Baklava is one of the most-loved Greek desserts. With origins in the Ottoman cuisine, it is prepared all around Greece, Turkey, and many other countries of the Levant, the Balkans and beyond.

We’ve tasted some delicious Turkish baklava with pistachios, while in Greece walnuts are preffered. Some more ‘modern’ versions which were popular all around Athens in the 90s-2000s used hazelnuts. Diverting from traditional recipes, for us, the selection of nuts is a very personal choice, and in this recipe we’ve actually used a mixture of all three: pistachios, walnuts and hazelnuts.

When it comes to the layers of filo, there are, again endless variations. If you love a tall baklava, double the recipe, or prepare it in a smaller baking dish. In ours we used one pack of filo and a 32x26cm dish and the result was a thin baklava. Ideally a metal baking dish is preferred as the distribution of heat is optimal for the baklava. However, we tried baking ours in a classic baking dish and it worked just fine.

For the syrup, we used our wild flower honey to sweeten ours, which adds a wonderful depth of flavour. When it comes to pouring the syrup over the baked baklava, there is a great debate around the ideal temperatures. We found that cooled down syrup poured over the hot baklava, just as it comes our of the oven gives a wonderfully crispy filo.

1 pack filo (450g)
350g nuts (we used raw pistachios, walnuts and hazelnuts)
100g white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
250g clarified butter (or simply melt butter)

For the syrup
250ml water
200g white sugar
200g wild flower honey
2tbsp lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
lemon peel

Syrup: In a medium sized pot and over medium heat add the water, sugar, honey, lemon juice and peel, and cinnamon stick. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove the lemon peel and cinnamon stick and set aside to cool.

Preparation: Preheat your oven to 190C.

Working in batches and using a pestle and mortal or blender, grind your nuts until they resemble coarse sand. Whisk in the sugar and cinnamon and set aside in a bowl.

Place the sheets of filo on the table over a kitchen towel and cover with a damp kitchen towel.

Melt your butter and place it on the table.

Assembling: Brush the bottom and sides of your pan with butter. Place one layer of filo, trimming the ends if needed. Drizzle some butter and add another layer of filo. Repeat until you have four layers of filo at the bottom.

Sprinkle a thin layer of your nut mixture. Cover with a sheet of filo and drizzle with butter. Repeat the process with a thin layer of nuts, then filo then drizzled butter, until you are left with three sheets of filo and no nuts.

Drizzling butter in between the sheets of filo, cover the top of the baklava with the remaining three sheets. If you have any butter left then pour it over your baklava.

Using a sharp knife cut in a diamond-shaped pattern (or squares or whatever you prefer). You can place the baklava in the fridge for the butter to set if you are finding it difficult to cut.

Baking: Bake at 190C in the bottom rack of the oven for 30-40minutes, until the baklava is golden and cooked underneath as well (check by gently lifting a piece from the corner).

Remove from the oven and immediately pour over the syrup. You will hear it making a beautiful sound. The syrup might seem a lot but let it cool and it will absorb most of it.

Tip: Baklava is always better the next day, so if you can, be patient and wait at least a few hours before serving it.

 


Greek Easter is around the corner, and we are now in the final week of Lent. Beginning on Clean Monday (yes with taramosalata!), during these the 40 days prior to Easter, Greeks are invited to abstain from all animal products. Grains and pulses slowly cooked with extra virgin olive oil take centre stage and baked delicacies with tahini (like the tahinopita we made a couple of weeks ago) are prepared. Spring vegetables like peas (here with olive oil and lemon) or spinach (think of spanakopita) are everywhere, and are always part of the menu. For this final week of Lent, we’ve used one of our favourite spring ingredients, wild garlic and we’ve put together a simple yet delicious pesto recipe. As you will read, there’s plenty of garlic in this recipe, so if you want a more subtle flavour, you can substitute add some parsley instead.

For this pesto, we’ve also used our product of the month: pistachios. Greek pistachios are renowned for their unbeatable rich flavour, beautiful pink exterior, and vibrant green kernels, and these pistachios, with PDO status, are completely raw and unsalted with an exquisite taste and texture.

Makes one jar

50g raw pistachios
50g wild garlic leaves (or a mixture of wild garlic and parsley)
100ml olive oil
zest from 1 lemon
1-2tbsp lemon juice
fine sea salt (to taste)

Roughly chop the wild garlic leaves and add to a pestle and mortal or a blender. Add the pistachios, and half of the olive oil and blend everything together until chunky. Slowly add the remaining olive oil, pulsing slowly.

Add the lemon zest and juice and season with salt. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

If you have time, let this pesto rest for a few hours, so that the flavours develop. Serve with pasta, your favourite grains or roasted vegetables. Alternatively, add a tablespoon to a bowl of soup, or simply add in your salads or serve on top of toast!


In Greece, Easter is perhaps the biggest celebration of the year. Amongst the traditional mageiritsa offal soup, the tsoureki brioche bread, and of course the much loved easter lamb, Greeks also prepare Easter eggs.

Traditionally, on the Thursday before Easter, the day of the crucifixion of Christ, eggs are dyed red, the red colour symbolising the blood of Christ. Today, many dye eggs in various colours, and decorate them with stickers.

The eggs are then kept until Saturday night, and after the resurrection of Christ at midnight egg tapping takes place, or “tsouggrisma” as it’s called. This is when two eggs are tapped together, as people exchange Easter wishes.

We love this Greek tradition, so this week we’ve decided to share it with you. In the sprit of sustainable living, we are only using natural dye, which gives the eggs a lovely spring colours, as individual as nature itself. You can also use onion peels, red cabbage leaves, turmeric and lots more to dye the eggs naturally!

12 eggs
1 pack (3 sachets) natural egg dye
2.250 ml water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

The process is very straightforward. Select good, free range or organic eggs (even if just for this Easter).

In a stainless steel pot (a casserole might stain), add three sachets of dye and the water. Stir and place over medium heat. Add the vinegar and stir again.

Gently submerge the eggs in the cold water.

Bring to a simmer, skimming any foam that might arise, and gently stirring.

Gently simmer for 20min. Remove from the pot and add the eggs in a bowl with ice cold water.

Drain and admire the beautiful colours.

Happy Easter!!


Tahinopita, literally meaning “tahini pie” is a well-loved Cypriot sweet bread/cake, traditionally eaten during Lent. Marianna, who is half Cypriot, grew up with tahinopita, be it from the neighbourhood bakery, or home-made by her mother and aunts. I, on the other hand did not, as tahinopita was not part of my culinary universe.

So when I was researching for this recipe I was, I must confess, not so enthusiastic about it. In its many versions, it read like a sweet bread with sweet tahini, which is a much loved combination, but nothing more than that.

Well. Let me tell you, I was standing in my kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, fragrant smells of cinnamon, mahleb and cloves all around me, tasting perhaps one of the most delicious baked goods I’ve ever made.

The recipe is quite straightforward. You make the dough and the filling and then put them together. There are various ways to do so, and you can have a look at this video which is quite helpful. There’s also a much simpler way, which you can find here and which we used. It is very similar to making cinnamon rolls.

We got inspired by Georgina Hayden’s recipe who uses carob molasses in the filling and we absolutely loved the idea!

For the dough
350g flour
½ tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp aromatic spices such as mahleb, mastiha, vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 sachet dried yeast (7g)
275ml lukewarm water

For the filling
200g tahini
125g white sugar
3 tbsp carob molasses
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
3tbsp water

To serve
wild flower honey (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160C.

First make the dough. Add the yeast to a jug with the lukewarm water and let it stand for a couple of minutes. In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking soda, and all the spices. Add the yeast/water mixture and using a fork bring everything together. Transfer your dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until you have an elastic dough, around 10min. Dust your bowl with some flour and return the dough to your bowl. Let it rest in a warm place while you prepare the filling, around 15min.

To make the filling, gently whisk together the tahini, sugar, carob molasses, spices, olive oil and water. You should have a thick-but-not-too-thick paste. Set aside.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle, around 2-3mm thick. Spread the filling on top. Then roll up the dough, cut in thick pieces, turn them on their side (like you would do with cinnamon rolls), and gently push them down, so that you have a small, round tahinopitas, resembling cookies. Alternatively, you can follow the traditional way: Fold the dough like an envelope, so that you have two layers of dough, with the filling in between. Roll up the dough and twist it around like a cheese stick. Roll it like a snail.

Place them in a baking sheet covered with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven at 160C for approx. 20minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey, if using. Enjoy!