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.


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!


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.


The New Year is here! The beginning of the year is usually the time when we make plans for the future. Away from the sparkle of the holidays past. In January, we promise ourselves that we will be better. That we will do better this year.

For that, we often turn to healthy food. To go with our resolutions. But we also need comfort food. After all, New Year’s resolutions can be challenging.

Good grains and pulses are what comes to mind when we think of good, comfort food. Today, we’ve selected for you a very interesting recipe. Leeks, sweet potatoes, and lentils all come together for a unique take on the (let’s be honest), sometimes boring lentil stew.

This warm and hearty soup is the perfect accompaniment for your new years resolution planning. And a tip for you: When serving, drizzle some aged balsamic vinegar on top. It makes all the difference in the world.

For 4 people

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil 

1 small leek
2 small sweet potatoes (approx. 250g)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
150gr lentils (+link if we have)
1.5 lt of vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Bay leaf, thyme (optional)

To serve (optional):
Balsamic vinegar 
Fresh parsley

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them in small cubes. Finely slice the leek. In a large saucepan, and over medium heat, pour the olive oil. Add the leaks and stir until soft and slightly caramelised. Add the garlic, sweet potatoes and lentils and still until covered in oil and well mixed. Add the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper and add the herbs (if using). Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer until lentils are cooked through, adding more liquid if needed. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and fresh parsley.


Did you know that chickpeas are one of the earliest known cultivated legumes, tracing their ancestry back at least 7,000 years to the dawn of agriculture?

The Greeks seem to have quite a passionate and long-lasting love affair with the bean, as chickpeas have been found at Thessaly in the late Neolithic (about 3500 BC) Greece. It is also known that the ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates made reference to the nutritional value of hummus in their writings. The humble legume, together with wheat, a variety of beans, lentils, chickpeas and split peas, “form the very foundation of the Greek diet and have done so since Neolithic times” according to Diana Farr Louis of Culinary Backstreets.

Health wise, chickpeas are an excellent source of high-quality protein, with a wide range of essential amino acids. Like most legumes have long been valued for their fibre content; in this case, between 65-75% of the fibre found in chickpeas is insoluble*. Chickpeas are a source of 10 different vitamins and essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.

Lately, it’s all about aquafava, that some go as far as saying that it actually is the new kale. This chickpea brine makes baking, cooking and cocktails without eggs much easier for vegans, those with allergies or looking for lighter options. This will be the subject of a future post however, in the meantime let’s enjoy this easy and nutritious recipe.

Chickpeas with spinach

Ingredients

300g chickpeas
1 kg spinach
1 onion (you could also add a couple of garlic gloves, if desired)
3 grated tomatoes
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil – we recommend using our 27oC evoo
Salt, pepper, oregano (you could also add cumin and paprika, if desired)

Method

Initially, soak them overnight in a bowl of water and drain them the next day. In a pot heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion (and garlic) until soft. Add chickpeas, tomato and water to cover and cook until chickpeas are almost cooked. Wash and chop spinach and stir in the mix. Cook until wilted and bright green. Finally add salt, pepper, oregano and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes. It goes without saying that feta goes perfectly with this dish. Of course, try it with our raw Kalamata olives; we would recommend our wild green lemony ones or those with lemon and herbs

You can find Greek chickpeas in our new shop at Borough Market, along with a great variety of pulses, such as lentils, giant beans and fava split yellow peas. Soon all available online.

Insoluble fibre is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. It adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines.