This week we’ve got a fascinating recipe for you, which we prepared using the last nettles of the season. We love nettles! A few weeks ago we made a wonderful nettle pesto, so this week we decided to go for something a bit more unusual. In Greece we usually put nettles in pies, but it’s rare that we would ever make something sweet.

But there was Mrs Kalliopi’s delicious olive oil cake recipe, which called for fresh fruit -we had originally made it with graded apples, if you remember? So we thought, why not try with nettles? So there you have it, a bright green olive oil cake with nettles –and a bit of apple. Nettles have a unique flavour, imagine something between spinach, cucumber, a bit grassy, this sort of thing. So now imagine a sweet version of this, and that’s our cake!

As always, make sure to use gloves when handling nettles and to blanch them before using them in cooking.

Makes one small tin

½ cup olive oil
1 large bunch of nettles
1 large green apple
zest from 1 lemon (optional)
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Apple oil (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 180C.

Using gloves, pick the leaves from the nettles and discard the stalks.
In a large pot with boiling water blanch the nettles for 3-5 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Place the nettles in a clean tea towel and squeeze out as much water as you can. Finely chop or (better), blend them into a smooth paste. You should be left with roughly ¾ cups of nettle pulp.

Peel, core and grate the apple. Mix together the apple, nettle pulp and lemon zest if using. Set aside

In a separate bowl sieve together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and olive oil. Add the egg and whisk again until fully incorporated. Slowly add the flour and mix until incorporated. Add the nettles and apple and stir well with a wooden spoon.

Transfer to a greased and floured baking tin. Bake at 180°C for approximately 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden-brown on top and cooked through. To check, you can insert a knife and see if it comes our clean.

Serve with Greek yoghurt and our fragrant apple oil!


As we were preparing this recipe, we debated a lot on whether bee pollen reminds us more of winter or spring. You see, bee pollen is known as nature’s living superfood, as it is a source of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and enzymes including iron, protein, Vitamin B1, B2 and B3. So it’s our go-to ingredient during winter, when we feel we need an immunity booster. At the same time, it really reminds us of spring, of flowers blossoming and bees buzzing, as it is collected by honeybees from the forests and flora of Northern Greece.

So we decided to settle the debate, by making a spring granola with bee pollen. Eating this granola for breakfast also feels great for our body during these challenging times. And what goes best with bee pollen? Honey, of course and crunchy, beautiful almonds.

Makes 1 jar

200g oats
100g almonds
pinch of salt
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp orange blossom honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds
3 tbsp bee pollen

Preheat the oven at 150C.
Roughly chop the almonds.

In a large bowl, place the oats and almonds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey and salt. Pour the liquid mixture over the oats and nuts, and gently toss everything together, until the oats and nuts are all covered with honey and olive oil.

Place the granola on a baking sheet, nicely spread out and bake in the oven for around 20’, tossing regularly. Be careful not to burn it!

Once the granola is golden remove from the oven and let cool. Toss in the sesame and bee pollen. Store in an airtight jar.


This week we’ve got a trick and a recipe for you. The trick is something we have been doing for years, and it came out to be quite handy during those challenging days. We read recently that it is indeed a very popular Greek trick.

Nowadays it is often difficult to maintain our regular shopping habits and visits to the market. One of the things we miss the most is fresh herbs. Enter the trick. What you need to do is get large bunches of herbs, wash and finely chop them (I like to keep the stems separately for stocks). Then, place them in small bags in the freezer – make sure to label them, trust me! These herbs are perfect to use in your cooking, in soups, stews and so forth. Simply add straight from the freezer. It is, of course, not the same things as having fresh herbs around, but it is the next best thing. And if you want to take it to the next level, you can do so with spring onions and leeks, too.

That said, this week we have a recipe using this trick!

So what are we making? We took the well-known falafel recipe technique of blending together raw chickpeas with herbs and spices, and gave it a Greek flavour-twist! So we’ve used a selection of our favourite fresh and dried herbs and, of course, lemon. This flavour combination really reminds us of Greece, ahhh. And because the frozen herbs have a different level of moisture inside, we ended up with very fluffy little balls. Bliss!

Makes around 14 small balls

100g chickpeas
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
3 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
1 tsp dried spearmint
1tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt (to taste)
olive oil or other oil for frying
yoghurt and chilli oil (to serve)*

The night before soak your chickpeas. The morning after rinse with fresh water and drain. The chickpeas will have absorbed plenty of water and you should be able to easily cut one in half -but always be careful!

In a food processor add the raw chickpeas, fresh and dried herbs, spring onions, lemon juice and salt. Whizz together, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if needed. There’s no need if you are using herbs straight from the freezer. The texture we are going for is finer that the classic falafel texture. We are aiming for pieces smaller than bulgur wheat. But you do not want to end up with a paste, so blend pausing regularly and checking.

You can then go on and fry the mixture or keep in the fridge until you are ready to do so.

To fry: In a small pot, place plenty of oil. As the oil is heating up, roll small balls the size of a tablespoon. Be careful as the mixture is quite delicate.

When your oil is hot, add a few balls at a time, frying until golden-brown on the outside, around 4 min. Rest in a towel to absorb any excess oil and serve with plenty of yogurt, and chilli oil.

Enjoy!

*You can find delicious Greek yoghurt and chilli oil at our Borough Market shop


One thing we love about veg boxes, is that you never know what you will get. For the last couple of weeks we’ve been getting nettles. Last week we made a spinach pie, adding the nettles for a different twist. This week however, we got two bunches. So we thought, let’s make pesto!

If you are following our recipes, you will know by now how we love making pesto. I don’t know if I’ve written this before, but realising that you can make pesto using anything you’ve got around was life-changing for me. So in the past we’ve made a pistachio pesto, a sun-dried tomato pesto with almonds, and the uber-seasonal wild garlic pesto!

One must be careful when handling nettle, as this lovely green can sting. The way we usually go about with nettle, is blanching it for a few minutes, and then use it in recipes such as pies, or in this pesto here. That way, it will not sting you. But do use gloves beforehand, to separate the leaves.

Makes one jar

2 bunches of nettle
¾ cups olive oil
½ cup raw nuts (we used walnuts, but pistachios are great too! – you can use whatever you have)
2 tsp white wine vinegar or 2 tsp lemon juice (or one of each)
salt (to taste)

Using gloves, separate the nettle leaves and thin stems.
Place in a large pot with boiling water. Blanch for 3-5 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Place the nettles in a clean tea towel and squeeze out all excess water. You should be left with 1 cup of nettle pulp.

In a large frying pan, dry-toast the walnuts and let cool.

Whiz together the nettle, olive oil, walnuts. Season with salt. Add the vinegar or lemon juice (we used a teaspoon of each), and whiz again until smooth. Taste and adjust for salt or acidity.

Serve with pasta, veg or simply crusty bread!