This week we are feeling quite autumn-y. And what goes better with autumn, than wonderful baking activities on a Sunday afternoon!

So this week we are making a recipe that is something between a bread and a cake. What do we mean? It is a dough made with flour, nuts and dried fruit! It is very moist and not at all sweet. You can have it with tea, butter and honey for a filling breakfast, serve it as part of your cheese platter alongside crackers, or even enjoy as is.

For this recipe we used dried apricots and cherries. As our dried fruit have no added sugar, the result is dense and flavourful. But do not expect it to be sweet. It is more on the bitter/sour side. So if you wish, you can add a bit of honey or sugar in the recipe, or omit the balsamic vinegar. But first, try this one, it really is something special, especially served with plenty of honey.

Another idea would be to get our Autumn Baking bundle and use all of its ingredients for this recipe!

This recipe is adapted from a recipe created by Nena Ismirnoglou, whose recipes always surprise us with their simplicity and flavour.

Makes a medium-sized cake tin

200g all-purpose flour
8g dried yeast
300g dried fruit (we used a combination of apricots and cherries)
50ml balsamic cream with mandarin
120ml water
100g nuts (we used raw almonds and raw hazelnuts
2 tbsp oak honey, plus more to serve
½ tsp ground cloves, cinnamon or other warm spices

Finely chop the dried fruit. Warm up the balsamic cream with the water and pour over the fruit. Let them soak for 30minutes.

Ground the almonds and hazelnuts. Mix together your flour, ground nuts and spices.

In a large bowl whisk together the yeast with 2tbsp of warm water. Add to the bowl the flour-nuts mixture and dried fruit. Knead well until you have a slightly sticky dough. Cover with a tea-towel and let your dough rest in a warm environment for 30minutes.

Preheat your oven at 180C.

Place some greaseproof paper on a cake tin and drizzle it with 1 tablespoon of honey. Place your dough in the tin and push it gently. Drizzle the rest of the honey on top of the dough.

Bake for 30min. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.


Well, as most of you may know Greece has a long tradition of stuffing foods with other foods, wrapping foods in other foods and so forth. And this goes beyond Greece and over to various Mediterranean and other countries. A few years ago, a Turkish friend and I bonded over our mutual fascination for foods that you can stuff.

In Greece we have of course the all-famous gemista (stuffed vegetables with rice or meat) that are one example of this tradition. Another example is of course the all-famous dolmades.

So this week, as we open a jar of vine leaves, we set off to make our own version of this classic dish. Traditionally, vine leaves had to be briefly boiled before being used. But these ones require no such preparation. They are ready for you to fill! And we must admit, we love this!

The first few that you will roll are the hardest. Then somehow your fingers and hands learn their way around the vine leaves and before you know it you are rolling dolma after dolma, feeling relaxed and at peace.

Makes 65-70

2/3 jar (around 75) vine leaves
1 large white onion
1 small bunch of spring onions
6 tbsp olive oil, plus 5 tbsp more for cooking
300g Carolina rice
3 cups of water
1 large bunch of dill
1 large bunch of parsley
1 large bunch of mint
juice of half a lemon, plus more for cooking
salt

Finely chop the onion and spring onions.
In a medium-sized pot and over medium-low heat place the olive oil and onions and cook until soft and transluscent.
Add the rice and 3 cups of water. Season with salt and cook until the rice still has a bite, for around 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Finely chop all your herbs. Mix well the herbs with the rice and the lemon juice. Adjust for seasoning. Let the rice cool down completely.

Remove the leaves from the jar and carefully rinse under cold water. Pat dry.

In a chopping board or clean surface, lay a vine leaf, veins down, bottom side down and the pointy sides facing away from you. Place a quite large teaspoon of the rice mixture in the middle. Carefully fold the vine leaf bottom edges forwards, then the two sides inwards. Then roll it away from you, like a cigar. Make sure to roll them as tightly as you can, otherwise they will fall apart during cooking -trust me, I have been there!

Place the dolmadakia tightly together, seam side down, in concentric circles in a pot and in one layer. If you have more and need to continue to a second layer, place some vine leaves between the two layers.

Pour over the dolmadakia around 5 cups of water, so that they are just covered with water. Drizzle 5 tbsp of olive oil and more lemon juice, around 4 tbsp. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and let the dolmadakia cook until the rice and vine leaves are tender, for around 40 minutes.

Serve with more olive oil, lemon wedges and some Greek yogurt.


As we all are now well into autumn, gloomy mornings are this week’s inspiration for our recipe. Let me explain. I love autumn- and autumn weather for that matter. But I am not really a morning person. As a child, I remember wonderful breakfasts served at our family table to be the thing that made me excited about leaving the comfort of my bed. As an adult, I really don’t know how my parents managed to create such delicious things in the mornings.

Maybe they planned ahead. Like we are doing this week! So we need something exciting to make us craw out of bed and give us energy to get on with our busy days. And since this summer we didn’t make a granola, as we did last summer and the summer before that, we decided it’s time.

So here you go, this week’s recipe is our autumn granola. For this one we used our favourite raw hazelnuts, pure cocoa powder, and oak honey. This is a honey that is not too sweet and perfectly complements the nuttiness of the hazelnuts and the sweetness of the chocolate. Because yes, we decided to indulge a bit, and used a tiny bit of dark chocolate. You can of course omit it if you want, the recipe works great without it. And as always, we made our granola with olive oil!

Makes one large jar:
200g oats
100g raw hazelnuts
2 tbsp raw cocoa
3 tbsp oak honey
2 tbsp olive oil
50g dark chocolate (optional)
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven at 150C.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts and the chocolate (if using).

In a large bowl mix together the hazelnuts, chocolate pieces, oats, cocoa and salt.

Lay some greaseproof paper in a baking tray and place your oat mixture.

In a separate bowl whisk together the honey and olive oil.

Drizzle the olive oil/honey on top of the oats mixture and using your hands, mix everything together until well-mixed.

Bake in the oven, stirring every 10 min and for about 30min or until the granola is golden-brown. Let it cool and store in an airtight jar.

Oh, and did we tell you? This is perfect simply served with milk!

 


Many of you ask where we get our vine leaves. Our producer, Marianna has been producing vine leaves for more than 20 years. They are collected from the family’s vineyard in Chalkidiki, Nothern Greece. Their stems are removed and the vine leaves are carefully rolled and packed in brine. The entire process from farm to table only lasts a few hours, so that they retain all of their freshness and nutrients. We really like this ingredient! So this week we decided to experiment a bit with it.

And here it is, a somewhat unusual recipe for you. Think: dolmades meet cheese pie. What does this mean? It means that we are using vine leaves, but not stuffing them in the classic way! When looking into what else we could do with those tasty leaves (our) Marianna suggested: why don’t you stuff them with cheese? It was brilliant!

And watch this space, we will soon share with your our classic dolmadakia recipe, stuffed with rice and plenty of herbs!

Makes 35
1/3 jar (around 40) vine leaves
Zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp dried thyme
250g manouri cheese*
200g graviera cheese*
5 tbsp olive oil

In a bowl grate the graviera and manouri. Season with thyme and add the lemon zest. Mix well.

In a chopping board or clean surface, lay a vine leaf, veins down, bottom side down and the pointy sides facing away from you. Place a large teaspoon of the cheese mixture in the middle. Carefully fold the vine leaf bottom edges forwards, then the two sides inwards. Then roll it away from you, like a cigar.

Place the dolmadakia tightly together, seam side down, in concentric circles in a pot and in one layer. If you have more and need to continue to a second layer, place some vine leaves between the two layers.

Pour over the dolmadakia enough water so that they are just covered and 5 tbsp of olive oil. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and let the dolmadakia cook until the vine leaves are tender, for around 40 minutes.

Serve immediately or at room temperature.

*you can find graviera and manouri cheese at our chop at Borough Market.

 

 

 


It was autumn a few years ago, when I first joined Oliveology. I was about to make one of my first recipes for this blog. Marianna had given me a few produce to experiment with. I looked at the tin with our apple oil. I was fascinated. Who would think of that, I wondered. Who would combine apples with olives? I loved it before even opening the tin. And when I finally tasted it, and poured it over this pumpkin soup, it was, and I am not exaggerating here, one of the most interesting things I’d ever tasted in my life.

It is perfect with sweet things, of course: drizzled over cake, and over your morning porridge -yes, try it!

So this week, we’ve used our favourite apple oil to make soft oven-baked sweet potatoes! We just love this autumn ingredient. Do you remember our vegan lentil soup with sweet potatoes? Or our sweet and sour winter vegetables? Delicious!

Serves 4 as a generous side

1kg sweet potatoes
1/3 cup apple oil
5 spring onions
smoked salt
black pepper
50g roasted hazelnuts
balsamic creme with mandarin (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 200C.

Finely chop your spring onions. Scrub your potatoes under running water. You can peel them, but we’ve left them with their skin. Cut them in rounds, around 1cm thick. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and set aside for serving.

Place the sweet potatoes and spring onions into a baking tray. Drizzle the apple oil. Season generously with the smoked salt and pepper and toss everything together. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 200C for around 30-40min or until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Serve with the hazelnuts, drizzling some balsamic cream with mandarin.