This week we’ve got for you an amazing recipe. Well, let me explain what makes it amazing. Until today I had only read about adding nut butters to fruit smoothies, but had never attempted it. It seemed a bit strange. But as I was researching recipe ideas for this blog post, I came across a few recipes of banana-date smoothies with tahini. So, on a hot afternoon I spread some tahini on a slice of bread and topped it with pieces of banana. It was actually delicious. I was going to make this smoothie.

As bananas are quite creamy, this recipe lays between a smooth drink and thick porridge. So it’s up to you to make it more liquid adding a bit of water, or leave it nice and thick. We find these measurements are perfect, but as always feel free to add more lime or more tahini if you feel like it. It is perfect for breakfast or afternoon snack!

Serves 2 or 1 very hungry person

2 large bananas (approx. 250g)
3 tbsp tahini
3 large dates, pitted (approx. 50g) or other dried fruit
juice of 1 lime
Chia seeds, cocoa nibs, fresh fruit (to serve)

There are two ways to go about with this recipe.

Option one is to cut your bananas in small pieces and place them in the freezer, on a plate without touching each other. Leave for a few hours until frozen. Alternatively you can skip the freezer part and move on to the step below. This is what we did, as we prefer non ice-cold foods for breakfast. But the freezer option is also nice.

So, place your bananas in a blender. Add the tahini and dates, along with the lime juice. Blend until smooth.

Now, you can add the water and blend some more, so that you have the consistency of a loose smoothie. Or skip the water (this is what we did).

Serve in a nice mug. Add some chia seeds, cocoa nibs and fresh fruit. Trust us, the mug option is better than a glass or a bowl. You know why, because it’s between the two. Just like this recipe.


This week, our wine writer Celine tastes the 2016 Moraitico Rosé, 11.5% and shares it with us.
Taste this unique wine from the island of Paros, along with other Aegean Island wines –and food pairings! at our September Wine Tasting.

 

Nothing goes better on a sunny and hot summer day than a light and fruity rosé.

You may have heard about the benchmark set by the refreshing and light-bodied Bandol rosé from Provence, with its romantic color as well as the elegant flavours on the palate. Just imagine having a wonderful holiday by the Mediterranean sea and leisurely sipping a glass of this zesty drink. If that sounds like you, then you cannot miss this 2016 Island Rosé produced by Moraitico winery.

The winery Moraitico is located on the island of Paros in Greece, on the Aegean sea, southeast of the Greek mainland. Just like Santorini, this windy and mountainous island has a hot and dry Mediterranean climate that contributes to the tropical fruit notes of the wine. Thanks to the cooling effect of the mountain slopes and the strong wind during the growing season, grapes are able to ripe slowly and accumulate the balanced amount of sugar and acidity. This is the reason why crispy and refreshing wines come from this region.

Generally, rosé wines can be made following three different methods, very rarely involving the use of oak barrels. For some inexpensive New World wines, red wines and white wines (not grapes) will be blended to make a rosé. Another way of rosé winemaking, is to shorten the maceration period- compared to normal winemaking of dry red wines. Depending on how much colour and tannins the producer plans to extract, the length of this maceration period varies. Hence the unique colour and taste of the rose wine. The last method is direct pressing, which crushes and presses black grapes, but in the same way as when making white wines rather than red wines. This avoids the extraction of colour and tannins that are necessary in red wine production. As a result, a more delicate colour is usually achieved.

Two local grape varieties are used in this rosé. Malagouzia (aka. Malagousia) is gaining popularity throughout Greece after being rescued from extinction in the 1970s. It is a versatile variety that can make both dry and sweet white wines. The other grape, Mavrotragano, is a dark-skinned black variety that has been traditionally used to produce sweet red wine. This variety has thick skins and small berries, leading to deep-colored wine but with soft tannins.

The Island’s Rosé demonstrates a graceful colour between pink grapefruit and salmon, and has exquisite aromas including grapefruit, melon, peach, red rose, and some hints of grape — just like the Muscat grapes you may get from the market. On the palate it is dry with high acidity, with low alcohol and light body. The flavours of grapefruit and tropical fruit stand out, surrounded by other fruity notes such as melon, rose, and the Muscat grapes. Although some sweetness may be felt in the beginning, this rose has a very citrusy finish. As a dry wine, the sweetness seems to be a result of its intense flavours of tropical fruit, just as what a ripe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc may present.

Overall it is a very fruity and light rosé wine. It is not complicated but excellently refreshing, undoubtedly the greatest match for this summer. It is best drunk at 8-12°C, approximately 10 minutes after being taken out of your fridge. This wine can be paired with a wide range of dishes, including light salads and seafood. Squeeze some grapefruit and olive oil dressing on your lightly cooked or cured salmon, tuna or lobster and accompany it with this wine. You will find that a hot summer’s day will become more pleasant than ever.

References:
wine-search.com
Vivino.com

 


This week we’ve got some exciting news to share with you! Four of our wonderful products received Great Taste Awards! We are very proud to share them with you, as well as some of the judges’ comments. We look forward hearing your own comments –or tell us which of our products is a winner for you!

Pistachios – Roasted & slightly Salted
2 stars **

Greek pistachios are renowned for their wonderful flavour, their beautiful pink exteriors and vibrant green kernels. The area surrounding the island of Aegina combines optimal soil conditions and a perfect maritime climate. A pistachio growing zone par excellence, Aegina offers fresh, vibrant flavoured nuts. The judges commented on the rich, full, long lasting flavour and were impressed by their pink and green colour.

Some of our judges’comments write:
An unusually pink nut. The flavour is creamy and well balanced with just the right amount of salt; soft on the palate with the expected pale green interior’
‘Lovely charring which gives character and the fresh vibrant green of the nuts is very enticing..delightful crunch into a perfectly salted almost meaty nut was a sheer unadulterated pleasure’

Kalamata Olives with Ouzo
1 star *

These olives are from our single estate farm in Sparta, Greece. They are hand picked, unpasteurised and cured in fresh water. They are marinated in extra virgin olive oil, ouzo, star-anise and fennel to produce a unique Greek olive taste.

Some of our judges’comments write:

Very unusual innovation, and one we enjoyed. The olives are good quality and the ouzo goes right through the fruit until the last drop. The aniseed is very complementary and we loved them!’

22°C Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 star *

This mid harvest olive oil is made from semi ripe olives. It comes from our single estate farm in Sparta, Greece. It is single variety (koroneiki), and harvested by hand. Cold extracted up to 22°C and unfiltered, this olive oil has a mellow quality and a silky smooth texture.

Some of our judges’comments write:

‘A creamy mouthfeel. The flavour was subtle but with a good balance of spice and some herby, woody notes’
‘Lovely cut grass aroma; you are almost transported to the olive grove just by the nose’

Wild Thyme Honey
1 star *

Our wild thyme honey comes from the Taygetus mountains in Greece. It is a monofloral nectar honey from predominantly wild thyme flowers. It is, of course, raw: unfiltered and unpasteurised. With a lovely, golden colour, its intense, aromatic flavour lends it to a wide range of culinary uses.

Some of our judges’comments write:

‘Rich dark caramel colours with a herbaceous nose’
‘The palate is sweet with citrus notes running through it with a depth of flavour that transports you to the dusty depths of the bee keepers shed!’

 

We look forward to stocking up our pantry and cooking up wonderful recipes with these (awarded!) Greek products. Join us!

 


For some reason summer is the time when we most enjoy making granola. Maybe because the weather is nice and we get inspired to have nice breakfasts al fresco. Last year’s granola was with our succulent dried nectarines and almonds. This year we’ve got something different for you.

We have in store an amazing new product (and you know how much we love it when Marianna brings in new ingredients). Our fig molasses is produced and packed for Oliveology by Moschoutas Farms in Evia Island. It contains only organic figs, water and a touch of organic lemon juice to balance the figs’ natural sweetness. It is a very unique product that adds depth to all your dishes. You can use it as you would use any other molasses.

This week we’re using fig molasses to make our granola. We paired it with walnuts and (of course!) dried figs. And we’ve also added some tahini, to add some depth and nuttiness. Our secret ingredient is cloves. We have my mum to thank for this, since I grew up with her making every summer fig jam spiced with cloves.

For 3 cups you will need:

2 cups oats
½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
½ tsp cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fig molasses
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp orange blossom honey
1 cup dried figs, finely chopped
pinch of salt
Greek yogurt (to serve)

Preheat the oven at 150 C.

Place your oats, walnuts and sunflower seeds in a bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk the olive oil, fig molasses, tahini, honey, cloves and pinch of salt, until all ingredients are blended together.

Pour the liquid mixture onto your oats. Using your hands or a spoon gently stir everything together until everything is covered in the liquid mixture.

Spread the granola onto a baking tray, covered in greaseproof paper. Bake, for around 20 minutes, checking and stirring every 5-10 min until golden.

Once golden, remove from the oven, and let your granola cool down. Once cool add the chopped figs and stir.

Serve with Greek yogurt and fruit and keep the rest in an airtight container.

 

 


This week we’ve got a special olive oil in store! It is our Lemongrass and Tarragon Olive oil.

This special oil is made from semi ripe olives crushed with fresh lemongrass and tarragon. We use 1200g of semi-ripe olives to produce 100ml of this cold extracted oil. It has a very fresh flavour and intense aromas. And pairs perfectly with fish and green vegetables. Think of some grilled whole sea bass. Or some steamed cod. Freshly cut crunchy vegetables. This olive oil.

But we will not prepare fish this week. How are we going to use it? We are making a very summery salad. With zucchini, corn and feta cheese. The combination of flavours is familiar, but this flavoured olive oil takes it to a whole other level. We used corn on the cob because it’s in season. Please do, it’s easy to handle and tastes so much better than the frozen or tinned one!

This recipe serves 2 as main or 4 as a starter (with leftovers)

500g zucchini
2 pieces of corn on the cob
5-6 zuchinni blossoms (optional)
100g feta cheese, crumbled
6tbsp lemongrass and tarragon oil (plus more to serve)
3 tbsp lemon juice (plus more to serve)
½ small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
salt

Place the corn in a large pot of salted water. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the kernels are tender, around 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once the corn is cool enough to handle, remove the kernels. To do so, place your corn vertically against your chopping board. Running the knife parallel to the corn, remove all kernels. They should fall on your board. Collect and place in a large bowl.

Cut your zucchini in thin rounds. Blanch for 5 minutes –or until tender- in a large pot with boiling salted water. You can use the water from the corn. Drain and place in a large bowl with ice water to cool it down. Drain again. You can skip this step and just use raw zucchini. Place your zucchini in the bowl with the corn.

Add the feta cheese, parsley and zucchini blossoms (if using). Season with salt, flavoured oil and lemon juice. Gently toss everything together. Serve with more lemon juice and flavoured oil.

 


The word melitzanosalata in Greek means aubergine salad. But despite its name, it is not a salad. It’s a spread, or you can call it a dip, it’s a creamy thing anyways. In Greece this is the dish to go for at any taverna by the beach. It is even better with rounds or fried aubergine. You know, fried aubergine dipped into an aubergine spread. Double your pleasure. You can even add a couple of tablespoons of melitzanosalata to last week’s salad.

Of course, summer is the season to get the best aubergines around. And make your own melitzanosalata. This is not the traditional recipe. Traditionally only olive oil, vinegar and a bit of garlic is added to the aubergine. But for this week’s blog post we have experimented a bit.

We wanted to use tahini, even though this links more to the middle eastern baba ghanoush. But we love using tahini to add depth and warmth to our recipes. And a touch of honey to sweeten it a bit.

1.5kg aubergines
1 large clove of garlic
60g tahini
20g wild flowers honey
2tbsp olive oil
juice of one lemon
20g raw almonds, crushed
salt
smoked paprika to serve (optional)

 

Preheat your oven to 180C. Using a fork pierce your aubergines all around. Place them in a roasting tray and into the oven. Roast your aubergines for around an hour, until very tender inside. Remove from the oven and let them cool down a bit.

Using a spoon, scape all the flesh and place it in a large bowl. Some people prefer to remove the seeds. We are not those people, we love using the entire vegetable. Mash the flesh with a fork. In a separate bowl whisk together your tahini, honey, olive oil, lemon juice. Combine the two and stir in the almonds. Mix well.

Alternatively, once you have the aubergine flesh, dump everything except the olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil towards the end.

Season with salt and add more oil or lemon if needed. Serve with the smoked paprika (if using).

 


This week, our oregano oil producer Michalis Georgaras is writing about his new product, the amazing organic, extra virgin olive oil & oregano essential oil, awarded by the Health & Nutrition Committee of the World Olive Center for health with the Bronze standard of Excellence Award. We are very excited to read his story!

Sharing food is a ritual in Greece. It is a sacred time when family and friends gather around the table, share large platters of food, talk, fight and joke around. Indeed, food brings people together here in Greece. But we don’t just share food. Around the table we share feelings and ideas, our joys and sorrows. The most important social events, the warmest family gatherings, all of these happen over hearty meals. Food is the social glue that brings people together…and this is exactly how our new product came into being. We were inspired by this togetherness of people -and oils as a matter of fact.

The initial idea originated three years ago. We wanted to make a fine culinary product, an olive oil flavoured with the unique aroma of our oregano. Something that would be both tasty and with health benefits. It took us two years of intensive research to create what I consider to be the finest culinary oil I could possibly put together.

And it was food once again that brought people together. My wife Anastasia and myself started meeting olive oil producers from all over Greece and trying their best varieties of olive oil. After tasting over thirty different types of olive oil, some of the best our country has to offer, we found just what we were looking for:

Continue reading →


Remember our herby oil from last week? Well, we actually ended up making more and used it in various ways! This week we have a recipe for you with our favourite summer vegetable: aubergine! We love aubergine because it reminds us of our childhood summers. You see, in Greece this vegetable is used only during the summer and takes part in many traditional recipes, such as moussakas or briam. Some people also stuff it with rice or mince, or even bulgur wheat (and we actually did so in our last cooking workshop)!

This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit, one of our favourite magazines. The dish includes gently fried aubergine, crunchy cucumber, tangy Greek yogurt and caramelised onions. Our herby oil helps bring everything together.

And a little secret: You can plate this dish for your guests, or, what we prefer is to lay all ingredients (fried aubergine, cut cucumber, yogurt, caramelised onions, herby oil and so forth) separate at the table and let everyone make their own version.

Serves 2 as main with leftovers or 4 as a side

700g (4 medium-small) aubergines
4tbsp olive oil
salt, pepper
1 tsp dried oregano

1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
1tbsp olive oil

1 large cucumber
a small bunch of fresh spinach

To serve:
4 tbsp Greek yogurt (optional)
4 tbsp herby oil

Cut the aubergine in bite-sized pieces. In a shallow frying pan, and over medium heat place 2 tbsp of olive oil and half of the aubergine. You need to form a single layer, so that the aubergine doesn’t steam. Season with salt, pepper and ½ tsp of dried oregano. Gently fry the aubergine for approximately 10min until cooked inside and charred outside. Remove from the pan and set aside. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and the aubergine. Remove and set aside too.

Finely chop your onion and garlic.
Using the same frying pan, place 1tbsp of olive oil and over medium heat gently fry the onion, for approximately 5min, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes, until everything is caramelised. Remove and set aside.

Cut your cucumber in bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry your spinach.

To serve, lay the yogurt on each plate. Top with aubergine, onions, cucumber, spinach. Add the herby oil. Instead of the herby oil you can of course drizzle some olive oil and add fresh chopped herbs.

 


This week we are bringing to you a recipe idea that is so simple, yet so inspiring. Why? Well, because it inspires us for many delicious dishes, one of which you will enjoy in next week’s blog. So stay tuned!

It is an olive oil blended with herbs. We love this oil because it is very versatile. It is great mixed with pasta for a fresh summer dish; as a dipping oil, all you need is to grab some sourdough; drizzle it over roasted vegetables or mix it into fresh, crunchy salads.

You can use whatever herbs you’ve got, chives, basil, parley and so forth. And make interesting combinations! We selected parsley and coriander. You can also add chillies, lemon or orange zest to your flavoured oil. You can also season it with salt and pepper. We kept ours simple, just with the herbs and the olive oil, so that it’s more versatile and can be used in multiple recipes.

Have in mind, this is not an oil you can preserve. It only keeps for a few days and has to be in the fridge, more on this below. But if you’d like some preserving ideas and recipes let us know!

As always, if you are following this blog, you should know by now that when we prepare a recipe, the fewer the ingredients, the better quality they need to have. Especially when it comes to flavoured oils, you want something that will be mellow and silky. So we are using our 22 oil, our mid harvest olive oil made from semi ripe olives.

You will need:

1 small bunch of parsley
1 small bunch of coriander
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Pick your leaves from the bunches of herbs. You can keep the stalks for stock. You should be left with a large handfull of parsley and coriander each. Blend the olive oil and herbs together in a blender, or use a pestle and mortar. Now, you can heat it up until sizzling, for about 3-4 min, then let it cool and strain it. This will keep for a week. But we prefer not to apply any heat. It keeps less in the fridge, for a couple of days, but the flavour is somehow fresher. Oh and we love texture, so we did not strain ours. So remove from your blender and place in a closed container in the fridge. Or you know, just boil some pasta or get your veg going. With an oil that fresh, there really is no reason not to have it right away!


Manouri is one of our favourite cheeses. Why you ask. Well, its flavour is magnificent, with sheep’s and goats’ milk balancing the tanginess and smoothness. Texture wise, this semi-hard white cheese manages to exist perfectly between creaminess and firmness. More than this, when grilled, this balance transforms into a more intense play between a near-crispy exterior and a smooth interior. You know, almost anything grilled is better.

So this week we decided to get our griddle pan out of the cupboard and grill everything for this dish. First things first though. Manouri pairs perfectly with both salty flavours and sweet. Another balance we love. In this recipe we went for sweet, pairing it with summer fruit and chestnut honey. This interesting combination of ingredients makes this dish ideal for either a starter or a dessert. Yes, another perfect balance, don’t you think? I’m telling you, manouri has that quality. But just between you and I, this dish is actually perfect for a summer dinner. Don’t ask me why, just give it a try and you will see. Somehow it makes you feel full, body and soul.

For 2 people you will need

2 thick slices of manouri cheese (approx. 5cm each)
4 tbsp of olive oil
2 apricots
1 peach
1 nectarine
1 red chilli, finely chopped
a few springs of mint, finely chopped
2 tbsp chestnut honey
black pepper

Place your griddle pan over medium-high heat and let it heat up. Gently rub the olive oil around the manouri.

Cut the apricots in half, the peach and nectarine in quarters, removing –and discarding – the pits. Rub the rest of the olive oil on your fruit.

Place the manouri and the fruit on your griddle pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side.

Put the cheese and fruit on a plate. Sprinkle the chilli, springs of mint. Crack some black pepper and drizzle with honey.

Let us know if you prefer this for a starter, dessert or as a main!