Its the time of the year for our short but well deserved break. it is also the best time of the year to visit some of our wonderful producers in Greece and check this year’s harvests.

Our online shop will be CLOSED from 5th -20th of September. Please plan your orders accordingly to avoid disappointment. We recommend to place your orders latest Friday 1st of September. Online and Wholesale Orders placed after the 1st of September will be dispatched from 21st of September. We will have limited access to emails and will reply to all messages and enquiries on our return.

Meanwhile our shop at Borough Market will remain open as usual Monday- Saturday.

Follow us on Instagram @Oliveology  #oliveologyholidays

 

 


Many say that Mastiha is an acquired taste. As an ingredient, these little rocks look like blurry diamonds. It is quite bitter in taste and very, very aromatic. So one needs to use it with care. A little goes a long way. You can make cakes with mastiha, cookies, use it in cooking as well (it actually goes very well with chicken).

When discussing recipes for this blog post, we decided to go for cookies. But not any cookies. These ones are made with olive oil instead of butter, grape molasses instead of sugar. And orange juice! I call them cookies because they have a very soft and chewy interior. I think the secret is the combination of olive oil, grape molasses and water. Oh and yes, these cookies are vegan too!

They are quite something. You can play around with the dough and make smaller cookies, or, experiment a bit. Shape the dough like a bagel by taking a large round ball and making a hole. Just make sure to bake the larger cookies a few minutes longer. You can eat them as is, or try them with our soft, creamy galomizithra cheese  and some orange blossom honey. And before you start gathering your ingredients, have a read at the story of mastiha. Somehow, images of mastihohoria, the villages on the island of Chios that produce mastiha from centuries ago give this resinous sap a whole different aroma.

For 45 cookies you will need:

1 cup olive oil 

1 cup grape molasses 

1 cup water

1 orange (both zest and juice)

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp mastic tear drops (ground)

700g of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

You can buy mastic tear drops from our shop at Borough Market. These can be ground using a mortar and pestle by adding a few pinches of sugar, so that they don’t stick together. Alternatively you can add 1/4 teaspoon (3-4 drops) of our pure mastic oil. Taste and add more if you want a more intense flavour.

In a bowl, whisk together your olive oil, grape molasses, water, orange juice and zest, until you have a smooth mixture. In a separate bowl sieve the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and mastiha. Mix until well combined until just smooth. Be careful not to over mix the dough.

Slowly incorporate your dry ingredients onto your wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon. You should have a slightly sticky dough that you can easily shape. Using a bit of flour, make small round balls, or larger bagel-shaped cookies.

Place some greaseproof paper onto your baking tray and place the cookies on top, leaving a few centimetres between them.

Bake for 10-15min at 180C until they are lightly brown – the centres will be soft. Once your cookies have cooled down a bit, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. You can have them straight away (please do!), or keep them in an airtight container.

 


Granola is of course not Greek. Growing up in Greece plain oats were available, but to my understanding I was the only weird kid at school who occasionally had porridge for breakfast. Unlike the UK, oats were not that popular in Greece. But let’s begin by what granola is and we will get to our Greek summer version. Granola is basically a mixture of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, baked in the oven -you’ll see how right below.

So what makes this recipe a Summer Greek granola? Well, summery Greek ingredients and flavours. At the shop we just received some lovely dried nectarines. Plump and juicy, with a pink-peachy colour that makes you want to just look at them for hours. They are hand picked and air dried, with no added sugar or any bad oils. It’s just the fruit, really. The perfect ingredient to make granola, wouldn’t you say? Inspired by the Greek nectarines, we created this recipe for you this week.

I’ll give you the measurings in cups as it’s way easier to assemble your mixture that way. Also, this ain’t baking, so if you fancy adding more nuts, seeds or fruit go ahead. But this ratio is very balanced I find. Please don’t go for the blanched almonds, the ones with skin taste better. You can serve your granola with milk, kefir, yogurt and fresh fruit for a lovely summery breakfast.

For a large jar of granola you will need

2 cups of oats (200g)
½ cup chopped almonds (70g)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
a few pinches of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp honey
1 cup dried nectarines (120-150g)

Start by mixing your oats, almonds and seeds in a bowl and place them on a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Then, in a separate bowl mix your olive oil, honey, cinnamon and salt (if your honey is not runny, warm it up a bit).

And now, for the fun part: Drizzle the olive oil/honey mixture on top and mix with oats (the olive oil and honey might not seem enough for that amount of oats, but it really is).

Very carefully make sure to mix everything really well using your fingers until everything is covered in olive oil/honey (you could use a spoon, but then you won’t be able to lick your fingers, you don’t want that).

Right, now for the baking: at 150C, stirring every 10min so that it evenly cooks.

Oh, and whatever you do, when you take the granola out of the oven to stir do not taste: Laugh not, it is very inviting, granola makes the house smell like honey and spice and everything nice but it will burn you (yes, I did get burnt, so be wiser).

So, after about 30-40min, when your granola is golden, remove from the oven and let it cool, mixing in your dried fruit after it’s cooled down.


Fresh herbs are a bliss. Surely, dried ones are easier to store and they don’t need any attention or care. But those of you who are lucky enough to have balconies or even gardens, well, grow some herbs! There is nothing better than freshly cut basil for your tomatoes, or woody rosemary for your roasted lamb. If you are not into taking care of pots of fresh herbs it’s not the end of the world. Most of us can now access fresh herbs at our local market or shops.

There are so many things you can do with herbs. This week, we have something different for you. It is summer after all and as such, foods that don’t require an oven are always welcome. When these foods also happen to be sweet and cold, it’s even better. Have you guessed where we are going with that?

Granita of course! Granita is different than sorbet in that it has a crunchier texture. Ice crystals form because of its preparation method (you’ll see below). Which means it is also easier to make and requires no special equipment! It is kinda like making tea and freezing it if you think about it. It can be eaten as an ice cream, served in glasses, but also as a slush-type drink. If you want, you can spike it with the alcohol of your choosing and there you have it, your very own summer cocktail.

For 2 people you will need:
A small bunch of basil (30g), leaves and tender stalks only
200ml water
150g orange blossom honey
3 medium-sized lemons (both zest and juice)

Finely chop the basil leaves or whiz them in a blender with the water.

In a small pot, and over medium heat warm up the water, basil and honey. Bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it steep for 5 minutes. Add your lemon zest and juice. Taste. Have in mind that once frozen, the flavours will become less intense. However, the mixture needs to feel balanced. If you feel it needs more honey, lemon, or even basil add some now.

At this stage, you are faced with a deeply existential choice. To strain or not to strain. If you think about it, it is quite similar to soups. Do you prefer pureed soups like our trahana cream one or the fall pumpkin one? Or do you prefer soups with texture, like our spring one  or the saffron tahinosoupa? The writer’s personal preference is texture. But of course we tried both. And yes, the writer’s own personal preference is still texture.

So strain (or please don’t) the mixture into a clean metal tray. Place your tray in the freezer. Ever half and hour or so remove it from the freezer and using a fork, scrape the semi-frozen liquid around. You can keep tasting and if you feel there is something you’d like to add, you can still do so. Just make sure to stir it all in. After around two hours the granita should be set and you should be ready for the herby bliss.


There is something really rewarding when you prepare yourself the foods that you usually get ready made from the supermarket. Think mayonnaise for example. Most of us get the commercial one. But think back at a time when supermarkets did not have mayonnaise. Think back at a time when households made their own.

I grew up with the supermarket one. Like most of us I guess. My mother did not. When I told her I am making mayonnaise this week, she told me her own stories. We did not make a lot, she said. Just the quantity we needed for every meal. We would have grilled fish and as the fish would cook, we would make mayonnaise. We used egg yolks and mustard. Lemon juice. And just olive oil, none of these oils you see now at recipes.

Indeed, researching recipes for mayonnaise, most use a mixture of olive oil and sunflower oil. The taste of mayonnaise made with other oils is milder. Olive oil is quite intense on its own. This is exactly why you have to make it just with olive oil. And with an olive oil with a robust, peppery flavour. Only then you can tell the difference between a mayonnaise that’s there just to brighten up your salad or crisps and a mayonnaise that you can’t stop eating with a spoon straight out of the jar (this is the writer’s own personal experience with this recipe here). This mayonnaise made with our 27C olive oil is like a velvety cloud when you taste it. But then, the acidity of the lemon and the richness of the olive oil kick in. And it’s a velvety cloud with sparkles. You can also try it with our 18C, for a more floral and grassy finish. Up to you really.

So go on, make your own. And maybe you’ll become like us, swapping the supermarket jar for this one.

In the recipe below, it’s important that all your ingredients are at room temperature and that you pour the olive oil very slowly. Imagine a thin string of olive oil. Or do half a teaspoon at a time until you feel confident enough to pour. And keep whisking until you get the silky texture you need.

Makes 1 jar

1 egg yolk
1 tsp mustard
juice of half a lemon, plus more to taste if needed
250ml of extra virgin olive oil
salt

Whisk the egg yolk and the mustard. Slowly add half of your oil, whisking constantly. Add the lemon juice, whisking constantly. Add the rest of your oil (you guessed it), whisking constantly. Taste and season with salt and more lemon if needed. Store in the fridge.


Have you ever made dough? If you have, you’ll know what we are talking about in this blog post. If you haven’t then let us introduce you to the magical word of putting a few ingredients together and creating something you thought was impossible.

Sure, like most things you can get ready made dough of your choosing from the grocery store. Do you need filo (phyllo) pastry for a spinach pie? The corner shop will have it. Do you need puff pastry for a bulgur pie ? Supermarket is next door.

But then you will be missing half the fun. You see, making dough is much easier than what you think. When we are talking dough, it all comes down to two things: ingredients and recipe. Dough usually has very few ingredients so as we’ve said in the past, make sure they are damn good. Get the good eggs. Get the slightly more expensive flour. Get the best you can afford. Now, when it comes to the recipe. That’s a tricky one. Internet these days is full of recipes. Bookstores are filled with cookery books. How does one choose which recipe to trust? Because we know first hand how horrible it is to put time and love into a recipe and it not giving you that love back. How does one find a recipe they trust? Here at Oliveology if there is one person we trust more than anyone it’s Mrs Kalliopi, Marianna’s mother. Remember her delicious Apple cake? Every week when we discuss future blog posts at Oliveology I nudge Marianna: call your mum, she has great recipes!

This time she shared with us her recipe for Kourou dough. This is a Greek dough that Mrs Kalliopi makes with olive oil and yogurt. The recipe came just as a list of ingredients and only the phrase: “make a soft and fluffy dough. Let it rest for 30min”. But worry not, we’ve deciphered it for you.

In Greece we usually make it into small pastries and fill them with feta and egg. But as you can imagine you can stuff it with whatever you wish: graviera or other hard cheese and bacon, tomatoes and a soft creamy white cheese like galotyri. Or you can even spread it and use it as a base for your pizza. This specific dough can actually stand on its own, so you can even roll it out and cut it in strips.

Ingredients 
500g  flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
230ml (1 cup) of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons (30g) grated graviera cheese
200g greek yogurt
1 egg

Preheat your oven at 180C. Sieve your flour in a bowl and add the salt.

In a separate bowl whisk your egg. Add the olive oil and yogurt and stir until everything is combined. Add the cheese and stir again. Slowly pour your wet ingredients into your flour bowl. Use your hands until everything is combined. Place your dough in a lightly floured surface and kneed for a few minutes until you get (you guessed it) a soft and fluffy dough.

Let it rest for half an hour while you prepare your fillings or topping (if using any). Roll it and either stuff it, use it as a pizza base or cut in strips. Bake at 180C. Your dough will rise a bit, having a delicious slightly flaky texture. When you make it, drop us an email or tweet, Mrs Kalliopi would be thrilled.


A summer brunch might just be one of the most amazing ways to spend a hot, lazy Sunday. Even if you’ve had a late night on Saturday, it’s always good to gather with family, friends or flatmates and share food and coffee, slowly waking up together.

One of our favourite recipes for eggs is the one where the sweet tomatoes blend with eggs, creating a symphony of pure harmony. In Greece, this combination of flavours is often called Kagianas and resembles scrambled eggs mixed with tomatoes.

I first came across this dish in a cookery book for kids. A book with recipes from all over the world. I must have been in elementary school, I’m not sure, but this is one of the first cooking memories I have: Patiently waiting for the tomatoes to cook, then adding the eggs, sprinkling feta cheese on top (feta cheese was my addition). Then tasting for the first time the sweetness of tomatoes blending with the comfort of familiar eggs and the salty cheese. My childhood world of food would never be the same. I was mind blown.

This dish, with its many variations has followed me throughout the years. In my home now in London, the cousin of the Greek kagianas (or strapatsada), the well-known middle-eastern shakshouka eggs are most popular. So I encountered it again during our cooking workshop, when our guest chef Despoina prepared it for all of us who participated. The recipe below is inspired by that cooking class and the flavour combinations that Despoina put together.

So next Sunday, gather your family and friends and make with them these delicious eggs. Who knows, maybe you will create new memories.

For 2 people you will need:

3 tbsp of olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes cut in cubes
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
1tsp oregano
salt
pepper
4 eggs
6 sun dried tomatoes, very finely chopped

 
Over medium heat gently fry the onion until translucent. Add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and add the paprika and half of the sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 5-10min, until the sauce thickens a bit.

Add the oregano. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Create four holes with the back of your spoon and crack the eggs. Around the eggs, sprinkle the rest of the sun dried tomatoes. Place the lid on the pan for a few minutes. Once the eggs are cooked serve with crusty bread and iced black coffee.


Gemista is a traditional way of cooking and enjoying vegetables in Greece. The word gemista, literally means filled or stuffed. It is a summer food, almost exclusively made during the summer months, as it uses predominantly tomatoes. Tomatoes are at their best in the summer as you may know.

When it comes to most traditional Greek foods, the perception (and often reality) is that they are labour intense. This one, gemista, usually is, as it requires carefully removing the flesh from tomatoes, preparing the stuffing with rice or mince meat, stuffing them and then baking them in the oven. However, in our version here, we are using bulgur wheat instead of rice. And bulgur wheat cooks much faster than rice. And instead of tomatoes, we are using colourful peppers. Removing the flesh is not necessary here, you just have to remove the seeds. So the actual time you’ll spend in the kitchen is really not that much.

The recipe below creates a very pleasant dish. It feels like that friend you want to spend time with on a cool summer evening. It is not heavy on oil, as most gemista usually are and the bulgur wheat gives it an interesting nuttiness. Add to that the sweet smoked paprika and fragrant herbs and you can imagine what we are talking about. So read on and come visit us at Borough Market to source everything you need!

For 6 long stuffed peppers

6 long peppers (red, yellow, green, you choose)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
200g bulgur wheat
2 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
2 generous handfuls of pine nuts
1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch of mint, finely chopped
salt
pepper
¼ cup olive oil

Preheat your oven at 200C.

Cut the top part of each pepper. Remove the seeds using your fingers, a small knife or by tapping the pepper on your chopping board.

In a pot warm up the 3 tbsp of oil and gently fry the onion until translucent. Add the paprika and stir until your onions and oil turn red. Add the bulgur wheat and pine nuts. Stir so that everything is well mixed. Add your pine nuts. Add 1 cup of water and stir for a couple of minutes until the bulgur wheat absorbs it all. You are going for one step before al dente here, so that the rest cooks in the oven.

Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more seasonings or herbs. You need the flavour of your stuffing to be quite intense, as once it is fully cooked, the flavours calm down.

(At this point you could just stop and eat the stuffing, ignoring the rest of the recipe, but trust us, it gets better)

Using a spoon, stuff each pepper with bulgur wheat. Place them on a baking tray with the ¼ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of water. Bake until the peppers are soft and the filling is cooked through, around 30-40min.

Serve with feta cheese or Greek yogurt and warm crusty bread. Welcome to the Greek summer!


When one asks what Greek food is, one of the first things that comes to mind is pies. Yes, pies are what most Greeks associate with home. We may not all know how to make them, but we sure know how to appreciate them.

During our first workshop in May, our guest chef Despina introduced us to the world of pies. We all made together a delicious leek pie using filo pastry. The filling was sweet leeks, feta cheese and lots of herbs. Pie making skills? Check. Pie eating? Check.

As we are waiting for our next workshop, we decided to put our skills into good use here. And hopefully to inspire you to play around and experiment with filo (or phyllo) pastry at home. In Greece, most spinach pies include eggs and feta cheese. Here, we are offering you a twist to what most Greeks might be familiar with. We wanted to bring out the flavour of spinach and herbs. So we decided to omit the eggs and include just a tiny bit of feta cheese. The feta cheese in such small quantity adds the needed tanginess and saltiness but is not visible in the pie. So spinach and herbs prevail!

What is magical about pies is that you can include whatever you have in your fridge. It’s the dish that represents no-waste. So, in the recipe we are suggesting below, do include whatever you have in your fridge. A green pepper or a few strips of bacon? Finely chop and add to the spring onions. Wilted greens or lettuce? Add them to your spinach. Of course, feel free to add an egg or more feta cheese. We usually make pies once a week, as a way to clear the fridge. Sunday is a great day to make a pie. You have the time it takes to prepare everything. And you have your lunch sorted for the week.

For a medium sized pie you will need:

1 pack of filo (phyllo) pastry at room temperature (you can find it in Greek and Turkish speciality shops)
1 kilo spinach,
5 spring onions
1 small bunch of dill
2 springs of mint
2tbs  olive oil (frying) and 3/4 cup (brushing the filo)
pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C. Wash your spinach. Finely chop the stems and roughly chop the leaves. Finely chop the spring onions, dill and mint. You can use the stalks of your herbs if you want to – we did.

In a large frying pan add the olive oil and gently fry the spring onions. Set aside in a large bowl. Add the spinach and gently fry until it releases most of its liquid. Add to your bowl. Let it cool down. Add in the herbs and crumble the feta cheese. Mix everything together.

Unwrap your filo pastry. Place it on your kitchen counter with a wet cloth on top, to prevent it from drying out.

Using a brush, cover your tray with olive oil. Here we are using our 27C extra virgin olive oil, as spinach pairs perfectly with its rich flavour and aromas. Lay 5 sheets of filo pastry, brushing with olive oil in between each layer. Add your spinach mixture and pat it so that it’s uniform around the tray. Add 5 more sheets of filo pastry, again brushing with olive oil in between each layer. If you have leftover filo pastry, you can crumble it on top of the pie to decorate it.

Bake at 180C for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a green or a tomato salad.


The sun is shining. We are now officially in the beginning of summer. Summer is always better if one is by the sea. But most of us are not. So when one lives in a city, summer foods make it all better. Around the market you can now find watermelons. For us, it is the ultimate summer flavour. We spend the entire summer with this pink, sweet fruit. Eaten as is, straight from the fridge is dreamy. Some say it’s even better at room temperature. But you know, it’s summer, one wants something cold to balance the heat.

The last few years, recipes using watermelon are popping up. Think away from smoothies for a bit. Watermelon’s sweetness and crunch balances perfectly with something creamy and salty. You guessed it. Feta cheese and watermelon can become best friends!

And while in Greece usually watermelons are massive-a few kilos each- here, you can get a lovely small watermelon at the market for the salad we are suggesting.

This salad is quite simple. Went for the classic flavour combinations. Watermelon-feta cheese-mint. However, you can use whatever herbs you prefer. How about fresh coriander? Hm! The measurements for watermelon and feta are balanced, but you can obviously add more cheese if you want. Try it and see.

Here, we used our 18oC olive oil. Its grassy, fruity flavour is the perfect pairing for these ingredients.

And whatever you do, don’t forget the vinegar. It really makes all the difference, brightening up the entire dish. Something like the early summer sun, brightening up our lives. You can of course experiment more, add a bit of chilli for spice, lemon or lime for acidity.

For 2 people
400g of watermelon flesh
150g feta cheese
2 tbs olive oil
dashes of red wine vinegar
a few springs of mint
pepper

Remove the peel from the watermelon. Cut the flesh in cubes. We prefer large bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl. Cut the feta cheese in identical cubes. Fine, they don’t really have to be identical. Add to the watermelon. Pour over olive oil and splashes of the red wine vinegar. Finely chop the mint and sprinkle on top. Add some freshly ground pepper.

This salad makes for a perfect summer lunch. We tried it for breakfast actually. Trust us, it works!