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.


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!


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.

 

 


Leftovers can be the best and the worst part of a festive meal. Yes, let’s be honest, after a couple of days of luscious Christmas food, returning home to reheated turkey or mash doesn’t sound very appealing. But if Christmas is the time of the year to be merry and bright, then the days after Christmas are there to get us ready for the New Year.

This week is for us to reflect on the year ending and the new one beginning. And of course to sort out all the leftovers from the last few days. We’re here to inspire you for both.

Below is a recipe for leftover potatoes. But not only that. It is also something to inspire you to be different in the new year. To not waste food. To treat leftovers with care and see them transform. To begin 2017 with a new, no-waste philosophy.

But we wouldn’t want you to eat dry old potatoes. We want you to turn these potatoes into a new dish. To not waste anything and at the same time enjoy the food that you create. For this recipe you can use any potatoes you’ve got. Roasted, boiled, already mashed. Take them out of the fridge, gather the few ingredients listed below and get ready to be amazed.

We will use truffle butter to transform humble leftovers into yet another festive dish. With real truffle pieces inside, this butter is so aromatic that only a couple of teaspoons work wonders.

Truffle Butter Potato Croquettes
(For 2-3 people)

350g potatoes, mashed
3 eggs
30g of truffle butter, melted under gentle heat
30g flour
Salt and pepper to taste
A cup of breadcrumbs
Extra virgin olive oil for frying

Continue reading →


A while ago, some of you were given a complimentary beetroot spread with the following note: We hope you enjoy this FREE BEETROOT SPREAD Email us your feedback* info@oliveology.co.uk and get the chance to WIN a 3 day trip to visit the vineyard & meet the producers in the Nemea Region, Peloponnese, Greece.

The three day trip to Sofia tis Fisis in Nemea (Wisdom of Nature) HQ, Greece is for two persons and includes the following: two overnight stays at House Venikos, breakfasts, picnics, dinners, wine tastings, visit of Sofia tis Fisis, visit of wineries, visit of the temple of Hercules and a visit of the Corinth Canal.

This trip is an excellent opportunity to visit one of the most famous areas in the Peloponnese -where most of our producers are based – give you an overview of the area’s history and heritage, visit ancient sites as well as wineries and try local food and wine. Nemea has been a viticulture area since antiquity. Today, this tradition is continued by veteran vine and wine growers possessing a deep knowledge of the region, passed from generation to generation as well as young producers that have invested in education and technology.

This tour is a wonderful opportunity to witness these centuries of experience as well as how viticulture is inseparable to the life and development of the local society. Wisdom of Nature, the company that has been supplying us with grape products, only produce organic products, without preservatives or additives and their production unit runs according to the latest quality assurance systems. They mainly use the variety “Agiorgitiko” (St George’s, a flagship)

Greek wine variety, integrated into the myth and history of the local region of Nemea, Peloponnese, as well as its local culture and legends of Hercules. After all this essential information about the trip as well as the area, it’s time to announce our winner: Congratulations to Sandra and Gerald! We are wishing them the best of time, can’t wait to read their review of the trip and see the lovely photos.

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make this competition a success. We really enjoyed reading your reviews and appreciated your thoughtful input. We are glad that most of you really liked the spread and used it in a number of brilliant ways. It seems that having it on bread, pita or crackers (loved the potato bread idea from our Finnish friends, of course!) was the most popular way as well as with charcuterie and cheese (where you mentioned pairing it with smoked goat’s cheese as well as blue cheese). You enjoyed in salads –mostly potato salad, pasta, fish and meat dishes. We found the idea of combining it with smoked salmon on rye bread superb as well as the one with roast chicken and steamed Romanesco.

Stay tuned for our next contest!


Thanksgiving is the time in November when people from across the pond gather together, give thanks and share food. Today, we do not give thanks for the harvest we’ve had, like people used to do. Nonetheless, it is a good opportunity to reflect on what we are thankful for.

As autumn ends, we are thankful for the comforting food that nourishes us. For the pure ingredients that transform into love. So this week, away from the extravagant thanksgiving dishes, we chose to prepare something simple for you.

A warm, hearty vegetarian lentil salad. It is inspired by this season’s “harvest”, using, what else, beetroot. Our sweet vinegar, fruity and crisp adds sharpness. Our salty, mature feta cheese balances the sweetness of the beetroot. Herbs add freshness and shine.

It is luscious and really easy to make.

Lentil and Beetroot salad with Feta Cheese

Serves two

200g beetroot, stalks and leaves trimmed (save them for soups or salads)
150g lentils
50g feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped plus more for garnish 4g

For the dressing:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sweet vinegar
salt to taste

Place the beetroot in a roasting tray, drizzle some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 200°C, covered, for around 45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Alternatively, boil with plenty of water, until tender when pierced with a fork. When they are still warm, peel them and cut into cubes.

Place the lentils in a small cooking pot with lots of water and boil until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. 

To make the simple dressing, whisk together the olive oil and sweet vinegar with a pinch of salt and the chopped mint.

Mix together the lentils, beetroot, feta cheese and dressing. Garnish with more mint if you want. Say goodbye to autumn and welcome the winter that’s coming.


On this blog we have mostly been writing about food. With the Greek wine culture in renaissance, we are really excited we can finally share these wonderful ancient elixirs with the world. So, we decided to start a series of blogposts focusing in this very subject sharing out knowledge and passion. On a previous blogpost we introduced you to four flagship Greek varieties, Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro which are from Cyclades (Santorini), Peloponnese and Northern Greece.

This time we focus to another wine producing region, Crete. The main wine growing area in Crete are the mountain foothills behind the (capital of the island) Heraklion, which actually is the country’s second biggest wine producing zone. The region was nominated as Wine region of the year 2016 according to the prestigious Wine Enthusiast magazine along with Champagne, Provence and Sonoma County.

We find the magazine’s description of the region, to the point: One of the world’s oldest wine regions, dating back about 3,500 years, this Greek island has recently begun to gain international acclaim for its quality and affordable pricing. A Phylloxera outbreak followed by very limiting laws about which grapes could be planted held the region back, but it has solidly hit its stride with unique island wines and a burgeoning wine-tourism industry. Wines of Crete is a network including about 31 wineries, 27 of which export wine around the world.

According to the experts, Cretan wines are considered a great combination of value and intrigue and are on the rise both in Greece and abroad. The last 15 years are considered really important for the wineries of the region, as the new generation of producers revitalised and upgraded the production. Most of them were trained in important wineries across the world and share ambitious future plans. The Cretan production includes international varieties, as well as 11 indigenous varieties with a lot of potential including Vidiano and Thrapsathiri (white varieties), Liatiko, Mandilari and Kotsifali (red varieties) but forgotten varieties that are being rediscovered, as well. Oinotika, a Cretan wine fair organised by Wines of Crete at the Hotel Grand Bretagne on 30/10/2016, with 23 wineries across Crete and around 200 labels; destined for wine professionals and wine enthusiasts to discover Cretan varietals and blends. The fair was quite successful, with organisers counting around 1500 visitors. We noticed that most of them were young people, a quite encouraging fact we believe.

One of our favourite things about the fair was a table set up sampling different aromas and flavours one notices when tasting these special varieties, as well as the different soil that they grow on. This set up was really helpful in order to understand the Cretan terroir. In case you’re not familiar with this (mostly wine) term, it describes the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography and climate.

Among others we tasted and highly recommend: Toplou Aged Syrah, an organic wine from the Toplou Estate (part of the Toplou Monastery), Melissokipos, an organic Kotsifali and Mandilari blend from Domaine Paterianaki as well as Skalani, an aged Kotsifali and Syrah blend from the Boutari winery. This post would be incomplete without a special mention for the appetising small barley rusks which were offered throughout the fair, a perfect snack while tasting all this glorious wine.

By Lida P.


What if you had to pick between an apple and a pear? It’s most likely you would choose the apple. Maybe because most people think of pair as a dainty fruit – hard to tell when it’s ripe, hard to know what to do with it – it is rather overlooked, nowadays.

Whilst once thought as a superior fruit: “gold to the apple’s silver” and prized for its luscious texture and exotic perfume, in present day commercial reasons limit the range of available varieties. The most widely known varieties, worldwide, seem to be Conference and Comice. Of course, the local ones like (the superstar) Williams and Perry in the UK or Krystalli and Kontoula in Greece are cherished as well. Dr Joan Morgan, who published “The Book of Pears – The Definitive History and Guide to over 500 Varieties” argues that “varieties are the footprints of a journey through the fruit’s history”. The pear case reminds us that, protecting biodiversity is not only allowing us to lead delightful lives but also protects all these wonderful journeys in history.

Searching for pear recipes, we found out that Nigel Slater is quite fond of it and has written a number of wonderful ones in his stunning book “Tender”. He contends that it is perfect when cooked with strong flavours; makes an incredible sorbet and loves cream and butter. This recipe for a pear and chocolate cake makes us super happy.

When it comes to spices, we love it with cinnamon, anise or cardamom, wonderful with blue, hard and goat’s cheeses. Great autumnal pairings include walnuts, almonds and prosciutto. Let’s not forget, it loves red wine, too.

After all these delicious ideas, you might be feeling hungry. This warm salad with the leftover chicken, is an easy way of enjoying pears while still a great answer to all those wondering whether it’s too cold for salad.

For 2 persons, you need:

2 portions of chicken, (breast or thighs, grilled or boiled), 130 gr of salad (lettuce, iceberg, spinach leaves, rocket or a combination of the above),
a pear, 4 spring onions (or a red onion),  100 g of nuts (walnuts, almonds or cashew nuts or a combination of the above), and for the vinaigrette: 2 table spoons vinegar, 60 ml evoo, half teaspoon of English mustard and a couple of drops of petimezi.

Prepare the chicken, by cutting it into bite size pieces and warming it up in the oven or the microwave. Wash, chop and toss the salad in a large serving bowl. Crush, toast and sprinkle the nuts on top. Prepare your vinaigrette by whisking all the ingredients together. Thinly slice and put the onions, both white and spring into the mix. Finally the warm pieces of chicken are added in the salad as well as the pear; which was previously thinly sliced. The slices can be sautéed with butter (optional) for a couple of minutes before added in the salad or alternatively add the pear slices raw at the end.

In case you want to enhance the pear’s flavour, you can add some red wine and rosemary while in the pan. We do love this salad with rusks; they add texture and flavour and have fewer calories than croutons.

So what do you think? If we founded a pear appreciation society, would you join us?


Fish and shellfish are foods that many of us associate with healthy eating, not to mention they are delicious! But it’s important to choose them wisely. We always go for fish that is suitable; line caught or harvested by sustainable methods; and we avoid endangered species.

You can begin by finding a good fishmonger (Sussex Fish or ShellSeekers). They tell us what’s in season, where fish and shellfish come from, how they’ve been caught. Not to mention they will recommend new things for us to try!

And of course, buy local. Buy in season. It’s usually cheaper, with a smaller carbon footprint. And it tastes so much better!

As we enter into November, our fishmonger recommends shellfish such as cockles or clams. They are now in season and hand gathered. Do avoid eating them during breeding season from March to July.

These lovely heart shaped shells go perfectly with, what else, fresh pasta. Here’s how!

For a meal for 2 you will need:

Two cloves of garlic, minced
One leek, finely chopped
Two glasses of white wine
Two handfuls of cockles or clams
Two tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
250gr fresh pasta
Smoked dried chilli (to taste)
Capers (to taste)

In a large pan heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the garlic and the finely chopped leek. Season and cook until tender. Add two glasses of white wine. Once reduced, add the cockles and clams, but discard any that are open already. Cover with a lid and let them steam until they have opened. Discard any closed ones.

Meanwhile, boil some fresh pasta. When the pasta is ready serve on two plates and scatter the cockles, clams and juices from the pan. Sprinkle some dried red chilli (we used smoked), and capers.  The salty and sour flavour of these dark green flower buds, goes perfectly with this pasta. Drizzle some olive oil. Enjoy with a glass of white wine.


Two weeks ago (8-9/10/16) we attended the London Greek Wine Festival, raising our glass to celebrate this brilliant event. Although Greece has been home to winemaking for over 6000 years and with more than 300 indigenous grape varieties; Greek wines have been underrated for decades.

However, there has been a shift in recent years and, it seems that finally, it’s their time to shine globally. This post will introduce you to four fascinating and unique indigenous varieties: Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro and will inspire you to pair this ancient elixir with food.

Assyrtiko is a white grape variety, produced mainly in Santorini (PDO Santorini). It has a fresh, citrussy, mineral driven character with sea salt finish. It produces a dry white wine, but its multipurpose grapes can even extend to dessert wines. This variety is the ideal complement to haute cuisine, fish, seafood and, surprisingly, even meat dishes. We love it with grilled octopus, sardines as well as the classic Santorini-style fava beans.

Did you know? Assyrtiko is a rare case of white with tannins.

Moschofilero is a white grape variety, produced mainly in the Peloponnese (PDO Mantinia). It is an aromatic variety with surprising freshness, crisp acidity and wild floral intensity. It does not only make a still table wine but delicious rosé, sparkling and dessert wines. This exotic grape produces the perfect aperitif or complement to a wide variety of elegant dishes, Middle and Far East cuisine, sushi and seafood. We love it with all “quintessential Greek” grilled seafood such as red mullet.

Agiorgitiko – Nemea is a red grape variety, produced mainly in the Peloponnese (PDO Nemea). It has a deep, dark ruby colour, mid acidity and soft tannins. The range of wine styles include rich, complex, age worthy reds for the cellar; as well as light, easy drinking wines with the fresh aromas of red fruits. These captivating wines are exceptionally food friendly and you can even pair them with fish. We love it with a classic beef steak or with a slow roasted tomato-sauce stew (kokkinisto). Agiorgitiko grapes are also used to produce our wonderful Petimezi (Grape molasses)

Did you know? According to an ancient legend, the Nemea-Agiorgitiko grapes got their rich, dark colour and their soft and mysterious flavour from the blood of the lion that Hercules slew.

Xinomavro (Ksinomavro) is a red grape variety, produced in the Northern Greece (PDO Naoussa and PDO Amynteo). This intriguing variety can be difficult to cultivate. It has a deep red colour, a complex aromatic character including dried tomatoes and spices, high acidity and strong tannins. When the variety is expressed in wines, it is used in indigenous wine blends, as well as in rosés, including brilliant rustic ones and of course, it is exceptional when aged. This variety makes a great food pairing wine, ideal for food with intense and rich flavours. We love it with Northern Greece specialities like rabbit or game stew or simply with some smoked cheese.