on specific themes or produce. Others will be focusing on learning different cooking skills. All however will celebrate seasonal Greek cooking. Putting forward healthy, easy recipes you will learn how to create delicious dishes with a hands on culinary experience. Most importantly, you will experience Greek hospitality (yes, there will be lots of food and drinks on offer!) and the way food is used to bring people together. At a warm, social environment you will interact with our guest chefs, us from Oliveology and your fellow cooks having a fun experience, while learning what Greek food really is. Did we mention there will be a surprise goodie bag with Oliveology ingredients for you to take home after the class? Yep!

For our first series of workshops, we will be teaming up with the amazing Greek chef Despoina Siahuli who has put together a purely vegetarian cooking experience for all of you. We will be focusing on star ingredients. These are unique artisan produce sourced exclusively from small producers all over Greece. These star ingredients represent the uniqueness of the Greek terroir and culture. During our cooking workshops you will learn how to taste and use them in very creative ways. Our first series of cooking workshops will take place at The Cookhouse, a lovely space at the heart of Borough Market. Full of light and with a fully equipped professional kitchen, this space is ideal to host our culinary adventures.

So join us for a celebration of Greek seasonal cooking. Sign up now for a fun and interactive way to discover the secrets of Greek cuisine and improve your cooking skills.

Price: £45 per person (including food, drinks and a goodie bag)
Duration: 2.5 hours

Location: The Cookhouse, Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL

Workshop #1 – Thursday 18th May
10am-12.30pm | 2pm-4.30pm | 6pm-8.30pm

Book your time slot

For more info email us at: cookingworkshops@oliveology.co.uk


This is a blog post to share with you some of the magic which exists in Greek cheese. Most of us often see cheese as an interesting ingredient to cook with or have as part of our cheese platter. And it is of course that. But so much more.

Next time you get a piece of cheese, before you eat it or start grading it, stop. Look at it. Smell it. Cut a small piece and put it in your mouth. When you taste cheese, an entire world opens up. The cheese that you taste is more than its taste and aroma. It’s more than an ingredient to be used in salads or soufflés. It carries within it all the characteristics of the place where it is coming from. Of the animals whose milk created it. Of the time of the year when it was made. Of the cheesemaker whose art turned the milk into cheese. Of the culture of that place in the world where it comes from. Each cheese carries a story. If you pay close attention, you can experience it.

Today we will share with you the story of our graviera cheese from Naxos.

The cheesemaker Emmanuel Koufopoulos lives on the island of Naxos. His cheese room operates from 1990 in the area of Saint Isidoros Galanadou at the intersection of Melana and Potamia. You know, if you are ever around. His graviera cheese has been awarded protection under the European Union’s Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) status. What does this mean? It means that only the cheese produced there can have that name.

Koufopoulos puts together family heritage and modern technology and creates his cheese using local cow’s, sheep’s and goats’ milk. Almost daily, he collects milk from his own cows, and from animals living in the mountains of Naxos. Kinda gives you a glimpse of how cheesemaking was done in the past. He also uses vegetable rennet (yes, this cheese is vegetarian!). Of course, there are no preservatives or additives.

He usually talks about his love for cheese, which, yes, comes through once you taste it. Aged for minimum one year, this cheese has a semi-hard texture and a rich aroma, a creamy and buttery mouthfeel, and a mellow peppery taste with nutty undertones.

There are various ways to enjoy this cheese. You can include it in a cheese platter. You can enjoy it in a sandwich, smothered with some chutney or pickled onions. You can use it in cooking. Grade and sprinkle over pasta. Make soufflés, quiches or pies. Cut in cubes and include it in salads. Melt in a cast iron skillet and serve with pickled cucumbers.

Yes, there are many ways to enjoy this cheese. But if you ask me, the best way to savour it is the simplest one. With some good crusty sourdough bread. You can then experience properly this graviera from the island of Naxos.


There’s something magical about artichokes, no doubt. Visit any food market in Greece this time of the year and you’ll notice them straight away. Quite intriguing, don’t you think? Their exterior might be armour-like but their sweet, delightful hearts are irresistible. Excellent any way you approach them: steamed, grilled, roasted, sautéed; you might recall us writing love letters to them, too. This recipe is all you need to celebrate their peak season.

Ingredients for 4 persons

•12 fresh, prepared artichoke hearts (preserved in water with the juice of 2-3 lemons) or jarred/frozen
•2 carrots
•2 spring onions
•80 g red onions or shallots
•250g potatoes
•60g peas
•2 lemons
•Dill
Evoo
•Salt and pepper
•Vegetable broth (optional)

Method

Initially, chop onions and spring onions. In addition, chop carrots and potatoes in dices. In a wide pot heat the olive oil over medium heat olive oil and sauté the onions for a few minutes until soften. Alternatively, if you’re using shallots, sauté them whole in a small pan and add them in the pot towards the end.

Continue with carrots and potatoes until softened. Add vegetable broth or water. Afterwards, put in the artichoke hearts to the mix, some more broth or water. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice, cover and let simmer for 30-35 mins. Towards the end, add the peas and the shallots and boil for 10 minutes approximately. Shake the pan to distribute, instead of stirring. Check the seasonings and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

This dish can be served hot or cold. As all “ladera” dishes, they are a match in heaven with feta!


After some time the swarm will depart to the new hive in one or more steps, and may even bivouac outside if the weather is fine. The swarm is usually extremely passive in nature. They will defend themselves if threatened, but will usually tolerate gentle handling and close proximity. This is due to the fact that they need every bee to work towards the new hive, and cannot afford to loose bees unnecessarily.  They need to preserve the young bees within their numbers (only these can produce wax) and they need every drop of honey the swarm carries to manufacture new wax comb (7-10Kg of honey per kg of wax), and obviously a larger swarm will find it easier to defend their new site until the queen can start laying. Aggressive swarms may deplete their numbers to such a point that they are no longer viable, and may have to rejoin the old colony. Once they are inside the new site, and have begun to produce comb for stores and brood, they will no longer be so passive. Now they will readily defend their new home with their lives.

Back inside the old hive site, once the excitement of the issuing swarm has died down, the remaining colony prepares to welcome their new queen or queens. Around two weeks before swarming, worker bees will have prepared multiple peanut-shaped Queen cells, complete with an egg. These are fed exclusively on royal jelly and pollen, and around swarming time the new Queens will be close to emergence. The first virgin Queen to emerge will sting her regal sisters to death in their cells, in a brutal battle royale before they can challenge her rule. The Queen is unique in that she has no barb on her stinger and so can sting multiple times.  If the colony is still large and well stocked, they may prevent the Queen from destroying her sisters and instead issue one or multiple subsequent swarms.

Virgin Queens will wait for good weather before flying to a drone congregation area, where they mate with multiple males, storing their sperm in a spermatheca (sperm bladder)to use later. Fertilised eggs (diploid) result in workers and Queens. Unfertilised eggs (haploid) result in drones. Virgin Queens must make their mating flights within a week of emergence, or the duct leading to the spermathecal will narrow, not allowing normal mating function. This will result in a drone-laying Queen and the colony to fail.


We are thrilled to announce we were awarded a  SILVER MEDAL for 18oC organic evoo, which is a great honour for our producer who has been consistently retaining the highest quality for the past 24 years. We are proud of this honourable distinction as 2016 was one of the most difficult years for Greek organic olive oil production.

The 22nd International Competition for Organic Olive Oil, PREMIO BIOL INTERNATIONAL 2017, is one of the top competitions for organic olive oil worldwide.

It took place in Italy, in the city of Ostuni, in the province of Brindisi, at the historical region of Apulia, known as the White City, from the 18th until the 20th of March 2017. Ostuni was destroyed by Hannibal and was rebuilt by the Greeks, who then named the city Astu neon, which means “New City” in Greek.

More than 350 organic olive oils were tasted in the competition,  from many countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, Tunisia, Turkey, Portugal, Israel, Argentina, the U.S.A., Croatia, Morocco, etc. All of the organic olive oils were evaluated with blind tasting by expert olive oil panel tasters of international reputation.


Greek Orthodox religion calls for fasting during the Holy Week. The week before Easter, most families in Greece would opt out of using most animal products, meat, fish, dairy. In a country where eating is very much based around vegetables, this week is not much different than others when it comes to main meals. Instead of preparing slow cooked meat, one eats slow cooked vegetables. But of course, as with any dietary avoidance, new ideas need to come forward. Cooks use ingredients in different ways to create new recipes.

For us at Oliveology, baking is the thing which changes the most around this time of year. We have already shared with you Kalliopi’s Olive Oil Cake which uses olive oil instead of butter, but alas include eggs.

This week, we have a vegan recipe for you. One that uses no animal products whatsoever. It is made with tahini, orange juice, spices. And of course sugar and flour-it is a cake after all. You can add nuts or raisins if you wish. But you don’t have to.

You can incorporate it in your cooking rituals this Holy Week. But it’s so interesting that I know you will definitely make it again. After all, changing your diet every so often is a good thing. No matter what the reason behind it.

So let’s bake this cake and get ready to celebrate Easter!

You will need:

300g tahini
350g orange juice
300g sugar
400g flour
30g baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
zest of 1 orange
50g raisins (optional)
50g walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Beat tahini and sugar until sugar dissolves completely. You can use a mixer or a fouet. Add the orange juice and stir. Sieve together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients to your mixture. Make sure everything is properly combined and there are no lumps of flour. Add the orange zest and raisins or nuts if using. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Grease a baking dish with some olive oil and sprinkle with flour so that the cake does not stick. Transfer your cake mixture into your baking dish. Bake at 180C for 30 min and then lower the temperature and bake at 160C for another 30-40min.

Happy Easter Everyone!


“Trahana” is made with either semolina, wheat flour, bulgur or cracked wheat that has been soaked in milk and then dried in the sun; it is one of the oldest East Mediterrenean foods that varies a lot in different regions in Greece. There are two types: sweet trahana and sour trahana. Traditionally, sour trahana is made with fermented raw goat and/or sheep and/or cow milk or yoghurt. Sweet trahana is made with milk (usually sheeps’ or goats’ milk). The two are very popular in Greece and Cyprus.
I am a big fan of sour trahana, especially for its nutty and sour flavour. My usual way of having the soup is with caramelised onions, garlic, tomato, oregano and –of course- feta. This time, I decided to modify an old Christoforos Peskias recipe as I find the addition of yoghurt –and figs, of course, an
excellent idea. The recipe adds to the soup, a wonderful creaminess as well as a sweet and crunchy layer which I loved! Did someone say comfort food?
Cream soup of trahana garnished with sun-dried figs

Serves 6-8

Ingredient
1 kilo of sour trahana
2L of chicken broth
1 whole onion, peeled
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 big carrot, (preferably organic) peeled
1 bay leaf, 1 tbs of dried thyme
300g of sheep’s yoghurt, 300g strained yoghurt
300g sun-dried figs
4 tbs of evoo
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper

Method
In a soup pot heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add trahana. Stir until coated with oil, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth (or water) onion, garlic, carrot and bring to a boil. Add bay leaf, thyme, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 mins, stirring often, until trahana is tender and nutty tasting and the broth slightly thickened. Remove carrot, onion, garlic and bay leaf from the mix.

The mixture should be more like porridge. Remove from heat and add the soup to a food processor (or blender) and pulse it for about 20 minutes. Pass the soup through a strainer for a smoother texture. Add the mix to a big bowl and stir in both types of yoghurt to the mix, top with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon into bowls and garnish them with chopped sun-dried figs. Enjoy!


Welcome to a series of blogs about bees, beekeeping and the natural environment by our resident beekeeper.

Welcome to spring! We are nearing the start of the swarming season for bees, and the busy season for beekeepers. Swarming is the process by which bees occupy new areas and increase their numbers by forming a new colony.  The decision to swarm is made the previous summer. A well located colony (dry, well ventilated, proximity to forage) combined with a fair summer will give enough stores to last the winter, and allow the colony to start quickly in the spring. Foragers will look for new nest sites and communicate these using the waggle dance in a similar way to nectar/pollen, water or propolis sources. Experienced foragers are more trusted in this crucial process, and can be spotted by their damaged wings. In particular they are looking for a cavity of around 15-20L in volume, a defendable entrance, raised off the ground to reduce damp, facing the morning sun (E/SE) and preferably close to the existing colony to reduce chances of predation to the Queen.

In swarming, the Queen bee leaves the hive accompanied by mostly workers (females) with some drones (males).  However the Queen is initially not ready for her departure. She is an egg-laying machine (1500+/day at peak fertility) and as such is extremely well fed by her courtiers. She must go on an extreme diet to slim down for flight. To achieve this they chase her around the hive for several days prior to swarming. Nipping her with their mandibles and reducing her rations until she is an appropriate weight for flight.

Before leaving, the departing bees gorge on honey, filling their stomach and crop. At around midday on the hottest day of the year so far, they spill from the hive in vast numbers, usually clustering on the front of the hive, before taking to the air en masse. They will then fly to a congregation spot chosen by foragers, where they cluster for warmth and protection, with the Queen somewhere in the centre, to minimise the risk of her predation. She is the only one capable of laying viable eggs at the new site, and they must protect her. Sometimes multiple queens can be found in the swarm, this may be a strategy used in areas with large numbers of predators.

A cluster of bees is an amazing sight. Foragers will be sent out for nectar and pollen. It is a fascinating to see foragers return to the cluster, and perform a waggle dance on the backs of her siblings (as obviously at this point they have no comb).

To be continued…


Jay Rayner and his panel visit Bermondsey in London. The panel that week was Dr Annie Gray, Sophie Wright, Andi Oliver and Itamar Srulovich.

In this first programme of the new series, the panel discusses the local history of biscuit production, sample the full gamut of olives, get under the skin of rice pudding, and hear a confession about inventive dill repurposing.

Marianna had the chance to have been invited as guest at the show and briefly talking about Oliveology’s real olives; that come with a stone, as nature intended. The recording of the show took place in the beautiful St Magdalen’s Church in Bermondsey.

Listen to the show