This week we are feeling very autumn-y. The weather here in London? Not so much yet. It is sunny and smells like spring. But as we really love autumn, this week we’ve prepared a recipe that will make you feel warm and cozy inside. And it also goes with the lovely weather.

What could we be making that feels both like spring and autumn? Wholemeal pasta with roasted butternut squash! What’s very interesting about this recipe is that this dish is equally enjoyable served both hot or at room temperature. So you can enjoy it on a sunny day too!

When we cook, we always love trying out new types of pasta. Remember our zea penne pasta salad?  What about our zea spaghetti with asparagus?  This week we are trying our new wholemeal spaghetti. It is nutty, cooks in no time and somehow makes us feel healthier. And we’ve paired the butternut squash with our smoked paprika and smoked salt! Yum!

 

Serves 4

1 medium squash, approx. 750g
3 tbsp olive oil
1tsp smoked paprika
smoked salt
a few pinches of cinnamon
a few pinches of grated nutmeg
1 large chilli, finely chopped

320g wholewheat pasta

To serve
4 tbsp olive oil
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 lime
salt (to taste)

Prehear your oven at 180C

Wash and cut the squash in large, bite-sized pieces. You can peel it if you want, but we prefer not to.

Place the squash in a large baking tray, along with the olive oil, smoked paprika, smoked salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, chilli. Mix everything together so that each piece of squash is nicely coated with olive oil and spices.

Bake at 180C for 40min, stirring the pieces half way through. Squash should be tender and slightly crispy on the edges.

In the meantime boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water for 5-10min, until al dente. Drain and place in a large bowl with 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Stir well and add the cooked squash, chilli. Taste and season with salt if needed. Serve with lime wedges and squeeze some lime on top of the pasta before eating.


This week we’re all into cooking. And we are getting ready for our cooking workshops this autumn! The first one is just for kids, at the end of October with the wonderful Amaryllis who makes cooking a fascinating experience for the little ones. And then there is our November one, for adults, with Lia who brings together her Welsh life and Greek heritage. We’ve also started planning our December one, full of Christmas recipes with a special guest chef-details soon to follow.

So yes, we do love cooking this week. And we’ve prepared a vibrant dressing for you. Dressings are our favourite things. They can turn any ingredient or dish into something you look forward to savouring. This one is made with yogurt! You see, we wanted to get a bit away from the vinaigrettes and create something creamy and comforting. Its secret ingredient is our smoked paprika! You can use this dressing in green salads, pour over roasted vegetables or make a delicious potato salad.

This quantity is enough for 6 side salads. You will need:

150g yogurt
1 tbsp mustard
5 tbsp olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 tbsp water

In a bowl mix the yogurt and mustard. Add the lemon zest, juice and smoked paprika and mix well. Add the olive oil and stir, adding the water one tablespoon at a time so that you have the texture you want. If you want the dressing to be more runny then add a bit more water, one tablespoon at a time.


With autumn in its full swing, this week we’ve got something to warm you up and sweeten your mood. Our inspiration came from our succulent figs, one of our products of the month.

These wonderful figs are carefully selected and hand picked. Then they are dried naturally under the Greek sun, with no additives or preservatives. The figs are harvested from the fertile Messinia region in the Peloponnese, which we love.

Searching for recipe ideas with dried figs we decided to go for something we haven’t tried before. A compote. The idea came from our vegan stuffing recipe with raisins. While cooking up the recipe, the raisins soaked up all the juices and got rehydrated. What would happen to our figs in a similar situation? Let’s see, shall we?

For this recipe here we did not use any sugar. Just a combination of spices and fig molasses! It is dried figs that we want to liven up, what better pairing than fig molasses? In full disclosure, we had some leftover from our summer granola and dressing recipe. And there’s nothing more this writer loves most than no-waste cooking. And speaking of no-waste cooking have a look at our cooking class this November. We will learn a lot about no-waste there too!

For 1 jar you will need

300ml water
2tbsp fig molasses
250g figs
1/4tsp cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
25g sesame
Greek yogurt (to serve)

Place all your ingredients in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. As soon as bubbles start to form, turn down the heat and cook on low for 30-40min, until the figs are tender and the liquid has caramelized.

Fig compote is great served warm, as is or over Greek yogurt.


Autumn is here! Usually at this time of year many of us are struggling to leave summer behind. All of us at Oliveology found that the best way to change seasons is to make foods that will make us excited about what’s ahead.

This week we are using the last grapes that we find at the market and some lovely pears that are now beginning to come. If you prefer you can use just grapes or just pears. Or create your own flavour combinations!

But we are not making a sweet tart. We are pairing sweet fruit with our organic feta cheese. And some Greek yogurt! Remember our leftovers tart from a few months back? Or our colourful squash tart from last year?  This lays somewhere in between!

We’ve also added some walnuts. Some fragrant thyme honey and our 21 walnut oil drizzled on top takes this tart into a whole other level. It is perfect with a green salad as a main, or you can cut it into small pieces and serve it at a buffet.

Feeds 4 as main

1 sheet puff pastry (approx. 300g)
150g yogurt
100g feta cheese, grated
2 small pears
150g grapes
25g walnuts
a few springs of fresh thyme
wild thyme honey (to serve)
21 walnut oil (to serve)

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Roll out your puff pastry and place it on a baking sheet. You can use greaseproof paper, or make sure to oil the baking sheet so that your tart doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Using a fork, pierce the puff pastry across all of its surface. Put the puff pastry in the oven and bake for 5 min, until light golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Leave the oven on.

In the meantime, finely slice your pears, removing any seeds. Slice each grape in half. Chop your walnuts. Pick the leaves from the thyme and discard the stalks.

Spread your yogurt on top of the puff pastry, so that it covers its entire surface. Sprinkle the grated feta cheese. Make sure it goes everywhere. Place your pears and grapes on top. Sprinkle the walnuts and dried thyme.

Place the tart back in the oven and bake for 20-25min or until the cheese has melted and the fruit is soft. Your puff pastry should be dark gold. Remove from the oven. You can serve warm, but it’s equally good at room temperature.

Before serving drizzle some thyme honey and the walnut oil.


We rarely make cookies here at Oliveology’s blog. I have to admit, I personally am more of a cook and less of a baker. Those of you cooking passionately will smile, as indeed baking is a whole different world than cooking. But that doesn’t mean that when we do bake we don’t enjoy it! The spiced molasses cookies that we made during the holidays last year filled our shop with winter spices. Over the years all of us cooking for Oliveology have made some delicious seasonal cakes, like last autumn’s butternut squash cake, and some less ordinary ones such as the olive oil apple cake or the no-sugar grape molasses cake!

In the beginning of this summer, for reasons unknown, I started baking cookies. I discovered that baking cookies after a long day can actually be quite relaxing. So this week, inspired by our product of the month, the Corinth raisins and Honey &Co’s recipes, we have a very fun and ‘relaxing’ recipe for you!

Our Corinth raisins are small in size, but punch above their weight in terms of their sweetness and taste. They do lay somewhere between fudge and chocolate if you ask me. I can’t think of a better ingredient for these cookies. And as always, there’s a twist: tahini! Its nuttiness adds depth –and as we are using less butter, we like to feel that these are ‘healthier’ cookies.

If any of you feel like experimenting and substituting all of the butter in this recipe for the tahini, please drop us a line. I am very curious if it will work. And for more healthier-living ideas, recipes and of course fun, join our workshops this year! Delicious collaborations are here and spaces are filling fast!

For 16 cookies you will need:

140g butter
200g dark muscovado sugar
1 egg
110g tahini
150g all purpose flour
100g wholemeal flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
100g Corinth raisins

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and tahini and mix well. In a separate bowl sieve all your dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, baking powder. Using a wooden spoon slowly fold everything together. Add the raisins. Be careful not to overmix.

Now, some people say that the beauty in baking cookies is tasting the uncooked dough. We are those people. But if you are hesitant about raw eggs please don’t.

Place your cookie dough in the fridge for half an hour. Form your cookies and place them in a baking tray that you have covered in greaseproof paper. Make sure there is enough space between them as they will flatten.

Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes, or a tiny bit more if you prefer them crunchy!

Enjoy with some warm milk sweetened with grape molasses.


Summer is the time of the year when we can’t stop eating tomatoes. We usually love them as part of a dakos salad. Or any salad for that matter. Every year I contemplate making my own passata, and preserve the tomatoes’ bright flavour for winter. But since we brought this tomato passata in store I have happily swapped to it. My point is that tomatoes should be enjoyed all year round, either fresh in summer, or beautifully preserved in winter.

As summer is coming to an end, the inspiration for this recipe came from Bon Appetit magazine as the writer of this blog post spends her summer days browsing old cooking magazines. We have used our wonderful chickpeas that pair perfectly with tomatoes and spices (remember our winter spiced chickpea stew?)

If you are making this recipe in winter, you can swap the fresh tomatoes for passata.

Feeds 2 people

200g cooked chickpeas, cooled down
3 medium tomatoes or tomato passata
3 cloves of garlic
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil (plus more for serving)
zest of 1 lemon
Greek yogurt and fresh herbs (to serve)

In a pestle and mortar place your garlic, coriander, cumin, chilli, salt, lemon zest. Crush everything together. Slowly add the olive oil until you have a thick paste. Loosen it up with a bit more olive oil if you prefer.

Cut your tomatoes in thick slices. Lay them on a tray. Rub the paste on the tomatoes, so that each piece has been touched by the spices (but without forming a layer on top of each tomato as the spice mix is quite intense). If you are using passata, mix it with the paste. Let your tomatoes marinate for an hour (or better overnight) in the fridge, covered in cling film.

To prepare your dish, place the chickpeas in a bowl and pour in the juices that will have been released by the tomatoes. Gently toss. Place on a plate, with the tomatoes on top. If you are using passata, mix everything together.

Drizzle some more olive oil and serve with Greek yogurt and fresh herbs.


Fig molasses (or sykomelo in Greek) is our new favourite product! We generally love all types of molasses as they add a discreet sweetness and depth to all of our dishes-have you tried our grape molasses?

With fig season in its full swing, we are all inspired to create lovely recipes with this amazing product. We recently made a very nutty Greek granola, with fig molasses, tahini, walnuts and dried figs. Absolutely yummy!

This week we decided to go for something on the savoury side. So we are making a dressing. We love making dressings, especially using interesting ingredients: enter fig molasses.

This dressing is delicious on a green salad. It is also perfect with grilled manouri and seasonal fruit.
And of course, it is great with roasted vegetables. Grill or fry some aubergine, smother them in this dressing, sprinkle some parsley and feta cheese and you’ve got yourselves a delicious summer dinner. And for the meat eaters amongst us, this makes for a wonderful marinade for beef. Simply marinate the beef for a few hours and your summer barbecue will be glorious!

This quantity is enough for 2 people, so if you are preparing food for more, multiply accordingly.

2 tbsp fig molasses
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
pinch of salt

In a bowl whisk together the fig molasses and balsamic vinegar. Slowly add the oil, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt.


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!