This week’s recipe is a bit stranger than the others. Not the recipe itself, the way we ended up creating it.

As you know, we love discovering interesting ingredients. And surely, there are many ways to prepare a beautiful cauliflower like the one we found at the market this week. But, I thought, there is no better way to enjoy it than in its purest form. Raw. Of course, you need something warm, spicy and comforting to balance the cold, crunchy nuttiness of the cauliflower. What else than a hot, spiced chickpea stew?

This stew takes a while to boil. This is because unlike many recipes we didn’t boil the chickpeas first. Why? Well, because we wanted them to absorb all the goodness from the spices, vegetables and tomatoes, so as to become little balls, bursting with flavour. However, you can of course boil them first (add a bit of baking soda to speed up the process). In the end, you will have a chickpea stew that will taste like Christmas in the Middle East!

Serves six hungry guests.

You will need:
1 beautiful cauliflower
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 tbsp grated cumin
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
150ml olive oil
250g chickpeas
2 medium carrots
2 stalks of celery
2 medium onions
50g raisins
1 bottle tomato passata (680g)
salt, black pepper
fresh coriander leaves and lemon wedges (to serve)

 

The night before soak your chickpeas.

The morning after, finely chop your onion, celery and carrot. We went for pieces the size of the chickpeas, but you can really roughly chop your vegetables if you prefer.

Pour your olive oil in a large pot and over medium low heat warm up all your spices. Yes, the bay leaves too. Once they have released their aromas, add the chopped vegetables and stir until coated in oil. When they become softer and translucent, add your chickpeas, raisins, tomato and 1lt of water. Season with salt and pepper. Stir everything very well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let them simmer for a couple of hours, or until chickpeas are cooked. Check occasionally and add water if needed.

To serve, cut your beautiful cauliflower into florets. In a bowl serve your hot chickpea stew. Place the cauliflower on top. Sprinkle the coriander leaves and squeeze some lemon juice. How about that for satisfying your senses?


It’s this time of the year again -around Thanksgiving- that the web seems to be exploding with pumpkin pie recipes. This year the food world went crazy over a clear pumpkin pie prepared by the Alinea wizards. Some found this version of the classic American dessert “creative”, others “nonsense”. Let’s be honest, we would love to try it -would you?

The following recipe is one of our favourite ways of preparing this pie: Baking the pumpkin first, lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg (sometimes we also use ginger and cloves) and mashing it up. The filling is quite delicious as it includes grape molasses for depth of flavour, walnuts for crunch, Corinth raisins for texture, and orange peel for the citrusy effect. Feel free to modify if you prefer it sweeter or add more grape molasses in case you follow a sugar-free diet. We choose to use phyllo pastry as we love its versatility –have you checked Despina’s recipes with it during our cooking workshops?

Ingredients
1 kg yellow pumpkin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup ground walnuts
2 tsp fine semolina
2 tbsp grape molasses
5 tbsp cognac
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter at room temperature
½ cup of Corinth raisins
Peel from an orange
1 egg for glazing
½ kg phyllo pastry
Olive oil
A pinch of sea salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Cut the pumpkin in big pieces, peel, deseed it and cut in small cubes. Coat the bottom of a tray with olive oil and lay the squash. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Cover the tray tightly with a double layer of tinfoil and bake to 170°C until soft (approximately for 45 minutes).

Remove from the oven and allow the pieces of squash to cool. Put the pumpkin in a food processor and whiz until smooth or mash it with a spoon. Transfer to a big bowl.

Combine the walnuts, semolina, orange peel, half portion of the sugar, sea salt and grape molasses to that mix, as well. Drizzle the raisins with cognac and let them sit for 10 minutes. Drain them and place them to the mix.

Coat the baking pan with butter and place 5 sheets of phyllo-each coated with butter and sprinkled with sugar. Turn the ends inwards and glaze the pie with an egg and water mix. Carve the pieces and bake in a preheated oven to 170°C for 45 minutes.

Enjoy with a warm cup of tea or coffee!


Eating vegetables can be quite tricky for some. You see, many of us grew up eating boiled vegetables. Or deep-fried. Boiled vegetables can be quite bland. Deep fried vegetables can often be very heavy. So what does one do?

When you decide to incorporate more vegetables in your diet, your mind often goes to boring food. And at wintertime one needs bold, interesting flavours to balance the gloomy weather outside. How do you go from a hearty beef stew to a meatless Monday?

When it comes to vegetables, there are two things you need really. A different way to cook them. Something interesting to dress them up with.

So grab some nice root vegetables. Or squash. Or broccoli. Whatever’s in season. Whatever you like. We chose cauliflower this week.

Cut the vegetables and place them neatly on a baking tray. Make sure to spread them in one layer and leave space between them. You don’t want to end up with boiled vegetables. Not today anyway.

Season with salt, pepper and drizzle some olive oil. Add spices or herbs. For the cauliflower we used some dried thyme. Roast the vegetables at 200C, turning them once if needed. When they are tender when pierced with a knife and have a lovely golden brown colour they are ready. You’re half way there.

Now for the second step. This week we are making a yogurt-tahini dressing. It goes perfectly with roasted cauliflower (or any other vegetables of your choosing).

For a medium-sized bowl you will need:

Yogurt, 250g
Tahini, 2 tablespoons
Lemon juice, 2 tablespoons
Lemon zest, from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Finely chopped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, mint…), 2 tablespoons or more to taste

In a bowl, mix the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and zest. Stir until everything is blend together smoothly. If you want a more liquid sauce, loosen the mixture with as much water as you like. Season with salt and pepper. Before serving, add the freshly cut herbs. You can use chives, parley, mint, whatever you prefer. Whatever you have in your fridge really.

Serve while the vegetables are hot and the sauce is cold. I think now you are ready for that meatless Monday, right?

 


This week we’re baking! Because you know, there’s nothing better than a freshly baked cake to accompany your favourite cup of tea or coffee. Especially if the cake in question is made with interesting ingredients! Remember last year’s apple cake? Or the petimezopita? This time we are using pumpkin. You might have guessed it by now that this orange vegetable is our favourite one for this time of the year. You know, this pumpkin soup or the that butternut squash soup  and how about a tart or a risotto?

There is something really unique about this pumpkin cake. It is both comforting and very exciting at the same time. The pumpkin makes it very moist inside, and the plump raisins add extra toffee-like sweetness. This recipe also lays somewhere between autumn and winter. It has the autumn-y pumpkin and the fragrant spices we often associate with winter.

You will need:
700g pumpkin
120ml olive oil
120ml water
70g Corinth raisins
150g flour
100g of brown sugar
5g baking soda
10g baking powder
2tsp cinnamon
6 cloves
½ nutmeg grated
2 generous pinches of salt
5 pinches of grated cardamom

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Peel the pumpkin and remove its seeds. Chop in small pieces. Place your pumpkin pieces in a small pot over medium low heat, until soft. Mash up with a fork. Alternatively, you can cut the pumpkin in half, bake in the oven, and then scoop out its flesh. If you have some lumps remaining in your pumpkin mash it’s fine. Let it cool.

In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. In another bowl mix the water with the olive oil, raisins and the pumpkin puree.

Using a wooden spoon stir together the wet and dry ingredients. Be careful not to over mix them. Taste the batter. Are you a fan of cinnamon? Add more. Do you feel you want more cardamom? Go right ahead.

Pour into a baking tray and bake in the oven for 30-40min, until cake is cooked through, yet moist inside.

Now, put the kettle on and get that lovely teapot out of the cupboard.


Luxury is quite a complex word. When it comes to cooking, it’s usually associated with expensive or rare ingredients. Something most of us don’t usually incorporate in our daily cooking routines.

But you know, expensive can be relative when it comes to food. And luxury doesn’t have to be something we save for special occasions. We can add small notes of it in our daily cooking. I’ll explain.

How? Well, all one has to do really is source some good ingredients and combine them in clever ways. And most of these luxury foods go a long way. Saffron is the ingredient we love today. Why? Because of its red, gold colour. Because of its warm, slightly metallic flavour. Because a few threads are enough to add its unique aroma to your food. Plus, it makes us feel luxurious, doesn’t it? The one we are using is from Greece and oh, it’s organic too!

This recipe is inspired by Jamie Oliver’s flavour combinations.

Feeds 2-3 people:

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions
200g orzo
700 ml water
100g sun dried tomato paste
4 generous pinches of saffron
4 cardamom pods
100g galomyzithra or other soft white cheese
salt, pepper

Preheat your oven at 200C.

Boil your water and add the saffron threads. Once they release their colour, add the sun dried tomato paste and stir. Pop in the cardamom pods.

Finely chop the onions and gently fry them with the olive oil until translucent. Use a heat-proof casserole over medium low-heat. Add the orzo and stir, until the grains are coated in oil. Pour the saffron/sun dried tomato liquid over the orzo. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer your casserole to the oven and bake, stirring occasionally, until orzo is cooked and liquid is absorbed, around 20-30 min. Check halfway through and add a bit more water if needed. A few minutes before your orzo is ready, add the galomizithra cheese and fold through so that some lumps remain. Bake for another 10 minutes, until the cheese melts. Can you smell the red-gold luxury?

This dish is great served with a simple green salad.

 


In November, Michalis Georgaras  from Aetheleon Farm in Nothern Greece will be joining Oliveology. On Saturday 25th of November and Monday 27th of November you will get the chance to spend time with Michalis at our shop at Borough Market.

Michalis produces our premium quality oregano organic essential oil in his small family-run farm. Driven by his love for essential oils and especially their therapeutic properties, Michalis started experimenting with growing Greek herb varieties in his small farm in Nothern Greece. Soon after, the first oregano oil production became a reality. The small farm expanded and the production gradually grew.

Oregano is one of the most popular Mediterranean herbs and has been used since antiquity as a food flavouring and medicine. Of the wider category carrying the name oregano (used to define nearly 50 plants available across the world that respond to a similar flavour profile), Aetheleon grows Origanum Vulgare ssp. Hirtum (Greek oregano). This specific variety has great antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, as well as very potent aroma and intense flavour. Aethelon’s oregano oil is therefore exceptional not only for its unique aroma and taste, but also for its healing properties.

Passionate about organic farming and biodiversity, Michalis is dedicated to maintaining a sustainable ecosystem. Apart from his organic certification, he supports the preservation of nature’s resources, while he is a keen believer in creating connections between his farm, research universities and guests.

Read more about Greek oregano on our blog and join him and Marianna at our Borough Market Shop, where he will share with you his knowledge and expertise. You will get a chance to taste the fragrant oregano essential oil and learn all about its journey from Aetheleon farm to our London shop and to your kitchen.


You know, it has been a while since we made something sweet for our blog. And as October has just come to an end, we couldn’t think of a better moment. Weather is getting colder and colder. What makes up for cold weather? Comforting, vibrant, sweet smells.

So how do we go from grey cold weather to a warm house that smells (dare we say) like Christmas?

Walking around the market, we got some lovely local pears. Yes, there are so many varieties to choose from-but wherever you are, go for the variety that’s closer to home. Today we will poach them. But if you’ve been with us for long, you should know by now how we love using grape molasses instead of sugar. Remember our petimezopita cake? Or the vegan mastiha and petimezi cookies? In this specific recipe, grape molasses offer a deeper, more intense flavour. Try it and you’ll know what we mean.

And of course, you need plenty of aromatic, warm spices. Below is our favourite combination, but as always, you can substitute whatever you don’t like. Just keep the pink peppercorns, they add something really unique to your poached pears.

For 5 pears you will need:

5 firm but ripe pears
1lt water
250g grape molasses
½ nutmeg grated
1 cinnamon stick
10 cardamom pods
15 cloves
20 pink peppercorns

Peel the pears, keeping their stalks intact. As you are peeling them, keep them submerged in cold water.

Place the water, grape molasses and all the spices in a small pot. Bring to the boil and immediately turn down the heat. Once the aromatic liquid has warmed up, and the grape molasses have melted, slowly place your pears in the pot. They need to be completely covered by the liquid, so place a small heatproof plate on top of them to keep them in under-water-love. Simmer at low heat for 30-40min, or until pears are soft and the house smells like Christmas.

Remove the pears from the aromatic liquid. You can serve them with the flavoured water, or if you prefer, turn up the heat to reduce it into a syrup. You can also keep it separately and add to your tea or coffee! These pears pair perfectly with Greek yogurt. Enjoy!