Clean Monday or Kathara Deftera as we call it in Greece is the day of the beginning of lent prior to Easter. It’s a moveable feast, moving every year with Easter. As such, its name means exactly that: leaving behind anything “unclean”, including non-fasting foods.

A public holiday in Greece, clean Monday is the day when families gather together and set the table with foods made especially for the day. If the weather is nice, tables are moved outside and picnics are planned. And along with delicious food, kites come out. Yes, clean Monday is the day when we fly a kite, kids and grown-ups together. It’s a day of being around nature, eating fasting foods and seafood, celebrating the beginning of spring and of the pre-Easter period.

The traditional lagana bread is being prepared, and platters with salads, some shellfish, taramosalata and other fasting foods are laid on the Clean Monday table. This year, Marianna herself has prepared  taramosalata for her team. Using her gran’s’ great recipe with boiled potatoes the consistency is more creamy.  However there is another version using stale bread instead of potatoes. Marianna experimented using Dakos croutons to replace the stale bread. Dakos worked wonders and gave taramosalata a thicker consistency and deeper flavour! We are waiting for the team’s verdict to decide which one works best! Watch this space.

Ingredients:

200g cod roe
200g boiled potatoes  or stale bread or Dakos croutons.
1 onion
Juice of 2 lemons
300ml extra virgin olive oil

Kalamata olives to garnish

Soak the bread or dakos in water. Squeeze out all water. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Blend together the potatoes/moist bread/dakos, cod roe, onion, lemon juice, adding a bit of water if needed to loosen the mixture. Slowly add the olive oil. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed.


So, pancake day is here! Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day is this wonderful day in February or March when we eat (you guessed it) pancakes! This day is linked to the beginning of the fasting for Easter. It is indeed a moveable feast, moving every year as determined by Easter. The idea behind it is that you use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast. And pancakes are the perfect way to use up all these ingredients! What is beautiful about these cycles of feasting and fasting though, is that they create traditions and food patterns that remain unchanged. So today, irrespective of whether you fast or not, irrespective of any religious ideas one may have, we all enjoy pancake day!

At Borough Market we celebrate pancake day with the annual pancake day race, where all of us compete in a pancake flipping relay. Obviously, the best way to celebrate pancake day is to eat loads of pancakes with various fillings. And as you know, we love sharing with your our own Greek take on things.

So this week, we came up with the simplest, yet most delicious (and nutritious!) sweet pancake filling. And stay tuned, because there are various ways to use this-more to follow! So this year give chocolate or sugar a break and let us introduce you to the amazing sweet intense nuttiness of…

Tahini and Grape Molasses Pancake Filling

200g tahini
100g grape molasses
pinch of salt

In a bowl place your tahini, grape molasses and salt. Using a fork stir vigorously until both ingredients are combined and the texture is like thick butter. Generously spread over pancakes.

This mixture pairs perfectly with bananas, colourful raw pistachios and dried cherries.

 

 


Remember a few weeks ago we were discussing where our inspiration for recipes comes from?
Often, Marianna is the one who provides this inspiration. This week she came to me with our aromatic sample of mastiha oil and a glass of water. She gently tilted the tiny bottle and a drop fell in the glass. Drink this, she said. What can we make? Maybe rice pudding? I like rice pudding, she said as she walked away, the smell of mastiha all around me.

I, too, love rice pudding. Especially variations of it. Yes, there is the classic one which we prepared last year.
But this week, things get more exciting.

As you may remember from our mastiha cookies, mastiha is an aromatic sap, coming only from the island of Chios in Greece (read more here!). For this recipe, we didn’t use mastiha oil, but instead, we combined mastiha and mastiha liqueur.

Traditionally, in order to use mastiha in baking you have to grind it. But not all of us have a pestle and mortal at home. And in this blog we believe that when we cook we need to make the best with what we’ve got. So you don’t have a pestle and mortal at home. You’ll use the mastiha as is. This recipe asks for slow cooking, so your mastiha will slowly melt and dissolve in the velvety milk. Just make sure you stir every so often. You know, you can always give more love.

Don’t be tempted to use more mastiha, your rice pudding will become bitter. We know so because let’s say that our first batch of rice pudding was not on the sweet side. Learn from our over-excitement.

Serves 4

50g carolina rice (you need rice with high amylopectin (starch) content such as Arborio or other risotto rice)
50g white powdered sugar
600ml whole milk
one very small rock of mastiha
2 tablespoons of mastiha liquer
raw pistachios (to serve)

Put all your ingredients in a medium sized pot. Stir and place over medium high heat. Once the milk reaches a near boiling point immediately turn down the heat (be careful not to let it overflow). Let it simmer, stirring every so often, so that mastiha dissolves and evenly offer its aroma to your rice pudding. Once the rice is soft and the mixture feels like porridge remove from the heat. Add the mastiha liqueur and stir. Serve with raw pistachios. Mastiha likes that.

 

 


January is in full swing, with gloomy wet weather (which however the writer of this blog post happens to adore). January is the month when we all decide we will take better care of ourselves. With the feasting of the holidays now way past us, we make promises to eat healthier, better. What healthier and better means may differ for each of us. For us at Oliveolology it is eating fresh vegetables, food made with care, good olive oil.

But you know, you have to have exciting flavours too. So this week we are playing with one very special ingredient. Kalamata olives with orange and herbs. These olives are marinated in orange juice, zest and wild aromatic herbs from our farm. Try to imagine the meatiness of the kalamata olives together with the citrusy orange. Absolutely delicious.

And what these olives pair perfectly with? Beetroot! You know we love this vegetable and there is something very satisfying to roasted beetroot. Remember our beetroot dip? How about last year’s lentil and beetroot salad?

To bring everything together we’ve selected kale and our organic goat’s cheese.

Serves two as side or one as main

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet red wine vinegar
1 grape molasses
1 bowl/plate/bunch/bag of kale leaves
2 large beetroot
½ tub orange olives
¼-1/2 pack goat cheese
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 200C. Scrub your beetroot under running water. Wrap each one in tinfoil and place them in a baking tray. Roast them until cooked through, around an hour.
In the meantime, wash and tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Whisk together the olive oil, sweet vinegar and grape molasses, salt.
Once cooked, remove the beetroot from the oven. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, unwrap them and using your fingers peel the skin off. You can of course leave the skin on. Slice the beetroot or cut them in wedges. Gently toss together beetroot, kale, orange olives, dressing. Lay on a plate or bowl (we used a chopping board). Crumble the cheese on top.


I first tasted kedgeree a few weeks after I arrived in the UK. The friend who was hosting me at the time threw a brunch. ‘We have to make kedgeree’, she said. ‘It’s one of the most interesting dishes. It was part of my own welcome to this country, so now we will make it part of yours.’ And indeed we prepared it and it was delicious. This dish combines warm and metallic spices, smoked fish, comforting rice, soft boiled eggs and fresh herbs. Since then, I’ve prepared it a few times, but mostly for lunch. I find this combination of flavours particularly appealing, especially during the dull winter days.

So this week, we’ve got an oliveology take on this iconic dish. We are using bulgur wheat instead of rice, a bit of smoked haddock for flavour, and adding a few more interesting ingredients! What’s that you ask? Unripe lemon olives! They are hand picked at the beginning of the season and we love their unique crunchy texture. Their incredibly fresh flavour and lemony tones complement perfectly this dish!

Serves 4 for lunch
300g smoked haddock
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
3 tablespoons kedgeree spice mix (or any curry powder of your choosing)
300g bulgur wheat
600ml water
salt

To serve:
1/2 tub of unripe olives
1 small bunch of coriander
4 soft boiled eggs
lemon wedges

Place the haddock in a pot and cover in water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10min, until fish is cooked through. Remove haddock and keep the water on the side. Flake the fish. You can keep the skin if you like.

Peel and finely chop the onions, garlic and ginger. In the same pot, add your oil and gently fry the onions, garlic and ginger. Add the spice mix and fry in gently heat until translucent and caramelised. Add the bulgur wheat and stir until it’s coated in the fragrant oil/vegetables. Add the water you have reserved from the haddock, adding more water if needed. You need 600ml in total. Season with salt. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and let the bulgur wheat absorb all liquid. Taste and add more water if needed.

Serve with the olives, coriander, eggs and lemon wedges.

 


Inspiration for cooking may came when you least expect it. And in the most mysterious ways. You can eat something and get inspired. Watch a film and have your mind going back to that food that couple had at that scene. Memories often come into play, nostalgia about past meals. Books and magazines, obviously. A weekly walk around the market. And then, there are leftover ingredients. What do you do with some cooked chickpeas that are left? How can you use a bit of flavoured walnut oil that was left in your cupboard after the holidays?

When it comes to cooking inspiration, this game is the one I enjoy the most. So this week’s inspiration for our recipe is exactly that: leftover ingredients. Remember our Christmas brussels sprouts recipe? How about our spiced chickpeas? From testing these recipes, I’ve had some boiled chickpeas left, which I froze. And a bit of walnut oil in the cupboard. In the spirit of no waste, and because it’s good to start the new year with cupboards and freezer nicely sorted, here’s our take on leftover ingredients!

The flavour combinations may be similar to our Brussels sprouts dish, but the nuttiness of the cauliflower and the crispy chickpeas will surprise you in this pairing!

Serves 2

1 small cauliflower
200g cooked chickpeas
6 tbsp walnut oil 
3 garlic cloves (or more if you love garlic)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
salt
pepper

Preheat the oven at 180C. Place your cauliflower in the middle of a baking tray. Keep the leaves and small stalks, we will cook these too in a bit! Rub 2 tablespoons of walnut oil all around it. Sprinkle half of the oregano and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Place it in the oven and roast for 15-20min. Remove from the oven and scatter around it the cauliflower leaves, garlic and chickpeas. Drizzle the rest of the walnut oil, oregano, rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of walnut oil to your cauliflower. Return in the oven and bake for another 15-20min, until chickpeas are crispy and cauliflower is cooked but firm.

If you prefer a more raw-in-the-middle cauliflower, then you can put all ingredients together in a baking tray, in the oven at 180C for 20min.
Enjoy!


Happy New Year Everyone! All of us here at Oliveology hope that you had a wonderful time, and a good start to the New Year. Not to be cliché, but can you believe it’s 2018?

After all the days of eating and celebrating, we thought we’d prepare something comforting and luscious for you. Post-holiday food needs a feel of luxury. You know, so that you transition to the New Year with style.

What’s one of the most comforting foods? Soup of course! And what is one of the most luscious foods? Truffle oil of course! At the market we found this beautiful celeriac. Put everything together and you’ve got yourself a creamy, comforting celeriac soup that drizzled with truffle oil becomes the ideal way to start the New Year!

But of course, celeriac alone won’t do it. We have added potatoes for their creaminess and green apples for their tanginess. Oh and instead of water or vegetable stock we used milk! And finally, a little secret: One of our readers suggested we tried blending roasted nuts into the soup. Well, roasted hazelnuts were added to this one and the result was a dreamy soup, with underlying nuttiness that you couldn’t really describe, but felt throughout. The only thing we have to say is that we are really looking forward to many more of your suggestions!

This soup is blended, so even though ideally you want same size pieces of vegetables, this recipe is quite forgiving when it comes to chopping.

For a large pot you will need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek
2 celery sticks
1 green apple
1 large potato
1 large celeriac (approx. 1 kg)
1 tsp dried thyme
1lt milk
35g roasted hazelnuts
salt and white pepper
truffle oil (to serve)

Finely chop your leek and celery. Cut the green apple and potato in small cubes. We didn’t peel them for some extra fibre and taste. Peel and roughly chop your celeriac.

In a large pot and over medium-low heat, warm up your oil and gently fry the leek and celery until soft and caramelised. Add the apple and potato and stir until covered in oil. Add the celeriac, thyme, and milk. Sprinkle over the hazelnuts. Season with salt and white pepper. Stir well and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Let your soup cool down. Blend, adding a bit of water or milk if needed.

Serve with warm crusty bread and a generous drizzle of truffle oil.

 

 


One of the things we enjoy the most during this holiday season is baking. There is something quite unique when the house fills with aromas. Especially when it comes to these spices we have associated with this time of the year. Yes, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper, all these fragrant spices make us feel even more festive.

This week we have prepared cookies! Soft and moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. But as cookies go, you can of course go for the crunch throughout. Just let them bake for a few more minutes. For these cookies we have used one of our favourite ingredients, grape molasses. When I was growing up, my father would prepare for me and my sister a slice of bread, with a thin layer of butter and grape molasses on top. The memory of this intense and strangely fragrant syrup always comes to mind when I open a bottle of grape molasses and smell it. And to this day, I find it very hard to describe its unique taste.

But back to the cookies.

The recipe below is adapted from Bon Appetit. We used a mixture of our favourite spices, but as always, feel free to substitute. If you love cinnamon, just use cinnamon, if you hate cloves, just make it without.

For 20 cookies you will need:

100g dark brown sugar
110g unsalted butter
½ egg
55g grape molasses
60g whole wheat flour
75g white flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp mixed spices (we used a combination of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper)

1 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp grape molasses and icing sugar (optional, to glaze)

 

Whisk together both flours, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and whisk just to combine. Add molasses and whisk again until incorporated.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to your mixture, carefully so as not to over-mix.

Place in the fridge for at least an hour.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Using your hands, form small or larger balls and place them on your tray, leaving space in between your cookies as they will expand. Bake for 7-12 minutes, or until you have reached your desired softness.

If you want to glaze them, stir the milk and grape molasses until well combined. Slowly add powdered sugar until your glaze is thick and glossy. Drizzle over cool cookies.


This time of the year, we always look around for interesting recipes for Christmas stuffing. You can’t have a festive table without it, can you? In Greece, stuffing is usually made with mince meat and rice. Here in the UK, sausage meat is preferred. But if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, surely you will know by know how we love creating vegan takes on traditional recipes.

Remember last year’s rice stuffing? With that in mind, this year we decided to take stuffing to a whole other level. How? Well, we kept some of the Christmassy flavours and added a few new ones (intense red cranberries and roasted chestnuts have arrived at our shop at Borough Market, need we say more?). Oh, and we’ve swapped rice for our favourite bulgur wheat!

Truth is, this dish is not just for your Christmas table. As I prepared it for this post, a bit before Christmas as you can imagine, I found myself in the middle of December, carrying with me this fragrant dish for lunch, looking forward to eating it again and again. And I have to tell you, just make more. It makes for a wonderful addition to your favourite winter lunches. This recipe serves 4 people, because sometimes all you need for Christmas is these few people you love most. But if you are feeding many, just multiply accordingly. It works very well.

For 4 people you will need:
1 small leek, finely chopped
2tbsp olive oil
50g dried cranberries
50g mixed walunts and hazelnuts (or other nuts of your choosing)
100g roasted chestnuts
½ nutmeg grated
4 cloves
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp dried thyme
salt
pepper
200g bulgur wheat
600ml vegetable stock
a few springs of mint (to serve)

In a medium sized and over medium heat pot place the olive oil and gently fry the leek until soft and caramelised. Add the bulgur wheat and stir until all grains are coated in oil. Add the cranberries, nuts, chestnuts and stir again. Season with nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, thyme, salt and pepper.

Add the vegetable stock and stir until well combined.
Bring to a boil and lower the heat.
Simmer for 15-20min or until bulgur is cooked and flavours have blended.

Serve with finely chopped mint and lots of Christmas love!


You know, often one cooks the same Christmas recipes, year after year. It’s beautiful to keep these food traditions. We do have many loved ones, like the melomakarona cookies that we make every year. But at the same time, every year we try something new.

This year we have a lovely brussels sprouts recipe for you! You know there are some people who just loath brussels sprouts. We are definitely not those people. We absolutely love this winter vegetable. What’s not to love anyway? And as we are getting our recipes and foods ready for Christmas, we couldn’t but create a festive brussels sprouts recipe for our table.

The recipe below uses walnuts, dried oregano and rosemary and our winter favourite: walnut oil. This special oil is made from semi ripe olives crushed with walnuts, purslane, and wild aromatic herbs giving a fresh taste that is full of flavour. The result is a very warm, nutty, comforting dish. If you want to add some zingy notes, serve with some lemon juice. But we prefer it as is.

Serves 2

350g Brussels sprouts, shredded
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1tsp dried rosemary
35ml 21 walnut oil plus more for serving
50g walnuts, crushed
salt
lemon juice (optional)

In a large bowl, mix the Brussels sprouts, garlic, oregano, rosemary and walnut oil. Season with salt. Place sprouts on a baking sheet. Sprinkle walnuts on top. Bake at 200C for approximately 20 minutes, or until sprouts are tender and slightly charred.

To serve, drizzle with walnut oil and lemon (if using).