Is it summer yet? The weather might be a bit confusing still, but we can’t help but feel that one of our favourite seasons is here. We kicked off June (and summer!) with our Greek Islands Cooking Workshop, where we got to taste and make amazing island recipes and wines. Our wonderful chef, Lida shared her passion for island foods, and –sneak peak to September-she is preparing another ‘island’ workshop! A Cretan one this time. Watch this space for updates on this and our other cooking workshops!

So this week, we have the ultimate summer recipe for you: a Horiatiki, also known as Greek salad. But with a twist. If you are looking for something refreshing and filling for those warm summer days or nights, look no further. Our bulgur wheat horiatiki is our go-to summer dish.

In the recipe below, you can cut the tomatoes, cucumber and onions in whichever way you like. We had plenty of time, so we went for small cubes. But if you are more rushed, then go for tomato wedges and roughly chop the cucumber and onions-it is equally delicious. And, as always, do not hesitate to add or omit ingredients! We’ve added fresh herbs for example. You adore feta? Double the quantity! You hate capers? Omit them. But not before you pop by our Borough Market shop to taste ours.

So get into the kitchen and let’s kick off this summer!

Serves 2:

100g bulgur wheat
4 tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1 red onion
1 tbsp capers and
1/2 tub Kalamata olives or amfissa green olives (we used both)
Dried oregano (to taste)
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
100g feta cheese
a small bunch of fresh herbs (parsley, mint or dill – optional)
Salt

Place the bulgur wheat in 250ml of water in a medium-sized pot. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and let it cook until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

In the meantime, cut your tomatoes, cucumber and onion in small cubes. Place in a large bowl, along with the capers and olives. If using herbs, finely chop them and add them to the salad. Crumble the feta cheese on top. Add the cool bulgur wheat and oregano. Dress your salad with olive oil and vinegar and season with salt.

Serve with crusty bread. Happy summer everyone!

 


Youthful and fruity, the well-structured 2017 Sant’ Or Krasis presents a classic Bordeaux style with unique Greek grape varieties. I am deeply surprised that a red wine with the vintage of 2017 has already developed to that extent.

Produced in Santameri, Greece, this wine is made from the local grape variety Mavrodaphne, a grape that was mostly often used in producing sweet or fortified wines. Nowadays, however, modern winemaking philosophies and approaches have contributed to the reinvention of oak-matured Mavrodaphne, as is the case of this wine.

The town of Santameri sits in the mountainous area in north-west Peloponnese Peninsula. Generally, wine lovers may be more familiar with the other two famous Denomination of Origin appellations in the peninsula: Nemea and Martina, both situating in the eastern side and enjoying a slightly more ‘continental’ climate for viticulture. Santameri, in contrast, is located in the Patras region where the climate is definitely more ‘Mediterranean’. This means that the long and dry summers with short and rainy winters have created warm climate conditions with relatively small temperature variations, ideal for the Mavrodaphne grapes to grow and ripe. As a result, the wine usually displays distinctive aromas of ripe dark fruits.

The wax seal of the bottle may add extra points to attract your attention. Just in case you are not sure how to open a wax-sealed bottle, here is a tip: Pretend the wax does not exist and use the corkscrew as usual. But make sure to spend a few seconds clearing the wax pieces around the very top bit of the bottle before you pull the cork out, so as to avoid small pieces falling in the wine as the cork is coming out.

At first glance, you may easily find out that this is a very youthful wine, for it has a clear and bright deep purple colour with blue-ish hints in the purple rim. The viscosity is high. On the nose, it exhibits clean and intense aromas of ripe fruits such as black cherry and black plum. Following these initial aromas, the wine also has noticeable traces of oak barrel: toast, cocoa, toffee and tobacco. Gently swirling the glass, the wine also releases notes of wood, cedar box and a very small amount of hay. This suggests that the wine is in a developing stage, in spite of the youthful colour it shows. On the palate, this wine is dry, with high acidity, smooth firm tannins, medium alcohol level and a medium body. The finish is long. The intense flavours it brings include ripe black cherry, cigar, wood, toast, cocoa, and dark chocolate. It is slightly savoury, and shows characteristics of a developing wine. Combining with the outstanding flavours of a cigar box this wine reminds me of a typical red Bordeaux, and also surprises me for the range of flavours it has, considering that it is a 2017 vintage.

This wine is ready to drink, but may benefit from another 1 or 2 years of bottle maturation. It is best served at 18 – 20°C, in a large tulip shape glass. For such a youthful wine with firm tannins, I suggest to decant it for at least 10 minutes. This wine is suitable to drink on its own, but also will be fantastic to pair with grilled red meat, game dishes, and tomato-based sauces, for example with pasta.

 

By Celine


This week we’ve got for you a very traditional Greek recipe. Arakas (which means “peas” in the Greek language), is a dish most Greek households make regularly. As with most Greek vegetarian dishes, it entails slowly cooking vegetables, in olive oil and water, adding herbs and lemon or tomato. There are of course as many recipes for this, as nearly each household has its own. But this one we are making for you today is special.

It is my mother’s. We always love sharing our family’s recipes with you. Remember Mrs Kalliopi’s magic dough? Yum! Katerina, my loving mother, always manages to cook dishes that are airy, soft, comforting. For these classic Greek dishes, she uses a few simple ingredients. She never uses high heat and takes her time in stewing the vegetables, stirring every so often and then sitting in our kitchen, by the pot. It is as if the food needs constant care. And indeed it does. She is a wonderful cook, you see.

Her recipe for Arakas is one of my favourite ones, one that we always make in spring. So last week, when I visited her, we made it together, so that we can share it with you.

Serves 2

350g fresh peas
4 spring onions (only the white part and a little bit of the green)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice, plus more for serving
1 small bunch of dill
salt, pepper (to taste)

Place the olive oil and spring onions in a medium-sized pot and gently fry over medium heat. Once the onion is soft, add the peas and season with salt and pepper. Stir well, so that your peas are coated in the olive oil.

Add 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to medium and let the peas simmer, covered for 25min. Taste, add the dill, lemon and more water if needed. Cook for another 15min, or until the peas are soft and the water has reduced into a sauce.

Serve with more lemon juice and dill.


This week we’ve got a very aromatic spring recipe for you. We are using one of the most seasonal ingredients, rhubarb. The first time I tasted rhubarb was poached, with cinnamon and loads of sugar. I didn’t think much of it. The second time I tasted it, it was raw, thinly sliced, and with a little bit of sugar, just to take the sourness off. It was an intense experience. It tasted like snails in grass. It was fascinating. Indeed, rhubarb is quite unique and stirs up passionate reactions. There are those who love it and those who hate it. We belong in the second category.

The recipe we’ve prepared is quite unique too. We are not using any sugar to sweeten our rhubarb. Just grape molasses and Corinth raisins. What are we making? The most interesting chutney-like creation. It lays somewhere between jam and chutney. You can have it with bread and butter, but also with cheese and oily fish. You can taste the sweetness of the raisins, the depth in flavour of the grape molasses, the fruity rhubarb notes and there is still a hint of sourness still remaining. And, like last year’s poached pears, we’ve paired these three ingredients with fragrant spices, just to give you a slightly more complex creation.

Makes 2 jars

500g rhubarb
100g Corinth raisins
170g grape molasses
300ml water
¼ tsp cinnamon
10 cardamom pods
¼ tsp ground cloves
5 black peppercorns

Cut the rhubarb in 5cm pieces. Place the rhubarb in a pot, along with the raisins, grape molasses, water and spices. The liquid should just cover the rhubarb. Bring to the boil and then immediately lower the heat. Let it simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 min, stirring occasionally or until the rhubarb has soften, the raisins have soak up the juices and all the flavours have blended together.

Keep in jars in the fridge and serve on toast, with graviera or manouri cheese and oily fish.


2016 Markou Kleftes Savatiano Sulphur Free, 12.5%

How much do we know about natural wine? In the April issue of Decanter magazine last year, the rise of natural wines was brought to the attention of wine consumers. The ‘trend’ of drinking natural wine is gradually becoming a matter of lifestyle for many enthusiastic wine lovers.

So, what exactly is the natural wine? How different is it from the wines we are used to drinking? According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, what we call natural wine is a relative rather than an absolute term. It differentiates these types of wine according to the winemaking processes (or philosophies). Typically, the grapes are grown by small-scale, independent producers, they are harvested by hand from sustainable, organic, or biodynamic vineyards. The wine is fermented without any extra yeasts (meaning only the natural yeasts existing on the grapes are used) or additives, and little or no sulfites are added for refining. This definition, unfortunately, indicates that the term “natural wine” is quite vague and we have to uncover in what specific ways a bottle of such wine is indeed “natural”.

The 2016 Kleftes from Markou Vineyards, is a sulfur dioxide (SO2) free wine made from grapes grown in organic vineyards in the Koropi area of Attica, Greece. The name “Kleftes” in Greek is also the name for dandelion seeds, which carry your thoughts and dreams to the loved ones and present hope, dream, and the uncertainty of a new journey. If you have read our earlier wine review about Shinopefko Retsina in this blog, you will find that this wine is made with the same grape variety, from the same region as the retsina. In this case, what can we expect from a sulphite free wine to taste differently?

Normally, sulfur dioxide in winemaking is necessary to preserve the wine from oxidation and to refine the wine by preventing bacteria and unwanted yeasts. This is the same element as you may find in dried fruits from supermarkets. Without sulphite, Kleftes is obviously more oxidised  and displays more characteristics of oxidation. In the glass, it shows a slightly hazy yet bright gold colour with a lemon rim. On the nose, the wine has moderate aromas led by cooked apple, ripe pear and citrus flowers. Swirl the glass gently, it may also reveal some notes of roasted nuts and honey. There is no hint of the oak barrel. On the palate, it is dry, with crisp acidity, light body  and relatively low alcohol level. The flavour intensity is high, dominated by tastes of grape fruit, citrus flowers and crushed apple, accompanied by a long finish.

The wine is best drunk around 8-10 °C, which is about 5-10 minutes after being taken out from the fridge. Because it is sulphite free, it is not an ideal wine for aging. To prevent the oxidation, my suggestion is to consume this wine as soon as possible. It is a good wine to pair with food such as fried fish pie, green salad, or risotto with asparagus and parmesan cheese. An amazing pairing with wild capers, fava and bread.

by Celine

References: Oxford Companion to Wine


Spring is the time of the year with unpredictable weather. As we are all waiting for the warm sunny days, we often wake up to gloomy mornings. Like today for example.

During those cold mornings there is only one thing that brings us comfort: Porridge! You remember our delicious banana and cinnamon olive oil porridge, right?

This time we’ve decided to make it a bit differently. We will bake it in the oven with olive oil, and sweeten it with our Corinth raisins, grape molasses and wild flower honey.

With this recipe we are saying goodbye to the last apples of the season and welcome spring, with its lovely fruit and warm, long days! And of course, we will add some walnuts, our product of the month! Walnuts and apples are best friends after all.

And for those of you who are kinda crazy for porridge like me, this dish makes for a wonderful dessert, with some Greek yogurt or, dare I say, ice cream on top.

So let’s create our perfect morning breakfast and get ready for more spring breakfasts ahead!

Serves 4

1 cup oats
2 apples
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
50g walnuts
30g Corinth raisins
2 tbsp grape molasses
2 tbsp wild flower honey
6 tbsp olive oil
1 cup milk
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Cut the apples in thin slices.

In a large bowl, whisk together the grape molasses, honey, olive oil, milk and water until well combined. Add the cinnamon and salt.

Add the apples, oats, raisins and walnuts in your bowl and stir with a wooden spoon.

Place the porridge mixture in a baking tray and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the porridge is cooked and golden.


Greek Easter is here! It is one of our favourite holidays of the year. Following 40 days of Lent, tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and we are very much looking forward to sitting around the festive table with friends and family.

Every year, we paint red eggs, bake the traditional tsoureki, have lamb and salads with spring greens and, of course, tzatziki! Remember our pink tzatziki from last year? This week we’re making the classic version for you.

As you surely know, this dip can be enjoyed all year round. It is quite refreshing and goes very well with the Easter lamb. But also it makes for a wonderful addition to vegetarian dishes, sandwiches and salads.

So join us, for a celebration of Greek Easter by making the classic tzatziki recipe tomorrow! And a couple of tips: Make sure to use thick Greek yogurt and to squeeze your cucumber, so that you end up with a thick, creamy tzatziki.

500g Greek yogurt
1 large cucumber
1 small bunch of dill
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste
dill, olive oil (to serve)

Grate the cucumber. Squeeze it to remove excess liquid. Finely chop the dill. Mince the garlic with salt. Mix everything together and add the vinegar. Serve with more dill and olive oil.

 

Happy Greek Easter everyone!!

 


Next week is the final week of Lent for us Greeks. As we are all looking forward to the Greek Easter next week, this week, traditionally, we prepare simple recipes that do not contain any animal produce.

But simple doesn’t mean not tasty. And it also doesn’t mean that these recipes can’t be enjoyed throughout the year. Indeed, in the Greek food culture, many of these recipes have become part of the daily diets of people. To learn more about the way us Greeks approach Vegan foods, join our upcoming Cooking Workshop! Our talented Lida is going to be talking about all these foods and has prepared a delicious menu for us. So come along, we have very few spaces left!

This week we’ve prepared something that you can enjoy as a dip or starter -a wonderful addition to your Easter table! But, between you and me, this also makes for a wonderful light dinner, with the addition of some crusty bread. It is spring after all, a cold dinner is sometimes appropriate.

Serves 6 as a starter

150g small white beans
5 sun-dried tomatoes (approx. 25g)
100g roasted red peppers
3 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chilli vinegar
chilli flakes, lemon wedges, chilli vinegar, olive oil (to serve)

The night before, soak your beans in plenty of water. The morning after, boil them until tender. Set aside and let cool, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking liquid.
In a food processor, place the beans, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, olive oil, lemon zest and chilli vinegar. Blend until a smooth paste forms. If you prefer, add some of the cooking liquid, to make the paste smoother.

Serve with chilli flakes, lemon wedges, and more vinegar and olive oil. And of course, pita bread or crusty bread!

Happy Easter everyone!


We are over the moon!
Our new season 22C evoo has just been awarded with a SILVER medal in the BIOL Prize 2019 – International Prize for the best organic extra virgin olive oil in the world. The olive oils were judged on their chemical analysis results and as well as their organoleptic characteristics.

This international organic olive oil competition took place in Bari, Italy in March 2019. We are extremely happy that for another year one of our oils was selected amongst hundreds of olive oil samples from around the world. This was a fantastic achievement for our harvest 2018/19 as we had to face some of the most challenging weather conditions in the lat 50 years.


This week is one of our favourites of the year! Why, you ask. This week we are receiving our new olive oil! We are very excited and soon you will get the chance to stock up on your favourite ones.

We usually use our 22 olive oil in our recipes. This mid harvest olive oil is made from semi ripe olives. It has a mellow quality and a silky smooth texture that adds depth and flavour to all of our culinary preparations.

But for this week’s recipe, we’ve prepared a dressing using our lemongrass and tarragon olive oil.

This awarded olive oil is made from semi ripe olives crushed with fresh lemongrass and tarragon. We’ve used it in the past in this wonderful summer salad. As we received the new batch, an idea came to mind. This olive oil pairs perfectly with our sweet balsamic chilli vinegar. Our organic vinegar from the Agioritiko red grape variety has a gentle kick from chilli peppers that is the ultimate pair for the very fresh flavour and intense aromas of our lemongrass and tarragon oil.

You can use this dressing in your salads, fish, prawns or green vegetables. We had frozen some Brussels sprouts a few months back and, on a this cold spring week, we’ve decided to combine a winter vegetable with a vibrant dressing. Hint: it’s great with asparagus that are now in season!

Serves 2 side salads

1 fat clove of garlic
1tbsp sweet balsamic chilli vinegar
1 pinch of dried chillies
1tsp wild flower honey
3 tbsp lemongrass and tarragon olive oil
salt and pepper (to taste)

Mince the garlic using salt. In a bowl, whisk the garlic, vinegar, chillies, honey until well mixed. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking constantly until emulsified.

Toss the dressing in warm vegetables, or poor over your favourite dish.

Happy new olive oil season everyone!