Halva is a category of desserts which are very popular in the Balcans, parts of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. There are many variations, flavour combinations and textures. Today we are preparing halvas simigdalenios, literally translated as semolina halva. It is a dessert served all throughout Lent in Greece, and in many other occasions throughout the year.

It is also known as the 1-2-3-4 halva, as the key ingredients are measured by volume: 1 x olive oil, 2 x semolina, 3 x sugar, 4x water. In the classic recipe, the olive oil is mixed with the semolina, the sugar with the water and then the two come together. We’ve simplified the recipe, simply adding everything gradually in the same pot. We’ve also weighed the ingredients, so that it’s easier for those of us who do not like measuring things in cups.

The traditional recipe calls for the aromas of cinnamon, cloves and orange. We’ve also added almonds and raisins. You can add your preferred spices, use whichever nuts you prefer and other dried fruit instead of raisins.

Serves 6

100g olive oil
200g coarse semolina (you can also use fine, or a mixture of the two)
300g sugar (we used light brown sugar, but white sugar works as well)
400g water
1/3 tsp ground cloves
2/3 tsp ground cinnamon
zest from 1 orange
50g raw almonds (you can also use any other nuts you prefer)
50g Corinth raisins (you can also use any other dried fruit you prefer)

Roughly chop the almonds, so that they are the size of the raisins. Or however you prefer, it’s a personal choice, really.

In a bowl mix the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest. Set aside.

In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot and over medium heat pour the olive oil and semolina. Stir until the semolina is golden-brown, around 10 minutes.

This step is crucial. So leave all distractions outside the kitchen. Take your time in “roasting” as we say in Greek the semolina, and your halva will have a nutty, intense, wholesome flavor. But this step needs lots of care, so stay with it for those minutes, stirring and contemplating the beauty of the heat, as it transforms the white-yellow grains into golden brown. Or the beauty of those moments of stillness.

Once the semolina is ready, add the sugar-spice mixture and stir for a minute. Add the almonds and raisins and stir for another minute, smelling as the aromas come together.

Remove from the heat and very, very slowly add the water. It will splatter, so be careful.

Lower the heat to its lowest setting. Return the pot to the heat and stir until the mixture thickens up, around 15-20 minutes.

Again, do not leave it alone, the halva doesn’t like that. Yes, this is a recipe that takes time and care. But you will be rewarded. Soon, you will have a delicious halva. But as you may have realised by now, these moments of stillness, as you stir the halva, smell the aromas and breathe -without any distractions- are perhaps even more precious than the halva itself.

You will know it’s ready when it’s quite thick and there is resistance as you stir.

Now there are two schools of thought here.

Some prefer the halva hot, so in that case you are done and you can serve immediately. Others however prefer the halva cold. It’s a big debate in Greece, you must know. So if you want to serve it cold, pour the halva in a greased cake tin (even better if it’s non-stick), and let it cool down a bit. Place in the fridge to let it cool completely. Remove from the tin and serve.

After you are done, take a walk around the house. Perhaps the most rewarding thing when you make halva is the smell that fills your home.

Let us know which of the two ways you prefer (hot/ cold, or maybe at room temperature!) and in any case, do serve with extra cinnamon!


Happy Monday everyone! We hope you are enjoying this bank holiday and that you’ve had a lovely Easter.

Greek Easter is still upon us, on the 2nd of May. During all these 40 days that precede our Easter, many choose to fast. Some remove meat from their dishes; others abstain from all animal products. It is the time of the year for dishes made with vegetables, grains and pulses and of course, olive oil!

So this week, we’ve prepared for you a delicious, wholesome dip made with gigantes beans. These giant beans are perhaps the most traditional Greek ingredient. They are the basis for many iconic and absolutely delicious Greek dishes: enjoy them in the classic recipe, oven-baked with tomato sauce or in this lovely spring salad! They are nutritious, super filling and very tasty.

For this dip we’ve used our dark tahini and walnut oil, which add depth and warmth to the buttery beans. The result is a comforting dip that will definitely bring some feasting into the fasting!

Serves 6

150g gigantes beans
5 cups water / vegetable stock
3 bay leaves
50g whole tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice, plus more for serving
2 tbsp 21°C walnut oil, plus more for serving
salt
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)

The night before soak your beans. The morning after, drain and place your beans in a medium-sized pot with fresh water or vegetable stock. Add the bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to medium-high and cook until the beans are soft and buttery, around one hour.

Drain, reserving a bit of the cooking liquid. Set aside to cool for a bit.

In a blender, whiz together the beans, tahini, lemon juice, walnut oil, adding a bit of the cooking liquid to loosen the mixture – if needed. Season with salt.

Serve with plenty of walnut olive oil, more lemon juice, sesame seeds and raw vegetables, crusty bread or pita for dipping


Fanouropita is a traditional Greek olive oil cake, made in honour of St Fanourios. The saint’s name, Fanourios, comes from the Greek word fanerono, which means to reveal; and this is where this cake’s name, fanouropita, comes from.

St Fanourios is celebrated on the 27th of August every year. On this day, many Greeks bake Fanouropites and take them to church to be blessed. The legend has it that these are in memory of the saint’s mother, who was a harsh woman, and whose salvation the Saint (and by extension the bakers) ask. So when one bakes the cake, one needs to say “God forgive the mother of St Fanourios”. Which is something I did not do, as I only found out about it during my research for this piece. So please, when you bake this cake, do it for me as well.

But fanouropita is also baked asking the saint to reveal items that are missing, or to bring people something that they want: Good health or “a good husband”, if one is single. So even though it is not August (yet!), this week we decided to make this cake and ask for health, and for finally being able to see, share food and hug our loved ones.

It is important to know that this cake is to be made with only seven or nine ingredients, symbolic numbers in Greek religion. Apart from the 7 key ingredients, we’ve added our delicious Corinth raisins and walnuts. The result is a rich and moist cake- and vegan! You can make it with sunflower oil, but we feel that the olive oil gives it a more robust flavour, so do give it a try!

Serves 8

150g super-fine white sugar
150g olive oil
350ml orange juice (from 3-4 oranges) and zest from 2 oranges
½ tsp baking soda
400g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsps cinnamon
50g Corinth raisins
50g walnuts

Preheat your oven at 170C.

In a large bowl sieve the flour, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk the sugar and olive oil together until very well combined.

Mix the orange juice and zest and stir in the baking soda. Be careful as it will bubble. Slowly add to the olive oil-sugar mixture.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon, until just combined (you do not want to overmix the flour). Add the raisins and walnuts and give it one final stir.

Your batter should look like a loose cake batter. Place it in an oiled baking tin and bake at 170C at the bottom rack for an hour, or until your knife comes up clean from the middle of the cake.

Remove from the oven and let your fanouropita cool in its tin. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

 


Today is Kathara Deutera, literally translated as Clean Monday. It is the beginning of Lent in Greece. Traditionally on this day we fly kites and eat foods like taramosalata, melitzanosalata, lagana bread (a special type of bread with a lovely crust), seafood, pickled vegetables and lots of other delicacies like dolmades.

So this week, we’ve prepared for you a classic salad, made with black eye beans. We’ve added plenty of cupboard staples, like capers, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, but also fresh parsley and red onion. For that extra kick, we’ve used our balsamic chilli vinegar, a beautiful organic vinegar. It is made from grape must from the Nemea P.D.O wine process using the ubiquitous Agioritiko red grape variety, infamous in this region of the Peloponnese. This vinegar is then aged in French oak barrels for three years.

This salad is perfect served cold or at room temperature, and ideally the day after, so that all flavours blend together. As always, feel free to add more of anything you really love, and omit anything you don’t like.

Serves 6

300g black eye beans
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp capers, drained
1/2 jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in their oil
1 small red onion
3 tbsp balsamic chilli vinegar
½ tub olives
1 large bunch fresh parsley

Place your beans in a medium-sized pot. Fill it up with water, add the bay leaf and over high heat bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, until the beans are tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a large serving bowl add the capers and olives.

Finely chop the roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, onion and parsley and add to your bowl.

Add the beans and toss everything together. Drizzle the olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and the vinegar and toss well again.

Season with salt and pepper if needed and serve with more olive oil and vinegar.

 


When I was a child, my mother would prepare linden tea in the evening for me and my sister. It was not every evening, and I am not sure how, but she could somehow sense when we needed it. That very simple warm beverage, embodied for me her maternal care, and even as a grownup, whenever I want to feel comforted, I put on a pot of linden tea.

So this week, with Mother’s Day approaching this Sunday (Happy Mother’s Day to our favourite new mother, Marianna!), we’ve prepared something special. A warm milk with honey, infused with lavender and chamomile.

For this, we’ve used a very special honey. The rare “bitter” arbutus honey is made by bees feeding on the Arbutus Unedo tree flowers (Strawberry tree). It comes in very limited quantities, from a small family of beekeepers in the Peloponnese. It also pairs perfectly with the aromatic lavender and chamomile flowers.

We are serving it with lavender floral water, that is water which is produced by organic steam distillation of lavender. It can be used as a body mist or linen spray, but our personal favourite use is, of course, in the kitchen! You can find it in our Mother’s Day and Winter Pampering hampers!

So this Sunday, make this warm milk and raise a glass to all mothers and mother figures in your life, past, present and future.

Serves two

2 cups milk (cow’s, oat, almond, whatever you prefer!)
1 tbsp chamomile
½ tbsp lavender
1 tbsp Strawberry tree (Arbutus) honey or any other honey of your choosing (or more, to taste)
Lavender floral water (to serve)

In a small pot place the milk, chamomile flowers, lavender and honey. Warm it up over medium-low heat, stirring often. When the milk is hot, but before bubbles form, remove it from the heat.

Taste and add more honey if you want.

You should be able to taste the aromas of chamomile and lavender. You can let it steep a bit longer for a more intense taste.

Strain and serve in your favourite cups or mugs, spraying with the lavender floral water.

Oh, and this infused, aromatic milk is perfect for your overnight oats!

 


Today is tsiknopempth! It is the Thursday very close to the beginning of Lent for the Greek Orthodox Easter, where traditionally we consume meat. And if you’ve ever been to Greece you will know that one of the few things that go perfectly with meat are pies!

Traditionally, pies were peasant dishes, in which people would use literally whatever they had available. Greens from the garden (spanakopita!), cheese from their animals (like in this bulgur wheat pie), you get the idea. But of course, they are quite sophisticated dishes, as they can be elaborate in their making, this is why they are usually made in large trays. But fear not, this is a simple recipe, open to all! It will require some time, so consider this a Sunday affair. Or you know, make it any other day of the week, days seems to have blended into one now that we are in lockdown.

For this one we’ve used the last pumpkins of the season, a very appropriate goodbye to one of our favourite autumn/winter vegetables -yes we are now ready for wild garlic, bring it on, spring!

Serves 12

1.5 kg pumpkin (around 1.350gr flesh)
1 large onion
4 tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper (to taste)
85g Carolina rice
250g feta cheese, grated or crumbled
1tsp dried spearmint
2 eggs
8 sheets filo pastry
150g olive oil

Using a sharp knife, cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces. Peel the outer layer. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Coarsely grate the flesh.

Peel and finely chop the onion.

In a medium-sized pot, place the olive oil and onion over medium heat. Cook until caramelised, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the pumpkin and stir well. Season with salt and pepper (but do not add too much salt, as you’ll be adding the salty feta cheese afterwards). Once the pumpkin starts cooking, lower the heat and slowly cook, stirring often for 15 minutes, until soft and tender. Add the rice, stir, and cook for another 20-25 minutes, stirring often.
-Yes, this is a recipe that requires care. But it’s also very relaxing as a process.

You will know that your filling is ready, once the pumpkin is soft and the rice is al dente but not fully cooked. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven at 180C.

In the meantime, prepare your filo. Brush your baking tray with olive oil and place one sheet of the filo. Brush with olive oil again. Cross over a second sheet of filo, ensuring that the entire surface of your tray is covered. Brush with olive oil. Continue crossing over with olive oil and filo, using four sheets in total.

Return to the filling. In the cool pumpkin mixture, add the spearmint, feta cheese and eggs and mix everything together. Check for seasoning and adjust. Place the filling in your tray, careful not to break the filo.

Cover with one sheet of filo and brush it with olive oil. Repeat until the top is covered with four sheets of filo. Tuck in the edges. Brush the top with the remaining olive oil.

Score the pie and bake at 180C at the lower rack of your oven for about one hour.

Enjoy!


The inspiration for this recipe came to us from the classic Greek winter salad: boiled broccoli and cauliflower. This is a simple salad that usually accompanies fish, or other main dishes. Broccoli and cauliflower are cut in large pieces, boiled and then served with olive oil and lemon juice. It is very seasonal and in many households it is the salad which replaces the summer Greek salad.

So after a short trip to the market this week, we bought wonderful winter vegetables and decided to boil them, just like in the classic recipe. But of course, we will kick it up a notch. We’re adding our marinated artichoke hearts with leeks, olive oil and sunflower oil. They are perfect to enjoy on their own, but here, they completely transform our vegetables!

Often, recipes call for draining the artichokes -remember our tomato rice from a few weeks ago? It is, however such a pity to let all all this amazing flavoured olive oil go to waste. So we have decided to use it instead of a dressing! And of course, our beloved feta cheese turns this salad into a wonderful lunch! Add a few splashes of lemon juice or vinegar and you’ve got yourselves a delicious – and very easy to make- winter salad! An ode to the classic one.

Serves 2

1 small head of broccoli
1 small head of cauliflower
½ jar marinated artichoke hearts (in their oil)
150g feta cheese
salt, lemon juice or white wine vinegar (to serve)

Cut the broccoli and cauliflower in large florets. Place them in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for a few minutes, until you’ve reached your desired tenderness. We boiled ours quite a bit, to have the same texture as the buttery artichoke hearts, but you can also simply blanch them by submerging them for a few minutes in boiling water. Drain and set aside.

While the vegetables are still warm, place in a large bowl. Add the artichokes and their oil. Toss everything together until the vegetables are coated in the olive oil. Crumble the feta cheese and add to the salad.

Serve warm, with salt if desired and lemon or vinegar.

 


It’s Shrove Tuesday!

This is the last day before the beginning for Lent. A moveable feast during which in the UK we have pancakes! This year is of course different, but we find that upholding traditions offers us a sense of comfort – especially if these are an excuse to make and enjoy delicious foods!

In search of inspiration for pancake fillings (remember our tahini and grape molasses from a couple of years ago?), we decided to turn to Greek traditions. So this year, our inspiration for this recipe comes from one of the most-loved Greek food combinations: soft white cheese and honey! A breakfast staple in many households, this combination is also the basis for kalitsounia, the little Cretan pastries. Soft creamy cheese, often on the tangy side, blends perfectly with sweet honey. For this recipe, we’ve selected our galomizithra cheese, a soft white Cretan cheese. We paired it with our orange blossom honey, a delicate, sweet honey with a citrus taste and a light amber colour. The result is truly majestic: Think of a cream cheese frosting, but more airy and light, and much more fragrant and aromatic.

Smother your pancakes with this filling. Sprinkle some cinnamon, chop up some fresh mint. We love bee pollen with this one too. Don’t forget your favourite nuts and yes, you can drizzle some more honey!

Serves two

1 pack (200g) galomizithra cheese
4 tbsp orange blossom honey,  plus more to serve
cinnamon, finely chopped fresh mint (optional)
bee pollen, nuts (to serve)

Place the cheese in a bowl and add the honey.

Using a fork or a whisk, mix everything together until well-combined.

Add the cinnamon or fresh mint, if using.

Smother over your pancakes and serve with bee pollen, more honey and your favourite nuts!


This Valentines’ Day is unlike any other. Most of us are still on lockdown. We are rarely able to spend time with our loved ones – let alone go out and meet new people to love. But despite the pandemic, or perhaps because of it, now is the time to, more than ever, express our love to the people around us. To ourselves as well.

So this week’s recipe is a very special one. It is an easy and fun recipe to make, it gets your hands messy, and with your favourite music on, it is guaranteed to cheer you up. Plus you know, you are left with lovely chocolate truffles to enjoy -yes we are making chocolate truffles!

But of course, these are no ordinary truffles. Remember last year’s olive oil and dark chocolate mousse? This year we are using olive oil as well, but a very special one. Our 21C olive oil! It is made from semi-ripe olives cold extracted together with walnuts, purslane,  fennel seeds, rosemary and oregano. The wild aromatic herbs give these truffles a subtle earthy flavour; and as we love nuts, so we couldn’t but add plenty in these little chocolate balls.

Makes 25
350g chocolate 60% cocoa (you can do a bit less, or a bit more, depending on what you prefer)
200g double cream
2 tbsp 21C walnut oil
100g nuts (hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts)
to serve (finely chopped nuts, or cocoa, or powdered sugar, or salt and pepper)

Cut the chocolate in small pieces (the size of chocolate chips). Place in a large bowl.

Roughly chop the nuts. Set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan warm up the double cream until bubbly on the sides, but not boiling. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let sit of a couple of minutes.

Using a whisk, slowly whisk together the chocolate and cream (the cream will have melted the chocolate by now). It will slowly come together. Once it does, add the olive oil and whisk again until you have a smooth and shiny mixture.

Add the nuts and stir everything together, using a wooden spoon. Spread the mixture in a shallow baking dish and place it in the fridge. After half an hour or so, it will have changed in texture you will be able to shape it. Give it a bit more time if you need to. Using a teaspoon for measuring shape your chocolate into little balls.

You can serve them as is, or roll them in finely chopped nuts, cocoa, powdered sugar or (our favourite) sprinkle some sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Store them in the fridge for a couple of weeks (well, we seriously doubt they will last that long!) and always serve at room temperature.


It’s the beginning of February today after what has felt like a long January. But blood oranges have appeared at the market, which makes us very, very happy! Citrus fruits are at their best at this time of the year and the ideal way to get vitamins and nutrients. Plus, they look amazing! Remember our colourful fennel and citrus salad? Or our citrus dressing? So many amazing things to do with citrus!

This week we’ve got a dressing for you. We’ve used our tahini, our go-to ingredient for all sorts of recipes, including dressings!

We’ve used our whole tahini, made from 100% whole sesame paste. But you can use the classic one, or a combination of the two! Both are produced in Greece using organic sesame. There is no added salt or other ingredients. Tahini has an intense, wholesome nutty flavour that pairs perfectly with citrus! We’ve also used our lemon oil, so it’s citrus bliss all around!

This dressing requires the perfect balance between sweet, nutty, sour and salty. But as you know, some oranges are sweeter than others. So as you whisk everything together, taste it. Then add a bit more lemon if it needs more acidity; a teaspoon of honey for sweetness (we did!); more salt.

Makes 1 jar

100g tahini (7tbsp)
juice of 1 medium lemon (5 tbsp)
juice of 2 medium blood oranges (9 tbsp)
90ml 17 C lemon oil (6tbsp)
3 tbsp water
salt, pepper, dried thyme (to taste)
1 tsp orange blossom honey (optional)

In a bowl whisk together the tahini, lemon and blood orange juices. Add the lemon olive oil and whisk until you have a thick paste. Add the water to make your dressing more runny. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Taste and adjust for seasoning, adding the honey if needed.

This dressing is great with raw vegetables like carrots or cauliflower, green leaves, grilled vegetables, bulgur wheat salads (simply add some pomegranate, nuts and fresh herbs!) or even as part of your morning smoothie.